Imported from Tumblr, August 19th 2019
A weekend of learning.
We are sending these teen daughters out to swim in this age of social media- Snapchat, sex, self-objectification and the water’s full of sharks.
My daughter has barely turned twelve and at this age my first #metoo moment was a Veteran- three years old.
Our girls are looking at their changing bodies and reflections in the mirror and I’m terrified they’ll start to reject what they see as I did. I don’t want it to take twenty years for my daughter to relearn what was lost at this age. How to love herself, feed herself. How to nourish her heart and mind and body and soul and spirit.
How to know an emotion when she’s feeling it, not as an afterthought. How to honor her intuition. How to love what’s in the mirror because SHE has defined her beauty, not the world.
How to stand in her power and draw up her shoulders to their fullest height and carve her boundaries in stone and fucking say NO.
Middle school is a hard time for most.
And if our parents didn’t notice then, today’s parents aren’t looking either. We see past our daughters while posting celebrations about their milestones. We share how much we love them while they starve and clamor for our attention. We’re barely looking up.
And we wonder where we’ve missed the mark?
This year I fell in love with running in the moments when I raced back for myself. Like Alice pressing on, each door smaller then the last. It was no white rabbit hunt, but running back to littler versions of myself. Mary at 19. Mary at 16. Mary at 12. Mary at 9.
All of my 33 years: made wise, made strong. Mile after mile.
Running back for these girls, running back to myself.
You are here now.
You are safe now.
Mile after mile.
This weekend I looked up long enough to see my daughter struggling. And I drew up my courage and breath and words and boundaries and I protected her. As I wish someone had done for me.
But the triggers were set a long time ago- and every nerve in my body is shot from the effort of trying to remember that this is now, not then. And even in tapping or breathing or walking or counting, I haven’t yet learned how to avoid the tailspin. Because the body keeps the score.
But tonight my daughter is sleeping soundly and I’ll wake up tomorrow with the dawn of a new day and I’ll think about all the ways I’ve healed and how we rewrite our histories through new eye that look the same.
2 Comments Add yours
Mary I worry about these things with my daughters too. Even at 6 and 7 I worry about
Middle school for them. They Are so happy and free with no phones and family is the center of their universe. I want to see and listen. But I also want to help them to be independent and strong. And safe.
Aleisha- it really is so much more complicated than when we were growing up! We have gone back and forth with the right recipe of phone-time privilege for Trin, and obv have run into issues.
We make it clear to her and the parents of her friends that we monitor her cell phone closely, so in this instance we notified her friends’ parents.
We strive to be conscious parents and lead with love and respect, but missteps are def a part of the package.