My eight year old daughter Tasmin sometimes comes to hang out with me at the portrait studio after school while I finish up editing. One morning after she’d been to visit, I was tidying up in the change room when I glanced up to see this lovely drawing of hers on the wall. It reads “Look like what you want to look like” with the artist’s signature included. I was so moved to find this precious treasure in the studio. She’d pinned in to the wall as a positive affirmation for my clients to see when they were in the change room. It was a way of saying “Love who you are.”
So far I haven’t really gone out of my way to sit with her and talk about self-image, body confidence, and all that goes with it. What I have done is be very careful not to use words like “fat”, “diet”, “ugly”, “need to lose weight” etc in front of her.
Lately she has asked me why she has such “fat thighs” on the way to soccer. I’ve asked her “compared to what?” and she’s mentioned the names of girls at school. I tell her how proud I am that she is so sporty, and energetic, and smart, and funny and beautiful. I’ll always remind her she’s beautiful. I’m especially proud of her being the ONLY girl in the soccer team at school. I would have rather died than take a chance like that at her age. But that’s a whole story for another day! I want her to be healthy and fit, but I can only hope she doesn’t connect body size with beauty ideals.
She sometimes asks if I might get more clients if I wasn’t so fat. When you need an honest opinion……! But I tell her with a big smile, “NO! I am very proud of myself and I love who I am and the way I look, and if someone didn’t want to work with me because of that, well I wouldn’t mind. I’d rather not work with them either!”
I love to keep things simple. When Tas visits me at work she sees a big quote on the internal door. It says simply “Be your own kind of beautiful.”