The results for the Miss Universe Pageant are hot off the press, and all I can do is sit here defeated.
It’s not because I didn’t win. I wasn’t even in the running…no where near being in the running. But that’s not why I feel so defeated. It’s the fact that every girl in that pageant looks the same. Every girl that walked across that stage adhered to the same destructive standard of beauty.
What goes on behind the scenes? How are the girls coping behind the plaster of make-up and bronzer? What is it like to be crowned Miss Universe? Do all your worries go away? Are all your dreams accomplished? Is your life perfect?
I doubt it.
There was a time I would have given anything to be one of those girls (and I mean anything). There was a time I looked at the pictures of those women and thought they had it all. There was a time that I looked in the mirror and wished I could look like one of them; I would have been happy even looking like the last contestant.
Now is not that time. Today as I look at these photos, my heart breaks. I imagine the faces of the millions of girls and women who will see these photos today. I imagine what it is like behind the stage. I imagine how alone all of those “Miss”-es must feel. And then I imagine a world where all of that competition does not matter.
Will there ever be a day when beauty ceases to be a competition? I do not know. But I do know this- I can make the change to not compete. I can make the change to look at those pictures and see the hurt and confusion underneath the perfect faces rather than the challenge to become them.
I have been there. Not on the Miss Universe stage, but behind the scenes. I have witnessed the intense jealousy, envy, and control in my own life, and I would not go back for the world. What the pictures don’t tell you is this: the life of “beauty” is miserable. The life of perfection is unfulfilling. The life of control only spins out of control. The life of jealousy only makes you more and more insecure. You never win. You never feel satisfied. You only feel more lost and confused than when you started out.
It’s easy to hate the girls in the pictures. It’s easy to talk bad and degrade the magazines. But the truth is- they are just like you and me. They, too, have the desire to be beautiful. They, too, wish that someone would pay attention and love them. The only difference between Miss Universe and us is that she is on National Television. We are not.
So today as you (and a million others) look at these pictures from the Miss Universe pageant, remember this: perfection is not what makes you beautiful. Photoshop and toned arms are not the answer. A thin frame and perfect hair will not complete you. The very thing that makes you beautiful will never be found on T.V. Beauty is you allowing yourself to be you in the midst of pictures telling you to be something else.
I am no Miss Universe. I am no magazine cover beauty. But I am me, and today that is enough.
Verse: “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.” (Psalm 25:15)