Burn survivor Kelly Falardeau wants mothers to take the time to recognize their own beauty for the sake of their daughters.
“How many times have you looked in the mirror and said, ‘boy am I ever fat today or boy do I ever look ugly,’” said Falardeau, 46, of Spruce Grove.
“It’s really hard for us as adults to instill good self-esteem in our daughters when we’re calling ourselves bad names. I really believe that’s where it starts. It starts with us,” said Falardeau, an author and motivational speaker who spoke to 21 moms and 23 girls at Soroptimist International of Central Alberta’s second annual Mother/Daughter Conference The Power of a Girl, at Eastview Middle School on Saturday.
Falardeau, who brought her 13-year-old daughter, said mother-daughter conferences are an awesome opportunity for moms to connect with daughters.
“Sometimes it seems that we don’t care because we’re just too busy just trying to get through our day. Sometimes we’re not able to communicate with our daughters as well as we would like to.”
Falardeau was only two when she received third degree burns to 75 per cent of her body.
“We were burning garbage. My cousins, who were nine and 11, were throwing shingles in the fire. A spark came out and landed on my dress.
“I spent three months in the hospital and then every two years, right up until I was 21-years old, I was in the hospital for a month having more surgery to fix my body.”
Falardeau said all she saw in the mirror were her scars when she was young.
“But then when I started to look in the mirror and give myself permission to feel great, then I could see my big, beautiful green eyes. I could see my cute little nose.
“I could see my smile. I could see my cute little ear. I could see my hot ass,” Falardeau said with a laugh.
Media has created a whole sense of false beauty for girls and women, for example by manipulating the photos of models and actresses, so people are comparing themselves to perfection that doesn’t even exist, she said.
“We don’t have to have the perfectly skinny body. We don’t have to have the perfect hair. We don’t have to have the perfect look to be beautiful, and in order to have the perfect life. Teenagers need to realize they deserve to have whatever it is they want in their life.
“Life is just too short.”