Gollum, Japanese Photo Booths and the Battle with Beauty

Once upon a time I was compared to Gollum. Please feel free to chuckle along with me, because if those aren’t the words every woman longs to hear, then I know nothing of my fellow females.

In case you aren’t sure who Gollum is, here he is, in all his glory.

In case you aren’t sure who Gollum is, here he is, in all his glory.

The cliff notes version goes like this: several years ago two friends (a guy and gal) and I were enjoying lunch when one of his friends joined us (it was at event that provided free lunch). In all fairness, he did start by saying “You have nice eyes” but ended it with “…like Gollum’s.” (Yep, he was 100% serious too) Any hope of that coming across in a positive light was destroyed when Smeags was thrown in. Who knows, maybe he watched Lord of the Rings the night before. We shall never know. Yes, it was hilarious, but definitely one for the books.

Fast forward about 10 years when my two good friends and I were exploring Japan. They have photo booths, so we obviously took part:

japan-photo-booths

1. Can we talk about the size of my eyes (see top right). I mean good jolly, I look like a puppy (or Gollum right? ;)) We laughed for a solid amount of time. Do you blame us?
2. We barely figured out how to work the machine, so the captions on the images? No clue. Although we did get the date right. Woot!
3. It blows my mind there are photo booths out there that give you the “perfect” skin, make your eyes bigger and make you and your buddies “glow” like you’ve never experienced uneven skin.

It would be easy to toss this aside and say it’s a cultural thing, but it’s not just in Japan. Recently on Facebook an ad for an app to “fix” your face popped up. You know, so you can have the perfect selfie. I knew this would make for some interesting discussion, so I investigated further and apparently there are several options and one even featured a toddler in the before and after how-to.

Lord help us.

It seems like there’s always something thrown at us about how to look, what looks good and how we should portray ourselves. Will there ever be a day where there isn’t something to make us question if we’re good enough? I think it’s safe to say we all have dealt with this in some way or another. It comes in all different ways too. From the anonymous internet user, to a person you know, to the advertising monster taking over culture.

We all have our experiences. Some are similar, some so very different. But I can’t completely blame the outside world for the battle with beauty and of being enough. For over a decade I didn’t wear a cap because when I was 16, a guy told me I looked like a boy with a cap on. Yep, it took 11 years for me to move past that. Nothing like high school to haunt you right? Or the times after a breakup? Questioned myself for weeks. Or when a pretty woman walks into the room and, even if it’s for a brief second, inadequacy hits?

Am I the only one who has ever struggled with this?

I so often have to do a heart check and ask myself why these things creep on me. They shouldn’t bug me, but when they do, I know it’s because I’ve missed it (once again). Where do I find my value? Where to find my worth?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the wrong areas. What I do or don’t look like doesn’t really matter. Whether I have a six pack (that’s funny) or have to buy a size up in jeans. Whether I love or hate makeup. My value is found in something far greater and more perfectly beautiful than I can ever imagine.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
That right there. It’s all that matters and it’s a promise.

When you believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
What a promise!

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7
The Lord made me and values everything about me. That is enough.

To quote “Crooked Smile” by J. Cole: “We ain’t picture perfect, but we worth the picture still.”

And I just quoted a hip hop song after Bible verses. So there’s that.

But what a beautiful and wonderful hope: I’m God’s chosen – holy and beloved. And He will never leave nor forsake me. What more do I need?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Has there been a scripture that has gotten you through feelings of inadequacy?

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13 thoughts on “Gollum, Japanese Photo Booths and the Battle with Beauty

  1. Wesley at Library Educated says:

    Firstly, you’re so very un-Gollum like.

    Isn’t it amazing how even nonsensical things like that bury themselves in your mind? I once heard some refer to me as “your big nosed friend”. And I was like what? I’d never given my nose a second thought (looks wise) but after that I’d catch myself analyzing it. Is it big? Are my nose holes too close together? It took me like a year to be like, Wesley there’s not a damn thing wrong with your nose. Can you breathe out of it (when not in allergy season, ha)? Yes? Then it’s a great nose.

    When thoughts that start with “Oh I wish I looked more like..” or “I wish I looked less like” creep up on me (with some frequency, I will admit) I remind myself that this body is just the wrapping that my soul comes in. What makes me what I am isn’t my weirdly long toes or my hair that won’t keep a curl, it’s my actions and my words and how I treat people and my relationship with God. (Soooo much easier said than put into all the time practice though, of course)

    • jamielynne82 says:

      haha! Thanks 🙂 I didn’t think I resembled good ol Gollum, but I remember thinking “Really bro…Gollum?? Not even Smeagol?” ha!

