Self-Image and Society’s Expectations

Sharon Skinny
My dear mother took this photo of me back in 1978. On the back, she wrote a personal note where she calls me her “little pea pod”. I had no idea then just how ‘little’ I was, because I was dieting even then. As I recall, my goal was to weigh 99 pounds (I probably weighed 107 or so here).

WHILE shopping at our local supermarket last week, I took a few minutes to peruse the magazine rack. Few places in our post-modern world so reveal the mixed message that our society sends to women. Here you’ll find periodicals specializing in fitness, feminity, and food — often in the very same magazine. One such woman’s journal reveals diet secrets, tips for surviving a one-night stand, and the world’s best chocolate cake recipe — all in the same issue.

Flashback to 1978.

As I’ve mentioned before, my early twenties centered around personal appearance — to the max. I worked then as the front singer to a series of several ‘lounge’ bands, and my agent continually nagged me about my natural tendancy toward a few extra pounds. To this day, I can recall vividly being called into his office and told I was simply too fat. (At that time, I weighed 130 at 5’5″). Crash diets followed, near starvation, and within only a few months, my fragile emotional state cracked — I vowed to achieve a beautifully thin body and reap my agent’s praises as a reward.

It worked. I won’t share my ‘diet secrets’ — they were unhealthy and ludicrous (and I got them from a woman’s magazine!). Suffice it to say that drastic choice echoes into my life today. My thyroid barely functions (it finally turned on itself — I have Hashimoto’s autoimmune disorder), and my self-image would probably crash and burn without the miraculous mirror of my husband’s eyes. My life has been saved twice — first by my Lord and Savior — second by my wonderful, supportive husband Derek.

Bottom line: Our real selves lie not within our bodies, but within our spirits. No matter how one might fight it, even the skinniest body will age and die. Our spirits — our souls — live on. Naturally, if your health requires weight loss, then seek a nutritionist’s help and set a moderate weight goal. Lose the pounds slowly, but don’t allow the scale or the measuring tape to control your life. Thank God each day for the chance to serve Him — thank Him for each glorious breath!

One day, when Christ looks into my eyes, He won’t ask if I kept my BMI in line.