This has been simmering on the surface of my heart and nibbling at the edges of my mind for quite some time. I’ve tried to squish it back down, press it out of the way but it just won’t. get. gone. So fine. Let’s go. It’s official:
I’m bringing sexy back.
That’s right, you heard me— I am bringing it all back. I’m boldly pushing the outer edge of middle age and I believe it’s time to say it loud and proud– I’m bringing sexy back… back to wherever it came from.
Because people; it just doesn’t fit. It never has, it never will.
At least…not how it’s defined, yelling and screaming at me from every gaping media orifice out there.
I know you know what I mean. There’s almost no place a person can go in our country without some sort of advertisement seeding our minds with it’s volatile cocktail of image-driven sexually-charged materialism. It’s everywhere.
Chances are unless you live in a hole, you’re going to get a taste of it before the day is over. Sadly, it’s becoming such the norm that we have at least two generations in our midst who’ve never known anything else and they’re almost numb to it.
They have no idea what’s being sold to them
or stolen from them.
A friend had this awful moment in the mall with her young son and it spoke volumes to my own mother heart not, as she said, because we are prudes, but because I know…we all know, even at the age of four, the battle has just begun for his eyes, his heart…his body.
It’s fierce and relentless.
It’s no less relentless for little girls who are not any more immune to the bait-and-switch lies and temptations of the enemy but then also struggle with life-long self-image issues trying to measure up to something being projected at them which, oftentimes, isn’t even real.
I’m not simply referring to those checkout stand mags with their slick, glossy promises of showing you how to “XYZ” PDQ while their covers show off a bunch of air brushed and carefully rearranged TMI.
For instance, I took this photo of a cover not too long ago:
As if that is THE ultimate goal: get “high school skinny”. Oh wait, so you mean I have to stay anxious, starve myself, binge a bit, feel guilty, throw up and start all over again? No thank you. Not going *there* again. Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!
There’s this dangerous idea being sold from every venue that, no matter our age, right now as we are, we are “less than” and what we see out there is the almighty “greater than”, so we must strive to get as close to the “equal to” as possible. Then, with all our might….however old we get… stay there.
Go into hiding?
Die and have one great final viewing?
While we’re on the subject, can I just say that attempting to live this version of sexy is a ridiculous amount of work and expense. Smoke and mirrors, nip and tuck, creams , injections, constant upkeep and a whole bunch of empty promises.
OK truth: this is not a new issue for me. I’ve struggled with image issues all my life. I could dig deep and unearth the bones of the problem but that might only offer an explanation, not an excuse.
I choose to be a valiant warrior today. For you. For me. For our daughters, grand daughters, sisters and friends.
Truth: as anyone can attest, it’s quite something to look in the mirror at someone who looks twice as old as you feel.
It didn’t help that not long ago a sweet hearted, fresh faced young woman wrote about how “avatars” (computer pictures) hide wrinkles and how those she met at our recent conference looked so much older in real life. She wasn’t being mean. Not at all. But ouch anyway.
Ouch and oh well because this is just the way it rolls and that can not be my life’s main motivating factor. They say getting old isn’t for wimps and I’m no wimp. But honestly?
I’m just hurting for what I see going on around me.
For instance, I mentor a young teen and for all practical purposes, she’s not going to win any of the worlds beauty contests. I think she’s beautiful, but her character is still developing and her outward appearance is growing and changing as she does. But she’s as caught up as ever in how to look a certain way to get and keep a “guy friend” so that it’s gradually become all she can think or talk about. It’s changing the way she sees herself and it hurts to watch.
Then there’s this someone I used to know from my former life. We weren’t intimately close but up until I moved on we’d see each other a couple of times a week and had worked together on a few projects. Sweet and funny, she had this natural air of beauty and while we are all growing older, I’d have said she was aging pretty well.
We bumped into one another at a meeting a while back and I almost had no idea who she was. I didn’t want to believe it was actually her. She’d had some “work done” since the last time I saw her and well, she didn’t look anything like herself. I came across some pictures we’d had taken together once upon a time and all I keep thinking is
“What happened? Why?!
I don’t want to get hyper-holy but I see myself reflected in the extremes of these two positions — I was the one and I could be the other if I’m not careful. It’s about perspective. The question is: Who and what do I want my life … my image to reflect? I hope it’s this:
“Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory,
are being transformed into his image
with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord,
who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3: 17-18
Sure, I’ll keep going to the gym and attempt to steward my body well and I might continue to color the grays for a while longer but I want to remember now more than ever before how important it is to cling to something way more solid than myself in order to encourage others to do the same.
So…yeah. I’m taking sexy back.
Taking it back and trading it in for some more durable goods: the mind of Christ, unfading beauty, true freedom and the peace that comes from knowing I’m His.