The two of us were looking in the bathroom mirror as I rushed to get ready for a somewhat important event. I looked in a bit of frustration at myself, at my unruly hair, at my face that suddenly broke out in blemishes. And my large red birthmark that gets so many comments of “your chest is sunburned,” seemed to glow even redder that day.
In desperation I tried throwing my hair back and caking on some foundation to appear presentable, but it seemed to fail. “I just look awful,” I whispered at the flaws glaring at me in that mirror.
And then I glanced over, at her, staring up at me.
I noticed the way she had her head cocked to the side. The questioning in her eyes. Because why would her beautiful mom ever say such a thing about herself? I saw the wheels spinning, and I realized their impact–their slow, piercing impact. Like a sharp blow across the face I felt their sting.
And in that moment I realized what I just did to her, to my breathtakingly beautiful daughter. Because every time I make a negative comment about my appearance, I am planting seeds of ugly into her soul. Fostering a worldview where women are required to have shiny hair and flawless skin to feel confident. Just the right sized boobs and curves and tiny waists to hold their heads high.
The very thing I fight so hard against, I was teaching through whispers into her heart.
She inherited my unruly hair. The kind that marches to the rhythm of its own drum. The kind which refuses to be tamed.
And every time I watch it fight its way right out of that braid I say a small prayer: that it be just a symbol of the woman she will grow to become. A girl whose passions will push her far beyond the superficials of society.
A girl with tangled hair and an even greater tangled heart. Tangled right up into the pains of this world. A girl with skin flawed and marked and stretched by life. Because what is life really if not allowing yourself to fully live?
But what power are my prayers if I have not yet caught on to their beauty?
What if she had a mom who just didn’t make negative comments about her appearance? Whose heart was much too wrapped up in love and compassion to really care how shapely her legs fit into her butt?
May we raise daughters whose souls will move past shallow eyes. Whose passions will be much too big to care. And may it start right here, with us.
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