“Don’t I deserve to be privileged?
Don’t I deserve to get the very best?
‘Cause it ain’t easy being this fine all the time,
‘Cause if it was, then we all could do it”
Jazmine Sullivan – Mascara
Often when I write these posts it is against the backdrop of music and in most cases with the familiar quiet of my good friend Jack Daniels. Jazmine Sullivan is one of mainstream music’s most underrated singer/song writers and her unique ability to tell a story through songwriting, in my humble opinion, is second to none. I don’t speak on this subject as a music critic or with an encyclopaedic knowledge of music history, but as a fan whose soul has been touched.
The above lyrical quote is taken from a track called Mascara off Jazmine Sullivan’s most recent sublime musical offering; the Reality Show album. There are many standout songs but it is track number 2 that resonates with me most this evening.
The song is about a women who puts in the work and uses her physical appearance to get what she wants out of life, however I think the song taps into a wider theme of physical appearance, and just how much effort it takes to maintain a good physique. Now for the purpose of this post we will exclude the surgically enhanced or the genetically gifted who can gorge on foods of poor nutritional value and still look amazing…
But I’m speaking of those who put a lot of time and exertion into their appearance and physical well-being, yet are treated with little or no respect for the efforts of their labour. I am talking about people who take the time to make sure they eat right, drink water and regularly exercise. The average person can be very dismissive of the consideration, commitment and discipline it takes to maintain a reasonable health and a naturally healthy glow…especially after the age of 30.
These people are not celebrities with personal trainers and world class chefs, these are people who have to try to find that elusive thing called time and exercise after an exhausting day at work. What about those who rise before the sun? Or those who make every effort to avoid the constant onslaught of tea, coffee, biscuits, doughnuts, chocolate and cake offered at every turn…yet their willpower and resolve is widely overlooked.
You see although larger people are unfairly ridiculed within our poor mass media, I don’t know if that necessarily trickles into the day to day culture within your local work environment. Sympathy and support is freely offered to any large person who wants to initiate losing a few pounds but for those who work hard to maintain their health or appearance the same credit isn’t given…even if far more constant daily discipline is involved.
Is that fair?
Just over a decade ago I was at my heaviest and weighed in at about 20 stone (which converts to roughly 127 kg for my European friends and 280 lbs for my American buddies) and with a jolt (courtesy of the low carb Atkins diet) I made it down to about 15 stone (95kg/210lbs) and since then picked up the hard drug of running, drank more water, only ate when I was actually hungry and stopped late night snacking. I will never achieve the culturally iconic Calvin Klein six pack or grace the summer edition of Men’s Health, but I work very hard to look the way I do.
This post is not an endorsement to judge the fuller figure, there is room for us all, but the next time you see someone with a body that you secretly admire and desire or who has just made an effort with their physical appearance, why not compliment them on it and take a little time out to appreciate the hard work that goes into it.
I would like to thank Jazmine Sullivan’s exceptional song writing skills and incredible vocal delivery for unknowingly sponsoring this message!
Until next time.
This post definately got he thinking…I suppose complimenting someone who works hard on their appearance, on their appearance is exaccerbating what I see as either self destruction or vanity. The former is the person who looks fine but feels pressured to look a certain way, the latter is a saddo who has the luxury of only worrying about looks. Food and exercise are both healthy and to be enjoyed but ‘ making the effort’ to look a certain way is what concerns me, as does how many people who are not happy with their looks. Further to this, everyones perception of good looks is different but there are some common concepts indoctrinated by the media and sadly even the fitness industry. For some people however, who have not been around these people at all and use exercise and certain diets to change their looks, and actually enjoy the process of it, it may be a form of self care that they never expressed for themselves before. They may have been people pleasers or carers for others of had children etc, then I really respect and admire this.
My friend, this is a legit post. I am glad I read it. You hit the nail on the head. In my post, I focused on the reality of people who are overweight facing that. You focused on the fact that those people get the consideration while those of us that bust our ass often do not. But, it is true. I get respect and admiration in the gym, but hardly a compliment outside of it. Now, I do not care so much, as this is a deeply personal journey for me, as it is for you. Still, some recognition might be nice. It is almost like it is insulting to some to point out the success of others. I am okay with that. You are so very right with your post though.
Much respect. And you can achieve that Calvin Klein look. I am…and I know you can do it too. It is hard work and I honestly never wanted to do it…but now that I have modified my way of thinking and living, it is within reach. Much sacrifice, but, not that hard once you make it. We are each on a unique journey and you have my support my friend. Always a pleasure….
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When I wrote this post I realised that people who are committed to their health don’t quite get the recognition for maintaining the discipline of their lifestyles.
Like you I’m also determined to maintain a great physique and I know with hard work it’s possible. Thanks for your kind words!