I ran 6 miles today. I didn’t get much running in this week because Rubious got sick. She had a fever, then a cough and fever. Now it’s a cold with a runny nose and cough and sneezing. She’s spent countless hours watching “Littlest Pet Shop” and playing Minecraft. I always feel a bit guilty. I want to engage with her, but she has no energy to play games or create anything. The best I can do is keep her company and keep feeding her.
I had a revelation recently, probably from the extra TV I watched alongside Ruby. I realize more and more the extent of the brainwashing done to our young women. Everywhere, images of the most beautiful, thin, sexy women abound. Moms in commercials manage to look put together and svelte, no rolls of fat cluttering their middles. Girls have perfect hair and all their straight, white teeth. Nobody’s hair is curly, save the very young. Apparently curly hair is babyish.
The cartoons marketed to Ruby’s age bracket now have several regular plot lines about boys and girls “going steady”, if I may use that archaic term. It’s wrong. Girls appear to have no value if they aren’t attractive. Keep in mind, Ruby is 8 years old.
I felt myself getting steamed. I had to say something. I muted one show.
“Ruby, you know you’re just fine on your own. If you never have a boyfriend, you’re enough. You’re beautiful, smart and funny. God made you and He loves you. You don’t have to earn anyone else’ s love.”
“I know, Mom, ” Ruby said, never taking her eyes off the screen.
I pray she does.
I spent most of my life believing I was no one unless somebody loved me. Somebody of the opposite sex who was available, that is. I devoured teenage romance novels. I completely bought the lie that if a boy didn’t like me, I was worthless. I was in love with the idea of love – butterflies, magic, flowers, romance, the whole deal. If white doves swooped down near me, that worked, too.
Growing up white and nerdy, I didn’t date. Heck, I barely spoke to boys. Too intimidating. Also as a Christian, it made the possible pool of eligible bachelors incredibly small. Not that there were any takers. I barely spoke at all except to my friends and family, oh, and speaking up for the discussion part of class. Had to get a good grade for that, you know. You could say I had a painfully shy personality.
I don’t want any of that for Ruby. So far, she seems well-adjusted. Ruby’s life comes with a few advantages mine didn’t. Her parents are still together. Casting no aspersions on my parents there, simply a fact. She’s secure. She doesn’t struggle with identity issues. She knows who she is and what she wants to do. I never did. Ruby loves herself and manages to love others, too. I’m working on that. Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as you love yourself” has no place to land if you don’t love yourself first. You have to love from a place of knowing who you are, secure it that knowledge; if not, you’ll find your love riddled with holes.
We all have value because God made us. Women have value. We aren’t “things” to be used for pleasure or put on pedestals to be worshiped as gorgeous, unattainable goddesses. True, some of us are more appealing to look at than others. But then again, I believe that’s part of the cultural brainwashing. Everyone has a measure of beauty to offer this world – men included. It might not be in the physical. Some of the most beautiful people I know have the most loving hearts. Their eyes shine with kindness and humor. They offer mercy when no one else will. They serve without strings.
I believe one of my tasks is to teach Ruby and Zac what true beauty is. The Bible has much to say about it. Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. – I Peter 3:3-4
I have much to unlearn.