      It is ridiculous how those things stick with me (I mean, a cap? Really Jamie?!). I wish is wasn’t so, but next time, I’m stealing your quote and telling myself the same thing 🙂

      Excellent advice too – thanks for sharing. I’m so thankful there is more to life than what happens here on earth and like you said, my body is just the wrapping my soul comes in :).

  2. Rissi says:

    Jamie, this is a beautiful post! What a wonderful, honest and genuine post you shared with us. I don’t think there is a one of us who cannot relate to all of this. You know, it is important to realize where we find our worth – and certainly that shouldn’t be in the picture-perfect images of pop culture today. Sadly, what most young girls don’t realize is that those images aren’t real – they photo-shopped and of course, oftentimes those women are anything but healthy about their body image.

    Thanks (again) for sharing, girl! 🙂

    XO

    • jamielynne82 says:

      Thank you again for chiming in – it’s always encouraging to from others about this topic! And yes, I want to go to every single middle school and high school and tell all the young girls – don’t pay attention to pop culture! They’re so so wrong!

      Always good to chat with you 🙂

  3. Katie says:

    I love this post Jamie…but I have to say, you are not Gollum!! What the heck?! Haha. I do love the pictures though. It is amazing the things that are out there.

    Thank you for sharing a personal post. This is such an important topic. Image has become so big and with photoshop, it is more important then ever to instill in girls that they are are wonderfully made the way they are. A selfie is not the best way to determine who you are, who you are on the inside really does shine out.

    Wonderful!

    • jamielynne82 says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting! And I never did think I looked like Gollum, but I chuckle every time with that story. Of all the fictional beings in the history of literature, good ol Smeags was the only person he thought of – oh my!

      Yes, our young girls need to be told that over and over! Yes, body image is and sometimes always will be a struggle, but your heart and soul are a trillion times more important!

      Thanks again for stopping by 🙂

  4. Kara says:

    I have to agree with everyone else. What in THE world was that guy thinking?! Clearly he wasn’t. Else he’d know to never compare anyone to Gollum, least of all a girl! 😉 But seriously, Jamie, ever since I first saw a picture of you, I’ve always thought what a beautiful lady you are. And then I get to know you a little better and the beauty just grows because inside you are even more amazing! And I truly mean that.

    Can I just say thank you? Thank you for sharing your heart! These things affect us whether we want them to or not. As Christian women, we tend to think that in order to be the “right” and “perfect” Christian woman, we have to get over things like this. We have to never focus on the outside. What’s on the inside is what counts and yada yada yada. Which is all very true by the way. But if there’s anything I’ve been learning as I’ve gotten older, it’s that we need to be honest. (Another thing I love about this post–your honesty!) We may not want them to, but the honest truth is, these things DO bother us. And that’s okay. We’re human. We’re human women! I believe that God created within us the desires and feelings that nurture this kind of thinking. Because focused on the right things (like encouraging others, or teaching our younger generations, or our husbands if we have one, or friendships), these thoughts can be used for His glory! Where the sticking point is, is not to stay focused on these things. We can think about them, we can pray about them, we can even talk about them with other women, but NOT to the point that that’s ALL we do. Does that make sense? We need to accept the reality that these things will bother us, but then kick satan’s butt by reminding him that God’s got our back! And regardless of what we look like, regardless of what others may say about our looks, God’s always got a better answer. And it’s right there in our Bible, just waiting for us to get the reminder of how awesome and amazing He thinks we are!

    Now just in case you’re wondering, I’m reminding myself of this as I’m writing. Because I’m the queen of being waaaayyyyy too concerned over what others think of me. But I have some fabulous friends who remind me of Who I need to be looking at (clearly NOT in the mirror). And praise the Lord, He loves me so unconditionally and He constantly uses little moments (or posts like this one! 🙂 to remind me how very, very much He cares.

    Also? Can I just mention that I’m kind of grateful you don’t have a six pack? I’m thinking you look pretty great just the way you are. 😉

    Also also? I love the fact that you quoted a hiphop song after Bible verses! You make me smile, my friend. And what better thing to do for a person?

    • jamielynne82 says:

      Your comments have truly blessed me, Kara! So first thank you for sharing – the Lord knows how to keep me encouraged though friends! Yes, it’s okay for us to struggle with these things, because as you said we’re human and women, but we also have a much bigger God. Amen to that all day long!

      I’m so glad these truths and promises are never far away and all I need to do is turn to Scripture. Yay Jesus!

      And yep – no six pack here!! haha! And glad you enjoyed a little hip hop “wisdom” too 🙂

      Thank you again Kara – happy to count you as an encouraging friend!

      • Kara says:

        May I just say how glad I am that you didn’t seem to mind my LONG rambling comment? I hadn’t really realized how long it was until I hit post comment and then it was too late!

        And yes! Yay Jesus indeed! I’m quite pleased that He made it possible for you and I to “meet”. Thanks for always encouraging ME! 🙂

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