Friday, April 24, 2015

You Are

So my daughter has an Instagram account. I know, sometimes I think it's a bad idea, too. But the other side of the coin says she has to learn how to live in the world, and I can't protect her from everything. Filtering out the bad and taking in the good is a part of life, even when you're 12.

So I keep an eye on the pages and people she follows (a full-time job, the number of hours required to keep up with this nonsense), and yes, she follows people that I don't agree with. So I go in and unfollow, and then she follows again, and I unfollow. It's not so much of a disagreement as it is a power play. Who will win? And who will lose?  I've found that many issues with my sweet girl are like this, because she doesn't care so much about things like Instagram. She cares about winning.

It's easy to understand, I guess, because I am might be the same way, although life has taught me that control is not mine to grasp, even though I still try. Daily. When you're twelve and you feel like your parents tell you what to do and how to do all the time, and if it isn't your parents it's some other adult, like teachers, I can see where you would want to assert your independence. I don't like it when people tell me what to do, either, and I'm well beyond the age of sass and being cheeky to my parents, one of whom is in a much better place and one of whom would just laugh at me if I resorted to such comebacks.

One of the young ladies my sweet girl has been known to follow is Kylie Jenner. Don't judge. Don't you know I already know that Kylie probably isn't the best of influences around? Navigating this ground of Instagram and outside influences, when you desperately want your daughter to say no but you know she's not, is difficult. I find myself asking questions like what is life-altering, and what is just momentary? And how does anybody know this? No one can see the future, as far as I can tell anyway.

The girl of the hour--Kylie

So Kylie.

Obviously you know who she is. She's definitely been putting herself out there lately, along with the rest of her family, and whether you love them or hate them, the Kardashian clan exists in 2015. Kylie's big thing right now seems to be beauty. And sex, but mostly beauty. From what I can tell, she's doing anything she can to create a beautiful image of herself. I could try to go into any number of reasons why, but I'm just an outsider looking in, as all of us are, and criticizing Kylie won't do my or my daughter any good. Relationships are built on trust, and constantly downing her likes, loved by me or not, won't build any bridges in our relationship. Although...that doesn't mean I can't say what I think. It's complicated, isn't it?

It's easy to look at Kylie or Kim or any of the other millions of celebrities and normal, everyday people who espouse and promote this wonky, unreliable interpretation of beauty, and compare. I do it. I know other women do. If we didn't on some level, it seems like we wouldn't have as many issues as we do. (Or beauty companies preying on our insecurities, an entirely different beast.) Girls trying to look like their favorite celebrity or model. Eating disorders. Plastic surgery. We hop on the merry-go-round in the hopes of finding The Answer, spinning around and around and around, never able to muster up the confidence to fling ourselves off, to go our own way.

I don't feel pretty. Feeling pretty is not something I have deal with when I wake up in the morning and brush my teeth while staring at myself in the mirror. Quite the opposite occurs, when the puffy eyes staring back at are at their harshest.

I read The Love Dare* a few years ago, hoping to put some spice in the everyday-ness of marriage, and came away with two things:
1) love is a choice, not a feeling
2) I choose to love those around me even when I don't feel loving

*Do yourself a favor and read it

The take-away is similar for the whole beauty issue, and while it may not be an issue for you personally, believe me, it is an issue for someone that you know. Beauty isn't a feeling, it's a choice. It's a choice to not become so wrapped up in what the other billions of people on this planet say is beautiful.

It would hurt my heart immensely if my daughter ever looked at me and said she thought she was ugly. Why? Because she came from me, and everyone says she looks just like me. In the same way, God made me, and He made me in His image, and harshly criticizing His creation is like saying He makes ugly, unbeautiful Masterpieces. Could The David ever look at Michelangelo and question the beauty of his creation?

Image result for the david
google images

There has to be an honest, deliberate approach to choosing to be pretty in the face of not feeling so pretty, and honestly, I don't take that approach everyday. Some days I'm much more willing to glare at myself in the mirror, wishing my thighs were smaller and my bust was bigger and my eyebrows were shaped differently--there is always something to change, according to my hostile eyes. I guess I'm willing to be harsh because I don't feel pretty. And it takes much more effort to make this choice: to have the confidence of knowing that God made me his masterpiece and therefore choosing to believe I am beautiful, despite what the world might suggest.

Beauty doesn't come in a one-size-fits-all box. There are many, many different shapes and sizes that make up What is Beautiful. Do the Blue Ridge Mountains look like the Rockys? No. Nor should they. They are beautiful in their own right.

And so are you.

No comments:

Post a Comment