Warning: Might Be Inappropriate For Those Who Are Offended By Graphic Discussion About Overweight, Hairy, Balding Middle Aged Men With Scars...
A couple of months ago, another blogger asked me if I would participate in a project that would support a worthy cause. First I said, "sure!". Then I asked her, "what's the worthy cause?". She told me that it was The National Eating Disorders Association and it was to help promote a healthy body image, especially as it relates to teen girls.
Wow. I had never really thought too much about that. When I think of charity, I think of starving kids or perhaps cancer. Heck, I just spent the last eight months of my life putting together a children's book for charity. There's a widget right on my blog to help raise money for The Garden of Dreams Foundation.
But eating disorders?
I just assumed that was a family thing.
Wait, you dumbass. You have two daughters. You have a family. Who's gonna promote a healthy body image in them?
Well, the truth is, to think that my little precious, perfect, beautiful girls would ever be silly enough to think otherwise, that's just poppycock!
Fuck that! This is serious shit. Just because my wife and I think our girls are the most beautiful things in the universe, doesn't mean that they believe that themselves.
There's a lot of other factors that come into play.
Cruel people, peer pressure, the media, expectations, stereotypes, low self esteem and the list goes on and on and on and on.
Here's one for ya:
"In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder."
Put that in your tuna casserole and smoke it.
That means that there are a shit load of lost girls AND boys out there that are trapped in their own heads and most of us know that's a horrible place to be. This disease plays no favorites.
Anyone is vulnerable and the only thing we can do to help prevent it, is to create awareness.
I have two daughters and I can't tell them to do shit without an argument. They have a mind of their own. They are strong willed and stubborn. It's a pain in the arse now but I know that these are all very important characteristics for them to possess as they get older. The point is, you can't shove statistics down a kid's throat and you can't force them to eat.
What we can do as parents is set an example. Lets call this, "attraction not promotion".
I can only speak for myself but we're all probably guilty on some level of sending the wrong message. Look around your house. Is there diet soda, low fat ice cream, lo-carb energy drinks, Weight Watchers cakes?
I know there is at our home.
I'm not saying we shouldn't have this stuff around the house. I'm just saying there's a way we can explain to our kids why we eat the foods we eat.
When my kids ask me why I eat diet "whatever", I try not to tell them, "because Daddy is a fat fuck and he needs to lose weight". I tell them, "because it's important to make healthy choices with the foods you put into your body, in order to stay healthy and feel good." When they ask me why I exercise everyday, I try not to tell them, "Because Daddy is a flabby, old, sea hag". I tell them, "because exercising is good for your heart and if I take care of my heart, I'll have no problem keeping up with you guys out on the playground".
This is tricky folks and we need to be very careful. Kids are very impressionable; especially at a young age. In their eyes, we are perfect. We can do no wrong. If we aren't comfortable with our own bodies, then that sends a very mixed message.
"Why do I have to eat all of my food? You're always on a diet. I don't want to get fat."
My 7 year old will ask me if she looks fat every once in a while. It scares me to death. It starts early. Don't think that it's just a cute little phase. Take it seriously. My kid has the smallest ass on the planet. If she thinks it's fat now, forget about it. We see what we want to see and that's the scary part.
Now back to the project...
It's a calendar. Twelve months. Twelve bloggers. Twelve pictures to help promote body awareness. Some of us will be racier than others but we'll all be showing some skin. We're doing it to show everyone that no one can be perfect but everyone can be proud.
I am losing the hair on my head and it is mysteriously re-rooting itself on my shoulders and on the back of my ears. Age spots are beginning to appear on my face. My ass is starting to look like a rotten plumb. I have a metal plate in my hand. I'm missing the ACL in my right knee. I've broken my nose more times than I can count. I have a scar on my torso the size of a caterpillar . I've never liked my feet. My toes are too long. The nail beds on my fingers are too short, I have bow legs and if I don't pluck them, I would have one eyebrow.
You know what?
I don't give a shit.
I am comfortable in my own skin. I wasn't always this way but I am now.
I'm gonna do my best to send a message. A message that it's OK to be who you are, because in the end, it's all ya got.
So look for me in 2011. I'm Mr. July. The only guy in the calendar.
Scars and all...
For more info on how to spot the signs of an eating disorder and how to deal with it, check out the National Eating Disorders Association website.
And check out the other amazing and courageous bloggers who will be baring it all in 2011.
Also check out my friend Mary and her honest post about her experience with eating disorders on her blog Pajamas and Coffee.
Or if you would like to help, you can show your support with a donation via the widget below.