I continue to carry those words with me: "fat", "ugly", "lazy", "worthless". My one positive attribute was my smarts, and I owned being smart. I shaped myself into the female equivalent of Anthony Michael Hall's character in The Breakfast Club: a dorky loner who was thrilled when she got her first pair of prescription eyeglasses.
What divorcing spouses and partners don't realize is there are very real consequences of dysfunctional divorce that affect mental, emotional, and developmental well-being and behaviour of children. The effects of divorce trauma become more pronounced the longer a divorce drags on. And two or five years in the life of a child is a huge percentage of time.
I don't like pictures of myself, and I did a lot of self-reflection about that during the selfie project. The rules for the Selfie Project were simple: post at least five selfies on Facebook over the course of a week and talk to me about the experience afterwards. I don't consider myself "attractive" in any way the idea is bounced around: cute, pretty, beautiful, sexy. I am not alone.
My dearest little girl, sometimes I forget that you're only four years old. Actually, a month ago you were just three. Maybe I expect too much from you at times because you're a big sister now. Maybe it's because I just haven't taken the time and effort to see things from your bright little eyes. But my darling, I am slowly learning to do exactly this, and I'm sorry I sometimes forget.
When a child's stress levels are too high various systems for thinking and metabolic recovery are compromised. The signs of when this is happening show up in the child's behaviour, or mood, or attention, or for that matter, physical well-being. Canadian children are dealing with far too much stress today.
There is definitely a disconnect between love-your-body theory and reality. Women nod their heads sagely having heard all this information before, then look at themselves in the mirror and go back into the same negative self-talk. And sadly from my standpoint, women's body image has only gotten worse over the last 10 years.
Whatever happened to shame? It got put out away in a basket, somewhere in a very deep drawer, covered with other obsolete items, like religion. Do you think that other gang members would want to end up in the pillories, too? Would they want to emulate someone who has been shamed in public, ridiculed, too?
How could we help him feel better about himself so he does a better job for our city? As hard as it may be for some of us to swallow, we could try to lose the blame and the judgement and throw him some slack. Why? When people treat us well, the better we feel, and the better we feel, the better we behave.
In time, all of my pageant friends became so obsessed with their appearances that they made every woman who walked down the street into a comparison, celebrating when they discovered that they were still the "fairest of them all" and reaching a near breakdown when a long-legged stranger made them feel as though there was more work to be done. A petite blond at a cafe immediately made them "fat." A girl with acne made them scoff and cackle like hens. In time, the side show of pageantry bled off into their every day lives with such vehemence that each moment became a graceless performance.
Thanks to Caroline Berg Eriksen's post-pregnancy selfie that she took just four days after giving birth to her daughter we have been pulled back into the "what should women's bodies look like?" debate. Let's stop paying so much attention to the bodies that we can't relate to and start embracing, celebrating and taking care of the ones we do.
It's been said that women don't raise their hand enough for something they're not absolutely sure they can do. Our champions are people who know us. And our champions are awesome because they tell people how great we are, for us. If you're not going to do it, well, you better get out there and find someone who will.
I've been thinking a lot about this interview with Lisa Kudrow about the nose job she got when she was in high school. My first thought is that I want to go back in time and hug teenaged Lisa Kudrow. Most of all, I want to tell her that I get it, because I've been there. I feel sad that I've spent most of my adult life feeling so goddamn unattractive.
Selfies, to me, are narcissistic. There's no denying that. But they also show the world who I feel like I really am inside. I am a great selfie taker; I get all my best angles because I know to look for them. The photos I produce are ones I'm proud of. For me, selfies document my journey with my own self-acceptance.
My mother came out of the clothing store change room wearing a long-sleeved pink sweatshirt. When she came out, smiling at me, I could tell she felt confident. Her smile vanished the second she saw herself. "I look fat." It's a difficult feeling to describe, when you see your mother so wounded by her own reflection.
Impostor syndrome is the fear of being found out or discovered as stupid or unworthy. I don't consider myself to be someone with especially low self-esteem, but I have often felt like an impostor among very intelligent and accomplished people, and especially around individuals with elegant, show-stopping vocabularies.