Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wouldn't trade it

If we're honest, we all grew up with some strange misconceptions about what it meant to be successful. One of my biggest misconceptions: my success would be determined by the distance I was able to live and/or travel from my hometown. Meaning, if I had to fly home for a wedding, I had reached the pinnacle of greatness.

In December 2001 I had graduated college and had started my life as an adult about 600 miles away from my hometown. My sister, the one who got the good looks, was getting married in May. I had a goal. I wanted to not only fly in for the wedding, thus showing my arrival into greatness, but I also wanted to transform from the overweight sister with a personality to someone slimmer and hotter to add to my plane ride distance success.

May 2002 arrived, and I was anything but thin. And anything but hot. And for some reason I had decided to get an unfortunately short haircut that did not flatter my face at all. Sigh. I was still going to be the sister with personality that did a good job of reading scripture at the wedding and apologizing for all of my sisterly meanness at the reception, but I was not hot. And I also realized that a plane ride in no way correlated to success. Thus I was still plain old me.

But if a genie happened to appear and offer me thinness in place of that weekend, I wouldn't trade it. Not because it was one of the biggest days in my sister's life, but because the whole weekend was filled with memories that didn't depend on me looking perfect. The above picture was taken the day after the wedding, when much of the groom's family was involved in various pranks including moving the new couple's bedroom into their living room. I would not have traded the laughs and memories for a smaller dress size.

I'm not saying people that are thin or beautiful don't have any fun. But I think we often equate looking perfect with more fulfillment and fun. We think if only I was a size (or two or three) smaller, then I would have a good time in social situations. In reality, our most meaningful moments seldom have anything to do with our appearance.

This is my challenge for you. Find a photograph of a memorable time when you look less than your best. Think Walmart-on-a-Saturday-night bad. Would you trade that moment for a perfect appearance? Appreciate the significance of the experience and the insignificance of your hairstyle or waistline. Maybe even throw it out there for #tbt.

My fellow bridesmaid in the picture above? She's getting hitched this weekend. I had set a goal to lose weight and "tone up" before her big day. And once again I find myself anything but thin. In the past, I've dreaded or even skipped events because I didn't feel that I looked good enough. But this weekend I'm going with full anticipation that I wouldn't trade this weekend for the 10 pounds I wanted to lose.


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