your body: objectified.

Have you ever thought about why things are designed the way they are? Like, why does a pair of shears have a particularly shaped handle? And why does a chair look the way it does? Why are the keys on a keyboard shaped as such?

This weekend, some friends and I watched a documentary called Objectified that addresses the theory and beauty behind the design of objects. What the documentary shows (I think, anyway… I can’t be totally sure because I feel as though the film, as well as the other people that were in the room watching it, is infinitely more intelligent than I am) is that a lot of people don’t really give a lot of thought to why things look a certain way. They just use the products, completely unaware of the intricate and meticulous intentionality behind their design.

The best example of this, I think, was a Japanese toothpick — at first glance, it looks like any regular toothpick. But on the end, you’ll find two little grooves that cause the toothpick to break. This isn’t because the toothpick is defective. This is intended for two reasons: 1) to communicate to other people the toothpick has been used, and 2) to create a nifty little toothpick “stand” for it to sit on.

[Image source]

On the other hand, some people are drawn to objects simply because of their design. The design cultivates some sort of emotional response within the user: This product is reliable (Toyota Camry). This product is promotes a youthful image (MacBook Pro). This product is what’s in right now. (Prada sunglasses). Whatever. 

When I got pregnant, I scheduled a meeting with one of my favorite female mentors to tell her the good news and pick her brain about the next stage in my life. Not parenthood, mind you — but pregnancy. I had no idea what to expect being pregnant and, even more than that, was overly concerned about what I should be doing/should not be doing while gestating a child.

The best thing she offered me went like this:

“Lindsay, God is a perfect designer. He has already designed your body for this. It is already doing what it is supposed to do. You just get to enjoy it.”

My body was designed for this. This, among every other thing I do in a day. I was designed.

My body (as well as yours) is an object that was delicately created, each part with a specific purpose. Eyes to see. Ears to hear. Hands to feel and lungs to breathe. But, in contrast of, say, the toothpick, our bodies are also objects that evoke emotion, whether they were created to or not. And in this society, women’s bodies in particular have been known to conjure up some pretty gnarly emotions.

This morning when I woke up, the first thing I thought of was how uncomfortable and obnoxious my even-bigger-than-before-if-you-can-believe-it boobs are. Now that I’m about seven months pregnant, my body is hardly recognizable to me anymore and, on top of that, hurts everywhere. While wrapping my arms around my ever-expanding frame, I squeezed so hard I winced in pain, praying silently that it would just STOP. I thought of all the celebrities who have babies and are back in bikinis on the cover of magazines the following week, loudly proclaiming that they, “Got [their] body back!” as if their selfish and menacing children stole it from them and I wanted to scream. I remembered all the times I tried to starve every lump, rump, and bump on my body away, wishing they’d disappear forever, never to be pointed out by raunchy men or ogled over by pissy women ever again.

But what if it the toothpick was subject to the same standards we are as women? Though we are both equally designed for functionality and appeal, what if the toothpick had to put up with the same stuff we women do, both from ourselves and society as a whole?

Imagine for a minute the toothpick is sentient (let’s call him Toothy McPickster) and someone came along and pointed at the grooves in Toothy’s abdomen and demanded he get rid of those disgusting “love handles”?

That’s ridiculous, right? Those grooves were put there specifically to fulfill a greater purpose after Toothy does his duty of picking someone’s teeth. So why must they be scrutinized? Particularly when he can’t do anything to change them that doesn’t require some sort of painful procedure, probably in the form of carving away these grooves? (Insert plastic surgery/crash dieting/other harmful way of body modification metaphor here.)

Just as I was about to curse my body yet one more time today, I remembered my son. And how my body is an object that was designed to give him life.

I’ve pored over the words of Psalm 139 countless times in my life — I’ve even written the words across the top of my bathroom mirror in dry-erase marker — but they take on a whole, new meaning after watching Objectified.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

We were designed for a purpose, whether we know what that purpose is (feet to walk, eyelids to blink) or we don’t (big breasts, small butts, wide hips, bumpy tummies).

In a world that does everything it can to objectify us on its own terms, let us be objectified on our Creator’s terms. 

beauty and torture.

