This body has carried life. This body lets me explore. This body can be pushed and strengthened. This body can love. This body can show kindness. This body–is not a reflection of who I am, but merely a vessel and it will return to dust. How can I ever be displeased with this body?
So: When do we accept that we were fearfully and wonderfully made? Yes, we must be good stewards of our vessel, but that doesn’t mean I will look a certain way–no matter what I physically work for or surgically alter. Can I get an Amen?
After over a decade of working in the fashion industry, I’ve seen more shaming than I care to admit. (That’s not to say that the fashion industry is the only place there is body shaming). I will never forget the day I was measuring a model on set and her hip measurement was not quite what her comp card said it should be. I had to tell my producer. Now–picture this–here’s this beautiful young girl literally being paid for her looks, still be shaped and molded, and her hips were 2″ larger than they ‘should have been.’ Well, of course, her job was to model so she shouldn’t be falsifying information about her measurements, but I can not explain to you the knot in my gut when I had to put into words that she was technically ‘too big.’ No young woman should ever hear that–unless her life is seriously endangered because of her size, small or large. (And don’t get me started on the ‘plus size’ modeling industry. Models are models…its just that simple.)
When I was younger, these are the words that shaped my perception… “Oh you’re so pretty, too bad your body…” “You have a great face, but you’re a bit too thick..” “Oh Ashlee, she’s gorgeous, but just her face.” I remember in third grade–I seriously kept a journal about what I was eating because I thought it would help me be skinny. THIRD GRADE.
Fast forward thirty years, and now I have a daughter of my own. The word ‘fat’ is not allowed in our family vocabulary. I will not shame myself (because I shouldn’t) and risk increasing her struggle of self acceptance (praying she won’t even have one). I will teach her to love herself, to care for herself, to strengthen herself and to sharpen her understanding. So will her father, but that may be another entry all together. I have been bound by a false stronghold for far too long, and it has been quite the journey to think differently. When I look at my daughter, I see an adorable, precious little life that was crafted by the hands of God and blessed upon me to disciple and shepherd. Sure you may not think that way about parenthood, and that’s okay. I’m not here to argue that. I am here to challenge you to change your thought process.
No matter what you believe or how you parent, when you look at your little lady, you see perfection (or with any child for that matter). Even if there obstacles or abnormalities, you see a perfect child. So my challenge to you, as I continue to challenge myself the same, can I start believing that I was fearfully and wonderfully made perfect in His image? Can I look in the mirror and see His perfect daughter? I can’t..at least not every day, but I’m working on it. If more is caught than taught, then I will stand firmly in faith, stewarding my vessel, believing I was made with and for a purpose, and that I am not a mistake. I am beautiful. I am bold and I am lovely, and pray that my daughter will believe those very things. Because it is time for us to reclaim the boldness and beauty of womanhood, without letting the enemy sink deeper into our minds convincing us otherwise.