My momma

It’s a Saturday afternoon, I’ve arrived at my Mum’s house to visit her. Haven’t been to her house for weeks and weeks.

It doesn’t matter how old I get, when I come to visit Mum, her home just feels like…home. I regress back to being a little girl, revelling in her love for us, her delight in seeing us and her ability to look after me and my girls in one fell swoop. Making it look effortless. She’s 60, but her energy levels astound me. She allows me to rest and sorts my universe out for me like a supercharged whirlwind – only repairing and fixing, instead of destroying.

I am on her cosy, comfortable sofa, opposite her fire. Hypnotised, I watch the flames dance vigorously with each other, whilst I’m curled up like a privileged bona-fide fat cat!

I listen as she prepares food for the girls. They are used to her ways now – to an outsider, it would sound like she’s telling them off, but that’s just her way. Fierce and loving at the same time. Traits more commonly associated with Sicilian mothers. Demonstrative. Protective. Honest – at times brutally honest. But loving. Oh so loving. Luckily, my girls know this, and love her back. Way more cheeky to her, than my sister or brother or I would dared to have been to her at that age. She takes it – and either laughs, or gives as good as she gets, and their laughter is like music as I sit in other room, away from their bubble.

Afterwards, we all huddle on the sofa together and watch the massive flakes of snow fall outside, grateful to be indoors together, in the warmth. This idyllic moment is short lived though, because after watching for a few minutes, I make the executive decision to drive back home. The volume of the snowfall seems to be increasing. The snowflakes look bigger and more menacing than before. Sadly, I decide its best if we drive back.

Before I go though, my heart soars with how grateful I am. It’s so important to count our blessings. February, 2 years ago, my grandmother passed away. For my mum, that was a devastating blow. Both her parents have passed on. She feels it so often. The pain of them not being there. Since the age of 17, after she married my dad and then left India, she has always looked after others. Never looked after herself. I feel full of gratitude everyday knowing that she’s always close by. Ready to drop everything at the drop of a hat to help if required.

She deserves so much happiness and love – more than there is available in this world.  It goes without saying, that I love her so much.

My beautiful, beautiful, gorgeous mum.

Advertisements

Wicked devices?

I wonder when the rules changed?  I don’t think it happened overnight – but the rules, or goalposts – they definitely changed.  People work further and further away from home.  They leave the house by 7 in the morning, and are lucky if they are back home by 7 at night.  Families don’t tend to live close to each other anymore.   Children see less and less of their parents.  Parents compensate by buying their children devices.

People just seem to be drifting away from each other…

People don’t talk on the phone anymore – it’s a massive nuisance to receive someone’s call now.  People have conversations via WhatsApp.  Instead of listening to the nuances in people’s voices, or tonal qualities that conveyed meaning – we have emojis! An emoji to convey every possible emotion under the sun.  Very soon, we’ll be able to communicate whole sentences through those affable, inoffensive yellow smiley faces – words will become redundant…

We are becoming more and more insular.  Communicating via devices instead of making the time to see one another, share each other’s space, actually seeing each other without distractions being present.

Today I went somewhere that I’ve never been to before.  As soon as I walked in, I was struck by how peaceful and calm the place seemed.  Before I was allowed to enter, I was asked to ensure that my mobile phone was switched off – not turned to silent – but actually switched off before I entered the premises.  Although I found the request strange, of course, I respected the wishes of the establishment and walked in through the magnolia double doors.  As I walked around, the sense of peace and well-being was palpable.  No one was using devices.  No one was distracted.  Everyone was present.  There in the moment!  There was a sense of serenity and ‘being there’, that I haven’t seen in years.

Honestly, as I left the place, I felt refreshed.  It made me think – how often do I actually switch my mobile phone off?  How often do I allow myself the freedom to not be a slave to my emails, messages, texts or calls?  When did I suddenly get to the position that I am constantly ‘on call’?

My children are young at the moment – they still live each moment in reality.  I’m dreading the time, when all their friends have devices – therefore so must they.  I’m dreading the time when I have to designate ‘no device’ times throughout the day so that we can share family experiences.  I’m dreading the time when they will be lost in a world of virtual reality – messages, texts – that I have no idea about.

