I think it goes without saying that the events occurring in the news lately weighed heavily on the negative side. Globally, we bore witness to some of the ugliest acts of humankind. I actually just realized how dumb that sounds—“humankind.” There was nothing human or kind about the atrocities that occurred this past week in the world.
As ignorant as it may sound, the disgraces of our species are the reasons I prefer not to watch the news or read newspapers. There is so much negative going on in the world—negative that I cannot help or prevent—that I don’t see a need to add that burden to my psyche. I will not spend my life living a “what if” existence. The only thing I can do is just live my life until it’s done.
The world’s events weighed my soul down so much, that I sat and snuggled with my granddaughter the other night to watch endless cute kitten videos on YouTube. I needed an infusion of purity and joy.
One of the biggest worries I have in this world are our daughters. Our granddaughters. Wives, sisters, and mothers. Whatever the title a girl or woman carries at this point in her life, I worry for all of us. I worry about what we are allowing society and media to do us.
I was on gramma duty all weekend and, with each moment I spent with her, I fell in love with her a little bit more. As I was with my daughter before her, I am in awe of her existence.
As she snuggled up tight against me yesterday to take a nap, I was hit with an overwhelming sadness. I realized that my little angel is going to, one day, be on the receiving end of society’s attempt to beat her down and make her believe that she is not good enough—that she is not beautiful enough.
My daughter was always a fit little thing—skinny and tall for her age and, because of her mixed ethnicity, very exotic-looking (as is my granddaughter). One day after preschool, she told me that she was too fat. I just about threw-up hearing my four-and-a-half-year-old utter those words. Apparently, she was with her favorite buddy, Mitchell, and as flesh does, her thighs spread wider as sat down beside her. Dear Mitchell pointed to her thighs and told her that she was fat. I kid you not, when I tell you that it was the last day my daughter lived a carefree life from body image concerns.
I did my best to shield her from the expectations of unattainable perfection that were crammed down her throat on a daily basis. No matter how hard I tried to explain the wizardry of photoshop, I couldn’t win. My daughter sank deep into the quicksand of a narcissistic society. I often wonder when, if ever, she will fall in love with herself and be the woman who God allowed me to bring into this world.
Now, more than two decades after becoming a mother, I’ve watched it become an epidemic. It’s not just her though. I watch women and girls of all ages affected by it. We’re not good enough. I’m not good enough. You’d think that a grown-ass woman would feel comfortable in her own skin—but when you are a hit with a barrage of half-naked “perfect” women on almost every TV commercial or magazine cover, it’s just a reminder of how “blech” I really am. Thank goodness, we have society to throw sexual candy at the men in our lives. Reminding them that they can upgrade their old jalopy for a shiny new model whenever they want.
Remember the days when women had hair “down there?” Well, we’re not allowed to anymore. Yet, it’s okay for men to get fatter and hairier and, as I’ve said before, apparently we’re supposed to like it when men belch, fart, and tap out a tune on their beer bellies. Although my husband does not have the body of a twenty-year-old triathlete anymore, he is still very much a gentleman, and has never subjected me to that kind of behavior.
As a woman in her forties, you’d think I could guffaw at all of the fake booties, boobies, and bodies around me. Well, it’s very difficult for me to do so when I see all the ads for plastic surgery, and meet countless women (my age or older) who don’t feel they are permitted to grow old gracefully. I will admit, some of the results of cosmetic procedures are very impressive; but quite honestly, the majority of them just make me sad. Why are we doing this to ourselves?
As I mentioned last week, I am the owner of a prominent Jewish nose. It has been pointed out to me many, many times that it’s “huge” and recommendations to get it fixed have been equally available. Those comments were made to me when I was younger, and had not grown into it completely. I still haven’t grown into it completely, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was when I was growing up. Unfortunately though, it’s still not pretty, and don’t think that “Miss Pinocchio” hadn’t planned on getting it fixed. I had every intention of, getting a nose job until the day my eight-year-old daughter overheard me discussing it with a friend. She interrupted our conversation to say, “So what you’re saying is that how God made you isn’t good enough?”
From the mouths of babes.
So, over a decade later, I have still not had it done—nor had I entertained the thought again. I’d been “schooled” by my little girl, and she made me realize how vain I was being. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a part of me that hopes they “slip” while correcting my deviated septum on Wednesday, and I come out with a cute little perky nose. In the grand scheme of things, I really don’t think it would make a world of difference when the canvas is still far from being perfect.
Will my words here change the world? Will they give women their “ah-ha” moments so that we can watch the plastic surgery industry become extinct with the dinosaurs? Highly doubtful.
My only hope from this handful of words, and smattering of emotion, is that, if there is a girl or woman in your life who you care about, you do your best to be a warrior against society trying to tear her down.
Let’s all do our damnedest to help girls and women fall in love with themselves again—or maybe even for the first time.