Are those real?

Plastic surgery.  I have never understood the concept of artificially altering one’s appearance.  Maybe organically altering yourself, sure.  Many times have I been swayed by cultural pressure, and, bouncing back-and-forth between the gym and the ice-cream section at the grocery store, realized that my appearance had been altered, (sometimes for the better, sometimes not.)  But surgically removing something natural, or inserting something foreign just boggles my mind.  Honestly.

I’m not saying those who have partaken are inherently wrong, or sinful. Please, don’t feel judged.  It’s just that I hurt for women who have felt so unloved because of their appearance; to the point of giving silicone or plastic a “forever home” under their flesh!

Mona-Lisa-before-and-after

Dolly Parton.  I mean, was it an accident, or did she look in the mirror and say to herself, “these would be so much more lovely if they were bigger than my head.”

And all the facial reconstruction!  I mean, forgive me, but I always thought the beauty of being unique is that no one else on earth looks exactly like you.  But when every other person is getting their nose trimmed, cheek bones implanted, face lifted, and forehead botoxed, why is it any surprise that everyone has begun to look like clones?  Similar to clothing styles, many people are now following “face shape trends.”  Does this not freak anyone else out?

All that’s missing:  a duck-faced, iPhone, mirror-selfie, with our heads all cocked to the same side.  Guess what, it takes WORK to be original.  (But not as much work as the Octo-mom… please.)  And most of the work was already done for you.

Not all of you may share the same belief, but I believe that you were CREATED, in God’s image.  That means you weren’t an accident.  No part of you was.  He planned you, just the way He wanted you, each flaw for a purpose.  My body is far from perfect, but each imperfection exercises my patience, character, love for others, and -news flash- these are all good traits.  Traits that other people like, and are drawn to.

Now, I haven’t said anything about medical intervention, so please don’t put words in my mouth [or fingers?].   Burn care, scar tissue, birth defects…. in my book these are more noble causes.  But even in some extreme cases, the patient is confused after the operation, (particularly adults) and left feeling separated from themselves when they see an entirely different person in the mirror.  Talk about an identity crisis.  But, that’s not really the topic under discussion here.

Can it be, that in effort to make ourselves more appealing, we’re losing what made us, us to begin with?

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My most embarrassing moment

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.*

Girl hiding face B and W

The moment I laid eyes on Taylor, I just knew we would be friends.  She wasn’t overly pretty or frilly in the way she dressed, and in my experience, pretty girls ran together in unofficial packs that us plainer girls were not invited to.  Much like certain species on the African plains, I imagine.  Lions with lions, antelope with antelope, naturally drawn to each other by similarities in behaviour, appearance, and diet.

Anyway, there I was, watching just such a group form between two of the girls on my left.  The only other girl present besides the choir leader and my sister, was Taylor.  She stood next to me on my right, so we naturally fell into conversation.  She was around my age, (13) but a little less developed than I was, which, naturally made me feel as though I had some prior claim on adulthood, meaning I was a little more important.  She definitely seemed a little un-decided in certain aspects of her life.  She was sporting a short, boy-cut hairdo, and wearing gender-neutral clothes.  Even her name was sort of nondescript.  (I’ve never been a huge fan of names that made their owner’s gender unclear.  It’s the reason I have trust issues.)

During the first break of the day it was meal time.  We had all brought a bag lunch, so we scattered around the facility to partake.  The boys on one side, and the girls on the other, Taylor and I next to each other.  The only thing to really talk about at that age was who liked whom.  “Josie likes Adam, but I like Ryan.”  Just as our break time was coming to a close, the choir leader joked around in my direction, “well somebody likes Taylor.”  Trying to play cool, I pretended like I knew who she was referring to, but I was slightly confused as to why she had directed this comment to me.  I grew up homeschooled, so I spent most of my time in a general state of social confusion.

Back in the music room, we assumed the same places we had before.  Pretty girl squad on my left, me, then Taylor, my sister and the leader.  At one point, Taylor manifested a small toy out of her pocket and began tinkering with it.  We launched a secret game of trying to snatch it from one another without the leader discovering our activity.  Just as another short break was called, Taylor commandeered the figurine, so it was my turn to get it back.  We went back to the kitchen area for a drink, and Taylor sat on a wooden chair with her legs folded Indian style.  Freeing up her hands to uncap a water bottle, she put the toy on the chair, protected by the Indian-style fort made of legs.  I saw my chance.  I reached into the human Venus fly-trap, fully expecting her to snap her knees closed around my hand.  I was alert and prepared for anything…

Except what I found.  Instead of a small plastic action figure, my fingers had clasped around something…. else.  Something else entirely.

