Different is Good (not just at Arby’s)

I mentioned that I made a second discovery the first time I read the preface to C.S. Lewis’ book, The Great Divorce. Don’t worry, this observation is much shorter than the last one.

Most of you know that I have an eating disordered background. I don’t know if that’s the proper way to say it, but I think it makes sense. I dealt with anorexia for, at this point, more than half of my life.

One factor that frequently contributes to body dysmorphia,* is the idea that there is a perfect physical standard. All forms of media pummel our brains with visual and audial messages about an ideal body shape. Women, particularly are susceptible to these bogus rants.

Perhaps C.S. Lewis wasn’t thinking of the size of his thighs when he wrote the book, but I certainly see a reasonable application for a few of his comments.

“Even on the biological level life is not like a river but like a tree. It does not move towards unity but away from it and the creatures grow further apart as they increase in perfection. Good, as it ripens, becomes continually more different not only from evil but from other good.”

Imagine if we applied that to our bodies!
What if it’s true?
What if, the more distinct we are the better?
What if the most radical aspects of our beauty are those which define us from everyone else?
What if the most outstanding characteristics of our physical beings are those which no one else has?
What if our most celebrated potential is that our individuality can inspire, challenge and enhance the differences of others?

jayThink of it…why do we admire a blue jay? Is it not for the crisp azure of his feathers, starkly rimmed in black and white? Like God forgot to remove the tape after painting the edges of his feathers.

I appreciate a quail’s cry simply because I recognize it and he sounds like a familiar friend. I don’t wish the cardinal was the color of the sea, and I don’t wish the quail said, “Sue Smith,” instead of, “Bob White.” Their perfection is in their distinction.

I don’t love my dog, Brave, because he’s adorable, but he is adorable to me because his special, “I missed you,” tail wag is different from any other lovable mutt’s. He is precious to me because he’s unlike any other dog I’ve ever met.

Think even of a season’s grape harvest, pressed into a magnificent vintage. What makes a wine favorable? Is it not because one year’s drought deepened the flavor and another climate’s cool soil heightened the acidity?

So what if we applied Lewis’ concept to our own bodies, if as God’s creatures we believed that the farther apart we grow we increase in perfection.

“Good, as it ripens, becomes continually more different not only from evil but from other good.”

*Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of mental illness, a somatoform disorder, wherein the affected person is concerned with body image, manifested as excessive concern about and preoccupation with a perceived defect of their physical features. Wikipedia

Resource for thought: Health at Every Size

Shopping for Truth

It’s been a day. A very good, very long day. At the moment, I’m enjoying my 11th day in Wichita. This morning, my mom, sisters and I hosted my other sister, Kelsey’s, first baby shower. She was buried in pink gifts and Pooh Bears by excited friends and family.

I feel like I turned around twice and all of a sudden, it’s nearly 5 o’clock. After everyone left, chairs were stored and dished racked, I went to the mall to see if I could exploit a sale at Express.  No such luck.  I hate shopping alone. However, the mall is rich fodder for a blog about lies.

The first lie assaulted me in the form of a 12×6 banner, strung to the ceiling as I entered the main body of the mall. “SmartLipo” it screamed. Really? Admittedly, you’re pretty smart if you know that “laser” stands for, “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” However, the emotions that lead a woman to consider laser surgery to extricate part of her body often include depression, self-loathing and embarrassment.

“Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes,” is smart, according to Health At Every Size, a movement of individuals devoted to promoting health and contentment in people of every size.

My second double take occurred just one window further into the mall. A flirty mannequin waving from Forever21, strutted a t-shirt declaring “Jesus [hearts] U.” Not a lie, but the greatest truth ever told. I simply find it ironic to hear the overhead music bragging about “dirty little freaks.” Because Jesus loves us, shouldn’t we be more concerned with His honor?

Lastly, since I only lasted at the mall for about 25 minutes (I told you I hate shopping alone) was a the phrase on one t-shirt among many at a stand in the middle of the isle. “I Beat Anorexia.” Well, good for you, but seriously – this is serious.

Statistically, 10-25% of all those battling anorexia will die. If you beat it, do something to help someone else win a loosing battle.