A while back on Facebook, I shared a poem I had written after having a heavy burden on my heart for quite some time. A few of my friends and acquaintances were falling into eating disorders that they called “healthy diets”.
Now I’m not talking just about eating well, exercising or taking care of their bodies. I’m really encouraged when I see people making healthy lifestyle choices…these dear women were starving themselves. And trend diets began to really bother me. I mean, they’re ALL over the media, speaking to women as if a fine figure is the best thing that they have to offer the world, the best thing they can offer to their families. And so, I began to wonder why this bothered me so much…was it jealousy? Was it guilt? Or was it because there is something very, very wrong with being consumed by fitness? And as I pondered these questions, the words to this poem came pouring out onto the page.
There is SO MUCH talk about healthy attitudes towards food these days. And most of it is geared towards women (although it is increasingly becoming geared towards men as well). The truth is, letting thoughts of food consume your life isn’t having a healthy attitude. Unless you have an allergy, questioning everyone about every single ingredient in the food they make for you is a REALLY unhealthy attitude to have. If you think about food all the time, you’re either eating to much of it or not enough. Both are equally damaging. And so…if you read this poem and see pieces of yourself, I challenge you to ask yourself what is most important to you and what do you want to be known for, your body, or your heart?
Pursuit of Beauty By: Heather Bergen She pushes her plate aside, eyes resigned. He feasts like a king, never bothers to mind, He's never been pushed, never been told, For fat or slim; they still like him. She wakes up before them and paints up her face, Her workout begins, her pulse starts to race. Long past her goal, a new goal is found, Just a little bit more, just another pound. Her face once full of warmth and life, now is hollow and cold. The cheeks once flushed grow ever pale, the eyes once bright grow weary and dull. She forces a smile flashing perfect white teeth, that hurt from the treatments if she touches a sweet. All the beauty that masks the beast raging inside, Fixing only what fades, while neglecting her inmost cry. They like her less, even less than before, Maybe once she's shed just a little bit more... Dear Child, fading slowly, you were fine as you were. They tell you otherwise, but what do they know? They too are lost in a struggle they've always known, Their size is the measure for the worth of their soul. Look up, Beautiful one, and seek out the truth, Outward beauty is common, it's not hard to find, Breathtaking it is, but it withers like grass. The rare beauty you long for is not found in a store, it can't be 'put on' or bought, it's worth much much more! It's in a gentle free heart, so patient and fair, A face full of grace, hands eager to share, It's in a voice so sweet full of life bringing words, Or arms strong and tough, but willing to serve. It's in love that pours out, expecting none in return, It's a harsh word held back, and gentleness learned. It's scars that speak volumes of making it through, In wrinkles that earn the respect they are due, It's in the bright stretching lines on a new mothers skin, It's in the way a little child mischievously grins. True beauty is what the world seems to pass by, True beauty is what the world tries hard to hide. But the rarer it grows, the brighter it shines. Dear Child, you must choose what you want to pursue. Will it be true beauty within, or will the outside of you win?