Christian Body Image

This morning I woke up with Rosary Face.

For those of you not familiar with this, it’s what happens when you fall asleep with your prayer beads in your hand. Mine tend to migrate all over the bed, waking me up at odd times of night so I can fish them out of the small of my back, or from under my elbow, but they always wind up under my face in the morning.

Which means I spend a good amount of time rubbing, trying to get the marks off of my face. Especially if the crucifix winds up imprinted in my cheek.

So, now comes the question: why? It’s something that happens, people have pillowface all the time. But it’s not appropriate to show up to work with pillowface, right? I’m of course not talking about those of you who have real jobs, the kind where you can be called at any hour of the day or night to do your duty. I’m talking about us office workers, cubicle dwellers, meeting minions.

I’ve been watching America’s Next Top Model (when it’s not competing with Bones) recently. The first time I watched about five minutes before I said, “Waitaminute, I don’t have to watch this stuff!” But the next week, I made myself flip over and watched forty-five minutes of it, because something about it had really disturbed me, and I needed to figure out what it was. Took me forty-five minutes to do so, too, which is a sad thing.

Here’s what the problem is: These women, by virtue of being chosen for this show, had been told by everyone, including the media, that they were the height of beauty. And they were moving awkwardly, uncomfortably, they were moving in a way my dance teachers would look at them and say “they’re uncomfortable in their bodies”.

Let me explain: I am not a small woman. I weigh as much as three of those models put together, and that’s not an exagerration. I’m also very short. I’m probably the only woman in any gathering of women who’s not on a diet, and that information always shocks people, because of COURSE the fat girl wants to lose weight, right? Be skinny and therefore pretty, right?

I’ve done the starvation diets, I’ve done the pills, I’ve done the Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig and what I came out of there with was the knowledge that 1) due to my activity levels, I was in better shape than most of the thin women held up as exemplars, 2) muscle weighs more than fat, and 3) I really should not give a matched set of flying monkey’s buttocks what people other than my physician think I should weigh.

It’s very much a fear response, I think. We must be assimilated into popular culture, resistance is futile, all your base are belong to us. If we spend all our time worrying about what we’re eating and what we’re wearing and what celebrities are eating and wearing (one word: Oprah), then we are too busy to look around and say, “You know what? There’s something fundamentally cracked about our world, and we need to fix it. Let’s start loving our neighbor and see what happens.”

I’m going to keep wearing clothes that fit well and flatter my shape, and get up and wash my face and comb my hair, and if I show up to work with Rosary Face, well… People are just going to have to deal.


1 Comment

Filed under I'm Just A Girl, me being myself, meditations

One response to “Christian Body Image

  1. Never woken up with Rosary Face, but I have woken up with one woven between my toes. Then again, I tend to sleep as if it’s a full contact sport.

    And Amen to the rest of it. I’m by no means a size 12, but I love how people automatically make assumptions that I’m lazy, eat a lot, etc. (For the record I don’t drive, so I walk more than most people do in their lifetimes.)