When I look in the mirror, I see…
Strength and Grace
Whoever called women the weaker sex didn’t do his research. In 1976, Nadia Comaneci was the first Olympic gymnast, male or female, to ever get a perfect 10 from all seven judges. Reggie Miller, NBA’s top three-point shooter, became the basketball player he is today by following in the footsteps of his phenomenal sister, Cheryl Miller—a basketball Hall of Famer (Reggie isn’t). Women are also making headlines in many traditionally male sports such as football and hockey—with none of the fouls, checks, and tackles spared. We never lacked the muscle or power, just the opportunity, and we’re gaining a little more space on the playing field each day. Do you throw like a girl? Be proud of it!
Put that body in motion. Take up a sport or start the exercise habit to fit your style, from a power-packed punch-out fest ala Alias to a calming, centering routine like yoga, long-distance running, or swimming. Yes, it’ll make you look great in a tank top but more importantly, you’ll enhance your inner beauty—strong bones, a tougher immune system, powerful lungs, and a healthy heart.
You laugh and there they are—the crinkles on your nose, just like your mother’s. At family reunions, you see more of yourself reflected—the same golden brown skin on your aunts and grandmother, the hints of gold in your hair that your dad says reminds him of his dear mom. Your body connects you to generations of women—all beautiful, all strong, all special—who have made their mark on the world with their helping hands, their kind eyes, their smiles that broke the hearts of many a shy suitor. You may blame your mom for your small eyes or your muscular calves, but you’ll smile years later when you look in the mirror and see her smiling back at you, nose crinkling just like yours.
One legacy you shouldn’t be proud of is the legacy of negative body image. One of the most common reasons girls grow up disliking their bodies is because their mothers dislike their own bodies, too. As soon as we learn to recognize our faces in the mirror, we’re told not to like what we see: don’t eat that—you’ll get fat, or boys don’t like tall/short/fat/dark/pale/curly-haired girls. End the cycle; tell Mom she’s beautiful. If she starts to love her own unique beauty, maybe she’ll begin to appreciate your beauty, too.
Read more on the next page.