Friday, April 1, 2011
Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall...
By: Mary Alford-Carman
Weight came up in a discussion this week and as usual, I wanted to change the subject to anything other than that. Did I really need to be reminded that bathing suit season is just around the corner? For the past twenty-five years I have struggled with my weight. I was never tiny, but much of the time I was healthy. I look back on some photos and wonder where I ever got the idea that I was overweight. I'd give anything to weigh now what I weighed in quite a few photos I tucked away. I was active; I walked everywhere and rode my bike. I had a waist and when I looked down I could see my toes. I've tried every diet known to man and I have enough sizes in my closet to open a small boutique. Weight is an ugly word.
That said; I'm worried. I know how it feels to have a poor self-image and to constantly feel like the outer shell must be perfect for someone to get close enough to like the "real you." Now my thirteen-year-old daughter looks in the mirror and worries about her thighs, which are the size of small twigs. What's wrong with this picture? On TV you have trainers shouting at adults who are overweight and cutting into the core of their souls in the interest of ratings and "making them better." How does screaming at someone help them be better? How is this a good thing? Sure, sure, if the end result is that they lose the weight, then everything is hunky dory, right? No, nope, nada, zip.
Trying to be healthy is a grand thing, trying to fit a preset image is another. American Idol wants the entire package, fantastic looks and a voice combined and if you don't fit both…bye-bye. Where would we be if American Idol looked at Carol King, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Mumford and Sons, Amy Winehouse, or for that matter, Steven Tyler? The combined talent of these individuals could fuel a rocket to space and back times infinity, but that's not what the media, magazines and TV shows exemplify today.
I want my daughter to know it takes more than a pretty face, a carved body, and a size zero wardrobe to be a whole person, that youth and beauty fade, but the mind and soul quicken, bloom and enrich, that when you hold up the mirror of life, all those who look back at you with love and respect are what matter. Beauty is as beauty does…oh when will we learn? In the meantime I'll keep plucking away for a healthier me, and if I'm lucky, maybe I'll get around to cleaning out my closet.