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6.12.2014

Pretty is, as pretty does...

"Beauty is truth's smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror."--Rabindranath Tagore
So, in the last few days, Bowe Bergdahl was released, five Taliban terrorists were freed, there was school shooting in Oregon, five American soldiers were killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, Virginia Congressman, Eric Cantor, the second highest ranking Republican in the House, lost an almost unlose-able primary election to a novice-nobody-economics professor named Brat, Hillary Rodham-Clinton insulted every hard-working American by claiming that when she and Billy-baby left the White House they were "dead broke", there was another senseless murder associated with the strangely influential character, Slender Man, and Miss Indiana, although she did not ultimately claim the crown, redefined the physical expectations of contestants in the bathing suit competition of the Miss USA pageant by being beautifully normal--and rocking it. WHEW!!! It has been a busy last week!

And as I laid in bed last night contemplating the above mentioned topics (and many more), I was overwhelmed by the senselessness of the tragedies, the ignorance of the ignorant and the strangeness of the modern cultural in which I am attempting to live. Okay, let me hone my discussion a bit...

                                               

Firstly, I think that most of you will agree that Miss Indiana looked amazing in her white bikini bathing suit. She did!! And her shoes were awesomeness!! But let's get real...she isn't curvy. She just isn't rail thin. She didn't look "full figured", as some television and radio pundits are claiming--she looked like a beautiful young woman who works out but occasionally eats normal food (i.e. cheeseburgers and milkshakes). It is obvious and completely refreshing to know that Miss Indiana didn't starve herself for two weeks leading up to the pageant. And before some of you beauty queens get your high-priced panties in a wad, I am not accusing ALL pageant contestants of going to extremes in dieting and exercise. I am simply speaking truth in that there is most definitely an atmosphere of pressure to be very, very thin when you step onto the brightly lit stage to be judged on your polished looks. I know from first hand experience.

Now don't get me wrong: I am glad that young girls (and let's just be honest, women of all ages) across the nation, saw someone who, according to modern societal image gurus, was less than perfect physically, strut confidently across one of the biggest stages in the world. I applaud Miss Indiana and personally think that she looked amazing and healthy. However, it is heart-breaking to me that her healthy body is such a big deal.  How did America get here? Why are we even talking about this? And look--I've been sucked in too!! There are REAL tragedies occurring each and every day all over this world and we are discussing the healthy, fit body of a young woman attempting to earn scholarship money. Somehow, somewhere, we, as a nation, a people, a gender, a generation, have completely lost touch with reality. 

Young women are allowing themselves to be defined by a shallow, fickled, fallen society that is determined to ruin and forget them. The pressure to be beautiful, thin and edgy is destroying the best aspects of being a lady.  I get it, trust me. Being fat, fluffy or frumpy wasn't an option in my family growing up. We fixed our hair and wore makeup no matter what. Shirts were tucked in and belts matched your hand bags. Trust me, I am no stranger to the emphasis on thinness and the requirement to look 'perfect' each and every time you walk out of the door. 

However, as a woman, wife, and mother in her mid-thirties, I can honestly look back on those years I spent obsessing about my appearance, and without reservation or hesitation, say that all that effort did me NO good. As a child, adolescent and twenty-something, my entire self worth was wrapped up in the way I looked and the way that others, primarily men, viewed me. That is a dangerous way for any young woman to define herself. And an almost certain road to emotional and psychological disaster. It was only when I lived a little and matured tremendously that I began to care less about how I looked to others and more about how I looked to myself--on the inside. Don't get me wrong, I still get my hair highlighted, wear bright red lipstick and care about my overall physical appearance. But the way I appear outwardly is no longer the greatest representation of my life or my person. Nowadays, I am determined to be more kind than I am cute, smarter than sexy and more well-informed than best dressed. Essentially, I got over it and moved on. 

I am determined to instill in my daughter a balance when it comes to the adherence of basic lady-like standards of beauty and poise. I want my daughter to understand and appreciate the incredible importance of thinking for herself and speaking up for what is right. I want her to be able to throw and catch a ball without fear of breaking a nail and be confident enough to wear her hair in a knot and little to no makeup. And I will teach her, in good lady-like, Texas fashion, how to doll herself up. She will know about root boost, tinted concealer and Spanx. However, my prayer for my precious daughter is that if and when her beauty fades and her hair and skin are no longer perfect, she will believe that she is still amazingly beautiful because her heart will be good and her mind, strong. Because the cold-hard reality of life is this: There will always be someone more beautiful, thinner, wealthier, smarter, faster, more eloquent and better dressed. That is simply fact. However, God created each of us perfectly, just the way we are supposed to be, exactly suited and prepared to perform this life for His glory. 

So, good for you, Miss Indiana!! I think you are beautiful. I think you are strong. I think you are perfect. But to be honest, I hope and pray that Miss Indiana could care less what I think.

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