As I walked the floor of Corpus Christi’s finest gym today, one theme seemed to scream loud and clear: obsession.
This was a place where obsession lived, spread, and lingered. I noticed it on the women running all around me, trying to conform to the perfect image in their minds. I noticed it in the face of the man at the weight machine, spent from the workout that should have ended two hours ago. I noticed it in the sigh of the college student as she looked at herself in the mirror, wishing that she could look like anyone else but herself.
I noticed it in the thoughts that tried to take up residence in my mind as I looked around at the hamsters on the wheels. How I wished that I could be like them. How I wished to have their bodies, their dedication, their faces. “What would it be like,” I asked myself, “to look like her?”
I imagine it would be a lot like looking like me.
Somewhere along the way, I learned that looking like someone else would solve all my problems. Since I was a little girl, I have believed the lie that tells me beauty equates a wonderful life. I learned that appearance is all that matters; so if it looks good on the outside, it must be good on the inside.
I have been so misguided.
The truth is- it doesn’t matter what it looks like on the outside. It is never all “good”. Just because Ms. Run-for-three-hours on the treadmill next to me fits my warped definition of beauty doesn’t mean that she has it all together. What makes me think that having her face or her body would bring me comfort? I’m convinced it’s the packaging.
The packaging is meant to fool; it is meant to deceive. It’s all shiny and wrapped on the outside, but unwrap the bow and start tearing the paper, and you will be in for a shocking surprise. The present is not all that it seems.
Beauty is that present. It fools. It deceives. It allures your eye. But as you handle it, you begin to realize that it’s not as sturdy as it once seemed. As you look at it, you realize that it lost its splendor after the transaction. As you open the box, you realize that it is not at all the gift you imagined it to be. You’re disappointed, sure. You’re upset, of course. But do you give it back? Of course not. Because in your hand lies the power to influence. The power to succeed. The power to be seen.
Beauty of today encompasses all that and more. It promises, promises, promises, but disappears when it is time to cash-in. It may wrap itself up in the finest gift wrap around, but it will still lead to the same end- disappointment.
So join me in the revolution. When the next girl gets on the treadmill next to you, don’t look at her and wish you could be her. Look at her, appreciate her for who she is, and continue on in your normal, healthy workout.
You’ll go home so much more refreshed.