Standard of Beauty

I couldn’t understand it … at first.

I’m fairly sure we contacted at least fifty to sixty people from our college days to invite them to join us for a get together at Lake Lanier. In the end, we had six guys show up … and three girls. These guys came to have dinner with us Saturday evening. Two were able to spend the night (five bedrooms, by the way, and nothing inappropriate) and one female friend came on Sunday.

Many had legitimate reasons for being unable to attend. Many lived far away or had trips already planned.

But, my heart was broken when Mary Ann said that at least one girl said she couldn’t join us because she needed to lose at least twenty pounds.

Twenty pounds … the equivalent of four five-pound bags of sugar – would keep someone from rekindling friendships from almost thirty years ago?

This thought circled my mind as we talked, laughed and revisited old stories.
She gave up the chance to sit in a quiet corner and fellowship.
She negated the opportunity to reunite … to revive friendships.
She allowed fear of rejection …
due to society’s idea of “desirable”
to make a decision in her life.

I can honestly say that I don’t know which friend made this comment to Mary Ann. Maybe she was someone we didn’t know well and she simply wasn’t interested in this visit. In my heart of hearts, I hope that is the case. Because the thought that I missed fellowship with a long-ago friend
was forfeited
due to a constrained societal standard
that is ever-changing, shifting and sorting
the beautiful from the unattractive
is absolutely heart-wrenching.

I have to admit that I was nervous about going on this trip. I am … also … twenty pounds heavier than I desire. I have lived my life on a seasonal roller coaster – heavier in the winter/thinner in the summer. I exercise when I have the energy (March through September) and rest when I don’t (October through February). I’d like to say that this isn’t so, but I’d be lying to both of us.

The thought of hugging these men …
them touching my body, wrapping their arms around my waist or shoulder
upon our reunion … or departing ….
embarrassed me …
until I heard that there was someone who WOULDN’T EVEN COME
because of the fear of judgement
and rejection.
Because, in reality, that is what I hear in her statement.

The vulnerable expression of dissatisfaction
by this un-named “friend”
has strengthened my passion to scream
“YOU ARE BEA{YOU}TIFUL!!”

We live our lives handcuffed to standards
that are set by others.
Our days are parched of fellowship
for fear of rejection.
There is an ongoing paralyzation …
that steals our energy and enthusiasm for life.

I wonder about you and your life.  Would you say that you’re beautiful? Could you answer “yes” if I asked you, “Are you beautiful?” Could you answer “yes,”  ….. without hesitation?

We need to separate
self-acceptance from society’s ever-moving image of “beautiful.”
Would you give some thought to w.h.e.r.e your standard of beauty is based?
Would you take some time to think about how often your actions are stifled by fear
of what others would think about how you look?

Know, my friend, that you are beautiful!
With or without that 20, 30 or 50 pounds
that society might like or dislike you wearing,
you are beautiful, worthy, talented and gifted
through and through.
You are beautiful today … just as you are, right where you are.

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5 thoughts on “Standard of Beauty

  1. This breaks my heart too. I am saddened how we as a whole can allow outward appearance dictate our entire life. I am guilty too!! I do have to remember, however, God did not make a mistake, He made me as me, who I am. Funny thing – would we ever judge another by appearance or see who they are as a person – personally, I see the beauty nearly every person – yet allow such silly thoughts/standards be placed upon ourself?

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    1. Des, your last sentence is the clincher, isn’t it? It’s so true!! I’ve said before, we wouldn’t allow our own daughters to remain “friends” with someone that talks to them …. the way that we sometimes talk to ourselves.

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