Everything is so convenient now – yet it feels that it’s come at a great expense.  If I want to know what a word means, I google it; I want to know how old the Queen is, I google it; population of the Earth – google.  I want to eat ice-cream at 3 o’clock in the morning, and I have none at home?  No problem – there’s a 24 hour McDonald’s, only a ten minute drive away, I can have a McFlurry in half an hour! Shops are open 24/7.  People are expected to work on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, nothing is sacred.

I know, today’s blog seems particularly moany and old-fashioned…but I just wonder…would you be able to manage – not even a whole day, but a whole evening without your phone?  I don’t mean when you are at a party, or out – I mean sat at home – not doing anything.  Could you manage?  Would you be able to resist checking messages?  What about when you hear the seductive, shrill chime that means that you have received a message?  Could you play ‘hard to get’ and resist the temptation of opening the message? Would you be able to cope without checking your social media accounts?

If not, how do you feel about that?

I’m not judging – I’m not in a position to – I’m in this situation with you all the way.  What I’m doing is questioning is – is this right?  If it’s not – what do we do about it?  How do we gain control of our lives, instead of letting our devices dictate how we behave?

We’re no longer bored are we?  When I was little, if I ever said to my mum that I was bored – she’d tell me to find something to do – only boring people are bored.  So, I was never bored.  Never, never bored.  Perhaps we need to go back to that state again – perhaps we need our mothers to tell us, ‘only boring people play on their phones and check their messages constantly instead of living in the real world’.

Or…perhaps I’m making it all up and there’s no problem at all.  My gut tells me that there something isn’t right though….and we all know, our gut instincts are never wrong…

 

 

 

My girl

Today is the eve of my eldest daughter’s 7th birthday.  Although logically I know 7 years have passed – I can hardly believe it.

I’m trying to write without being nauseatingly sentimental and sugary – I will probably fail at that though.  Do I care? Not really.

She is like a mini-adult right now – with all the good bits – none of the complicated, embittered, cynical parts.  Her outlook on life makes me want to be a better human being.  We were in the car earlier today, just her and I, getting some bits and pieces for her birthday tomorrow.  Whilst chatting away, she announced that yesterday and today had been the best days of her life!  The reason being, yesterday we had made pizzas and had been cooking all day and today she had a special moment with just me, shopping for last minute things for her birthday the next day.  I felt as though a vice had gripped my heart.  Such simple things had made her feel like she had had the best days ever.  How long will she stay like that, I wonder?  Hopefully, forever!

She was born with a wise head on her shoulders, constantly curious, wanting to know what was going on around her.  She hated sleeping – I knew it was because she was sad about missing out on anything.  I watch back videos of her as a toddler, at the time, I was always amazed by how much she was able to communicate with me, she always just seemed to ‘get it’.  A very practical, problem solver – I guess that came from her being so observant all the time.  Watching those videos back, my heart aches – she was still such a baby.  I never treated her like one though.

Even now, she asks me how I am, when I’m sad, rubs my back, offers to bring me things that she thinks might make me better.  When I get home from work, feeling tired from the day, my youngest wants to jump on me straight away – whereas my eldest will try to reason with her and explain, ‘Just let Mummy relax, she’s just come back from work, ok?  Mummy, do you want me to make you a cup of tea?’  I’ve never let her make me a cup of tea – but I know she knows how to make one, and if I asked her, she would.  Reluctantly, my youngest will give me some space, and my eldest keeps a sharp eye on her sister to make sure that she does the right thing.

My husband and I often reminisce about the moment that she was born.  She didn’t cry.  She wasn’t angry or sleepy, (unlike my youngest), she was simply bemused.  The midwife confirmed that she was indeed a little girl, let my husband cut the umbilical cord and placed her straight onto my chest.  Tired, overwhelmed and excited, I gazed into the biggest, most beautiful brown eyes that I had ever seen, a little doll, with a mass of black hair covering her head.  A miracle.  She looked straight back at me, probably mirroring the amazement that was in my eyes too.  My husband said that she won’t be able to see properly yet, new-born babies don’t have great vision when they are born…but this little baby, her eyes seemed to see right into me, and I couldn’t believe that she was finally here.

So fiercely independent, yet not in an angry, aggressive way.  She listens to reason – then makes up her own mind.  I remember when she had thrown up in the past, or wet the bed – and tried to clear up her own mess, or change her own bedsheets, without disturbing anyone.  It’s just because she feels that she knows how to do it – so why ask anyone for help?  The number of mornings that she and her sister have woken up, and she’s organised breakfast for them – because she doesn’t want to wake Mummy and Daddy.  An independent problem solver who looks after her sister, as well as herself.

