Thursday, February 18, 2010

Male Models Make Me Queasy

I'm currently watching "Model City". Get on this wagon. I'm fascinated and repelled all at the same time. Oh, It's on "Centric"--the station that used to be called BET-J and before that it was the BET Jazz channel. Thus, they are all Black professional male models. The show chronicles their careers and personal lives amidst the backdrop of classic NYC. So of course, I'm already intrigued simply from the premise...

Anyway, I'm reflecting on how petty and superficial some of these men are. At this point, they've been groomed that way. They've been catered to in some unbelievable ways, which in turn has affected their outlook on life, their day to day lives as mini-rock stars, and their interpersonal skills. On the show, there are some strong personalities that help to drive the story (What would a good reality show be without them?); and it's because of these strong characters that I'm able to reflect more deeply and intently on issues like identity, beauty, and maturity.

It just amazing to me how we treat and are affected by people simply because of their beauty. It's astounding really, when you think of it. It truly begins to sink in when we hear one of the more intelligent male model's response. He is fully aware of how ridiculous and amazing his way of making an obscene amount of money appears. He also comments on how people treat him and his peers differently simply because they're beautiful, and yes, you better believe these boys know that they are.

I'm no exception to the rule. I respond to beauty just as strongly as the next person. But I hope that I've learned that beauty in itself is not the "end" it's simply the beginnings of a greater beauty and discovery beyond. Much like saying, what we see is temporal--but what we cannot see, is eternal.

The depths of beauty makes me smile. Exaggerated beauty makes me a little nervous. And self-important beauty makes me queasy.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Ladies, Be Aware of Your Surroundings

I recently heard a tragic story of how a woman was in her own backyard doing the peaceful and relaxing art of gardening. While her back was turned, a strange man walked right into her home, behind her back and killed her husband. This all happened as the woman was unaware in her garden. And when the woman finally came back into her house, the perpetrator kidnapped her. In a miraculous flow of events, she later escaped from her kidnapper's home and lives to tell the story.

There is so much that we do not become aware of when we are in our day to day lives. Translate that fact into our emotional and spiritual lives, there is so much that we can be unaware of trying to circle us or choke us out. But now is the time to awaken. To be aware.

Even if we are caught in the storm or kidnapped by hopelessness, the light has not stopped shining. In many cases, we may have been unaware of our training (from the past) to overcome. Much like the Karate Kid himself, who saw no purpose in "waxing" a car. But those movements would later prove vital and beneficial in an arena of challenge.

Be aware. Not just of everyone else and their flaws. But be aware of yourself and your own surroundings. What are you gleaning and learning? What wisdom is being imparted. Do you even know? Do you care to? Maybe you don't. But I can almost guarantee that there will be a moment in this life where your present condition or observations will give strength to something within you that will need to arise in order to overcome the tallest of obstacles and what would even appear as ultimate defeat. Your strength is being formed now.

Many of us learned to be aware and maybe even a bit suspicious of our surroundings at a young age ("Stranger Danger", etc.). Growing up with an aunt who worked for the Criminal Justice Department in New York and a father connected to the government, since the age of 5, I've had to be aware of my own surroundings in an heightened way. The pendulum was so far in one direction that I had to learn to trust people and truly become vulnerable instead of thinking everyone was out to harm me.

Nevertheless, I am always observing. Always listening. I know that the game can change at any moment, and I'm okay with that. My ultimate trust isn't in my own ability to control every circumstance or to avert every single bad thing from happening. I now trust that God will cover and fill in the areas that are needed. For the light that shines ever so brightly is not my own, for I am but a reflector of what I am looking at.

But now I am being aware in faith and not in fear. Learning more and more of what it means to watch and pray.

And to you, especially the ladies, please be aware of your surroundings. Because in such surroundings, there may be an opportunity to help, to fight, to pray, or to grow.