You're the Perfect Shape

Vanity creeps into our lives so subtlety.  Or not.  Leaving Chicago, I was distracted the entire ride on the Metra Train heading to my sweet sunny home in the suburbs.  In front of me sat two chatty 20-somethings. They wove in conversation about guys, about how they looked, about how their friends looked, about how their friend's Facebook profiles looked.  And then they began miming exaggerated facial expressions as if to replicate the photos they were critiquing.  As I listened, I remembered my shaggy eye brows needed waxed, my makeup from the morning had faded into a smudgy oily blur, and my lips were chapped. I prayed to my sparkly lip gloss to give me magic unattainable beauty. Nothing happened.  I'm still me. Thankfully.

An instant later I remembered something that no woman over 30 should ever forget: I'm a grown ass woman.  Confidence can do more for smudgy makeup, or no make up, or oily skin or imperfections than any amount of CC cream- tinted or not.

Brandon and I just returned from a place in this world that God must have created when he was really feeling good--before the whole humanity + sin fiasco.  Cozumel, Mexico contains the kind of views that calms even the most restless person.  The shades of blue in the sea have so much brilliance your eyes begin to fill with tears as deep emotions stream out of the corners of your eyes.  The sparkle of the water reflects your happy tears back and dolphins jump in the distance (no joke) as the giant sun begins its daily incline to warm the earth and all of it's inhabitants.  I never once thought, if only God would make the blue less bluey.  I just absorbed it- no critique- no judgement- no fix this or add that- or if only there were less dimples on this part...

I think that's the great trick of our culture.  Stay focused on yourself and your screaming imperfections and you won't (a) value yourself enough to do work you're passionate about or (b) even have time to think about what your passion actually is.  I've seen it again and again.  I've seen it in myself.  A little less over here, a little more over there... then you'll be good.  What the hell man.  I can be so self obsessed that I sell myself short (when i'm _______, then i'll get started) or I don't even give myself time to think about real issues because I'm too busy wondering if my jeans are actually getting tighter or the dryer is starting to shrink my clothes.  I get it.  I'm smart and know this kind of thinking is stupid.  We have to stop this kind of stupid thinking against ourselves.

Each day at the pool in Cozumel a large group of Israeli 20-somethings would parade in.  It was like watching a real life version of an H&M catalog.  These girls were all different shapes and sizes.  And their bathing suits were itty bitty tiny. I became aware that my 2 piece swim suit had approximately 39 times more fabric--next to them I felt like I was wearing a parka swimsuit.  I watched as each girl displayed the confidence of woman comfortable in her own skin.  It was like these girls had never been told that their value is based on their weight or their looks.

When we tell our little girls in subtle and overt ways that their value is in their looks, we're hurting them.  We're hurting their little souls.  The souls that believe that they can take on the world.  The souls that believe that they can be whatever they want.  Fast Company just published an article about Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud, a woman in Saudi Arabia who took over some key decisions at the luxury retail store her family owns.  Decisions like hiring women.  Decisions like not requiring women to wear a veil.   Sales at the store dropped 43%.  Much due to her radical change in empowering women.  I know it's not the whole story and I know there are cultural and religious differences at play. But for God's sake or Allah's sake, or the sake of this beautiful broken world- women are more than a sum of their lumpy thighs and chapped lips and bushy eye brows.

We're a beautiful mess.  We can do anything.  Change starts with yourself- and your damaging thoughts. You're hurting all of us when you beat yourself up.  But most importantly, you're hurting you every time you bash your skin, your arms, your legs, your belly, your whatever is yours.  You have beautiful curves and eyes like the sea.  Your legs are strong- even when you're tired of trying to stand on your own.  Your arms are womanly and wonderful.  You have a perfect shape.  And you are destined for whatever great things you decide you want to do.

For a little more reading-
I love the sentiment in this blog post by Man Repeller.

Love to my sisters out there.


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