For the first few years of her life, she was a complete Daddy’s girl.  Her father was her universe.  She wanted to spend every waking moment with her Daddy.  Suddenly though, over the past few months…she’s growing closer to me too.   Particularly over this Christmas period, she’s been wanting to spend more and more time with me, which I have revelled in.

Her little sister absolutely reveres her.  She follows everything that she does, and consults her for every decision.  They do have their spats – but make up with each other as quickly as they fall out.

What I love about her, and I learn from her each day, is how positive she is about life.  How she makes the best of each situation – even when things are not going her way.  She finds something else to focus on and won’t let things bring her down.

I’ve written in posts before about how many people in the Asian community thought it was a shame that I had given birth to girls – not just once, but twice!  I laugh at those people.  Openly, laugh at the ignorance of those people.  My daughters, both of them, are my blessings, my saviours.  I learn from them, probably more than they learn from me.

On this day, the eve of her 7th birthday, I’m reflective, but excited again.  Yes, I gave birth to this little one.  Yes, I’m bringing her up, hopefully giving her everything she needs.  But in my mind, I know this little warrior will carve out her own future.  She will do whatever she wants in life, with that same positive attitude.  And I’m excited…excited to watch her grow up and rule the world – watch her make this world a better place.

Resolution

The year 2017 is coming to an end.  We – I mean people in general – let’s say ‘society’, we’re driven by goals and deadlines in general, aren’t we?

You MUST buy the best presents for friends and family, even if it financially cripples you.

You MUST have the best Christmas dinner and have as much fun as possible.

You MUST partake in the sales that start the very next day after Christmas.

You MUST have the perfect attire and be in the perfect place and have so much fun for New Year’s Eve.

You MUST have some resolutions for the new year.

One of the new year’s resolutions must be about losing weight – whether that involves eating better, exercising more etc, etc, etc!

I want to offer an alternative view.  I don’t want to sound preachy – forgive me if I do, but come on, we know that life isn’t about money, presents, socialising and losing weight.  There is so much more to life…so much more…

Here’s what I think…

  1. Value the people who love you love a bit more.  I don’t necessarily mean your spouse, or your girlfriend or boyfriend  – no. I mean the annoying people that gave birth to you, who tell you what to do constantly, who tell you how to live your life, constantly offering unwanted advice, passing judgement.  Those people who love you unconditionally…..your parents.  Spend a bit of time with them.   They won’t be around forever.  Take their calls more frequently.  Answer their texts.  Go to dinner when they invite you.  Eat the food that they cook for you.  Savour those tastes and smells.  They won’t be around forever.  You see, the problem is – no matter how much they annoy you with their ‘I’m just checking up on you’ calls, texts, messages etc – no one else in the world will care for you in the way that they do.  No one else will tolerate your tantrums and frustrations and outbursts like they will.  No one else will forgive you and give as many chances as they do.  Once they’re gone, they’re gone.  So – spend time with them.  Make time for them.  You will only have regrets if you don’t.

2)  Stop hating yourself.  Yes, strive for self-improvement, there’s nothing wrong with that.  But stop hating your body, hating the way you look, hating things about yourself.  Love yourself.  Spend time doing things that you love, with people that you love.  Focus on that.  Yes – stop yourself from bingeing – you love yourself too much for that; yes – don’t sleep with every Tom, Dick or Harry that gives you a bit of attention – you love yourself wayyyy too much for that; yes – exercise because you love the way you feel afterwards – you love yourself – that’s why the aches and pains are worth it.  But don’t do things out of hatred for who you are and what you look like.  Love yourself.

3)  Detox – by this I mean, get rid of those people who are toxic and create too much drama in your life.  Those people who put pressure on you to dress, act, speak or even think in a way that doesn’t sit well with you.  We have approximately 7.6 billion people on planet Earth right now.  You don’t have to be a people pleaser.  You don’t have to have anyone in your life that you don’t want.  And yes, that might mean that you are lonely for a period of time.  But surely it’s better to be lonely alone – instead of lonely with a group of people who are just bad for you?

4) Finally – dream.  Find one place that you want to go to. One dish that you want to cook.  One experience that you wish you had, but haven’t done yet.  Write that dream down.  Think about how you will make that dream come true.  Make it come true.

