This past week, I did a reading and body image talk at a local library. I love talking to small gatherings because they often turn into interesting and thought-provoking discussions, and I adore the energy of a great exchange of ideas.
During our discussion, one participant -- who runs a program for teen girls through an area women's resource center -- mentioned that she often struggles with talking to "her girls" about body image because she herself doesn't always feel good about her body. It's a question I hear from moms time and again (and one that inspired the subtitle of You'd Be So Pretty If...) -- how can I raise a daughter who feels good about her body when I don't feel good about my own?
I understand that feeling. Believe me, on days when I look in the mirror and find myself displeased with the image that greets me, I feel like a hypocrite. What kind of body image role model am I if I can't accept myself as I am, always?
But as I thought more about that very question, I came to this conclusion: I'm a good body image role model.
To borrow a theme from Oprah, what I know for sure from all my thinking, writing and talking about body image is that perfection doesn't exist, including being the perfect role model. There's no finish line in the body image race -- no point at which we can say, "That's it. I'm done." Self-acceptance is a process, and the reality is that we'll be better at it on some days than others.