Begging your pardon for this somewhat rambly post–I’ve been contemplating and y’all must suffer.
Several women were featured in the news this week–sometimes positively and prominently, sometimes not–but each of their stories touched me profoundly.
The music world was abuzz with Adele’s huge comeback performance at the Grammy’s on Sunday night. After having major surgery on her vocal cords last year, Adele proved she’s still got it…and then some. In case you missed the performance, I’ll include a link (via NationalPost) here with hopes that the Grammy people don’t have it removed:
As if that performance wasn’t enough in its own right, Adele won six–count ’em, SIX–Grammys that night!
And that’s all great, but what impresses me most about her is her self-confidence and her comfort with her body’s shape and size. Especially after Karl Lagerfeld, renowned in fashion circles as the big kahuna designer for Chanel, deemed her “too fat”. Talented and beautiful, but too fat. He apologized later:
“I know how it feels when the press is mean to you in regards to your appearance. Adele is a beautiful girl. She is the best. And I can’t wait for her next CD.”
(Really, Karl? If you knew something was hurtful and you still said it, that makes it even worse, in my opinion. But minor props for attempting to smooth things over. I guess.)
As for Adele, she said in a recent People Magazine article:
“I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines,” she says. “I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.”
Actually, I think many of us are well behind Adele, in that we don’t love our bodies just as they are. Not that I’m not trying! But I get her point. Most of us aren’t model-perfect and never will be, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t beautiful, smart, funny, talented, etc.
Whitney Houston’s death on the eve of the Grammy Awards she once dominated has been the subject of headlines the world over. People were stunned, but really, how many of us were surprised? Her problems with drugs and alcohol were well-documented in both the tabloid and mainstream press.
None of us knows the real reasons for Whitney’s Houston’s problems, but what breaks my heart most of all (besides the thought of the family she left behind) is that the woman who sang these lyrics with such beauty and poignancy must not have loved herself very much at all:
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all.
From “The Greatest Love of All”, written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed
Jill Kinmont-Boothe died last week at the age of 75. Many of you, particularly those of you who are younger, may not have heard of her. As a national championship skier and Olympic contender, Ms. Kinmont-Boothe was paralyzed from the neck down in a skiing accident in 1955 at the age of 18. I first became aware of her story after watching the movie, The Other Side of the Mountain.
As movies go, The Other Side of the Mountain was sappy, highly idealized Hollywood fare. To my then-teenaged heart, though, it was a beautiful love story. I now know that there are several love stories in this movie, with the most overwhelming message being that Jill Kinmont-Boothe loved herself enough and valued herself enough to see beyond the body that no longer functioned normally. Her value was in her compassionate heart, keen mind, and unflagging determination. She chose to become a teacher to disabled and disadvantaged elementary school students.
Three women, three very different stories. To me, they all speak to the importance of self-love and self-respect. It’s great to seek better health and personal improvement, but loving ourselves as we are now is where we start, not our ultimate destination. Our value to the universe isn’t about our bodies at all.
And if by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love
closing lyric, “The Greatest Love of All”
More than pounds lost or losses maintained, minutes exercised, or cupcakes defeated, my greatest wish for each of us is that we find that strength.
Happy Valentine’s Day!