I met a girl with Anorexia Nervosa and she stole my heart.
A definite benefit to working in a service profession like health care is the abundance of life-learning opportunities that present themselves regularly.
I’m specifically referring to the “been there, done that” phenomena, where wisdom is gained as a result of a persons constant, often unintentional, but necessary involvement in the lives and struggles of others.
Social workers, health care professionals, teachers and law enforcement officers are a few vocations profoundly effected by this phenomena… for better or for worse.
We’re presented with the sometimes vivid and painful reality that unconsciously prompts us to assign a human face to many situations and events.
Gifted a diverse perspective that can’t be learned, as it’s the exclusive byproduct of experience.
Constantly reminded not to take anything for granted.
I honestly covet the reality of it all.
Life is predictably unpredictable.
So, no I’m absolutely not a person who fusses over superficial things like hair, make-up and nails or desires to carry the latest designer purse, and it’s not because I’m lazy, it’s because I don’t think it matters a lick in the big scheme of things.
It’s incredibly unimportant to me, thanks to my own menagerie of past experiences.
I will never swim or even wade in the particular shallow puddle of superficial vanity.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always been disconcerted by the thought of women manipulating their appearances in the quest to attain a certain holy grail body image.
The most obvious example is predictably– elective breast augmentation– done exclusively for vanities sake.
I find it superficial and flippant as a result of having associated with countless victims of breast cancer. Women who’ve willfully surrendered their bodily parts as a means of survival.
Women filled with gratitude to have been given a second lease on LIVING.
So yes, I’m inherently guilty of forming judgmental comparisons when it comes to the frivolous primping of ones outer shell.
Everything is relative, unto itself and as to where it happens to fall in the big scheme of things.
My biggest objection to the glorification of the perfect physical image is the simple fact that beauty is not an earned trait, it’s merely the result of the incredibly random genetic lottery.
Case in point- pretty people are born with an advantage… and that sucks.
It’s unacceptable that our culture continues to worship a random variable that has the indisputable power to make or break the lives of so many beautiful spirits.
The $64,000 question is— what role do YOU play in all this?
Have you ever really taken a moment to analyze your own thoughts and actions?
Actions absolutely speak louder than words.
When you take part in certain activities or portray a certain attitude, you condone the behavior, thus encouraging the end result… to a certain degree.
I’m not pointing a finger at the newest dieting or exercise craze, it’s more about the expedited evolution of plastic surgery, tanning, hair removal, teeth whitening, hair extensions, the explosion of the day spa concept and the mere notion that some women indulge in weekly mani’s, pedi’s and facials as if they’re necessary medical treatments.
What was once considered to be an extravagance is slowly edging toward what we now consider to be the norm.
In fact, it’s not at all unusual for professionally manicured and polished fingers to reach out and hand you say, their public assistance card.
I said it. No disrespect intended.
And, I’m not saying that women of lower incomes do not deserve these things. My point is that when a certain standard of living becomes commonplace, people make sacrifices to acquire what society deems the norm.
I’m a nurse who keeps her fingernails trimmed-right-down-to-the-nubs and never ever wears polish. My hands may not be a pretty sight, but my soul swells with pride over the regular accomplishments realized by these extensions of myself.
For me it’s not about the visual image at all. I simply feel satiated because of who I am.
And, no it’s not my intention to shame, nor am I suggesting that you stop having your nails did.
It’s not the act as much as it is the shallow attitude carried and spread by some people, even if it is unknowingly.
Recently, I had a personal encounter with two vaguely familiar dirty-rotten-lying-thieves by the name of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia.
Sure, I’ve known about them for pretty much ever, but I didn’t really know about them on such a personal level: a level bearing an innocent face and sweet fragile personality.
The common denominator in both of these debilitating and potentially life-threatening illnesses is the constant assault to a persons self esteem— by overwhelming societal influence.
Society sets the bar for what’s normal, expected and rewarded, so when the end-result is unrealistic and often unattainable, problems naturally ensue and people are broken.
The sometimes subliminal or hidden messages which promote the glorified Barbie image are everywhere and they’re inescapable.
As long as society continues to covet and idolize physical beauty, the decorative physical shell which contains us, will forever and always define us.
How we act and respond to any situation determines whether we’re contributing- hence fueling the Barbie charade.
The purpose of this post is to prompt you to do a self examination of not only your own values and ideals, but more importantly… your actions.
Most of us are guilty, at least to a certain degree.
For example, gentlemen, actions like lifting an eyebrow, winking, casting an approving look, nod, whistling, or making a flirty comment or gesture to the opposite sex is absolutely an infraction.
