Saturday, April 30, 2011
I have a memory from when I was about 9 years old.
I was in PE and one of the BOYS in class told me that my legs were HAIRY.
I knew they were...but had never REALIZED that OTHERS KNEW they were.
It was traumatic because I felt judged and deminished.
I felt like I wasn't SUPPOSED to have hair on my legs.
It felt like I wasn't quite ADDING UP to all those "pretty women" I had seen on TV and in magazines.
You know the ones with the flawless skin and tiny waists.
It was a reality that would HAUNT me for years.
It set a "tone" for my life...for many years.
A MOMENT in time that shaped my life.
The other day I told Shasha to go get dressed, we were headed to FIELD DAY for our co-op.
Keep in mind...It was 95 degrees- In the shade!!!!
She came back dressed in red shirt, blue jean shorts, and a pair of red leggings.
"Shasha...It is going to be HOT!!! Don't you want to take the leggings off??"
She looked at me with a look only a MOTHER KNOWS.
A look that says, "I'm hiding SOMETHING."
"No, Ill keep them on." she said.
"But Shasha...it is HOT!!! Why don't you want to take your tights off?"
She again tried to hide behind her eyes...."Becauuussseeee.........I just DON'T"
I KNEW there was something wrong...I KNEW she was holding something in.
I just wanted her to LET IT OUT....TELL ME what was wrong.
"Shasha -I can TELL that something is bothering you.You can tell me anything.I love you more than anything in the world. Don't ever be scared. I love you."
I felt a CONNECTION to my parents at that moment...I was feeling what they felt, I knew how they had felt when they had said those SAME WORDS to me. It was echoing....thru time.
Then she said something to me that
"My legs are so UGLY!!!"
My heart stopped.
I was not ready.
It hasn't been long enough...
She is still a BABY.
Only 8 1/2 years old.
I AM NOT READY.....
I fought back the tears and said, "Shasha!!! They are not! You have very pretty legs. They are legs made especially FOR YOU. You are EXACTLY the way that GOD intended for you to be. Beautiful."
She looked at me and said doubtfully, "No they aren't! They have scabs all over them."
I quickly responded with, "Shashamane, when we get to the field day today...look at your friends legs. They are all scarred up and scabby. Look at MY LEGS!!! They are the same way. That is the way they were intended to be. We aren't girls who stay OUT of the DIRT! We are girls who can get DIRTY...and still wear cute clothes doing it. God made you exactly the way you are. You are PERFECT. There will be times in life when the WORLD will make you feel like a FAILURE. But you are SPECIAL. and BEAUTIFUL....no matter WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE ON THE OUTSIDE."
We laughed and talked some more....we shared a moment.
It was such a sad day for me.
A day when I realized that no matter what I do to PROTECT her....the outside world WILL have an impact on her.
Society WILL make her doubt herself.
She will sometimes feel LESS THAN ENOUGH.
All of our daughters will.
They will feel the pressure of the world ...just like we did.
It is inevitable.
It made me realize that I am in a WAR.
Not an OBVIOUS war.
Not a war fought with guns and ammunition.
Not a war where you will see BLOOD.
It is a quiet, slow, creeping WAR.
A war of the MIND.
It is a war that is fought between a girl and the world she lives in.
It is a war that has to be fought with ENCOURAGEMENT, KIND WORDS, and LOVE.
It has to be fought by ALWAYS letting her BE HER...no matter what that means.
No matter what the WORLD thinks....she SHOULD be.
It is a battle...a battle for their self- confidence.
That day made me realize that I am on the FRONT LINES of this WAR...
3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:3-4