Identity

*Although I have my old blog archived here, from time to time I’m going to dust off a post from those files and feature it on my new site. Some of you may have read it before, but others are new to my blog, so I think this may give you a bit more of a taste for who I am and what sorts of things we talk about at Girls in White. Thanks for reading!*

I’m a Newsweek girl. Have been since… oh, I don’t know. Forever, I guess. I remember being really young and paging through the glossy magazine in search of photographs that would elicit a chill–either from the sheer beauty and truth they encapsulated or from the juxtaposition of the unexpected, like a child’s body floating facedown in a calm pool, white shift fanned out in a soft cloud. Can’t say I like those images, but they do have the power to show me the depth of my naiveté. It’s ponderous, I think.

Yesterday my mail bundle contained a fresh copy of Newsweek, and I (procrastinator that I am) promptly sat down and devoured it cover to cover. Back cover to front cover, of course. It’s the only way to readNewsweek–all the light, artsy articles are in the back, with the political and international hard-hitting sob stories near the front (I like to ease my way in). One of the final (first for me) articles was called “Generation Diva: How our obsession with beauty is changing our kids.” I was hooked after the first paragraph:

There’s a scene in “Toddlers & Tiaras,” the TLC reality series, where 2-year-old Marleigh is perched in front of a mirror, smothering her face with blush and lipstick. She giggles as her mother attempts to hold the squealing toddler still, lathering her legs with self-tanner. “Marleigh loves to get tan,” her mom says, as the girl presses her face against the mirror.

Are you kidding me? I don’t have a daughter, but come on, that’s just not right. Jessica Bennett, the author of “Generation Diva”, goes on to catalog spa days for five-year-olds, laser hair removal instead of shaving, and Botox for girls barely out of training bras. In one staggering statistic she claims that by the time your ten-year-old daughter is fifty, she’ll have spent “nearly $300,000 on just her hair and face.” That’s no typo, there are five zeros in that staggering figure.

I’ll admit I was hyperventilating a bit at this point in the article, though what Jessica revealed next came as no big surprise: we’re priming our girls to be perpetually dissatisfied with themselves. More so, we’re creating an entire generation whose identity is tied up in what they look like. I am nothing more than the sum of my clear skin, pouty lips, slender hips… Sigh.

Oh, it breaks my heart for a million different reasons. And yet, this morning I hopped on my computer, checked both of my email accounts, my blogger profile, and my Facebook pages (both personal and public), and felt a little stab of discontent when nothing interesting was going on. No emails from fans, agent, or publisher. Nothing new and noteworthy. Sigh. And all at once it struck me that right now my identity, my entire identity, is hopelessly wrapped up in my writing career. Part of this is because I have a book releasing in a couple weeks (things always get a little crazy around a book release), but I don’t like the feeling all the same. I don’t like believing that the worth of my existence is tied to my success (or lack thereof) as a writer. How is that any different from some poor tween believing that her beauty lies in the shade of her highlighted hair?

Yuck. The things we do to ourselves.

Anyway, I have a question for you today. What do you base your identity on? Where do you find your affirmation? I realize that this answer can change from day to day, but take a moment to ponder where you’re at right now. And then remind yourself: I am so much more than this. I am not what I look like. I am not an extension of my job. I am not simply a wife/mother/daughter/sister or husband/father/son/brother. I am not just a friend of so-and-so. I am not what I do. I am not what I don’t do. I am not always who you think I am…

But I am created for a purpose. I am significant. And I am beloved by God.

Have an awesome weekend, Beloved.

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