Monday, February 11, 2013

In the eye of the beholder...

I found the inspiration for this blog on Saturday night, as I was pushing a buggy through walmart, all the while thinking: “Please Lord, don’t let me run into anyone I know!” As my luck would have it, I ran into several people I knew.

We’ve all had those moments. You know, when you’re rocking the two- (or three-) day hair and it’s looking a little nappy; you’re wearing “laundry day” clothes and you’re lookin’ a little crappy; and by God, you don’t have a LICK of make-up on. It is THAT day that you will run into your coworker; your pastor and his wife; the boy you’ve been trying to get to look your way for weeks; the mayor; at least three of your kinfolk; and your aunt’s husband’s sister who catches you in the very middle of the busiest aisle to tell you all the details about long-lost-so-n-so’s sordid affair, meanwhile everyone you know walks past catches a glimpse of you lookin’ your worst.

In the very vain society that we live in, you’d think we’d have sense enough to “paint the barn” (as my preacher would say) before walking into the Walmart that serves the Tri-County area. Lord knows, by now, we should know better.

But that’s not exactly what this blog is about…I’ve been wanting to write something about perception of beauty, the Walmart thing just happened to inspire it.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

For women, that is a loaded question. We tend to not see the beauty in ourselves, only the flaws when we gaze into the mirror. We pick ourselves a part. We don’t see the beautiful eyes God has given us, we only notice the fact that our skin is breaking out. We don’t see our pretty smile, because we are too busy noticing the crow’s feet that are beginning to show around our eyes.

Why do we do this?

I’ve given a lot of thought to this. As women, our negative self-image not only affects ourselves, but sometimes unbeknownst to us, it is projected upon our friends, our sisters, and our daughters. When you start worrying aloud about the few pounds you’ve gained, suddenly, your best friend becomes more self-conscious about her weight because she is heavier than you. When you talk about your “Watson Watermelon head” or “huge Sheffield feet” or “the Arrington hips” perhaps your daughter overhears this and immediately starts comparing her attributes to her friends.

A few months back, a friend told me that her little girl had asked something along the lines of “Mama, am I pretty?” My friend had worried if she had asked that because she had been told otherwise. The little girl was three at the time. Three. It hurt my heart to think that she was questioning her looks that young. To me, she is one of the most beautiful little girls in the world. I want her to grow up seeing herself as beautiful.

God created us all different. We come in all different shapes, sizes, skin tones, heights, etc. Every single one of us is beautiful and unique, and it’s time we see ourselves this way. In doing so, maybe we can pass a better perception of beauty onto the next generation. Perhaps we could project a better self-image onto our friends and loved ones.

So, even when we feel like we are looking frumpy, in sweats, with our hair clipped up, with no make-up on in the Walmart; remember…we are still beautiful.

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