On Having Arrived

On Saturday night, I binged on three episodes of “Style by Jury.” A Canadian show that comes on ION TV, it takes a person who is dressed either really frumpy or really outrageously, and proves to them how off their fashion sense is (according to a randomly assembled “style jury”). The people are forced to listen to negative first impression comments made by the jury. From there, gurus in hair, makeup, fashion and other areas give the person a make-over. At the end of the show, a new style jury weighs in post-makeover, with positive comments, and a person close to the transformed subject gives his or her reactions on the recent changes.

The comments from the initial style juries often made me cringe with their shallowness and suppositions. For example, one woman was surmised to be Amish because she was dressed plainly–khakis and a cozy sweater don’t make the cut, I guess. The same woman was said to look good for being 40-something because she had never been married, as though marriage wizens people in the same way as being elected President does.

The thing that roped me into the show, though, was the transformation process. The three women who were profiled were all plain dressers, soft-spoken and not particularly extroverted (except maybe for one, whose story I caught in the middle). By the end, you could tell that all had become more confident and at ease with themselves, in a way that didn’t deviate dramatically from their previous personae.

It was inspiring to see people become more vibrant, and become more like the people who they really felt they were on the inside, by following simple changes to their outsides. I have experienced the same evolution through losing weight. I feel more confident in many ways (though I am slogging through on making progress in other ways). I think I am a little more comfortable with being assertive, having to do it when turning down certain foods when offered or asking questions about how my meal will be prepared at a restaurant. I am more comfortable being in my body, and in being physical with my body.

There is no way to know what happened to those three ladies after their episodes, but I like to think that, like me, they have continued to gain a comfort level with the fullness of their lives, now that the colors have been amplified with greater self-esteem. And though their transformation took place initially on a physical level, like me, I hope that all of us will maintain an understanding that our true value is inside, and to act with that value in mind in a way we hadn’t really done before, when we were more constricted.

Losing weight was the beginning, but exploring who I am, and my relationship with God further; what I like and dislike (and gaining more courage with being honest about those things); and how I want to map out the rest of my life will take me to the next level. Unlike the show contestants, though, I don’t need a jury to tell me I have arrived into a better life.


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