Friday, October 17, 2008

News Flash! Loren is NOT America's Next Top Model

Every year when the Miss Universe Competition is televised I ask myself the same questions:
"Why didn't anyone call me to try out? How do they know they have all the beauty in the universe right there?"
These types of contests are so unfair, because there are so many beautiful aspects to a person, beyond the physical, and you can see the beauty in almost anyone if you look from the right perspective.

Sometimes I watch the show America's Next Top Model, and I can understand why the models cry when they get voted off for "taking bad pictures" or "having no personality." To judge a person in that way is so harsh. In the mall there is a modeling agency that solicits people. Sales representatives always stop me and ask if I would consider getting my children into advertising or television. Why would I want to inflict that kind of pressure on them before they've had a chance to grow some self-confidence? "No thanks, I'll keep them anonymous." I say. They must be really desperate, because sometimes they ask me to sign myself up. "Only if you can get me into that Miss Universe Competition." I joke. I'm about 13 years too old for it now.

Self esteem is something I try to nurture in my children, because I've always masked the fact that my own is not as high as it should be. I don't want my daughter to look in the mirror and worry that she appears "too fat." I want all three of my children to know how beautiful, talented and loved they are. This wish may be an uphill battle to accomplish, however, because no matter what what my husband and I tell the kids, they still are bombarded by a warped, harsh society that pressures them to value and chase all the wrong ideas. Why is my self-esteem not where it should be? My parents gave me a loving, safe environment. It's because of the media messages that pressed down on me as I grew up. Commercials, billboards and magazines make me continuously question so many physical aspects of myself on a subconscious level.

Once I was daydreaming about media pressures on teens while I was at church. I was looking around at all of the statues when I noticed that none of the saints have fitted clothes. The emphasis is on their faces, and their hands, not the appearance of their bodies. It may sound silly, but this realization brought me some peace, a little rest from the constant images of "flawless" beauty.

Am I ever going to be America's Next Top Model? Obviously, for many varied reasons, no. I am, however, whether I like it or not, a role model. Who knows how many people I can touch with the influence of my own actions? I'm learning that the real beauty in life is found in action, not in the mirror.

At work I tell teens that they are all role models, and they laugh. "Not Me!" They exclaim. They don't want to accept the inevitable responsibility. Hopefully, over time, they will get the message, and see how connected we all are.

I feel most connected to nature and God at the beach. There is something overwhelmingly peaceful and mysterious about the movement of the ocean. The ocean makes me feel small, and it should, because in the great scheme of things, I am. Can something small have power? You bet. My small body may currently contain me, but I struggle not to let it define me. The realm of my influence is endless, and moving beyond my sight, just like ocean waves.

I have some bad news. You may not be America's Next Top Model either, but whether you like it or not, you will be a role model to someone.
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”-Mother Teresa


Anonymous said...

If only the rest of the world shared this moment of clarity you experienced looking at the statues of the saints...


Milk Man said...

Very Powerful, you are my hero and certainly a hero to three rug rats.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Hey, I daydream in church too! I think the same thing when people say my kids should be models. The emphasis has to be on developing their minds, hearts, and bodies into what God wants them to be. If they rely on their looks they will be sorely disappointed one day.

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

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