Thursday, February 19, 2015

Not Appalled

We see it on billboards and in glossy magazines. A perfume ad, a stranger on the street. Desensitized to human flesh, we walk on regardless. Like muscles wrapped in cellophane on the grocery store shelf, we never think where it comes from.

I am not appalled when I see their bodies flaunted. I am not appalled when I catch sight of a magazine, shoved beneath a bench. I am not appalled when I hear strange noises from the TV down the hall. When I hear about the sick addiction, the clicking monster that grips eyes and minds in its thrall, I am scandalized for the wrong reasons. 

A girl, plucking nervous on her dress. Small and dark-haired, with wise, wide eyes. She is on the cusp of life, but a life that is more like death. Living hell.

We’ve all heard of it.
Slavery of the worst kind.
Murdering souls rather than bodies.
Ripping out the innocence, replacing it with an aching pain that may never go away. 

The beguiling faces we see every day, lips parted and lids drooping. Flashing banner ads, centerfold beauties, the busty blondes in the video store. What are their stories? Where did they come from? Why did they give someone permission to show their body to the world? What emptiness, desperation, wild hope, or longings pushed them past the point most women hang behind?

Looking into the face of a porn star, what do I see? A woman who reminds me of my cousin. Brown hair, dark eyes, long nose...a really normal face. A face that might smile behind a cash register, or a CEO’s desk, or a kitchen sink. A face that might belong to a beloved mother. I see chubby fingers reaching up to tug the hair, and hear gurgling noises that sound sweeter in her ears than any love song.

Why does this woman do what she does? Why sell the only thing she can completely call her own? Did she trade it for admiration? For money? Does she sell herself to a stranger’s lust for the same reasons I sell myself to social media, to a career, to the expectations of others? 

I want to cover up her body. Not to hide her shame, but to give her some assurance that she is loved for more than her legs and breasts. I want to drape a thick, cozy sweater around her shoulders and say that it’s all right to relax, to grab a cup of coffee and just sit next to me on a couch. To talk. To keep her clothes on because there’s no one to impress, no one to satisfy. There are no expectations here. And for the same reason, she can undress if she wants to. I can’t judge, or hide my eyes from her sins when I look on my own so boldly.

I just want to give her a taste of peace. A taste of wholeness and hope. A hope that will not disappoint, a grace that will not back away, a love that is unconditional and never-ending. 

Photo 1 by Jonathan Kos-Read
Photo 2 by 55laney69
Photo 3 by Andreia
Photo 4 by Madelinetosh
Photo 5 by femme run

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