As we filed back to our places, I avoided eye contact with Taylor.  It was around this time that my sister began comparing the number of boys to the number of girls.  Looking at Taylor, she lamented “if only you were a boy, then we’d have even numbers.”

Taylor looked up, with the most innocent indignance I’ve ever seen.  “I AM a boy.”  Eyebrows high, desperately hoping to be believed.  It was repeated. “I am a boy!”

My sister, finding herself in the same “try to be cool” situation I had stumbled through earlier, sheepishly dismissed the issue, “oh I know.”

She hadn’t known.  And neither had I.  Until I got a handful of the proof.

Onions have layers

Shrek and donkey

Shrek:  “Ogres are like onions.”

Donkey: “They stink?”

Shrek: “No.  LAYERS.  Onions have layers…. Ogres have layers.”

Donkey: “You know, not everybody like onions.”

*pause*

Donkey:  “CAKE!  Cake has layers.  And parfaits.  Everybody likes parfaits.”

Friendships have layers too.  Today’s societal tendency is to stay on the surface, because, well, we all know that the friendship could be like an onion, and make you cry the deeper you get into it.  BUT, what if instead of an onion, it’s a parfait?  And you never get to taste the sweetness that’s buried beneath the surface, because you’ve held it at arm’s length?

Peeling back the layers is scary.  Getting real with people is scary.  You’re exposing places of yourself that can cause old wounds to sting, embarrassing traits to be seen, and bad decisions to be judged. But it has only ever been worth it, in my experience.  Even when I got hurt.  That’s usually when I learned the most about myself. Getting to the heart –and hard stuff– is usually how we get to know each other, as well.

And think about it! We feel important when our friends have the guts to open up to us!  The shear joy, honor and esteem makes us feel loved, accepted, and valued by this person, our peer, who had faith to tell us about the REAL stuff that’s going on in their world.  So make THEIR day and spread the love, value and acceptance.  But I have 3 points of warning.

1. Don’t act like your pain is worse than mine.  Everyone’s been through something hurtful.  Obviously, at varying degrees, but the emotions that these varied experiences create are often very comparable.  You can only speak for yourself.

2. Gossip disguised as a prayer request.  “Did you hear, our mutual friend so-and-so is considering divorce, so would you pray for them?”  Listen, I BELIEVE IN THE HEALING POWER OF PRAYER, but I also believe in the destructive power of gossip.  It can destroy the joy in our own hearts, as well as tear down friendships, trust, and love for one another.  If your mutual friend so-and-so has given permission for you to share, then by all means, be my guest. But if not, you must take it up with the Holy Spirit.

3. If you dish it, be willing to take it.  Being a good listener.  It takes practice, people.  And it’s not always fun, but it’s an excellent character-building exercise.  And much like physical exercise, there’s quite a sense of accomplishment that comes with it.  Not to mention, deeper trust, relational intimacy, and you never know, you might just learn something about your friend that you didn’t know.  More blackmail material for later.

Step into my office…

I’ve never blogged before.  In fact, I’ve never written anything before 14 months ago.  It started with songs.  My Dad was a #1 songwriter, and most of my siblings write, with one in particular that has always blown me away with her power over words.  That left me… unsure of myself, and vowing never to let anyone see the proof, even if I did put something on paper.  But, my latest conclusion is that life is too short.  To hide.  To not practice something that you want to improve in.  And so, in effort to hold myself accountable, here I am.

It’s sort of become a past-time of mine… tricking myself into staying motivated to do, what seemed in the beginning, to be an activity that would never lose its appeal.  House cleaning, for instance.  When marriage, (and home-ownership) is new, you think “it will always be exciting to get on all fours and scrub the specks off the wood.” Yeah, freaking right.  But I figured out a secret, if I invite someone over at least once a week, I’m forced to either whip out the mop, or suffer through embarrassment.  Same with blogging.  If I just talk about, it never happens.  But as soon as I hit “confirm” button, I’m roped into releasing new content.  At least it FEELS that way.

I’m a very black-and-white person.  By this, I mean that I’m black on the inside, but terribly white on the outside.  🙂  But in all seriousness, I am black and white in my decision-making, my judgement of people, and my opinion on American Idol.  Basically, I’m a natural cynic, trying to learn grace.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM THIS BLOG?  Just for fun, I will be discussing many controversial subjects.  Asking, perhaps, the same questions that millions want to know, and maybe asking some that no one has dared to.  All from my limited perspective, of course.  Things that confuse me, move me, shake me, strengthen me.  And maybe, just maybe, there are some kindred spirits out there who get moved, confused, shaken and strengthen by the same things.

So, welcome.mop face