I want them to know that the true ugliness in that article (which I refuse to link to, because traffic is what those bottom-feeders thrive on) is that there is some impossible ideal of beauty that every woman should judge herself against, but is forever unattainable. I am personally offended because Kate Upton is on my island. You don't know about the island? It's what we talk about after a few drinks in the cul-de-sac on a Friday night. Who is on whose island. Mine changes a lot, but recently, it's been Kate Upton, Erin Burnett, and S.E. Cupp. I don't know, I have this thing for confident, smart women. That's beautiful to me. And before you call me sexist, the other women on the block, including my wife, are full participants in the island exercise. My wife's constant island-mate is Ewan McGregor (she has a thing for pasty guys with bad teeth; that's a good thing, I guess). Bill Clinton even made the cut for one neighbor.
Everyone has a different idea of beauty. For me, when I see my daughter practicing ballet, and the grace of her movement makes my throat catch and my eyes water, and it's more than just fatherly pride, her beauty steals my breath. When I see my youngest daughter fight through a scrum in soccer, the smallest player out there, throwing a couple of elbows and emerging from the pack with the ball, and remembering her in the neonatal infant care unit, born two months premature, and struggling for life, and seeing how far she has come, that is beautiful.
When I helped a woman as she passed through our 45-mile aid station at last month's 50 miler, one of the last through, a mother and grandmother, running 50 miles and hitting our aid station with an exhausted smile, a smile that is there often, a smile you can see in the radiant wrinkles at the corners of her eyes, that is beautiful.
When I see the women in a race, ahead of me, climbing faster than me, I don't think about being "chicked," I cheer them on, they are strong, they are beautiful. And the women struggling, and pressing on, pushing their limits, they are beautiful. I am lucky enough to train with some very strong and fast women, they are beautiful. I cherish the times I have been able to be at the finish line to cheer on my wife at the end of a race, sweating, stinky, exhausted, and beautiful.
Tearing other people down is not beautiful. Smart is beautiful. Strong is beautiful. Climbing mountains is beautiful. Standing up to your boyfriend who treats you like shit is beautiful. Smelly feet are beautiful. Dirt under fingernails after climbing a rock or a mountain is beautiful. Leaving an abusive relationship is beautiful. Waking up at 5 AM to fit a run in before making the kids' lunches is beautiful. And no matter what your body looks like, or what you think it looks like when you look in the mirror, making an effort, no matter how small, to be stronger, to be healthier, to be a better example to your kids, or your mom, or your husband, that is beautiful.
Thanks for reading my rant.
So now you know who's on my island. Who's on yours?