a close-up look

A kindergartner plays at recess. She makes a friend at the swing set, and another at the monkey bars. One of those friends might grow up to be a supermodel. But appearances mean little when you're five. In kindergarten, beauty is not the deciding factor of new friendships.

So when do appearances become so important? I started to become self-conscious about my body in middle school. I was pudgy compared to my friends and classmates, which led me to become very shy. Outside school I hung out with girls who were a lot smaller than I was. When I looked at how skinny they were, I thought, "Wait, is that how I'm supposed to look?" Sometimes when I was getting ready to go to a party or an event where I had to wear a specific outfit or bathing suit, I'd look in the mirror and beg my mom, "Don't make me go!" I'd become so upset that I'd start crying with disappointment. So for a few years, I skipped pool parties and events where I felt uncomfortable in front of other people.

I remember one time when my mom talked with me about a few spiritual concepts to help me understand my true beauty. One of those was from Science and Health: "It is ignorance and false belief, based on a material sense of things, which hide spiritual beauty and goodness" (p. 304). So I prayed with this quote to help calm my thoughts. To me, it meant that when you're focusing on your physical beauty, it's harder to see your true beauty. When you're thinking too much about how you look, your spiritual beauty isn't shining through. This new idea gave me the courage to stop skipping social events that required a bathing suit.

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poetry landscape
July 20, 2009

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