Loving my body

“Every day is so wonderful
Then suddenly it’s hard to breathe.
Now and then I get insecure
From all the pain, I’m so ashamed.

I am beautiful no matter what they say.
Words can’t bring me down.
I am beautiful in every single way.
Yes, words can’t bring me down… Oh no.
So don’t you bring me down today.”
“Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera

Wow, it’s not every day that I can use a pop song (is a song from 2002 still considered “pop”?) in my blog, but this song is one of the very few positive images of beauty in the media in recent history. I don’t often (read: EVER) look to the media to give me reassurance about my body, about my struggle with loving myself as I am, with thinking myself beautiful. In fact, most media images of beauty are completely unhealthy, unattainable and untrue.

Warning: the model in this video wears only a bikini bottom, though none of her chest is shown. Perfect example of how even “super models” are not all we think they are.

But can I only blame the media? I don’t think so. Sure, I get these unattainable images thrust at me and told that this is beautiful, but I accept it! And then it starts: “I’m too fat, I’m too short, I’m too whatever.” So yes, Christina, words can bring me down. Where do those words come from? My own mind. Who’s telling me I’m not beautiful, not good enough? Only me. And these words are toxic.

If I’m telling myself I’m not beautiful, what am I modeling for my daughter, especially Mini-me? If I believed in reincarnation, she would be living proof. Isn’t she beautiful? Yeah, duh.

IMG_0073

If I don’t believe in my own beauty, how will I ever give that beauty to others? How will I fulfill one of the jobs God has created me to be–a bringer of His own Beauty to the world dying for loss of it. Prince Myshkin in The Idiot says that “Beauty will save the world.” I believe this to be true. True beauty in art, music, liturgy, etc. has the power to change lives, to transform hearts and souls. We women also have this power, given us by God, that we may make Him present to those we encounter. We are created to reflect Beauty, the Beauty of the Creator.

Recently, in my women’s group study of Momnipotent, the session discussed “Fearless Beauty.” The opening video showed a camera person going around asking women “Are you beautiful?” Out of the thirty or so women they asked, only two were able to say with confidence, “Yes! I am beautiful!” None of the others answered in the affirmative, and many answered in the negative. Why?

And then, last week I read at Carrots for Michaelmas Haley’s take on beauty and our culture’s damaging words to women. How she fears for her daughters and their encounter with the image of beauty in the media. She delights in her daughters’ beauty, the same way God delights in ours. Borrowing her words, God delights in my Jamie-ness. In your Elizabeth-ness. In your Sandy-ness.

We are enough, ladies. We are beautiful and we have the Lord of the Universe who takes great delight in our beauty. His works (that includes women–all women) are wonderful, do we know that full well? (Ps. 139.14) Do you know that you are God’s temple, which is holy? (I Cor. 3. 16,17; 6. 19, 20)

I still struggle. I probably always will. But I must trust (ugh, again? Seriously?) that the God who created me delights in me, finds me beautiful and will give me the grace to give that beauty to others.

And because YouTube is great, another short little video on real life women being made into super models.

Advertisements

A tasty feast day

Yesterday was the feast of St. Bruno, founder of the Carthusians. This order “is the only old religious order in the Church which never had any reform and has never stood in need of any” and “has been regarded by the Church as the most perfect model of a penitential and contemplative state” (Butler’s: Complete v. IV). To celebrate this great day, we had a French food celebration with two friends. The menu: boeuf bourguignon (a la Julia Child), mashed potatoes, roasted green beans, green salad (because we didn’t have enough green beans), homemade bread, and the pièce de résistance, bittersweet chocolate tart.

The boeuf was an all day affair, but my favorite part of it was watching the YouTube clip of Julia’s very first show and following along with her. The two and a half glasses of wine I drank while cooking wasn’t bad either.

IMG_0009 IMG_0010

Here is a picture of my bowl of beef:

IMG_0446
Ok, it’s not the best picture and I took it as an afterthought after eating half of it. The rest of the diners ate their stew over mashed potatoes. I don’t like potatoes. Eww.

The only other picture I took was of the chocolate tart. Voilà.

IMG_0447
It was so rich I could not finish it.

And because it was the feast day of St. Bruno, the day would have been incomplete with a shot of Chartreuse. Of which I had just a sip, because by this time, I was toast.

Dinner aftermath:
IMG_0449 IMG_0450

A lovely feast day, and I didn’t even mind all the dishes.

And just because I haven’t posted food photos in awhile:
IMG_0398
Lavender vanilla honey cupcakes. Yes. They were incredibly amazing.

IMG_0038
And welcome home dinner for Dear Husband: Grilled steak and radishes with black pepper butter. Oh. My. Word.

 

Life!

IMG_0383

Around the world, pro-lifers are participating in 40 Days for Life, a peaceful approach to ending abortion in our communities. A few days ago, the children and I marched in front of the local abortion clinic. I’m going to be honest and say that it is one of my least favorite things to do. I hate abortion (the practice, NOT the persons who participate) as it is the killing of an innocent life, but I also hate standing out there, with people looking at me, thinking, “Oh, she’s one of those.” I know, I know. It’s my weakness and selfishness coming out. My fear of not being accepted, of not being liked. Father, forgive me my weakness and give me the strength to stand up for life.

And because it seemed to me very pro-life….

Movie Review: All is Lost
MV5BMjI0MzIyMjU1N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTk1MjQxMDE@._V1_SX214_AL_

One man on the Indian Ocean in a yacht crashes into a rogue shipping container and must battle with Mother Nature and fate to survive. Stepford Son and I watched this one together. I have to say it was absolutely amazing. There was no dialogue, really no background music to speak of (but what there was, was amazing), so I found myself watching even more closely, trying to pick up hints from the man’s actions and what went on around him. After every new crisis that arose, I found myself shouting in my head like the Romans in the Coliseum at a Gladiator match, “Life! Life! Life!” Son and I disagreed on what happened to the man at the end. Watch it and decide.