Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Story Not My Photo

I have a confession to make.

I sometimes get a bit caught up in someone else’s drama when I really have no reason or right to be involved.

Let me explain.

Controversial topics/discussions can bring out the best and worst of humanity. And for some reason, on some days, I just love to read about what everyone has to say. Case in point: the whole Brooke v Shape magazine story. I read what seems like every blog, article, and media post about this story. Because I love Brooke, she is awesome.

But then, then sometimes I would do something quite idiotic and read everyone’s comments on said posts.

Which is frustrating as hell when you are completely on one person’s side and think their opinion is valid and right and get annoyed when others don’t see it that same way. Logical, right?

I know better that I should just back away from the comments. But no, like a moth to the flame I am drawn to them. Even when I am getting more flustered and angered and disappointed, I still read.

But in the midst of all the extremely positive supportive words (thankfully most comments are) and extremely negative and hateful words there always seems to be at least one comment that is neutral. And thought- provoking. And brings light to another issue not being discussed.

In this case it seems like we are viewing this topic as if there are only two sides.

We see one side of the coin being:

·         Shame on mainstream media for making me feel like my body is flawed/gross/unacceptable/disgusting/unattractive

And the flipside:

·         Shame on those fighting mainstream media for telling me what is and is not beautiful and cutting me down for not agreeing with them

But what about this point? The one that a lot of folks seem to be missing:

·         Why is either side fighting to continue associating beauty with outward appearances???

Why in 2014 are we still fighting over body image and body perception and body shame?

Why are we not advocating for beauty being kindness, warmth, lovingness, caring, strength, generosity, grace, friendship, loyalty, intelligence, courage, tenacity?

When will we all recognize the importance of being a good person over being a good looking person?

I want people to read my story and be inspired. Or encouraged. Or motivated. Or hopeful.

Rather than someone see my picture and feel that way.

Or not.

And then fight about it. And fight about what I stand for as a human being because of some idea they have conjured up.

All based off of a stupid picture that could never capture anything close to the essence that makes me the BEAUTIFUL person that I am.

So, if you ask me- Brooke is beautiful. And I have always felt that way.

But not because she is thin or fit or because she has long hair or because she looks great in a bikini. But because she is kind and funny and strong and loving and supportive and a million other things that make her a great person and a great friend.

To me, there will always be three groups caught up in this issue; those fighting to keep the beauty industry thriving, those fighting against the ideals that industry perpetuates, and those trying to step away from both.

I have been a part of the first two groups as both a willing participant and not.

But I would much rather be a part of the last. Helping to move beyond the notion that personal beauty is something we can quantify by weight, height, and measurements or something we can capture with a camera lens. But more so beauty being a quality one possesses because of their actions and behaviors.

That seems like a kinder, gentler, more loving world.  A world where comments about a photograph might not be quite as hurtful or brash.

Yeah, call me a hippie (I totally know I am) but really? Wouldn’t you want to live in this world?

Love and hugs,