Beginnings and middles

Jon Acuff says: Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

We do that a lot, don’t we? Compare ourselves, where we are now, to other people’s outcomes? To our own past or future self. Even to inanimate objects. How many women are actually the shape of an hourglass? Not me, that’s for sure. Who uses an hourglass anymore anyway? I saw a commercial for a whitening toothpaste or a tooth whitening system in which a young woman used “the tissue test” to answer the question of whether her teeth were yellow. No, sweetie, they might be a shade or two off white, but most people’s are and yours, Miss Commercial Actress, are certainly not yellow. And the tissue had to be bleached to get to that shade of white, too, for the record.

I was on my way home from a friend’s house one day, feeling a lovely ache in my thighs from the six mile bike ride I took with my son that morning, wondering whether they still make the Thighmaster. That got me thinking about how many creams and pieces of equipment were marketed when I was young to take care of “ugly cellulite.” Thigh gaps. Whiter teeth. Man, what advertising dupes us into thinking about ourselves.

And it will change in a couple years; it always does. The ideal of beauty used to be voluptuous, then hourglass, then twiggy, then curvy, then heroin chic, now more athletic. Bleach your skin, tan your skin, get highlights, lowlights, cover your gray, gray is the new hot look. It’s always changing, and half the pinnacles of beauty don’t actually look like that in real life, without all the makeup and airbrushing, or even feel beautiful in their own skin.

Here’s the thing. You are beautiful. You may not be perfect, whatever that means for the next five minutes, but you are beautiful. You have something to share with the world that is uniquely yours. You have a soul that can light up the darkest places in some person’s life, just by sharing your journey. Laugh, cry, smile, use your voice, open your mouth or hands and use your gifts in some way to let that light out.

Be you. Start now. If you don’t know who YOU are on the inside, begin now to find out. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.

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