Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...Why do you make me feel so small?

Children aren’t phased by beauty… until they start school! Observing is what women do best: we learn it from as early as childhood. It’s the long stare as another female breezes into the room; the quick glance at her shoes as she rushes onto the tube; the admiration of that hair - that’s always bouncy and full of shine! - “How does she do it?” we wonder… “She must take ages in the morning!”

I don’t follow the conventional when it comes to beauty and my ideals definitely aren’t consistent with the standards that this superficial society has fed me. The pressures to be thin, wrinkle free and flawless can get too much sometimes...

The size zero debate really gets me on my soapbox. I hate hearing about it to be honest - especially here in London - where everyone complains (because it is the right thing to do) but our catwalks are littered with models that can barely walk for lack of energy; have dark circles, carefully concealed by top makeup artists; and collarbones so razor sharp that they could cut pizza! (You know, the pizza they aren’t eating!)

However, saying that, we can’t play the blame game all the time. I debated this at work, and although we all had an opinion, we concluded that the so called “Media” aren't the only ones to blame. It is the people who watch it, read it, listen to it and LOVE IT!

If a “fat celebrity” didn’t sell papers then editors wouldn’t write about it… However, we fuel their fire when we focus on who is dating who… who has piled on the pounds… and of course, looking at pics of Cameron Diaz without makeup on! (I’m guilty!) In my opinion, this culture is a result of greedy manufacturers, fame hungry celebrities and gossip ridden tabloids…and we are the guinea pigs! So the responsibility to make a difference lies at our feet. Yes, the media has a part to play but ultimately we are responsible for our lives; after all, if we didn’t try to emulate these figures they wouldn’t be ‘in’.

In my opinion the media won’t change until their audience does, so I need to define what beauty is for myself and follow that.

I don’t blindly follow trends set by prestigious fashion houses; I don’t believe that being short is bad - it's pretty handy actually(!); and I don’t want to be blonde - as it’s a nightmare to maintain! Beauty for me is being comfortable with who I am because as I always say: Jesus is my standard… not Victoria Beckham!

"Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." Psalm 1: 1-3

I can't wait to be...Single.

Article by Gemma Leon taken from http://www.thepurpletouch.com/

Like me, everyone around you probably “Can’t wait to get married!” The first thing that comes to your mind when you read the title is that I’m in an unhappy relationship or an abusive marriage. Well, I have never been married and I’m not in a relationship…but what if I told you that there is a huge difference between being single and unmarried? (And I’m not talking about casual relationships or random dates). What if I told you that even if you are married or in a relationship, it is vital that you remain single? Intrigued? Then read on…

I’ve been to many weddings in my time; some big, some small, some extravagant and others simple. However, the one thing I’ve witnessed is that some people just aren’t ready for marriage. Controversial, I know. It’s something that’s always puzzled me, especially among Christians: “How can two Godly people not make their marriage work? And why do one in three marriages fail?” After years of pondering, I finally understood why so many marriages end in divorce and others are badly broken.

My dream has always been to get married and when I was 15 it became my goal, my one purpose; as though after the wedding day there was nothing else for me. It was as though I couldn’t achieve anything until I was married. I didn’t want to get to 20 without finding the right person. (Even as I write this I cringe at how silly it sounds but I’m sure there are many young girls that think this way). Well, I’m 23 and I’m happy to say that I didn’t achieve that dream because if I did, I would be a divorced 23 year old or on my way to marriage counselling. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not slating marriage! Marriage is wonderful (and it’s still my dream) but at the right time and with the right person.

When I was 16, I had a really serious relationship and thought that my dream was actually going to be fulfilled. However, I was betrayed by him and after 4 years of being stripped of the real me, when it ended, (painfully), I didn’t even know who I was. I spent days in bed, nights crying and I didn’t even want to go back to uni. I thought my life was over. It took God a year and a half to mend my broken heart. Yes, almost two years… And after I got over the pain and bitterness, He made me realise that the reason I was so broken was because I wasn’t whole in the first place. It was then that I took my journey to be single.

Single. A word so commonly used but in the wrong context. To be single is not the same as being unmarried or without a boyfriend. It is to be whole, unique and separate. It’s to have your own dreams, your own personal goals and above all, your own relationship with God. It was only when I came to this conclusion that God started to make my life beautiful again and I started to build a life that I loved. There is nothing wrong with marriage, it’s honourable in itself. The problem is when two self haters, who have not found themselves, desperately try to love each other. Yes, that’s the truth. How can you give love if you don’t even love yourself?

So ladies, let’s go on a journey. A journey to love ourselves. A journey to be inspirational to others and to be the best that we can. A journey to find our life’s purpose and to conquer our dreams. Let’s go to God with our issues (and the things that we have allowed others to tear down) and give Him the chance to piece us back together again. Let’s laugh at our mistakes and learn from them, instead of beating ourselves up and dwelling on the past. Let’s understand that the “unmarried time” is short and precious, so we should do the things we always wanted to. And let’s stop trying to run into a relationship in the hope that a man will make us complete… like I did. It will never happen. No man (as much as he loves you) was created to give you everything you need emotionally. So let’s work on getting rid of the baggage and becoming the whole women we were created to be. After all, single women are rare to find.

The Sisterhood - More than just a sorority?

The Purple Touch Team with the Big Sisters - UK
A Review by Gemma Leon - Taken from http://www.thepurpletouch.com/

At the end of January I was invited to a meeting about The Sisterhood. Curious, I attended with some friends to find out exactly what it was about and to see if it really was something that I could relate to as a young woman. I was sceptical. Being typically British I am not into sororities, fraternities, Alpha, Beta etc! In my mind that's definitely something associated with the American way of life... but I went with an open mind to get the scoop!

Our speaker Ana was a natural. She spoke about The Sisterhood with a passion that could not be fabricated. I knew, instantly, that it was something that she believed in and that belief made me sit up and listen. As a “Big Sister” she explained that The Sisterhood existed to help young women become the women they always wanted to be: women who are unique in their demeanour, attractive in their speech, exemplary in their behaviour and a positive influence to all those around them. This Sisterhood wasn’t a typical sorority; in fact the selection process wasn’t based on beauty or talent but rather for women who recognized their flaws…but were willing to change.

From as early as the playground we are fed silent messages that we have to be beautiful to be loved, sexy enough to find the right guy and ruthless enough to make it to the top. But what if we aren’t socially acceptable or conventionally beautiful? It made me think about the woman in a completely different way. Yes we are strong; yes we have the power to influence; yes we can truly make an impact on the world – but only if we know how to.

So many young women have lost their sense of purpose and struggle daily with their ever fluctuating esteem. Our value and role in this world have been marred by the influence of modern age culture and the principles set by Hollywood… Could this Sisterhood really change all that?

This “Big Sister” wanted to help young women realise that they were so much more than short skirts and catty remarks. She explained that her vision was to teach young women how to be skilled at all things and be the valuable treasure that they never knew they could be. The message was simple: The Sisterhood was for young women who were willing to change themselves in order to help others. I liked it.

As the saying goes: Educate a girl…empower a nation. There’s only one question you have to ask yourself: Are you ready for change? I am.