I saw a portion of a fashion show on-line this morning - just a snippet, really. I was drawn in because something about the fashion/modeling world has always intrigued me, so I didn't necessarily go in with a critical eye, but with one that appreciates a certain artform, really, to the whole production of it all.
And in that clip of the final moment, all these beautiful young women, standing on the end of the catwalk, laughing, holding hands, smiling - as if this were the culmination of the best time of their lives - I was struck by the reality of it. Rather than envying their solid thighs and flat stomachs, I saw their future laid out before me.
They will spend the rest of their lives trying to hold on to this moment.
This moment where beauty equals flawless make-up and zero percent body fat. The world, too, will do nothing to make them believe they should not do all in their power to cling to their youth. Aside even from the barrage of "beauty" messages flung at all women daily, it's just the fact they have now displayed themselves for all to see - as icons of beauty and perfection. And when the worldly definition begins to fade in their own bodies, outsiders will hold up their photos - the fallen angels who maybe have bags under their eyes, imperfect skin or (gasp!) cellulite - and do all in their insecure power to be sure we all see how they have faltered. They've "let themselves go" - as if it's the personal responsibility of the individual to stop time or the aging process altogether.
And I pitied them. Because they most likely have little reason to believe this endless pursuit of youth and beauty which has been their livlihood, their world, is nothing but a passing shadow. That maybe there is a beauty in aging naturally. That maybe they have more to offer the world than a perfect body. And that, maybe, there are things in this world (and most certainly above this world) that are worthy of so much more attention, of grasping, than what they have been told.
And I pity us - and every girl at home - who sees this culminating moment and feels maybe they lack something and maybe they, too, given the right make-up or clothes, can achieve this form of perfection and this defining moment of joy that comes from reaching the summit (a peak which comes far too early in life, if youth is truly the goal).
There is just so much more to this life than the world will allow others to believe. Who will tell them?