Shake what your mama gave ya

Well, I’m not really writing about dancing. Or to tell you to shake anything.

But I do want to talk about what your mama gave ya.

I watched a tv show this morning as I ate my cereal. It’s a show called Secret Lives of Women on WE. The show explores different things that women do that others might not know about. The topic at hand was, however, something that would hard to, erm, hide: Plastic Surgery. Two of the three women were clearly addicted to having surgery, which was a little sad, honestly. One lady was on her 6th, I think, the other had had so many surgeries that the family sold their house to pay for the cost. Although they seemed pleased with the results, inevitably, there was something wrong with their bodies so back they ran to pour more money into their bodies.

I know, some women chose to have plastic surgery for a lot of very, very good reasons, including feeling better about themselves. But the examples this show gave were cases – especially the second one I mentioned – that clearly the person was going to be unhappy until her body reached perfection. What is perfection, though? She continually has uneven scarring from the incisions to put skin more tout, and if you saw her, you’d think she was perfect the way she is.

Sorry, let me interrupt myself with a quotation from Jimmy Buffett’s song, Fruitcakes:

“I treat my body like a temple. You treat YOURS like a TENT!”

To return to the story now, I wonder if the perpetual pursuit of perfection through plastic surgery, extreme dieting, what-have-you, is actually good for you. Perhaps these types are actually treating their bodies more like a tent, not the temporary vessel that it really is.

On one hand, I get it. People – women, in particular – want to be seen as attractive, approachable, etc.

On the other hand, the heavier hand, how much can you pour on yourself in this pursuit and still wind up happy? From my perspective, I am always upset with how folks spend their money – a practice I am working on myself, so this not a judgement thing (yet it is). If you’re going to spend more money than you have on your appearance, why can’t you be as equally willing to give that money away to others in need? I know, bleeding heart here, but seriously. If the best things in life are free: time with loved ones, a gorgeous sunset, a day when everything goes your way, having people around that love you, then why spend all that money on yourself?

I remember a story about a rich couple who were unhappy. They stared down into an alley one night and saw the local baker, let’s say, and his wife, the rich couple’s maid. They seemed really, really happy. The rich couple separately wondered, why are they so happy? They have nothing.

I think when we pursue really selfish things – blindly of others – we forget to see the big picture. That we’re all in this world together. That we can help each other out. I realize that as I age, my body and mind aren’t going to be what they were when I was in college or my early twenties. I have white hairs at my temples. Surprisingly, to myself, I am embracing these white hairs, because I feel like they are a sign of wisdom that I have earned. It feels unnatural for me to consider plastic surgery (and I couldn’t afford it anyway!) because I am sure that if I got one thing done, suddenly the rest of my body might not look so great.

A teacher stopped by our office today to help with some Admissions work. What started out as light chitchat grew into a really indepth discussion about evil. The teacher, J, was mentioning his childhood fascination with vampires, etc., and some stuff he was going through. He mentioned that pure evil never presents itself as something unattractive, and it exists in the tiny voice in our head that says, “You’re not good enough to be loved.” I was profoundly affected by this conversation, as I typically am with conversations with J.

A while back, when I was going through some therapy, my therapist had me recite some positive phrases to myself. Number one and two were:

1. I am a child of God.

2. I am loved and lovable.

I think accepting and reinforcing these truths to ourselves is very powerful. At least, it was for me. The common theme that has been presenting itself lately is really getting the golden rule or the greatest commandment: Treat others as you want to be treated or Love your neighbor as yourself.

It’s pretty much impossible to love your neighbor if you don’t love yourself.


One thought on “Shake what your mama gave ya

  1. finally catching up here… i’ve been lax in my blog reading… damn facebook… tee hee…

    i have no problem with people seeking surgery to fix problems that they’ve been self conscious about their whole lives–some things really are out of proportion or disfigured… but the sad ones to me are the ones that never seem happy, no matter what the doctors do, over and over again… and i don’t think they know how to be…

    self esteem is such a big deal

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