you're so young right now, but i hope these letters will be helpful to you one day when you're older. there is so much i wish i could ask my mother now that i am a grown woman. there is so much we never got to talk about. i'm planning on being around for you well into your lives and adulthood, but even so, i think having these letters will be useful in some way. who knows how things might change down the road, and at least you'll have your 34-year-old mother's thoughts down on paper.
anyway, i want this letter to be about beauty and my relationship to it. i feel this enormous responsibility, as a mother of two little girls, to lead you down a path that is relatively healthy when it comes to beauty and self image. in a lot of women's eyes i've probably already failed in that respect due to the amount of pink-princess-barbie mess cluttering up vera's room right now.
but i will say this about barbie (and all the rest of that princess garbage): i played with that stuff for a solid decade when i was growing up and here i am now at a healthy weight with a healthy outlook about my body and image. i have a masters degree and have a successful career and a published book. if barbie were really so damaging to my femininity and self-image i highly doubt i could list all of the latter as accomplishments.
but i get it too. it's hard for women to maintain a healthy self-image. it's hard not to obsess over our weight and to wish we could afford more stylish clothes. it's hard not to covet someone else's hair or hips or eyelashes, and to spend inordinate amounts of time trying to achieve looks that we were never suited for in the first place.
i have girlfriends around whom i have to brace myself to see, because even though i love them, just being around them makes me self-conscious. i look at old pictures of my mother and wonder why i've never been able to be as skinny as she was. and then i have friends who are thinner than their mothers ever were. we women go round and round in circles, holding hands and trying to be one another sometimes.
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