But perhaps I should call this post: Standards.
Different ages and societies have different expectations or standards that they impose upon their members. Those who care, but do not conform, live a lifetime of guilt-ridden emotion. “If only I tried harder”. “Maybe if I did this...” “I heard that someone tried this and it worked for them...”
These expectations/standards are not necessarily negative, but they give a culture its unique addition to the diversity that abounds in the world.
The problems come when this diversity is looked down upon within a society. One of the most difficult expectations that I think young women come up against in modern American society is the expectation of size. I am not even referring to the modeling or movie industry (although it is quite plausible that they have added to the stigma of being large).
Throughout my life, I have been larger than most of those who surround me. When I was 9 I began growing to about the height I am now (save two or so inches) and by 11 an older boy from the youth group was calling me a “Mighty Meaty Hotdog” after a TV commercial advertising a larger brand of said foodstuff than had every been on the market. I was a rather naive 11 year old, and I would respond by calling him “Mr. Juicy Fruit” (as in the chewing gum). In being naive, I was spared so much of what could have hurt me deeply in his words.
However, one cannot stay a child forever. I soon became conscious of my proportions as compared to those who surrounded me. I was unsure of how (or what) to change, though. The fact is that I could not change. It was healthy for me to be that size according to how my bone structure and build had been created by God. I was not overeating, and I was eating healthy, wholesome foods.
When I was 14, our family moved o America, and I gained 40lbs in two months just from the diet changes. I was suddenly even more conscious of skinny American girls with make-uped complexions and slim legs. I spent my own money to try to “fix” and “help” myself. I regulated as much as I could think of. I tried my hardest to “be beautiful”.
Then came a day I will remember for the rest of my life. My grandmother, who is similar to me in height, structure and much else was visiting when I explained to her my most recent endeavors to change myself to fit the expectations of my age. She, who had struggled similarly her whole entire life, looked me straight in the eye and said: “Stop it! Stop!!! You will never look like them!! You will never be able to be like them!”. She was weeping as she spoke. She knew what her words would do to me, and she said them out of a pure love for me, and a concern for my future life and well being.
I was not able to assimilate her wisdom, though, and for a couple years still attempted to fit into the standards set by our society. I was not unhealthy, and I did not gain more weight, but I could not loose what I had.
What kind of a society sets numbers as a precedent for beauty? BMI can be ******, and so can scales. How reasonable is it to say “...up to this number you are appealing, and no further?”
It has not been until recently that I have been able to raise my hands to God and say in full surrender: “You are to be praised for creating me how I am”. I am truly grateful for His grace in allowing me to live and use this body that He has given me for His glory. I am fully persuaded that the size I am now is His will. If it were better for me to glorify him weighing 10 or 50 pounds less: then I would not be the size that I am.
“Exercise” does not create a better person. Eating less does not create a more holy person. Weighing only 120 lbs does not make a more beautiful person. It only makes you anorexic.
My grandmother is probbably the wisest woman I know. She has had to suffer much from the expectations of society as a whole and the people who surround her who think they know better than God how large her proportions or how heavy her tread..
And to those people in my life: Go talk to God. Tell him what weight you think He should make me and see if He agrees with you. I am only His bondservant.
soli Deo gloria