Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: self-esteem

Raising a Tall Daughter

I titled this post raising a TALL daughter, instead of just raising a daughter, because all of us raising a daughter know some characteristic people  bring attention to, possibly unaware they are doing this, that makes our daughters self-conscious. For my daughter, it’s being tall. Maybe your daughter is short. Maybe she is super smart. Maybe she talks fast. These are all characteristics that people consider okay to comment on.

We also know bullies like to draw attention to personal traits in a negative way, such as being overweight, wearing glasses, or not knowing the answers in class. We think this is horrible, and we fight the good fight against these kind of comments, whether in person, in writing, or online. But do we realize, as adults, that we are constantly bombarding  our kids with messages about their body or their intelligence? And this is not always raising their self-esteem. For my daughter, it’s being tall. Let me tell you what inspired this post.

Katie started cheerleading (she is 6). The wonderfully nice coach said, “I’m going to line you guys up by height, so we can figure out a good formation for our dance.” She told everyone to get in line, and I immediately saw Katie slouch down as much as possible, so she wouldn’t be the tallest one. The next words that came out of the mouth of the short, innocent girl next to her were: “Well, she (pointing at Katie) is the tallest one.”  I had to step in.

I said, “Katie, stand up straight. It’s awesome to be the tallest one. Mommy is always the tallest one.” The coach then chimed in with similar praises, and Katie smiled and stood up straight.

I probably don’t need to go on and on about this story for you to see why it bothered me. But…I am a writer, so I will say this: Before anyone even said she was the tallest one, she knew it was going to be her and she didn’t want it to be her. She is only 6! I remember feeling the same way when I was young.

Is part of that because we innately want to be the same as everyone else? Probably. But a large part of her slouching is because so many people, young and old, are constantly telling her how tall she is and how much older she looks and sounds.

Because I have this blog, I can say: Please stop.

You can only control you, as I said in my last post, but you can stop talking about how short or tall some child is and asking your family to do the same.

fall_dill_007Look, I am as guilty as the next person for drawing attention to my daughter’s height.  My way of coping with this, my wrong way, is to say: “I know. She is really tall,” before the person gets a chance to say it. And I know what several of you reading this are thinking: I wish I was tall. Being tall is great.

And you’re right, it is. But it took me 19-20 years to think this; and sometimes, on bad days, I still don’t think so. She and I can’t control this. We can’t go on a diet to get shorter. We can’t read a book to get shorter. We can’t practice to get shorter.

We are tall. We need to be proud of it. But we don’t need to be constantly reminded of it. 

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Tired

I am tired.

I am tired of fighting every day:

my emotions

my desire to hide

other people’s opinions 

my feelings for other people

my negative thoughts that I’m not doing enough as a parent.

I’m tired.

But I decided today that I’m just giving in to these things I’m fighting because I think in order to heal, in order to become whole again, in order to be the person I eventually want to be–I have to stop running. And one way I fight is by running away, by closing the door, by keeping it locked.

I am accepting reality the way it is. I am going to stop wishing and dreaming. I am going to be in the NOW and deal with what I have to deal with at this present moment.

I’m also acknowledging that I’m going to make a ton of mistakes–probably more mistakes than I’m going to do things right, and I know that I am not alone, no matter what other people are admitting to in their own lives. We all lose our temper sometimes. We all say things we shouldn’t. We all feel things that are not good for us. We all make choices we wish we wouldn’t have.

For a while, I’ve been blaming a lot of these types of feelings on endometriosis, and one reason is because it does screw with hormones and the regular female cycle. And I do realize that this blame is deserved.

But I also know that I’m stronger than this .I am stronger than some disease that has a hold of my body. I do not have to let it rule my life. I don’t have to say the things that are coming to my lips and blame hormones.

I can control it. But this also makes me tired.

But I would rather be tired at the end of the day because I’m living an authentic life instead of being tired because I am trying to be someone I’m not.

 

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