The following post might be a litte ranty.
So this weekend I took to the streets of my ‘hood with ‘Boisterous Being Two’, a.k.a my fabulous eight-year-old daughter.
We pounded the streets selling her girl guide cookies. Here is a letter that I’d like to send to one of the neighbours who spoke to my child. Since I’m not really allowed to send it, what better way to get this shit off my chest than by writing it down here?
You don’t know me, but you might remember the cute little girl that came to your house on Sunday, selling her cookies.
You didn’t want them, and that’s O.K. Because let’s be honest here: five bucks for a box of shite tasting cookies is a fucking rip-off. And I have to tell you, I feel a bit like Fagin from Oliver Twist, making these kids walk around the neighbourhood, peddling crap biscuits. But whatever. It raises money and it’s for the greater good of the girls.
When you didn’t want the cookies you told my daughter in a sad voice “Oh I’m sorry dear, I’d love to buy a box, but I just can’t. They would ruin my diet.”
My daughter smiled and wished you a nice day.
You closed your door and probably didn’t give a second thought the to can of shit-storm that you’d just opened.
“Mummy, what’s a diet?”.
In one sentence you aged my daughter.
Do you know how hard I have worked to try and shield my kids from that nasty fucking word?
It’s only two syllables, but all over the world men and women are slaves to that b’stard. Calories are counted more religiously than prayers and stomachs are sucked in, stapled and tucked, all in the name of chasing what we perceive as beauty.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that word didn’t even exist?
I bet, dear neighbour, that you didn’t know this word when you were a kid. I mean, what kid should count calories or worry about the size of their barge arse? Hopefully none.
Because you know what? Diet is a grown-up word like porn or cancer that kids just shouldn’t have to hear.
So because of you, I’ve spent the last four days fielding questions from my puzzled daughter about ‘diet’.
Up until you opened your mouth, my daughter was oblivious to the societal pressures we place on each other as women. I never discuss people’s weight, my weight or that word around my kids. We never view food as the enemy.
I want my daughter to grow up with a healthy relationship with food. I want her to have an astounding body image. I want her to use her insatiable energy for life actually living it, not starving herself or comparing herself to airbrushed bullshit in magazines, thinking she’ll never measure up.
Sure, I know she was gonna hear it eventually. But I didn’t expect to give her pep talk on this subject so soon.
As women, we need to think about the next generation of girls growing up. I don’t have a single female friend that hasn’t at some stage been on a diet. I don’t know a single woman that, when asked, couldn’t give you a shopping list full of the things she despises about her body.
We give food the power. But wouldn’t it be nice if we took that power back?
What if we raised the next generation of women to see food as fuel? That food exists not as an enemy, but as something to nourish your body and soul.
What if we never used that word again?
Wouldn’t you like to be free of that word?
So neighbour, you’ll be happy to know that I dealt with the can of shit-storm.
I think for now I satisfied my daughter’s curiosity. I explained the ‘D’ word without getting into any negative connotations. I kept it lighthearted and left her feeling so like it was nothing she had to worry about.
Because an eight-year-old shouldn’t be worrying about that word.
Of course I know she’s gonna come across it again eventually. I know I won’t be able to shield her from the world at large forever. But hopefully by them, she’ll be strong and secure in her own mind and body image, that she’ll be free to live a life untainted by that miserable adjective.
For now my daughter is back to her bouncy eight-year-old self and the world is as it should be.
But you should have bought a box, lady. Life is too short to feel miserable about food.
But if you won’t eat the cookies, perhaps you’d like to watch this clip from the movie, “Mickey Blue Eyes.”
It’s called “Eat fucking Cookie”. How appropriate. Enjoy.