Let me start off today by saying that the responses I got from my last post were incredible. It got almost 150 views, making it my number 1 post. Plus I have never gotten so many comments ever! Those along with emails, Facebook messages, and people talking to me at church about it. Thank you guys for all of those. You’ve all touched me a lot.
Now, onto today’s post. I have been blogging since 2009 and I realized that I have never posted about the one topic I basically dedicate my life to. It’s a topic that has always caught my attention and I’ve always loved spreading awareness of. As a teenage girl, I struggle with self image, something that is very common. If you think about that, it’s really quite sad. It’s more common to hear a girl say they hate themselves rather then they’re like themselves. I would even say its a very rare occurrence that you hear someone say they’re happy with how they look. I began thinking about blogging about this when something happened to me this week. If you know me than you know I love Operation Beautiful. (the reason I started this blog!) What this movement does, is people put up encouraging post it notes in public places; my favorite spots to hit are dressing rooms, swim suit section, bathrooms, and makeup aisle. Sometime earlier this week I went to check up on my notes because I like to see how long they last. To my surprise, I found someone had written a response to my “You’re beautiful” post it. What she said broke my heart.
People hate themselves so much to the point where they sincerely can’t take a compliment. It gets worse. Here are some facts and statistics taken from the ANAD
website; a nonprofit for raising awareness for and preventing eating disorders.
Up to 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
91% of woman surveyed on a college campus said they have tried dieting to control their weight.
Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness in adolescents.
10-15% of people struggling with anorexia or bulimia are men.
The body type portrayed by the media as the ideal weight is only achieved by only 5% of American females.
69% of girls in grades 5-12 reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body.
And 20% of woman with eating disorders die due to complications with their disorder.
I almost teared up typing that. Now, there was one more thing that brought me to write up this post. There is a movie being made called A Perfect 14 about plus sized models. I decided to do my research on it. I would like to show you a picture of what our society calls a “plus size” model.
This picture (taken from her Facebook page) is of Laura Wells; a plus size model. Let that soak in. THAT is what we consider “big?” I’m sorry but SERIOUSLY?!?!
It’s time for me to give everyone a little history from the ever changing modeling world. Models from the 50’s looked like this.
Gorgeous! Then in the 60’s there was a girl named Lesley Hornby. Although you probably know her as “Twiggy.” A teenager at the time, one who was naturally thin, broke into the fashion world and began to change the industry. Because apparently looking average was now overrated. So “Twiggy” became the new face of fashion and modeling! Everyone wanted to look like her; big brown eyes, thin frame, full lips. She was now the face of beauty.
And then bam! Now all the models become crazy thin! Now woman that would have made gorgeous models in the 50’s and considered “plus size” models. Whatever that term even means.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: what’s the big deal about weight anyway? When did fashion become more important than health? Lesley Hornby was a healthy girl; she was born thin; but taking her, one of very few people born that way, and making her the new “ideal” is just wrong. So many girls look to the media to tell them what beautiful is. And once they realize they don’t fit the mold, how much do they throw away to achieve it? Well according to statistic, 24 million people throw away their lives because they want to be thin.What’s with the obsession? Maybe I’m not asking you this question; maybe I’m asking myself. I have found myself caught in wishing I were this way or that way; more like that girl or less like myself. Maybe I write about these things so much not to convince you, but maybe I hope that by writing it so many times I’ll finally be able to convince myself of its truth. In my head I know all these facts; I know I’m beautiful. And honestly I’m sick of the weight obsession, so why in heck do I keep wishing I looked differently? Why do I compare myself to so many other girls?
Eating disorders prevail because they aren’t stopped at the root. No one ever wakes up one day and develops and eating disorder. It comes gradually. It starts with a thought, and idea; and then it takes root in your mind. Maybe it’s just skipping one meal every now and then. But soon its skipping breakfast each morning, and then lunch, and then you stop eating altogether. But its just until you drop a few pounds…right? Even if it never gets that far; even if you just convince yourself to eat healthy all the time or exercise a lot. But you beat yourself up over missing a workout or eating a chocolate cake. In my opinion, that’s when it needs to be addressed. Because mentally, something is out of place.
I think we all have a disorder. We obsess over things because we think they can cure us of our sickness; we try to compensate for things we lack. My small group leader once said that “we all have something we run to when we’re upset, and that thing shows where we’re not trusting God.” We are in a horrible state without Christ. We’re empty. And when that part of us is missing we try to fill it with useless crap; we try be skinnier, or smarter, or more talented, so people will love us; we cut to feel in control, we use sarcasm to hide hurt; but what we really need is a love from our Father. We run to so many things to try to fill the void of our own imperfections. We try to clean up our sin by ourselves by making ourselves look beautiful to the outside world; maybe because we think if people see beauty on the outside it will mean we have it all together on the inside. One of my favorite lyrics from an Icon For Hire song is “but my disorder can’t be cured by a bottle. blade, or dose.” Have you ever run to one of those things? We think all these remedies can cure our disorder; make our sick heart become healthy. My dear, only God can do that. This is where we pierce the veil; cut the problem off at the root. Stop lying to yourself; its more than just “I want to be skinny or beautiful” I think it’s more like “I want to be loved” and “I want to seem ok.”
God loves you. He came to heal you. Running to another problem to solve to original one isn’t going to make it any better. Jesus came so that you may have life and have it in abundance. That should free you! You don’t have to be perfect! That pressure is gone. Jesus came and was perfect so we didn’t have to be; He was scarred so we didn’t have to cut. He came to fill the void in us knowing that nothing else ever could. You are His precious treasure. One thing that never ceases to amaze me is that God loves us more than any other created thing. I am in love with flowers and the sunset and the stars; those are my favorite thing He created. I would probably choose those things over people. Yet God doesn’t. He looks at a sunset and then looks at you and says you’re more beautiful. He doesn’t say “I would think you’re beautiful but…” or “If only you could drop a few pounds.” No. You are gorgeous just as you are. You don’t have to pretend to be anyone or anything. You can let go of the obsession now.