The strangest things have been happening to me lately. Now, to be fair, I’ve probably been drinking more than I should. But I also sort of suspect God of loading new software in my head and rebooting me as I sleep, like some fucked up sci-fi movie. Because apparently he does that. People say the more time you spend with Christ the more you become like him. Well, just so you know – the guy is kind of batshit. Let me tell you just one of many things that’s going on.
One day I woke up and everyone was just fucking beautiful. I wanted to be the creepy stranger that walked up to people on the street and was like “Well goddamn girl!” I loved the way women’s bellies curved and the spread of men’s shoulders. I was in awe of laugh lines and wild, unruly hair. I may have stared open mouthed a few times when it first started happening, I’m not sure.
And no, there were no drugs or alcohol involved. I know exactly what happened.
I had been reading Half the Sky. I think this particular story was about a woman who had mobilized the people in her community to stand up to the local slum lords. There was a small black-and-white photo of her next to her story. And, I kid you not, the first thing I thought was “She is mildly overweight”. I have been so conditioned to think that a few extra pounds equals weakness, equals a lack of character that can somehow be wrestled under control if I just want it bad enough.
But here was this warrior woman, not giving a shit about my western standard of beauty. She was shouting back at gangsters that threatened to burn her alive. She wasn’t afraid of the men who had recently gang raped and beaten a woman who was seven months pregnant just to prove a point to her family. When she learned that one of the slum lords was about to get off the hook because of the corrupt local justice system, she organized the local women. They marched right into the courtroom armed with knives and made hamburger meat out of the guy, each only stabbing him once. “What are you going to do?” they said. “Arrest all of us?”
That is not weakness. That is power, leadership, and fierce character.
These women fight to get of poverty, to send their daughters to school, to escape prostitution, to make a living in a deeply patriarchal culture so they can feed their families and find dignity. I could be helping, could be fighting for equality both here and around the world. But instead, I was spending my time, money, and energy on my motherfucking jean size.
So I decided I was done. I looked in the mirror and said, “This is good, this is acceptable, this is beautiful, just the way it is, without change or caveat.” And I meant it.
It was like this weird switch flipped, like a veil was lifted. I guess you can’t look at yourself with a narrow-minded, culturally influenced, critical eye and still see people the way Christ sees them – created in his image. Who knew? I still have my moments. But I feel like I have been given something utterly precious – both the perspective to mentally cut through the “fat” moments and the ability to see so much beauty in an ugly, ugly world.
And yeah, if you’re wondering, I probably think you’re gorgeous.