Poppet

Happy New Year!!

It’s hard to imagine that the year 2015 is here! Last year I spent this day exploring Salzburg, Austria, and although this year’s festivities were much more laid back, I am blessed to be surrounded with the people I love most in my dear good old hometown. A year brings a lot of change, but I am thankful for it and a lot more hopeful about change now than I have been in the past, which is another thing to be grateful for!

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Today’s poem is sort of dark/deep for such a holiday, but it’s something I’ve had on my mind lately. Here is 

 

Poppet

 

Come dress me up,

for I am your doll.

Put me in pin curls

and cinch me up small.

 

Come paint my face

with talc, kohl, and clay.

Make sure my lashes

curl, last all day.

 

Come dress me up,

in all the fine gowns,

wrap me in silver

and give me a crown.

 

Come grace my neck

in glittering gems,

put me in spike heels

hid under my hem.

 

Come dress me up

and pose me just right,

I’m just a doll;

I’ll be here all night.

 

I think about the women on magazine covers, the ones robed in the latest fashions with airbrushed faces and perfect figures; and about the models that saunter up and down runways, wearing bland and sometimes angry expressions, devoid of personality like walking billboards; or even the actresses in films, curated like the finest gardens in order to appeal to the masses. Sadness tinges my soul, because I realize that to the world they are only dolls.

I don’t mean to shame women who choose those careers. It would be fun to get to play dress up and get paid for it, and the majority of these people choose to do it. They are not slaves. They are not forced. They are not exploited. 

But something in me still recoils, even minimally, because I see where the seemingly innocuous world of glittering lights, fashion and beauty becomes a way for us to make dolls, playthings, poppets out of our fellow human beings. As people, we love beauty. But when we find it, just enjoying and appreciating it is not enough for us. We must perfect it or obtain more of it. Beauty is a drug that helps us to forget the world’s ugliness. An actress on a magazine cover, no matter how beautiful, powerful, smart, kind, or influential she is as a person, remains an image to us, an image we see over and over again in magazine after magazine, film after film. She is stripped of her humanity and becomes something pretty to look at. Our quest to obtain beauty becomes ugliness. 

What are we to do, then? I think the answer lies in remembering who we are as human beings. The Bible says that we are created in the image of God, and therefore each person is precious and beautiful. To God, beauty is not just in a person’s image. We are told that “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b).

Foolish people that we are, we usually assume that outward beauty is the sole definition of beauty, but it isn’t. Many people are physically beautiful but internally grotesque. If we valued internal beauty as much as we value the external, I believe that we would learn to see that girl on a magazine as more than just an image, more than just a doll to play dress up with. We would see her and each other fully, looking beyond the outside to what is truly valuable within. We would see the complete person, not just her image digitally collected, manipulated, and printed onto some paper. 

So if I could challenge you (and myself) this year, I would urge you not to treat your fellow (wo)man like a doll. Look beyond the outward appearance to the heart. You may not always like what you see, but at least you will see the people around you for who they truly are. I guarantee that along the way you will find beauty, and you will become better at recognizing what beauty truly is. 

Happy New Year, friends. God bless!

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