The Backyard Big Hair Band Singer Dude has disappeared.  I haven't heard from him on a week, and while I am not at all upset by this, it does leave me with a shortage of pithy things of which to write.  Sadly for all of you reader, I am forced to go to the deep and meaningful and wise writerly stuff ... err, at least TRY to do all those things ... until a new, crazy neighbor comes along and gives me a new set of writing options. 

I will tell you, I am praying quite fervently for a handsome, single, NORMAL man my age to move into Hairy Man's house. He'd be a wonderful addition to the neighborhood in my estimation. However, until then, you must deal with this:

I was born in 1972.  Back then, seems like every girl was named Amy, Heather, or Jennifer.  In kindergarten, I vividly remember thinking, "I wished my parents had named me Jennifer."  I named my favorite baby doll, Jenny, probably in response to that thought.

No one was named Megan.  No.  One.

Many, many moons later, I learned to appreciate my unique name ... one that isn't so unique any more.  Many girls are named Megan.  Not many my age.  They all seem to be younger.  Still, I appreciated the individualism involved in being one of the few Megans in the world.

I tell you this, dear readers, to say, that was the first time I recall wishing I was something I wasn't.  This was the beginning, y'all ... the beginning of the spiral that most girls fall into -- then they become women, and the spiral drills down pretty deeply.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately.  Struggling with it.  This thing called beautiful perfection or rather the quest for it. 

Beauty. It's a relative term ... a subjective term ... and dang it, it's driven by what this out-of-touch place called HOLLYWOOD determines is beautiful, it would seem.

So, what makes beauty?  

If we listen to social media, it's ripped abs and thigh gaps and no back fat and perky boobs and a tight butt and perfectly proportioned facial features....yes!  That's what I said, perfectly proportioned facial features.  There's actual scientific research that studies our attraction to perfectly proportioned facial features.

I'm not even going to comment on the fact that breast cancer is still one of the leading causes of death among women, but we're putting money into perfectly proportioned facial features???

So, what is beauty?

I've spent the great majority of my life, starting about middle school, when body image becomes a huge issue in a female's life, scrutinizing what I thought beauty was.  I determined it was everything I wasn't. 

For roughly 30 years, I've built an inner monologue about all the things that aren't attractive about me ... hips are too big ... thighs are too jiggly ... butt is too big ... Quite frankly, I am not sure if my boobs were ever perky, and back fat?  I've got it, baby!

I'm going to be honest, when I look in the mirror, I don't like what I see.  I fear that even if the weight were down, I still wouldn't like what I would see because I am looking at the reflection in the mirror with overly critical glasses.  I look back at those times I thought I was really fat.  I really wasn't, but I couldn't see it.  Why???

How do we as women get to this point? 

When do we get to the place in our lives that we lose sight of true beauty? 

I mean, isn't beauty the bravery we see in the eyes of a woman rocking that bald head while she's fighting for her life against the scourge that's breast cancer?  Isn't beauty a brilliant sunset spreading its magnificence across a the blank canvas of the horizon?

Beauty is looking up at the sky and realizing it's absolute perfection ... azure blue perfection.

Beauty is witnessing a father's love as he envelopes his child in a tender embrace. 

Beauty is the tearful smile of a woman crossing the finish line after being told she'd never make it. 

Beauty is a foal finding its legs, wobbly and unsure.

Beauty is the pureness of new fallen snow.

Beauty is seeing the wonder in a child's eyes discovering something for the very first time.

Beauty is the last breath from an old soul and the very first breath of a new one.

Beauty is the edge of a cliff looking out over the a valley that stretches out before you as far as your eye can see.

Beauty is a roaring waterfall or a trickling creek ... it's the quiet noise of a still forest.

Beauty is the peaceful flickering of a million fire flies in an open pasture.

Beauty is the wrinkles, rolls, and paths that are the road maps of our bodies.

Why is it we can't see that? 

Why are we pushing our little girls to value everything that floats on the surface of a life, but none of the substance that's boiling just below? 

Why are encouraging our little boys to recognize beauty is only skin deep?

Why is it I can't see myself as others see me?  As Jesus sees me? 


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