I am thinking of faith now
and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are
worthy of in this world.
There is something that I don't want to admit- not because I am ashamed of it, but because I wish it were not true. That something is the amount of admiration and respect that I receive for being a moderately attractive, younger than 40, physically fit woman. I know that I get attention and respect from certain people who would not give me that same attention if I were less fit, less attractive, or heavier. It gives my words more weight. It also makes me sad to live in a world where many people making extremely respectable contributions to the world receive very little actual respect. Other people who are arguably making the world a worse place to live receive wealth, fame, and admiration.
I have found that being perceived by others as "fit" holds a lot of currency in our society. I'm not totally sure why this is. I think it has a lot to do with insecurities. We see someone who appears toned and fit and we assume that they have exceptional will-power, are living a healthier lifestyle than we are, or are perhaps morally superior. I have experienced this on both sides. People say things to me all the time like, "you eat healthy" or "I wish I were skinny like you" or "I'm sure you don't eat sugar" or "you probably don't get sick." It makes me so mad because the people making the comments have just projected an entire lifestyle onto me that is not true. They've given me that untouched, "other" quality that we give to people we see as different from ourselves. I've struggled with my health for my entire life. I eat sweet things daily basis. I have body image issues just like literally every other person I have ever met. I am a human being. I am a human being having a human experience.
I believe that all people deserve respect. Our ideas deserve to be heard, our feelings deserve validation, our hard work deserves praise, our struggles deserve empathy. In a society that respects extremes of youth and wealth and beauty while simultaneously condemning old age, under-funding and under-valuing public schools, shaming fat, and serving up a steady stream of media designed to make us feel inadequate, it is no wonder that we begin to question our worth.
I am not writing because I know what to do about this. I am writing because it troubles me. I think I'll start by doing the only thing I can think of to do which is show more respect to a wider variety of people. I can keep the intention to see, honor, and remind those with whom I interact of their inherent value. I can continue to speak up from my own place of worth which is strengthened by the simple act of believing it is there.