Thursday, September 29, 2011

On my soapbox: be beautiful


This comment showed up yesterday on a blog I read regularly, and it made me really sad.
      Why why why does Miss Anonymous aspire to have the same size thighs as someone else? People can be the same height and have vastly different shapes, frames and features.
      Happiness does not equal having the same measurements as your favorite blogger.
      I wonder what road Miss Anonymous plans to take to reach her goal. The healthy but difficult trail of eating right and being more active? Or the "quick fix" highway that has so many women going around in circles? It may look attractive at the start, but that highway drains women's wallets, health and inner peace.
     It's OK to look for inspiration and set goals as we strive to live our best life, but we need to think about our deepest motivations.
     Yes, I do lace up my running shoes regularly so I can enjoy the pizza, chocolate and ice cream that I love. But the ultimate reason that I drag myself off the couch and Internet and hit the road is to celebrate and maintain my healthy body. Running and feeling my entire body -- lungs, heart, muscles -- working in concert reminds me to celebrate this moment, the privilege and treasure of health. Each step is an investment in a healthy future. Running is also pure "me" time: time to look at the clouds and the sun sparkling on the ocean, time to dream and reflect.
     Miss Anonymous calls the blogger beautiful. I wonder if she can look in the mirror and give herself the same compliment?
    When I was teaching, one of my students called someone else ugly. I told her, "no one is ugly," and she apologized. I believe what I say. As I get to know someone, they become more and more beautiful. I think everyone has the same experience -- the people who are dearest to us are beautiful. When we look at them, we don't just use our physical sight, but add all the kind words, thoughtful actions and happy memories we've shared.
     Maybe we need to take that a step further. What if we took a moment to look at the tired grocery-store cashier and notice and appreciate her sparkling eyes? Or listened to the customer in line behind us, and knew she was beautiful because of the love in every word she said to her child?
     Perhaps we need to look deeply for the beauty in strangers before we can see our own beauty.

    This Derek Walcott poem is everywhere, but I thought it was appropriate:



  1. Great post Carrie!! When I first read the comment from anonymous I couldn't help but laugh because I couldn't believe that someone would actually ask for "the size of their thigh". We definitely live in a world now where people are more obsessed with outward appearances than on what is inside. It is definitely a sad thing. I even find myself feeling self conscience a lot more than I should because of what people think.

  2. Wow! Intense for anon. I blogged about the crazy amount of thinspiration out there on Pinterest and such. What kind of culture have we created?

  3. @Jade - yes, it's so easy to feel self-conscious! I think the self-consciousness comes from being bombarded with so many images of what is "beautiful," and unfortunately they are not very diverse.

    @Natalie - thank you for dropping by! Yes, Pinterest is rife with thinspiration. :\ Maybe we need to start a counter-campaign. :)


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