The other day, I posted a poem and some of you may have gotten it already in an email. But the formatting was wrong and so I quickly took it down, meaning to repost it later that day. The weekend sort of got away on me, so finally now, mid-week, I’m posting it again. I wrote the poem after witnessing multiple friends/acquaintances go through diets that resembled eating disorders.
It broke my heart.
What breaks my heart even more is that while there is some pressure on men to look fit, there is far more pressure on women. It’s hard to even find a group of friends these days where the woman will actually eat something other than a salad, or a lettuce wrapped vegan burger, while her husband munches on a triple sized meal complete with appetizers and dessert.
I’ve struggled with it myself; the pressure that my worth is dependant on my waist size. I get tons of smiles and comments when I lose weight. I get judgmental looks when I order the full burger with a side of fries. And so, I wrote this poem a few years back, challenging our thinking about health and weight. What is true beauty?
Pursuit of Beauty
By: Heather Dawn
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 cold and hollow
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 in scars that speak volumes of making it through,
In wrinkles that earned the respect they are due,
It’s in the bright stretching lines on a new mother’s 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 try’s 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?