As I read my daughter’s Facebook post, that I’m sharing below, I felt compelled to share the story with other parents whose children may be struggling due to unkind words and many times untrue words.
“This was taken my junior year of high school (running picture above on the left) when I ran my first sub- six minute mile (5:58 to be exact). It’s interesting because what I would have told 17 year old Michelle then is what I’d also tell 28 year old Michelle now-be more thankful for your health and what your body allows you to do, not what it looks like. Take care of your body and be kind to it. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your loved ones- your thoughts about yourself become your beliefs about yourself.
I remember crying before so many track and cross country meets because I didn’t look like the other girls. I was never as small or skinny and lean like the other girls. I wasn’t built like a runner. Rather than be excited about what my body had just allowed me to accomplish- I remember thinking about how my legs looked big in this picture (the running picture of me above). I still struggle significantly with the same issues today- but I’m far more aware- I’m aware of how blessed I am to simply breathe on my own. I know that walking and digesting my food and smiling amongst so many other things, are so simple yet so big because I get to do them when some people don’t. I’m learning to respect my body more for what it can do and not just what it looks like.
So 17 year old Michelle, we’re not there yet, but if we’re lucky, we’ve got some more laps around the track to figure it out. Love, 28 year old Michelle.”
As the Mom of this healthy, strong, beautiful, smart and talented young woman, I thought it is important to share with parents, young adults and kids that it took only 3 words, YOU ARE FAT, by a boy in Michelle’s 6th grade class that started her lifelong obsession with weight, limiting food intake, constant dieting, exercising obsessively, counseling and sadness that she did not look the way she thought she should or wanted to. My message is, WORDS MATTER and you never know how something that is said can have a lifelong impact without you even knowing it.
She was at a swim party and a boy told her, “you’re so fat!” She told me, “Mommy, I want to go to the Dr. and I want to lose weight!” As an athlete, she wouldn’t eat right and would be so weak to be able to even compete.
I wanted to congratulate Michelle for slugging it out every single day from the day she heard her male classmate say those words. It’s been a life long struggle since the 6th grade but Michelle has never given up. Love Mom
So, I guess I would ultimately say that you never know what battle another individual is dealing with so always practice being kind………then you know you can never go wrong : )