Life isn’t about money.  It’s about who you are.  Your experiences.  Who you surround yourself with – and having no regrets.  No one will care that you were a size 8.  No one will care which clique you were a part of.  No one will care how much money you spent on shoes.

What people will remember is – how much you smiled; how they felt when you were around; how much they enjoyed being in your company; what they learnt from you.

And if you have to make a resolution – promise yourself that you will love yourself; and forgive yourself when you do things wrong; and that you will try to make amends to make things right.

Don’t spend money unnecessarily; don’t put yourself under pressure to do things that make you unhappy – be brave and say no!

As always – the universe has got you baby.  Remember that!

Don’t you worry about a thing!

As you know, one of the reasons why I blog is so that when I’m not here anymore, my voice still remains.  So many times whilst I was growing up, going through problems and not being able to find the solutions, I would think to myself, ‘What advice would my Dad give me?  What would he say to me, that would make me feel better?’  And I’d have to close my eyes and imagine, trying to remember his voice, and think about the words that he would say to comfort me.

I want my daughters, grand-children, great-great-great-great-grand children,  to hear my voice, for them to know, that you are not alone.  You’ve never been alone.  And this – this, whatever it is that you are going through now?  It will get better.  I promise you.  The universe has got your back baby, ride this out, you’ll emerge on the other side, stronger than ever.

When I was in my twenties, my mum was worried.  Why wouldn’t I settle down and marry someone?  Why was I so fussy?  Why wasn’t I practical and realistic about life?  Why was I bent on being alone?  Mum was wrong.  Her fretting didn’t help me.  It made me angry.  Why the heck should I settle with any old person?  Why wasn’t I entitled to be with someone who truly made me happy?  Why should I be with someone, for the sake of being with someone, just because society expected me to be married and have had children by a certain age – even if that meant that slowly, but surely, a little bit of my soul was crushed every day having succumbed to the pressure of ‘doing the right thing’.  And anyway, who said that I couldn’t find someone to love, who loved me back in the way I wanted?

So, in the pursuit of happiness, I met some wrong’uns along the way.  No one terrible.  Nothing that is worth writing about really.  They were just wrong.  And deep down, I knew it.

One of the things that I truly, truly believe in, is that my father died prematurely,  He was only 33 and definitely died before his time.  But I honestly believe that he was always looking over us.  Protecting us, guiding us, every so often, sending us signals that he was there…

The wrong’uns were temporary – but dealing with their bullshit taught me valuable lessons.  Quickly, I realised, what I absolutely would never be able to tolerate in a relationship…and that knowledge helped and guided me towards finding ‘the one’.

And ten years ago, I found him.  Or rather, he found me.  Ok, we found each other. Yesterday, I was having a conversation with my daughters about this momentous occasion and suddenly I was bombarded with questions.  ‘So how did you meet?  Were you walking along the street and you bumped into Daddy?  Or were you walking along the street and fell over and banged your head and Daddy helped you?’  I have no idea why I am the clumsy one in their heads and Daddy has to help me all the time – but that’s a conversation for another day I think.

The most crucial element of this story is – we didn’t find each other early in life.  No – it wasn’t in our late teens or early twenties.  It was late.  Or should I say latER.  We had seen other people.  Not liked what we saw.  Seen other people in relationships – some couples just seemed to work.  Others didn’t.  So by the time my husband and I met – we both had well-honed bullshit radars, and we both knew what we wanted, and most importantly, what we didn’t….

I can’t speak for my husband.  I can’t say how much he loves me.  But I know.  Not by what he says –  although he does always tell me how much he loves me…I know by what he does…

On Christmas Eve, ten years ago, when we finally got our act together, he and I met up.  We chatted for ages, not wanting the evening to end, and then he said, ‘I’ve got you something….’  I was suitably mortified, because I was taken by surprise and hadn’t got him anything…but he silenced my embarrassment by saying something that stuck with me forever since.  ‘I don’t know where this is going, I know where I’d like it to go though.  And this gift is nothing major, but it’s something that I want to give you to solidify our friendship.  Because even if we decide that we don’t want to be together, I always want you in my life.  Even if it’s as a friend, I always want to know you…..’

Ladies and gentlemen – this!  This is all I’d ever wanted in life.  Someone who wanted me in their life – no matter what.  Who valued what I  brought to the table – and it didn’t have to be a physical being together – just me being there was enough.

