Is it wrong to care?

July 3, 2011
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I would like to introduce you to a girl named Meg. She goes to my school. As I pass her in the halls, the rejection emanates off her, like the rays of light from a spotlight. She has found her way to feel pretty, yet she has a strong wall up to keep away the type of people she calls perfects. The types of people she thinks are in cliques. She has neglected herself by pushing religion onto others and ignoring body image. Yet she is comfortable. She wears cropped sweat pants and sharpie engulfed sneakers almost everyday. She is well known for the satchel she carries around with her, full of potpourri and miscellaneous school supplies. This is an example.
We are sitting, on the floor in the big room. A speaker visiting our school talks about characteristics that “brand us” and makes us who we truly are. She swiftly hands out yellow laminated cards and explains to us that these cards make us who we are. She told us she would like us to hold up our cards then look around the room at other cards. Minutes go by with few whispers and bits of laughter here and there. We are then signaled to lower our cards. The speaker says, “ Does anyone think that one of these characteristics are unneeded in branding ourselves?” Slowly but surely a hand goes up behind my friends and I. “Now dear what card did you think is unneeded?” She replies. “Beauty; because people are too self absorbed in their personal image to think about others.” The words came out of nowhere. Rapidly speaking for about three minutes on how beauty doesn’t matter and she could care less about how she looks. My friend turns to me, “Obviously”. I tried drowning out the rebellion but one sentence caught me by surprise. “ I wouldn’t care if I was ugly, but some people need aggressively straight hair and half a gallon of makeup to feel good about themselves.” Her tone. The way she shot her dark brown eyes at me. This was the small act of payback.
You see, Meg, she used to be part of my group of social affiliations. Then she started rebelling. One lunch after another she would say and do anything to get us to be Christian and not care about our body image. Until one day, my friends just got up and left. In the middle of her daily rant they left. I stayed for that lunch but the next day, I was not present at the hexagonal table in the corner of the art room. I didn’t feel bad. She kept thinking I was anorexic and that I needed to lay off the makeup.
Now she refers to me as “the clown”. Maybe I am the bad guy. Maybe she is. Is being pretty a monster? Has it taken me over?I don't think so nut my question is, what’s wrong with trying to look your best?

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