Last night, as I was walking down Grey street in Southbank, Brisbane, my stride was temporarily slowed as I approached a large group of girls getting off a tour bus in front of the theatre. The ‘girls’ were young, probably averaging at 16 or 17 years of age, and buzzed with excitement as they spilled on to the footpath. They were all immaculately groomed, and if I had to guess would have been from some sort of dance school, or performance group. I had my ears pricked, as I always do when walking the streets alone at night and heard one of the girls say to one of the other girls as she approached her, “You’re looking really skinny!” It was said with a smile, and was mean’t as a compliment to which the girl replied “thank you”, lifting her head slightly in pride. As I looked at the girl, boy was she thin, hollywood thin, not an ounce of body fat to be found. My heart sank at that moment, as I thought to myself, that is all the fuel that girl needs to skip another meal, to continue on that destructive diet, to keep persisting until she reaches that elusive state of PERFECTION. Let me tell you, she will never get there. She will never be satisfied, nor happy, nor joyous. She will never LOVE herself for exactly who she is when society, her friends, her family, the media are feeding her with such nonsense. It is hard to escape. As a former professional dancer I know. The very show (perhaps the ballet) she was about to absorb is filled with women trapped in little girls bodies. Completely unatural beings gliding across the stage as though they do not have a care in the world. Two words, ‘Black Swan’. Yes, the film was dramatic, and horrifying, and uncomfortable. Sadly it was not too far from the truth. It demonstrated the real psychological challenges faced by dancers, and not just dancers, but many women in this world. The crushing path they tread is literally killing them!
I could talk about this issue for a very long time, as it is close to my heart. I have had to battle my own skinny demons, and let me tell you, they and what they represent dragged me down, squashed my face in to the ground and made me feel worthless! Your worth = your weight, or the quality of your makeup, or whether or not your hair is having a good or bad day, that pimple on your face, the jeans that are that little bit too tight… The list goes on, and I am sure you get the point.
On another related note, I was sitting in a cafe in Brisbane a little while back, when I looked up to see a woman in her 60’s (I think, was hard to tell) waiting for her take away. She looked at me, and gave a half smile, or at least she tried to smile. Her face was so filled with botox, and her lips contained enough collagen to rivel any old Hollywood celebrity. Wow, how sad, I thought. Sad because by that point in her life, after 60 or so years on this planet, she had not yet discovered where beauty comes from. Sadder still, is that no-one in her life cared to share the truth with her. Like the 16 year old girl, filled with skinny pride, what they chase will never eventuate. PERFECTION will never be achieved. For it does not exist (in humanity).
Beauty can not be measured in weight or wrinkles, it is something that shines from within. Its home is your heart, your spirit, your soul. You cannot touch it, yet you can feel it. When you are surrounded by beautiful people, you FEEL good! They exude positivity, they encourage, and strengthen. They don’t care what you look like, for they see you from the inside. So next time you want to give a friend a ‘compliment’, think about what you’re saying. Compliment her on her smile, her kindness, her patience, her love, her courage… Her heart! The sooner we women learn the truth about beauty and accept, and love ourselves just the way we are, the sooner we will be FREE to express ourselves the way God intended, to love oursleves and others like He loves us.
God bless x