On beauty, worthiness, and presidential elections

I keep thinking about “beauty” and “worthiness,” this week. 

I’m thinking about those words because the man who we just elected President of the United States insults women by calling them “fat," tells women that they need to lose weight in order to be “good enough”, and rewards “beautiful” slender women by talking about how he’d like to sexually assault them. And of course, that is not nearly all he has said — he has said hurtful things about many people of a variety of races, body types, sexual orientations, abilities, and more.

Though I have objections, politically, to Donald Trump, that's not why my heart is broken this week.

My heart is broken because I'd always hoped that someone who spoke like that — who was racist and sexist and unkind, who told women that their bodies were the most important thing about them — would eventually be tossed out. Ignored. Punished.

Instead, we’ve elected a person who talks like that to the highest office in the United States. We’ve rewarded him. 

So I kept being angry this week. How the f*** can we have a president who thinks and talks about women and their bodies like that? 

But then I remembered: it’s not just our president-elect. It’s TV shows with only slender white women who have perfectly clear skin. It’s news programs where the woman looks like an ex-model (in glasses to make her look “serious”) and the guy is average at best. It’s every deodorant or yogurt or freaking Swiffer advertisement that suggests that if we just solved our unsightly smell/calcium/dust problem, we would suddenly have smooth hair and a flat belly. 

If you look for it, you can find reasons to feel that you are unattractive or unworthy anywhere. 

So in the end, I am reminded of a lesson I have learned before and keep learning again and again and again: we must define things for ourselves.

We have to define “beauty” for ourselves.
And “worthiness."
And “success.”
And “contentment.”
And “friendship” and “being a good person” and “having enough.”

Some of these are easier than others. “Success” is a long-standing trigger with me, but so too are “beauty” and “worthiness."

Hopefully, we will eventually change the world to make it kinder to people of all races, sexual orientations, abilities, genders, and body types. There is important work, political work, that we all must do in that direction. But in the mean time, we have to do our own work so that we know we are good enough.


So, in case after all of this self-defining you still aren’t sure…I just wanna make things clear:  I know for certain that you are beautiful and that you are enough. No matter who you are and how much you weigh and what you look like.

No matter your politics, please know that I am sending you much strength + support for the week ahead.