Then I saw a friend at the grocery store today, who, when we began talking about middle school and girls and all those things you talk about in the frozen foods aisle, also told me about a young lady who was hospitalized for anorexia.
And I decided on the spot that it doesn't matter who does (or doesn't) read my blog. It doesn't matter that it takes up extra time a couple of days out of my week. It doesn't matter that the bed isn't made, when it comes right down to it. (Although it still really bugs me. Best to just stay out of that room and avoid the issue all together.)
What matters is that in our body-and-image-conscious world, there is a little girl who is lonely and suffering because she doesn't feel like she fits the mold. And I don't think that's right. So instead of staying silent and not writing about it, even if no one else ever reads it, I'm speaking.
It starts with one voice.
Change starts with me.
Let's see...we can probably all click them off in one breath: big boobies, long legs, round booty, tan skin, flat abs, long hair, sultry eyes, pouty lips, thin physique.
I'd say that's pretty narrow and limited.
But that's what we see and that's what we believe.
From the time we are able to see over the counter at CVS, we are bombarded with images of beautiful women. Exploited, airbrushed, contorted, covered with makeup, and advertised as beautiful.
We've all seen the images, the advertisements, the magazine covers. We've been to mall and have seen a Victoria's Secret store front, and we may even get the catalogue. Maybe we live in a house where the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue comes directly to our mailbox, like does mine. My husband doesn't read it, we just never changed our subscription so we wouldn't get it. But I know that when I see those women on the cover, I can't help but want to look just like that. And I think that a lot of women would agree that if they could just look like that, it would somehow make them happier. More content. Life would somehow be less of a struggle. They could finally be a peace with themselves.
But peace doesn't come in the form of a one-size-fits-all crash diet, a pair of size 1 jeans, or a flat stomach.
Most of us know the rules: you can't compare yourself to a picture. They are airbrushed and Photoshopped. It's not real, it's a model's job to look good, they have resources we don't, blah, blah, blah. Of course most of that is true, but somehow, the rules go flying out the window when we come across a picture and we know we don't measure up.
My mind tells me to go to any extreme, take any measure, to do what I have to do to make myself fit that narrow definition of beauty. My heart tells me there has got to be a better way to live life than to live it as a prisoner of my own private hell, with beauty as the ultimate goal.
You might think me shallow, and that's okay, because honestly, there have been times when I've been that very thing. Shallow. Concerned about looking good, the end. And you know what? I still want to look good. I still want to be the most beautiful me I can be. It's just that over the past couple of years, I've finally begun to learn that being beautiful doesn't always mean you meet Criteria X, Y and Z.
Being beautiful encompasses so much more than a number on a scale or the size of your jeans.
And it starts with what's on the inside.