My niece, four at the time, was sitting excitingly on the couch in her swim suit waiting for me to come out of the bathroom with mine on. She froze when she say me still with my clothes on and disappointingly asked, “Where is your swim suit?”
I replied with, “Under my clothes,” and being the curious four year old she is, she then asked “Why?”
For a moment I thought about what I was going to say and about what she would have to say back.
“I have my swim suit on under my clothes because I am fat.”
She didn’t even hesitate to think, look, or reevaluate. I realized it when she said, “No you’re not”.
I realized the damage was done. I couldn’t take it back. The feeling of regret made me feel sick and horrible. What made me feel the worst was when I thought about how she knew me ever since she was born and how I had always disliked my body- but did that matter to her? No. She loves me for me and her love is never going to go down even if my weight goes up. I am and always will be her ‘auntie’ who she loves inside and out. While I should have been teaching her about self-confidence and respect towards yourself, I was putting the idea of disliking your own body and not being happy with who you are in her head and making her think that fat was a bad thing.
If I could go back to that day I would come out of that bathroom in my swim suit and love myself for who I am which is what I want to teach her to do. I love her for her, she loves me for me, and someone loves you for who you are, inside and out.