May 5, 2015 by positivelypeachie
My sister – who has struggled with weight her entire life – had a gastric bypass surgery in November. The idea of the permanency of rearranging your internal organs is terrifying to me – but it has been very successful for her. She is down 159 pounds and is both healthier and happier than she was.
She is also hyper aware of the way we present our body image, and even more so when it involves her son who is quickly approaching 3 years old. Although he is a boy, he is a very large boy. Not fat, large. He is 44 inches tall and 41 pounds at a couple months shy of 3 years old…. my 6 year old nephew is only a little bit taller and heavier than him. Given that he’s such a large boy, she doesn’t ever want him to feel insecure. When he plays with other kids, he easily hurts them doing things that a smaller child does all the time (i.e. playing tag) and it’s just because he is bigger and stronger…so if he accidentally bumps into a child who is half his size, it hurts. She knows he will have days where he is insecure – that’s normal – what she’s trying to avoid is raising him with the same shame and emotional behaviours that she had growing up. She’s asked us all to be careful and thoughtful with our words to him about our bodies and his. While I would never demean my own body in front of my nephews, or theirs, I would probably do or say things that implicate a disconnect with my body – like if they want me to go swimming with them and I joke and say “ain’t no body wanna see this”. It’s funny to me, but in their little minds they’re hearing that I don’t like my body and that no one else does either. And then they wonder why, and it just snowballs from there.
I’ve been thinking about this, and I realized that bodies are like rocks. They come in all shapes and sizes – some are flat, some are lumpy, some are round and some are narrow. They’re different based on where they came from, how rocky their journey has been and whether the sand has smoothed them or not.
If you put every person on a rocky beach, with a pail, and told them to collect their most favourite kind of rock – there would likely be a rock type for everyone. Some people like the flat and narrow rocks, some like the flat and round rocks, some like smooth rocks, some like bumpy, some like white rocks or pink rocks or grey rocks. Some would have their buckets full of all kinds of rocks because they love them all. Some would only have one specific kind of rock. Some would have a few different kinds. Some may even have no rocks, saying they hate rocks.
None of it would be wrong – because rocks are rocks…they can’t be wrong. They are just different.
I’m going to make a subconscious effort to love my internal rock – so that in doing so I can teach my nephews and any other children that come into my life that their rocks are a beautiful thing to be celebrated, not shamed, regardless of whether they’re round or smooth or narrow or bumpy or pink or white or flat. You should to. Because who doesn’t love rocks?