I was surrounded by models.
Not model toys or planes. That would have been a bit easier than my situation. I had moved to New York City and somehow found myself thrown into a group of people that not only looked like Greek gods and goddesses, they were also paid big bucks to place their faces and rock-hard bods in pictures and on catwalks all over the world.
At the time, I wasn't exactly what you'd call 'secure.' My entire life, I had thumbed through magazines and parked on television shows that displayed society's supposed perfection—secretly coveting what I saw with envy that sparked nothing but comparison and insecurity (eventually ending up in a rehab facility for eating disorders.) So to now be sitting in a room with the very people who had been the greatest reminder that I wasn't, in fact, perfect….well, let's just say it was anything but easy.
To make up for my lack of supermodel credentials, I had somehow fooled myself into believing that I needed to make up for who I wasn't. I'd lug my guitar over to our hangouts, singing and entertaining when I could in an attempt to give them some reason for wanting to hang out with simple ole me. (This wasn't true, of course, but it was my truth and I believed it more than I believed the sky was blue).
One beautiful Saturday afternoon as we sat overlooking the Hudson River from one of their high rise, ritzy apartments, someone finally piped up and said, 'Sing us a song, Christa.' I didn't object, of course, secretly hoping for hours that the invitation would arise. With chiseled faces and statuesque figures looking in my direction, I pulled out my old guitar, opened my mouth, and began to sing.
The song ended, my task complete. But instead of the normal praises, cheers, and smiles I was accustomed to, I noticed one breathtakingly gorgeous European model off to the side who looked a bit like her head was about to explode, which probably wouldn't have been very good for her modeling career. The 6'0" tall, size 0 girl who had walked every catwalk between here and Milan sat with her long arms crossed in disdain, her foot shaking as if nervously wanting to bolt out of the room, and her face morphing into a fiery red.
"Lauren, are you okay?" I asked timidly, choosing my words carefully. "Did I say something wrong or offensive?"
Her response wasn't quite what I had expected that summer day in New York City.
"No, I'm not okay!" she blurted in a thick Belgian accent. "You have the voice of an angel and all I do is walk the catwalk and pose, pose, pose—click, click, click—beauty, beauty, beauty! You have ALL the talent and I have NO talent. It's not fair! I want to be you!"
Silence suspended in the air between us as I scooped my jaw up off the floor.
For as long as I could remember, I had compared my reflection in the mirror to her perfect physique. I wasn't thin enough or I didn't have big enough boobs. My knees were knobby or my hair didn't flop around like the girl on the Pantene commercial. What I saw was never enough, no matter how good it was. And yet, here was the object of my deepest desire—the top tier of world models—throwing a temper tantrum because she'd rather give up her looks and have my talent.
The grass truly is greener on the other side.
That moment was a defining moment for me. Some call it an, 'Ah-ha' moment. Instead of looking at myself and seeing all the things that I wasn't or could never be, I began to look deep inside the unique nature of my beautiful, one-of-a-kind soul and ask, 'Ok, Christa. What were you created to be that no one on earth was created to be, and how can you become so secure in the treasure that is you, that you find out what it means to live in real peace?"
Peace has come, and is still coming. The more I find out who I was created to be, then becoming that girl, the more my green pasture seems to be just fine.
***FREE SONG DOWNLOAD!! -- The first five readers to Tweet about this blog and tag both @jfreakhideout and @godlovesuglybk will be given a free download of Christa's song "The Grass Is Always Greener!"***