Friday, May 17, 2013

Noble Foot

My Birkenstock clad feet shuffle across an open floor in an empty gym. I set my tiny plywood box down in center court. I step up. Addressing an absolutely silent room, I take a breath and begin, hoping that someone will join me.


When I sat down to write today, I contemplated that I might be the only one who struggles with vanity and low self-esteem. But then I did some quick research. Americans spend over 40 billion dollars per year on cosmetics. We spend 2.2 billion per year on plastic surgery. And we spend over 61 billion dollars per year on weight loss products. After a quick look at my bank account, I determined that it was not me who was spending all of that money and made a fairly certain decision that there are others in the world like me.

If i'm just like most everyone else, whats my problem?

My 8 month old daughter. My beautiful, blue-eyed, clear skinned, happy, pink-cheeked, innocent baby girl. She's my problem. And she's yours too.

We tell our cherubs, as they grow, that they are beautiful. We tell them that they are perfect just the way they are. We tell them to be confident. We tell them to believe in themselves. If our babies would just listen to us, they would grow up to be confident young women who are proud of who they are.

But they don't listen, do they? They watch us. They watch us as we flip through Shape magazine drooling over new weight loss products that promise to help us loose 10 sizes in 10 days. They watch us as we use four different tools and a gallon of hair product trying to get our hair to look full and shiny. They watch as we try on a new pair of pants and moan about how we can't fit into the size we want. They watch as we paint our faces to look 'prettier'. They watch as we have our bodies cut up and sewn back together to look like Kate Upton.

What am I really saying to my daughter then? Probably something more like this. "You are beautiful just the way you are, but I'm not." "Don't compare yourself to the other kids, but I'm going to compare myself to this magazine." "Be strong and confident, but I'm going to agonize over how these pants fit me."

Let me just suggest to you, fellow Mommas, that you really are beautiful. You really are fearfully and wonderfully made. If you believed that, truly believed, don't you think it would change not only how we see ourselves but how we raise our little girls? What if we stopped trying to look like what someone else says we should look like and spent that time appreciating what we already have? What if we focused on true inner beauty, mental and physical? Michelangelo was famous, in part, for his incredibly realistic sculptures. In reference to his works, Michelangelo said, "I saw the Angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." I propose that we are all marble angels, unique and individually beautiful.

There are many answers to the questions I've asked, and each answer will be as unique as you are. But my wish is that we really think about what we are saying to our girls with our words and our actions.


"What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and the skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?" - Michelangelo