In the eye of the beholder

Miller's Pond

Is Body Image Your Barbed Wire?

I took this picture while staying with my parents in Idaho.  This place holds fond memories for me.  I wasn’t related to the family that lived here but my parents and siblings and I referred to the owners as “Aunt and Uncle.”  We frequented the homestead to trick-or treat, get a drink from a long bike ride and to play with their grand kids.  I loved this place and in my memory I can still remember the scent of that old house.  What is the first thing you notice about the photo?  I notice the reflection of the hillside in the water.  Then I notice the mountains and finally the sky.  Then I look again and I see the barbed wire.  It was always there.   A sturdy barbed-wire fence can pen up all kinds of farm animals:  pigs, sheep, cattle, horses.  I’ve also seen the damage a barbed wire fence can do if something or someone doesn’t see it or forgets that its there.  When I was about 10 years old, my grandparent’s neighbor had horses that were held in by a barbed wire fence.  One afternoon, a thunderstorm came drifting in and spooked the horses.  One of the mares tried running through the fence.  I will never forget sprinting at full speed to get outside to see that poor big animal. It’s insides were spilled out all over the grassy earth.  The horse was breathing very heavy, evidently in a lot of pain. The grown ups made me go inside after the neighbor brought the shot-gun out. They had no choice.  The horse was suffering.

Is body image your barbed wire?  

Some people find it impossible to pass in front of a mirror and check out their reflection…..maybe do a little butt lift with their hands, remembering years past when everything was lifted-just a little. They become fixated on what use to be instead of embracing themselves right now. Some might constantly compare themselves to everyone around them.  I see this in the eyes of teenage girls, or unsure adult women as their longing follows passersby.  They scrutinize fashion,  and body shape within the confines of that clothing.   Others have achieved their desired weight or size but they become a slave to the mirror or to the scale, worse yet-mine was the tape measure.

What is the definition of looking good?? What about feeling good-does that count for something?! For almost two decades I’ve worked with women and men, (mostly women) who fight the inward battle between finding their worth in looking good and feeling good, meaning living a healthy lifestyle but maybe not in a size 4, 6 , 8 or even 12 in jeans. A wise man once said, “Some of the greatest battles we will ever fight will be within the silent chambers of our own soul.” (Ezra T. Benson)

It is so important for those of us who are role models to have a healthy perspective about our own body image.  Some of us are parents, others are aunts and uncles, grandparents, scout leaders, teachers, friends, co-workers and neighbors.  ALL of us fall into one or more of these titles. Do we remember the power of influence we have over those we associate with?  Recently I moved to the south.  There are a lot of y’alls going on!  Once my husband and I were in a grocery store asking the clerk a question.  Her southern drawl was thick and her response was quick and I had to stop and think about what she had just said.  The next week I could hear myself speaking like some of the southern natives! Why is that?? It’s about  repetition and fitting in and being accepted.

The same is true for wonderful, beautiful women who are comfortable with who they are not WHAT they are.  They don’t criticize what they see in the mirror.  They accept that a new wrinkle means another milestone.  It doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t like to look younger but they don’t OBSESS over it. I am hoping to recruit beautiful women who are comfortable in their bodies.  Go out into the world and genuinely pay a compliment to other beautiful women who just don’t know they are beautiful yet.  We can start in our own homes.  Our own circle of friends. And our own communities.



  1. Beautiful.

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