Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Gift of Being Present

I always come across angry FB posts about the war on body image. People going on rants, upset about fat mannequins or super thin models or overly photoshopped images, etc...

Here's the reason why I don't give a shit about any of those:

People go on and on about how those things give young people, particularly girls, a wrong sense of what society expects them to look like - ok, before I go on, let me clarify that I don't have daughters. I have a house full of boys and perhaps having a daughter or two might make me think differently (though I strongly doubt it) but I really feel that the key to all of this is to be present.

Yes, I find it quite simple.

I truly feel that amount of time I spend with my kids and how present I am in their lives has a much stronger impact on them than any overly photoshopped magazine image or super thin runway model.

It's a choice. I can run around Facebook "liking" pictures about how "real women" have curves ...which, by the way, I have fluctuated in weight and body types many times, I have been with and without curves, and both ways I felt quite real... or I can sit down to have real conversations with my children to tell them how incredibly unique and special they each are in their own way. And I can teach them healthy eating habits and encourage them to stay active and invite them to join me on my jogs and workouts.

When my boys come across ads and commercials with seemingly "perfect" looking people, they will know that their mother thinks they are beautiful people inside and out. They get their "body image" from ME. They get their confidence and self-worth from ME. Not from TV ads or FB memes. The world is ALWAYS going to be full of crap and bullshit and people looking for tiny, weak-minded souls to prey on. There's nothing I can do about that, but I CAN raise strong, smart, productive children. *I* am raising these kids, NOT the world.

One day they will grow up and choose their own paths. Right now their hearts and minds belong to ME. I work hard every day to shape them into decent, kind, healthy human beings. I go to sleep emotionally and physically drained every night, knowing that every word that came out of my mouth today is going to affect who they are tomorrow. Of course some days are better than others. I am human, after all. I mess up. Some days I feel like I don't know what I am doing, but they go to bed every night knowing their mother thinks the world of them.

The truth is it's an ugly world out there. My job is to prepare them for that. I have to teach them, not only to survive in this ugly, ugly world, but to thrive and rise above all the ugliness. To find the beauty hidden in the ugliness, despite what the world has to say. To accept people for who are or who they choose to be. To know the difference between encouraging and judging. To believe that if they want to make a difference, they have to start with themselves.

So, who cares if some magazine editor went a little photoshop crazy or if there are famous voices everywhere constantly telling them what they should look like. At this moment, while their minds are still growing and being molded, my face and voice are stronger in their lives than ANY image or celebrity. They see ME and hear ME more often than they do anyone else. Until they get sick of me and move out, that is...

I  may not be able to give them a lot of material things, but they have ME.

Thank you for reading. Now drop your phone or your laptop or your tablet and go be present. Go on, now!

I will do the same.

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