It was an idea born in the reflection of a dressing room mirror. How can a dad impress upon his daughter the lessons of self esteem and beauty… that you are beautiful inside and out… that you can’t be a slave to magazine covers and centerfolds. My daughter is only 8 and already has stood in front of that dressing room mirror saying an outfit makes her look “F-A-T” softly spelling out the letters to avoid saying the word. So it came to me sitting on a bench with the kids at the park. I’d turn to the thousands of Dadmissions fans.. mostly women.. for their advice. I came up with the Dadmissions B.E.A.U.T.Y. Project for women to share their own struggles and inspirations as a way to hopefully empower my daughter and other kids. B.E.A.U.T.Y. stands for “By Empowering And Understanding Today’s Youth. I hope these essays, your advice, inspire my daughter and other kids to let out their inner lion so the world can hear their roar! You can email me your own thoughts to email@example.com or find me on Facebook at dadmissionsthebook.
In the meantime, here is the first set of essays, your essays, from the Dadmissions B.E.A.U.T.Y. project.
I am touched deeply by your post and the B.E.A.U.T.Y. project. It is crushing to hear these words as they resonate so deeply with me. I wish there were words we could share to instantly eradicate those words that emerge from perception of self image. I was 8 when I went from being a skinny kid… to as my BFF at the time defined me as “Pleasantly Plump”. Lovely huh? I spent the next decades of my life battling genetics and the family insisting I finish every speck on my dinner plate. By high school I decided I would eat like a bird and cycle two hours a day. I was a struggling size 8. Craziness. I lost weight, then in college discovered movie popcorn, Pizzeria UNO, and Taco Bell burritos… but I finally realized I am who I am. Wish I was a stunning size 4. I am not. I will never be. But I wish I learned beauty is something that emanates from within no matter what your size and no matter what your shape… I will share something VERY personal that I have barely shared with anyone. My in-laws tried everything in their power to dissuade my husband from marrying me. Why? Because I am not a size 2… They actively tried to break up out engagement, our wedding… I know who I am and with years comes some wisdom… The bottom line is each of us has been created differently. You do not need to be anyone else and I wish our kids realized that. They are perfect just the way they are. I am learning this at a sneeze to 40. I would love young girls and boys to be able to learn this lesson a lot earlier in life. Your girls are beautiful no matter what.
I was bullied all through middle school and high school because I was a little overweight. From the time I started 7th grade to the time I dropped out of school in the 9th grade, I ate breakfast and lunch in a bathroom stall because I was ashamed to eat in front of anyone. People would tell me I was FAT, UGLY, PIG, NASTY, etc… It got to the point of me almost committing suicide. I finally dropped out of high school because I couldn’t deal with the bullying anymore. I then realized it doesn’t matter what other people thought of me, what mattered was what I thought of myself… I immediately got my GED. My confidence grew… eventually I didn’t care what other people thought of me anymore. I am now 23, married, have a son, confident as ever… This is my advice: Do not listen to other people’s negativity, believe in yourself, and most of all know you are beautiful inside and out.
It is such a horrible thing to constantly worry about your looks and although I still fret at times, I am worlds away from that nightmare. Eating disorders, constantly counting calories, constantly thinking about what I ate or didn’t eat, and each day was either a good day or a bad day based on what I ate and how much I exercised. Ridiculous. I think the best thing you can do is NOT try and convince your girls they are beautiful and thin, just try to make it irrelevant. My dad and mom used to tell me ALL the time how beautiful I was. That made me self conscious and that made my looks important. I don’t recall them telling me how smart or funny I was, just beautiful. You can never convince someone they are beautiful or thin, it’s in their mind. I’m grateful that my husband never really says much when I say “I feel fat” or “I feel great”. It seems irrelevant to him which makes me not get caught up in it again. It’s a blessing to me. My dad will still grab my love handles when he hugs me which makes me very angry. I had a cousin who died of anorexia and her parents denied it and tried to fix it themselves for too long. My other advice is that if it ever escalates to frequent dieting or excessive behavior, get help right away. Often the case is about control, depression and bigger things than just feeling fat. Counseling helped me tremendously. I didn’t know how to eat, how to feel or how to speak… I read this today and had to yell out. I’m so passionate about it and I see so many friends doing or saying the wrong things and it breaks my heart.
I just wanted to tell you what an awesome thing you are starting. I think your B.E.A.U.T.Y. Project will really help a lot of people in the long run. I do just want to leave you with this thought: I heard throughout my entire childhood that I was “too skinny”, that I would never be able to find someone to love me because I didn’t have enough of a “cushion” on my body. I do not want my daughters to hear these same things and I will not allow it to happen. I want her to know she is beautiful, outside and in. That no matter what someone famous does to their body, she should be happy with hers. She is smart, she is wonderful, and I will not allow anyone to break her spirit if I can help it.
I hope you’ll join the dadmissions B.E.A.U.T.Y. Project and spread the word. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook at dadmissionsthebook.