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Photo by www.nofrackingway.us.

            Photo by http://www.nofrackingway.us.

I got to kettlebells a little late this morning. I found my usual mat occupied by another gal.  I took the open one next to her and found myself in an alternate universe:  the skinny side of the mirror.

I’ve written about this before.  The mirror covering the entire front of the workout room is someone warped. The left side of the mirror, as you face front, makes you skinnier. The right side makes you look larger, or probably, normal-sized.

As I gazed at my newly slender reflection, I couldn’t get over how I looked.

I remarked about it to my mat mate, a naturally willowy brunette to my left. Even further left than me, she did not need this angle.

“Wow!” I exclaimed.  “It looks like I lost 10 lbs.  I look great! I could get used to this.”

Silence from my classmates followed this statement.

Don’t worry.  I knew how to take it.

Lest you think I’m a three-eyed ogre, remember that women don’t talk about themselves that way.  We’re not allowed to like how we look, at least not out loud.  We’re supposed to be unassuming, self-deprecating and humble about our appearance.  Generally, I agree.  Nobody likes a braggart, especially if she’s incredibly beautiful.  Believe me, if you’re a stone-cold fox, you don’t have to say anything about it.  Everyone knows. Angelina Jolie, anyone? Men might drool.  Women might fume.  It’s an invisible tempest in a teapot, swirling around you, a pantomime playing out every day.

Anyway, we did our workout.  Nothing much transpired, but it made me think.  Shouldn’t we be celebrating our looks?  Most women like their eyes best, then maybe their smiles.  Why not be happy with it?  Does it have to be some kind of secret?  We can all look different yet be attractive in our own way. How can we change this ridiculous trend into something more realistic and sober?

Or maybe I have it wrong.  Maybe, just maybe, we need to simply *be* more confident and let our actions speak louder than our words ever could.  Wear the dress.  Get the haircut.  Do your nails.  You don’t have to do anything, actually, unless you want to. Be yourself, and the rest will fall into place.  Your special kind of God-given virtues will be evident to all.

Taking another tack, what if we felt secure enough to talk each other up? “You have such pretty eyes.” “I love your hair!” To be fair, we do this.  But not regularly, and not enough, and often at the expense of ourselves. We need to learn to receive as well as give compliments.

True, people might misinterpret our compliments.  Yet love, in all its excellency, perseveres. What if we did it so much we changed the entire female subculture?  We could break the back of competition and jealousy and the mindset of beauty being a zero-sum game.  We would open the door for everyone to enter the winner’s circle.

“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” – Mark 12:31

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