Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm Sorry! I'm Working on It!

Last night, as often happens when I’m watching TV, I had Facebook pulled up on my computer and was browsing pictures of friends.  One of my friends had been tagged by someone I wasn’t friends with, and suddenly I was scrolling through an entire album of people I don’t know to see the three pictures of my friend (I don’t know why I do this, but I know I’m not the only one.)
So, as I scrolled through pictures of some random person’s birthday party, I noticed a really disturbing comment on one of the pictures.  The picture showed two girls, dressed in the latest sparkly trends with a little too much make-up for my taste.  They were clearly at a bar, locked in an awkward embrace (one that says, “We’ve had one too many and think we’re really sexy!”)  This is the same picture I see allthefreakingtime on Facebook--girls smiling sultry-ish drunk smiles, while pushing their boobs as far out as they can.  My favorite is when these girls choose to use these (not actually) sexy pictures as their profile pictures--like look at me!  I’m having more fun than you!  In a cuter outfit than yours!  And I’m SUPER into myself!
I digress.  This post was about a FB comment.
So, in this particular two-girl poser picture, there was a blonde (the one who had posted the picture) and a brunette (the one who made the disturbing comment).  Brunette posted, “C----- you are so pretty!! I like this pic minus my gut lol”
This is where I wish I could post the picture just so you could see how incredibly ridiculous this comment was.  Brunette was all of 100 pounds.  Her arms were what can only be described as spindly.  Her face was slightly on the gaunt side (made less severe by her tanning bed tan).  And this “gut” she was talking about?  Yeah, I couldn’t tell if it was a wrinkle in her shirt or simply her skin.  What it was NOT was a gut.  Blonde commented back, “You're crazy!!!  I wish I had your 'gut' then lol”  I’m glad she didn’t let it go.
Later while I was in bed (not sleeping), I kept thinking about this stupid picture.  I started getting sad and angry.  How did these girls get like this?  I mean, we KNOW how this happens--they watch movies and read magazines that give them an unrealistic ideal to live up to.  They aren’t told by their parents or anyone else who loves them that beautiful can be something other than skinny.  Or if they are, they don’t listen.  They have mommy issues, daddy issues, self-esteem issues.  Issues, issues, issues--and plenty of reasons for those issues.
I like to think of myself as part of the solution.  I believe I’m well-adjusted, healthy--that I possess high self-esteem--whatever you want to call it.  Sure there are things I would change about my appearance if I could, but I’m not obsessed.  Like--I’d like to be a couple inches taller--not model tall, but tall enough to not be mistaken for a child.  I have a chip in my left front tooth from biting a staple (stupid stupid stupid), but I have never been able to justify spending $500 to fix something that someone would have to be way too close for comfort to even notice.  
There are other things that I don’t really mind that much but that other people have told me I should mind.  I have wrinkles around my thirty-year-old eyes and mouth and freckles in the summertime.  Lots of people tell me I should “fix” these things.  But you know what those lines are called?  Laugh lines.  And smile lines.  Aging is a part of life, and I’m okay with it.
I try to spread these thoughts among my friends.  You know, part of the solution.
And that is why aside from being appalled by this comment and then stewing about how angry it makes me when women beat themselves up like this, I felt like the worst person ever.  Like I’m probably going to hell.  Because you know what my first thought was after reading the comment?  It wasn’t any of this I-wish-that-girl-would-learn-to-love-herself stuff that I’ve just been writing about.  It was this: What gut?  What she OUGHT to be worried about is her ugly face.
Really kind.  
Very enlightened.
And the more I think about it, the more awful I feel because why on earth do I think those things?  I am just like all the critical mothers and bad boyfriends that have been in this girl’s life.  
I am not part of the solution.
I am the problem.
So, I’ve decided to challenge myself to think nice thoughts.  Every time I think a nasty, mean thought about someone, I’m putting a dollar in the pot.  And when the pot reaches ten dollars, I have to take my kids to McDonald’s.  Because if anything can motivate me to not do something, it’s eating deep fried crap from McDogfood.
Wish me luck!


  1. Leia, I have some great news for you. First, the tendency to be sarcastic or have a mean thought puts you in company with me and every other person who has ever thought a thought or withies onto facebook and looked at one of those crazy pictures of a girl with her lips puckered out like a fat carp thinking they are somehow sexy. See I just did what you did! Second, if that kept us out of heaven then we are all screwed. In the 20 years I've been married I don't think I have ever found my wife so beautiful as the times she was pregnant. That probably sounds weird to some but I agree with you that beauty is so much more than cosmopolitan chicks or playboy. You women that have earned a stretch mark from carrying a baby or a wrinkle around your eye or your mouth just remember that you are made in the image of God and you are beautiful because of who you are not because of who "they" say you should be. I'm proud to see you speaking so honestly Leia. That is part of your beauty. Yu are able to find true beauty in yourself and that is priceless. Blessings to you and thanks for the great blog. Later.

  2. Aww...Cameron, that is so sweet! Your wife is a lucky lady to be married to a man with such great perspective. And she's pretty spectacularly beautiful, too, in EVERY way. Thanks so much for reading!

  3. I wish our society would stress the inner beauty of people. Mother Teresa comes to mind. What a role model!
    I remember reading about a night club that only lets beautiful people inside. I felt that was so sad.

  4. I have to focus on the second part of this because we are so freaking much alike!!! I feel like this all the time. And I am constantly praying that God will change me from the inside and help me to see people through His eyes. I'll pray for you if you pray for me! (Not because I think you're bad, but because I know how frustrating it is to feel helpless to change the thought process.) Deal?

    p.s. Your birthday comments cracked me up. Thanks!

  5. @Belle, it's amazing how shallow people can be. I get pretty frustrated with the number of people I meet who JUST. DON'T. GET. IT.

    @Lacie, deal! I will add you to my prayer list. It will go something like this, "Dear God, please help my BIF/fratwinsie not be super judgy, etc. and send extra love her way this week as it is her birthday week. And thanks, too, for creating The Melting Pot on the eighth day."

  6. i worked VERY hard to get every single line on my face. (although, some, admitted are due to smoking those horrible cigs i used to smoke). however, i will be damned if i am injecting them away. they tell me everyday what a fun filled life i have led. and so does my gut. which is a REAL gut.

    however, i am not above zapping the sun spots off my face. that, i will do when i turn 40. which isn't far off....i better start saving now.