Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Feel Pretty

I have to be honest with you. I didn't really want to blog today.

I have two afternoons a week where every one is out of the house and I have time to myself to reflect, to work, to run around or to stay in, and to enjoy. I didn't get one of those days this week due to the nasty weather. And even if the weather had been nice, I was sick for the duration of the week and wouldn't have been able to get out and about anyway.

Well, today I got my "me" day. The sun is shining, and I am feeling halfway like a normal, incredibly stir crazy person with a list of 1,000 things that I want to get out and do. And I have to say, being inside of my house and staring at the computer screen didn't even crack my top 1,000.

So I decided that perhaps I wouldn't blog today. After all, this once a week thing is a gig I gave to myself and nobody would punish me (or be at all surprised) if I skipped one. So I got out and went for a run, came home and did some weight resistance to round out my workout, spent 45 minutes getting myself ready for the day, and shopped for rubber boob inserts and spanks to go with my gowns for some upcoming military balls.

...And then, inspiration struck. I sat down in my dark and quiet house and fired up the computer monitor so I could stare at it for the next hour, because dang it, I have something to say...

One of my most-read blogs that was not linked to an affiliate site was a post I had titled "Confessions of a Skinny Girl." In it, I discussed how empowering it was to recognize more than the number on a scale and to use food and exercise to improve the way your body functioned rather than the way it looked. And then today, on my only off day of the week, I used the time I should have spent recharging myself to hyper-focus on my outward appearance. And it made me feel so shallow.

I would lie to you and tell you that I don't know why I did that, but I do. I got a really bad haircut a couple weeks ago. And I have gray hair and a dry scalp. And no boobs. And two balls coming up where I have to be in a room with 300+ women in formal wear with good haircuts, and I want my Facebook selfies to look as good as theirs (which I have to say, is difficult, because I don't have a smart phone and you just don't look as cool standing in front of a mirror with your actual camera flashing at your side.)

But more seriously, it's because even when I feel like I look my best, I am still completely aware of my flaws.

Fortunately, I am a grown woman with a pretty healthy self-concept (even in spite of the above confessions.) Girls struggle with how they look. All girls. Young and old. But it doesn't have to be all-consuming---as it very well shouldn't. After all, beauty radiates from the inside out. And yet, our appearance is important to us, and to deny that it matters at all is a very dangerous step to take.

Being a mother to a young girl myself, I can't help but click on links about nurturing a strong self-image in our daughters. Maybe you've even read a couple of the more popular ones, like this one where a dad speaks to his daughter about common phrases found on magazines, or this one about the mom who uses 25 alternative compliments to beauty. Without a doubt, the points made in each of these articles are important. Without a doubt, focusing on our inner beauty is so much more important that obsessing about our outer beauty. Without a doubt, these are lessons that I want my daughter to learn.

However, caring about your appearance isn't a bad thing either. That's why I also want her to be aware of some other, more outward truths about physical beauty:

1. Your body is one of your most important assets.
Your spirit is invaluable. But this does not make your body worthless. In fact, the Bible says "our body is the temple of God." It is our gift from Him, and we should treat it with respect--regarding what we put into it, the work we ask out of it, and the way we let other people treat it.

2. Your body is worth your effort.
Sometimes we feel like we just have to accept the things we don't like about our bodies. Surely, not everything is an easy fix. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try. The Bible says that "physical exercise has some value." Is it more important than exercising your spirit? Not at all. But I find it interesting that a God who will tell me what is and isn't worthwhile at all will mention that this aspect of humanity "has some value." Why? Because He loves you and wants you to feel good about yourself, and exercise does that.

Which brings me to the last thing:
3. Your body is worth your time.
The way we look is by no means the complete package of who we are as person, but it is a part. With this in mind, it is not okay to spend every waking minute fussing over what we look like, but it is okay to spend some of our minutes.
It is okay to want to feel pretty! It is normal to want to feel like you look nice! It shows that you value yourself enough to present the right image. And it would be foolish to deny that the way we feel about how we look directly impacts the way we carry ourselves. Anyone who has ever had a bad hair day knows that your image affects your mood--and even more than my bad haircut, I don't want the world to see my bad attitude! Likewise, I want the feeling of joy and assuredness to be my outer reflections--not because I have great faith in myself, but in Him who made me.

Some days I feel pretty, and that doesn't make me a bad person. Some days, I feel so unsure about my outward appearance that I order rubber boobies and butt-lifting underpants, and I will spend an afternoon of my free time fussing with how I look and blogging about it--that doesn't make me a bad person either. And long as I don't let those feelings define me, that doesn't make me shallow. That just makes me a girl...

And I pity any girl that isn't me tonight. lalalalala lala lalala
(Sorry. I can never resist a good sing along.)

BUT TRULY, here's hoping my friends feel beautiful today---inside and out!!

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