I’m glad I never settled for any old person. I’m glad that being the dreamer that I am – I was brave enough to follow my dreams.  I’m glad that I had made good choices in life.  I’d listened to my mum when I was younger, studied hard, got a good job, became financially able to not HAVE to be with the wrong person, because I could support myself.  And then, when I needed to be brave – be alone as long as it took …until I found that person who valued me more than anything in the world – I was able to do that.

I hope to leave anyone who is reading this, with a message of strength and comfort.  Hold onto your dreams and don’t bow down to pressure from well-meaning people, because sometimes, those well-intentioned people are wrong.  Don’t ever spend a second more than you have to, being with the wrong person.  Life’s too short – it’s not worth it.  Know that you deserve to be loved – be prepared to love back.  Physical attraction is important – of course it is – but don’t be a cliché and go for the obvious traits.  Be attracted by people that see you – not just your physical self – but you.  They get you.  They know you have flaws and still love you.  Give the same respect back.

And know this – when it is your time, it will happen.  It won’t always happen when it’s happening for everyone else.  Don’t be discouraged by these man-made timelines.  It will happen for you – when it is the right time for you.  And you will look back and think – why was I sad all this time?  Don’t you worry about a thing. The universe has got you.  It always has…..

What is wealth?

Yesterday, I was out Christmas shopping with my mum and my two daughters.  I thought that the penultimate weekend before Christmas would be much crazier than it was…thankfully, lots of people are opting for online shopping so I was having a much calmer time than anticipated.

We were walking back towards my car, when all of a sudden a familiar looking lady started waving and gesturing towards my mum frantically.  Immediately, I reverted back to my teenage self.  When I would be shopping with mum in the past,  she’d always bump into a friend and they’d be talking for hours, whilst my sister and brother and I would be standing awkwardly, half listening, half clock-watching, wondering when we could be going on our way again.

It turned out that the lady in question was a wealthy mother of a child I used to tutor about 19 years ago.  She loved my mother, so when I wasn’t able to tutor anymore, she asked if my mum would take over – which mum did.  They grew quite close, and she would confide in mum quite often.  It had been years since they had seen one another; so when the lady saw mum again, she couldn’t contain her delight.  Even to my eyes, that are trained to look for beauty in people’s features as opposed to the faults…I could tell that the years had taken their toll on her.

What the conversation revealed, I will not tell.  It’s not fair to divulge secrets that aren’t mine.  But all I could think of was this…she has so much money, she is so wealthy – but so deeply unhappy!  How is this possible?

Money makes the world go round doesn’t it?  People spend their lives chasing cash.  Powerful people behave like absolute demons because they are so fully aware that because they have so much of the green stuff at their disposal – it seals people’s lips and they get away with anything.  But can you buy happiness?  You certainly cannot!

Driving mum back to her house, my mind was spinning with these thoughts.  People are sad when they don’t have money.  People are sad even if they do.  Perhaps we need to spend more time evaluating what does make us happy and then take time to pursue that?

I spoke to my brother about the lady that we had bumped into. “How is she?” he asked.  “Sad,” I replied.  “Oh, how come?” he asked, looking concerned.

“More money, more problems!” was my response.

He nodded sagely and also agreed, “Mo’ money, mo’ problems!”

Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder.  I think I was about 28 years old when I first heard about this term.  I was watching one of those make-over programmes that were really popular at the time.  You know the ones I mean – when some experts take a person who has been having a tough time in life, downtrodden, not making the best of themselves, and over a course of weeks they are guided and counselled and transformed into a magical human butterfly.  They are taught how to dress and wear clothes that were stylish and flattering to their body shape; taught how to apply make-up (if appropriate); their hair was restyled; most crucially though, they were taught to look at themselves and look for positives, instead of flaws.

These shows were my absolute guilty pleasure.  I would love watching how the people were before because I couldn’t wait to see what they would look like after.  I loved watching the change in their posture; I loved how suddenly their confidence soared; I’d watch them and within an hour of the TV programme, their whole aura would have changed – they would be meeting their friends and families with a ready break glow around them.

Body dysmorphic disorder. Sadly, so many of the women on the show suffered with this condition.  One woman, who had been married to her husband for nearly 30 years, refused to let him see her naked, because her body had changed after having children.  She found her own body so abhorrent, she felt undesirable – and worse still – unlovable.  There was a teenage girl on, of medium build, who had been bullied all her life because of her weight, being bigger than the other teenage girls….she hated every inch of her body.  The particular expert who was trying to give advice with style and clothing, eventually explained to this girl that she was really beautiful and healthy – however, what she saw in the mirror – a grotesque monster – was not reality, it was not what others saw.  The hatred for her body was all in her head…and this was called body dysmorphic disorder.

