Saturday, March 23, 2013

They Build You Up Just To Break You Down

By Jordan Almond


Beauty. What does that mean to you? Is beauty something you see, something you experience? Is it the way a painting moves you emotionally, or is it the way someone’s body is built? Is beauty the laughter of children, or the sound of raindrops falling onto the moist earth? The word beautiful has a lot of different meanings to various people. Dictionary.com lists the definition of beautiful as,
“1. Having beauty; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind: a beautiful dress; a beautiful speech” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/beautiful?s=t).
In other words, to be beautiful, something must be aesthetically significant to one’s own desires. If this is the case, then why does society have one definition of what makes a person beautiful? Doesn’t it stand to reason that the old idiom, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is more of a truth then an outdated phrase? Society tries to tell us via different forms of media, that for a woman, being beautiful means being thin. We’re told that if we’re thin with large breasts, and curvy hips, we are gorgeous. They’ve come up with a lot of adjectives to describe these women; stunning, amazing, perfect. Perfection is something we are taught to strive for, from our earliest moments. The people that raised us try to encourage fast growth; encouraged early walking, talking, and reading. They told us to get good grades, go to college, and make something out of ourselves. Our role models are people in magazines, and on T.V., and are also on the radio station. We are manufactured to be walking, talking, and breathing perfection. But what happens when we break that mold? Break the stereotype of what we’re “supposed” to be, and work towards becoming who we SHOULD be. Well, that’s where things get tricky.
            Numerous young girls, and women, are caught in the crossfire of perfection, and expression. Is it possible to express yourself, and achieve perfection? Well, yes. If you are achieving what makes you happy, and your idea of perfection is becoming who you want to be, without any restrictions. It’s important to remember that society’s idea of perfection is a mass-minded unrealistic fantasy. People, both men and women, are starving themselves to become this ideal figure. If you look at many of the stars in Hollywood, they are thin, and glamorous. They have the best clothes, cars, houses, and even spouses. In professional jobs, full figured women are turned down more often, then women of a petite frame. Why is this? Because women are told they have to “look the part”. As if it’s not hard enough for us to make it in a severely sexist economy, we now have to tailor our appearances to fit how a company believes people should look. Before I get criticized for saying that the economy is sexist, please take a moment to do some research. You will see that in many professional settings, women are still being paid less then men, even though they have the same qualifications. Anyways, this post isn’t about sexism, it’s about beauty.
            I personally believe that the ability to express oneself is extremely important. Everyone has a different way of self-expression. But rather than getting into the more in depth version of self-expression, I’d like to focus on one’s ability to express themselves via their bodies. Let’s start with tattoos. To some elder generations, even the word tattoo is still taboo. You’ll hear people from older generations mumbling about sex, drugs and rock and roll. You’ll also hear them say that tattoos are the devil’s mark, and how if you have a tattoo you’re going to hell. Granted, for those of you who don’t have a faith, give me just a moment to make a statement [as I am a woman of faith]. In Leviticus, it does state that we aren’t supposed to tattoo our bodies. We are also told in the Bible that our bodies are a temple, and we’re supposed to take care of it. I myself have struggled with this. For a very long time, I didn’t get a tattoo, even though I knew a lot of Christians that do have them, from before, and after they accepted Christ. But in the fall of 2010, I got a dove on my left hip, with the words Eternal Love, and a small heart underneath. This tattoo is an expression of both my faith, and my personal beliefs. There we go again with the word expression. I expressed myself, artistically, on my temple, glorifying the Lord that I believe in. There is a lot of controversy still about tattoos, and honestly, everyone is entitled to their beliefs. It is my own personal belief, that it is okay to have tattoos. I think they’re beautiful, even the ones that terrify me. Here’s a really good link I found that describes one interpretation of tattoos and piercings, from a Biblical standpoint: [http://www.clarifyingchristianity.com/tattoos.shtml]. Now, that being said [and thank you for all of my friends of different religions for being patient], let’s jump to piercings. I used to have a Monroe, which I took out this past November. I loved it. I think a lot of piercing are really nifty. Does that mean I would get them? HECK NO! Some piercing are hard for me to even look at! And that’s only because I have a low pain tolerance and I literally feel pain looking at them. That doesn’t mean I think they’re disgusting. It just means that I think it’s great they’ve expressed themselves in a way that I could never see myself doing.