These seemingly harmless playful messages are etched in (especially girl) children’s brains from the day they start interpreting social cues.
A (girl) child’s self-worth is partially formed as a result of societal osmosis.
Your actions are subconsciously being recorded and measured by your daughter and by society every. single. day.
Every instance cancels out whatever positive message you may have intended to portray.
**I know a young girl who claimed that her friends and/or siblings were consistently given compliments and positive attention regarding their appearance, where she was given very few to none. In turn, she was made to perpetually feel like the ugly step sister or homely friend. When it was brought to my attention, I evaluated the behavior, and sure enough, she was dead on. Although, unintentional it happened and unfortunately this young lady was left to reap the consequences of well-intended compliments meant for everyone-who-wasn’t-her.
Not only does exclusion hurt, it chips away at the very fragile foundation of our self worth, sometimes causing profound irreversible damage.
On the same token, a dad can jump through fiery hoops to convince his plus-size teen that she’s beautiful, loved and valued, but his efforts are null and void the instant his eyes widen at the sight of a shapely lady in the tight sweater or when he likes a sexy photo or makes a flirty comment to someone on Facebook or Instagram.
Your girls, nieces and granddaughters are absolutely paying attention to everything you do.
Every single tidbit of external data flowing into a persons consciousness is measured, ultimately resulting in the final appraisal of their own self worth.
The Wonder Women image below is AWESOME, sensitive and realistic.
While a woman may whole-heartedly intend to support this positive image, she nullifies her intention the moment she takes a selfie in a bikini or slinky evening dress and flaunts it on social media in a blatant quest for likes.
Sure, most people have had their event photos inadvertently turn up on social media sites. It’s a product of the times…. our every move is being recorded.
The differentiating factor is your own deliberate calculation to
sell portray yourself as a super-model mom, sex goddess or the new menopausal Miss America
Don’t let your own self-esteem issues victimize the next generation.
Young fragile egos thrive on attention, so it’s easy to understand how attaining the coveted look can be so consuming and self-destructive.
Beauty is the key to attention, love, popularity, respect, overall success and happiness… because society continues to inadvertently say so.
What we do and how we act absolutely affects the next generation.
So…. Middle-aged Mommy’s,
We all appreciate and respect the overwhelming pride you feel that you’ve met the challenge of reclaiming a trimmer version of yourself, after a decade of walking around like a pregnant jello sloth.
Kudos, moms are people too.
You look fabulous and it’s been duly noted.
It’s your choice how you chose to showboat your own accomplishments.
If you’re older than 30, you may consider becoming more mindful to the fact that your actions create a ripple that touches, and invariably effects everything in it’s wake.
Lead by example.
Whether actions are intended to deliberately cause harm is often secondary and inconsequential.
It’s water under the bridge.
I realize that I’m likely to get hoards of hate mail from women who enjoy fitness and/or engage in healthy dietary practices, so let me reiterate that this is not about you.
Healthy living and cosmetic vanity are two entirely different animals.
To view everything that crosses your path from only your own self-serving perspective is to be an egotistical pompous ass.
The world is a BIG place.
It’s not always about you, so get over thyself.
If this post inadvertently offends any of my middle-aged friends, family or acquaintances, then so. be. it.
I’m a person who says exactly what I mean and stands firmly by my convictions no. matter. what.
Even if it means standing alone.
This is about (mostly) young ladies whose self esteem continues to be assaulted every single day of their lives thanks to societies continual validation and high appraisal of physical beauty.
My loyalty absolutely belongs to the next generation.
C’est la vie.
Lastly, for you my young friend to whom I dedicate this, she who looks in the mirror and fails to see the intrinsic beauty in herself–
You are important.
You are valued simply for being you.
You are smart, funny, artistic, talented, considerate, genuine and truthful.
You are one of a kind.
You are tall, short, round, lanky, graceful and sometimes even awkward,
You are 100% YOU… which in itself is absolutely enough.
You’re a coveted and valued child of the universe.
Barbie dolls are made of plastic and filled with nothingness, you on the other hand…. are an amazingly combination of over a zillion uniquely charged particles that create a priceless gift to the world that is you… much like the twinkling stars in the sky make up complex constellations.
You emit a unique brightness that is unlike any other star…. simply because it’s YOU… and that will always be enough.
**ADDENDUM- The following is a petition started by a daddy blogger, Pete Wilgoren demanding that ridiculous zero sizes like 0 – 00 – 000 be eradicated by large corporations like Old Navy and J Crew.
Check it out here-
Sign the petition here-