Men suffer from this too, I know.  I know it’s not a new problem but it is certainly something that is getting worse and worse.  Before we only had magazines shoving down our throats, what the perfect image of men and women should be.

The trend at the moment it seems is that men should either be the width and shape of a super skinny cigarette; or a muscle-bound Adonis.  Good luck with that men!  Women, should either be so skeletal that they look like they’re an extra from The Walking Dead, only with stylish clothes and make up (minus the rotting flesh).  OR, women should have huge breasts, huge backsides and miniscule waists. Good luck with that women!

Like I said before, a few years ago, everyone blamed (and still blame) magazines for photo-shopping images of models and celebrities to make them look more toned; slimmer; less wrinkled etc.  And holding up these images as goals that we mere mortals should aspire to.  The problem now is this, celebrities use social media accounts to stage photos and show how fabulous and amazing their lives are, and how incredible they look all the time, with ridiculous captions such as: ‘Chill day today’ …..Hmm, you are fully made up, your hair has been done, your house is immaculate; HOW THE HECK IS THAT A CHILL DAY?  If I insta’d myself right now…I’m having a genuine chill day at the moment…..Here’s what you would see.  My hair is a mess – all over the place; my eyes are bleary and smudgy – I haven’t removed my make-up from the night before; my pyjamas are lovely (I always make a point of wearing good pj’s!  And my house….well, it definitely looks lived in.  If you were thinking of visiting – I’d need a 30 minute warning!  So definitely not aspirational – apart from my pj’s methinks!

The problem with this constant bombardment of perfection…body dysmorphic disorder can only be on the rise.

I know that I suffer from this.  I won’t look at my body in the mirror.  I hate trying on clothes in a changing room where you are in a mirror labyrinth, everywhere you turn, there is a full length mirror taunting you.  I see the flaws first. I could list them to you – but I won’t.  I try so hard not to think about them because of how self-hating it is – and I don’t want to do that to myself. When I feel those negative, self hating thoughts creeping in, I have to remind myself and consciously tell myself positive things. I have to remind myself that I have strong legs – I can walk for miles without tiring.  I have strong arms – I can lift heavy things.  I am healthy.  I have a good brain.  LIke a mantra, I have to repeat these positive affirmations to myself, otherwise the alternative…wallowing, self-pitying, feeling negative…it’s just unbearable.

The problem was, when I was younger, and all through my teens, people would often think that it was appropriate, and within their remit to comment on my physical appearance,  I was a larger girl when I was little – and that just never changed as I grew older.  The cute puppy fat I had as a toddler…not so cute when you’re a pre-teen and then adolescent.  And the more that people comment on your appearance….the more you comfort eat because that’s the only thing that gives you any type of pleasure.  What I learnt from society, at a very young age, was this…. Being fat equated to the following: you’re unattractive; you’re undesirable; you’re unlovable – you’re a failure.

I was probably 10 years old when I learnt this unhelpful lesson.  It stuck with me. I’ve never lost it since.  I manage it.  Those demons that want to emerge and smite me with their cruel, mocking words – I manage them; the distorted images in the mirror that remind me of my perceived failings – I avoid them; those photographs that show that my body is far from perfect – I speak to myself kindly about them; those people who would advise me to lose some weight because I don’t look great and it’s not good to be at the weight that I am – I tell them to go fuck themselves.

My biggest challenge and the most important one, is to make my daughters love their bodies, and not be taught to hate themselves in the way that I was trained to.  I am lucky that my husband is so supportive – he doesn’t see flaws first, he immediately sees what is good in people in the first instance.  We encourage our daughters to make healthy choices when eating.  We provide as many opportunities to exercise as we can.  We tell them how beautiful and strong they are all the time.  I love the fact that he always talks to them about building their muscles and being powerful.  We make them climb trees, climb rocks, run and swim, make them understand that their bodies are extraordinary and amazing things that help them do so much in life.

Meanwhile – I’m grateful for every day that I am physically able to be a strong human being, who is more than just a two-dimensional image in a magazine, and is surrounded by some of the most positive people in the world!