The other day I was putting on make up in front of my husband. Usually I don’t do that because Dan hates when I wear makeup, so I like to keep up the guise that I don’t actually wear it by waiting until I’m alone to put on just a tad of concealer to cover my blemishes. But this time, we were both getting ready for an event we were going to together, so I had to lift the veil.

As I was taking the eyelash curler to my lids, I had some interesting thoughts to myself:

This kind of looks like a torture device. I wonder if Dan, or any other male who is unfamiliar with such an apparatus, thinks I’m torturing myself? 

Wait. As a matter of fact, curling my eyelashes IS pretty bizarre, whether it looks so or not. These little hairs aren’t even an inch long. Does anyone notice whether I use the curler or not? Come to think of it, if I catch my eyelid at just the WRONG angle, it absolutely IS torture! I’m torturing myself! Ah!

Why do we do such strange things to ourselves in the name of beauty?

Today I stumbled across something on the Internet that takes the torture-for-beauty cake (and doesn’t eat it, apparently):

Image via The Daily What

(From TDW) Disturbing Trend of the Day: In a last-gasp attempt to fit into the THE DRESS, desperate brides-to-be in the U.S. (like Jessica Schnaider, pictured) can now have a feeding tube inserted into their nose that provides a drip of liquid protein and fat (with no carbohydrates) through the esophagus into the stomach. The $1,500, 10-day treatment is effective: The tube delivers just 800 calories a day, and generally results in the loss of at least 10 percent of body weight — and perfect wedding pictures. But… ew?

This makes me so sad. And hurt. And angry. Mostly, though, it makes me want to put my two weeks’ notice in on life on this earth.

I think about all my close friends whom have gotten married recently. I think about my close friends who are talking about getting married soon. I think about my wedding almost three years ago. And my heart breaks into a thousand pieces just imagining any of them literally torturing themselves like this before the happiest day of their lives.

I never watch the show Mike & Molly, but last night it was on while Dan and I were doing chores. The subject matter of last night’s episode was Molly being on an unhealthy juice fast in order to drop several pounds in three weeks to fit into her wedding dress. Sigh. Granted, the moral of the episode was that what Molly was doing was turning her into a crazy person, not at all the person that Mike wanted to marry, but still — the mere fact that this was portrayed on television at all puts the idea into girls’ heads that you can’t possibly wear a wedding dress without obsessing over your weight first. And oh, ha ha ha, it’s a comedy, so let’s all laugh at how silly it is instead of talking about how serious and disturbing it is. Oh ha ha ha, CBS, you’re hilarious.

So how did we get here? How did we get from ha ha ha, silly sit coms about overweight people, to bloody feeding tubes?! Are you kidding me? When will the insanity stop?

Why, oh why, are we perpetuating this? Why are we continually sending out messages that this type of behavior is acceptable and normal? WAKE UP, WORLD. THIS ISN’T OKAY.

I have no more words to offer. Instead, here’s Internet phenom Jenna Marbles on diets, F words and all. Enjoy.

a good body image kick in the pants.

I’m 20 weeks pregnant. I’m halfway done.

I’ve also gained ten (!!!) pounds, which is exactly half as much weight as my doctor told me I should gain during the pregnancy. In reality, I’m right on track. (Halfway there when I’m halfway there! That makes sense! Half a pound a week from here on out, right?) But as of right now, this second, I’m not doing so well. Instead of being a new mom, carrying around and sustaining a healthy baby boy, my mind is in the dark and can only see myself as a woman who has gained ten pounds in five months and can’t button her jeans which means she’s ugly, worthless, stupid, a bad friend, a horrible cook, a horrible mom, a horrible wife, who will never be a published writer…

Sigh. Isn’t it ridiculous how a bad body image can poison the otherwise awesome parts that make you you? Or am I just THAT mental?

I can usually talk myself out of feeling like a whale by reminding myself, Lindsay! You are building a life! But it’s hard to switch a twentysomething-year-old paradigm (that gaining weight is the absolute WORST thing I could ever do, save maybe intentionally running over a litter of kittens) just because I got knocked up a few months ago.

Today, HelloGiggles posted an article by Julia Gazdag that was the body image kick in the pants I needed, even though it’s not directly aimed at pregnant women. It’s a great reminder about the heavy implications and repercussions of falling victim to a broken society’s view of beauty.