            As I’m going off topic again, let’s go back to beauty and weight. The reason I was inspired to write this blog today, is because of an experience I had at my doctor’s office. I had an appointment for a follow up from a CT Scan, because of a hernia that I have in my umbilical region. My surgical doctor comes in, and he had just looked at my CT Scan. He tells me that he doesn’t believe that I will need surgery on the hernia right now. He also continued to say that, even if I needed the surgery, he wouldn’t do it right now because I am too heavy to operate on. Now, my primary physician had told me from some primary results, that I tested positive for a fatty liver. So I asked the surgical doctor if that is something I should be concerned about. Again, he responded to me that many people who are “obese, tend to have fatty livers” and there’s “nothing that can be done about it until weight is lost”. Okay. I just smile, and say, “Well, okay, and what about the pain?” he tells me the generic, “take a Tylenol” etc response, and then, he says something that completely shocked and offended me. He looked and me and goes, “You’re a beautiful girl. You would have such beautiful features if you would lose the weight. You’re too young to be throwing your life away”. I stared at him dumbfounded. He continued on by saying that he recommends that I get the lap band weight loss procedure, and that the next time he sees me, he wants me to be half of my size. I smiled politely, and exited his office when prompted to. Inside, I was fuming. I got out to my car, and sat down for a second, and thought to myself. A year ago, I would have broke down into tears. Now? Now I am incredibly angry. As someone who suffers from SEVERE low self-esteem I am completely astounded at the audacity of my doctor to tell me that I am literally throwing my life away, because I am not skinny. Let me give you a little preview of my medical history. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome [PCOS], as well as a family history of Obesity. These two factors alone not only keep me heavy, but also make it ten times more difficult to lose weight. On a blood test that was done two weeks ago, my results came back normal; in fact, my doctor was pleased that all of my numbers are great. I have great blood pressure, good cholesterols; my blood sugar is good considering the PCOS makes me pre-diabetic and insulin resistant. The only problem I have is a low amount of Vitamin D, and the sinus problems. So basically, his idea that I am not healthy BECAUSE I’m overweight, without knowing any other medical fact about me, is insulting. You can be someone who is overweight, and be healthy. I love to exercise, but haven’t been able to in the past three months because of suffering from the hernia. I love to eat healthy, even though I do cheat sometimes. Not going to lie, I love my caramel mocha coffee from Dunkin Donuts. Yes, I am at a higher risk of heart problems because of my obesity. Yes, I am at a higher risk of other health conditions. But right now, I am in good health, I just have excess weight. I’m EXTREMELY self-conscious of it, and have taken the effort to try and improve my self-esteem every day. I just find it so hard to believe that I will only be considered beautiful, if I’m thin enough for my features to show better. Get out of here. Why has society and the medical field brainwashed so many people? They wonder why there are higher cases of eating disorders in the world, and yet they tell us we are not acceptable the way God made us. We are LESS then because we do not conform. Well, I say it’s time that we take a stand, and tell the world, that we ARE beautiful. We are strong, we are independent, and we don’t need ANYONE making us feel less than. I was bullied almost my entire life, because of my weight. I allowed people to make me feel like I was worthless, and I kept quiet about being bullied, because I was afraid it would make my life worse. But I’m not afraid anymore. I still suffer from self-esteem issues, and I have a lot to work on. But I’m starting to believe in myself, and starting to believe that I am worth it. I think it’s time we fight back against the stereotypes. Who’s with me?

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