If I can’t be skinny…
It’s summer and I’m loving the gorgeous weather, but along with summer comes the stripping off of a few of those layers of clothing. Gone are the sweaters, long pants and winter coats. Out come the shorts and t-shirts, sundresses and…bathing suits. I saw a sign in a craft store a while ago, “LORD, IF I CAN’T BE SKINNY PLEASE MAKE ALL MY FRIENDS FAT!” This is the slogan that goes through every woman’s mind seconds before she exposes her bikini clad body to her friends. I don’t want all my friends to be fat…okay, occasionally the thought may flit through my mind, but in all seriousness all I’m hoping for is a little dignity. When you’re wearing a bathing suit and look in the mirror, do you like what you see?
This got me thinking—maybe my problem isn’t the extra rolls that seem to have appeared out of nowhere, maybe it’s my attitude. I’m all for good health, but the other day my mom looked at my youngest daughter and said, “When I was your age it was the middle of World War II.” I imagine a young girl in the middle of a war and I wonder what she saw when looking in a mirror. In my mother’s language there is a word for thin, “mager.” Translated it means slender, skimpy, skinny, meagre, or thin. In Canada when we say thin we think of a beautiful slender woman—the one I wish to see in my mirror. But in my mother’s day, if I said you’re ‘mager,’ you need to hear me whisper ugly between each word slender ugly skinny ugly skimpy ugly meagre ugly thin ugly. To this day my mother doesn’t see thin as a beautiful trait, “a little fat is more beautiful,” she says to me. When I went with friends to Guinea in Africa, I encountered the same thinking.
Don’t worry; I’m not anywhere close to being “mager,” but my culture tells me I should want to be. If you don’t believe me, just try finding a bathing suit that fits! However, maybe, just maybe, I need to change my own attitude. Instead of worrying about my weight I need to focus on my health. When I look in the mirror or stand on that scale, maybe I need to shrug my shoulders and be thankful! There is not a one-size-fits-all for beauty and when it comes right down to it, confidence is the most attractive thing I can ever wear.