This excerpt in particular was one I really needed to read today:

You’re not attractive because you look like the airbrushed neo-Barbie posing with a giant bottle in a vodka ad, or the limitlessly fancy red carpet starlet. You’re attractive because of how you tell a story, how your eyes crinkle when you smile, how you love a certain author so fervently, and any number of other trite rom-com clichés. Because there’s actually truth to those sappy monologues – the most attractive thing about anyone is what makes them unique, not what makes them blend in. Anyone who is more focused on your looks than your self is bad news and in all likelihood cares very little about you as a person, except to use you as an accessory. We’re women, not purses, and that means we can own our greatness instead of comparing it to that of others while vying for mediocraty.

To read the rest of Julia’s article (and possibly get the kick in the pants you need) click here.

my “happy” weight.

Something wonderful happened today. I ate my lunch at my desk today so, on my lunch hour, I went to Starbucks and got a deliciously nomtastic grande iced sugar-free soy caramel latte (yes, I am one of “those” people who have super pretentious coffee preferences) and went outside to sit at a table in 100 degree heat (mmmm heaven) to read by myself for an hour.

As I was getting situated, I caught my reflection in the large, glass windows of the shop. Today I am rocking my favorite dress (brown strapless with buttons down the front that comes to the middle of my thighs — this dress hugs and accentuates my figure in all kinds of wonderful ways) and a sparkly gold necklace, with my hair pulled back into a messy ballerina bun. I am looking quite adorbs if I do say so myself. When I saw my reflection, I couldn’t help but smile and think, “Hot damn, I’m a bit sexy.”

Ever have those days? When you just KNOW you’re beautiful? Today was one of those days for me.

It’s hard to believe that just yesterday I was having a mini-meltdown in my cubicle over my “happy weight.”

I stumbled across a certain “fitness and well-being” magazine’s website yesterday (and no, I’m not going to tell you which website it was or which magazine. I don’t want you going through the same crap I did. AND DON’T GOOGLE IT. SERIOUSLY. Save yourself.) They had a feature that, at first glance, looks pretty decent. It’s called “Your Happy Weight.” When I clicked on it, I was pleasantly surprised with it. They start out talking about how we women tend to diet and exercise to get down to a certain unattainable number and we beat ourselves up over never getting there. At this point I was like, “Yeah! Totally! What’s your solution?” And their solution is your “happy weight.” They had a calculator which, if you entered in your height, weight, build, and gender, would offer up your “happy” weight — that is, the weight you should try to attain in order to be comfortable and “happy.”

Well, at my current weight, I’m pretty peachy. But, in a moment of weakness, I second-guessed myself. I’m happy at my weight, I thought, but what if I’m not at my “happy weight” and I’m still happy? That wouldn’t be okay, would it?  I decided to enter in my information just to make sure I was indeed at my happy weight.

I’m sure you can guess where this is going.

According to this website, I need to lose over 30 pounds to attain my “happy weight,” which would put me at a weight I haven’t seen since 6th grade, BEFORE I HAD MY PERIOD. YIKES.

My heart sank to the floor. How am I ever going to lose 30 pounds, I wondered sadly. It will never happen. Even when I was 15 pounds lighter than I am now, at the peak of my eating disorder, everyone told me I was too skinny and looked sick. But evidently I can’t be happy unless I lose 30 pounds…

Wait. What?

LINDSAY! WAKE UP! A website calculator has no authority over your “happy weight.” Your happy weight is whatever weight you decide it is, not some Interwebs bot!

And, let me tell you what — regardless of what the scale said this morning, I will be at my happy weight today, tomorrow, and the next day. Not because of the three digits it reads, but because:

  • I know that it has no bearing what so ever on my self-worth.
  • I know I am healthy.
  • I know I am lovely.
  • I know that regardless of it, I am loved by others and by myself.

What about you? Have you ever stumbled across an ideal weight calculator online? How did it make you feel?

here’s your horrifying reality check of the day.

Good Morning America ran a story about a six-year-old girl who thinks she needs to lose weight. My heart is broken for her. Click the link and watch the video. The worst part is when the reporter gets a group of little girls together and shows them pictures of other girls and asks them to evaluate them. Sigh.

Why is this happening with our little girls? Girls aren’t born worried about their weight. We teach them to be. Something needs to be done. Now.