I know everyone says their kids are gorgeous, but seriously guys, my daughter is gorgeous. Yes, I KNOW I am biased, duh. But I truly mean she is stunning. If you have ever met Claire, then you would know this to be true. Claire is part Indonesian, part Japanese, part Polish and 100% American. Ever since she was a baby, complete strangers would make comments about her looks. “Those eyes!”, “That skin!” And if I’m being completely honest, my heart is filled with pride over that fact that I was apart of creating such a beautiful human.
Claire, now age 6 and half, completely understands what these strangers are saying about her when they offer these compliments to me. While she knows people admire her for her unusual skin and eye combo, she doesn’t get what all the hype is about. “Mama, do I have tan skin?”, she’ll ask me. Or she’ll tell me, “My eyes are like daddy’s eyes. Buddy doesn’t have eyes like me.” She is becoming aware of herself and how others perceive her and it freaks me out.
I know what the future will bring. I know these light-hearted and sweet compliments will fade over time, only to be replaced by people, both men and women, looking my daughter up and down, drinking her in. I know at some point Claire will feel pressured into wearing clothing or makeup that will reflect the image that society wants her to encapsulate. I know she will feel like she has to wear a certain brand of clothes to fit in, or style herself just so. We all go through some of these feelings, and if we are lucky, we are able to come out on the other side realizing just how silly it all is. But the process of going through that is grueling. Some of us get caught in that web of lies and start to believe that our looks are the only thing that do matter. I don’t want that shallow life for my daughter.
My hope for my daughter is that she understands that her worth has nothing to do with her looks. I want her to remember that your worth is not tied up with your eye or skin color or your weight or your hair. Your worth comes from your character. Your worth comes from how you treat others. Your worth comes from deep inside where a makeup brush can’t reach. When people compliment me over how beautiful my daughter is, the first thing I say is, “And you have no idea how smart she is either!” And if I don’t have a chance to say that to this kind stranger, the very next thing I do is turn to my Claire to tell her, “You know what the best thing is about you? Not only are you so beautiful, you’re so smart, and SUCH a good sister.”
I know I am fighting an uphill battle and that every day, even at her tender age, she is already accosted with images that are intended to make her question her worth. But my hope is that as her mother, she will see that I am doing everything in my power to empower myself and empower her, too.
How do you empower your daughter or son? Please leave a comment and let me know your journey, mama. If you feel like someone would benefit from this message, please share!