Wednesday, 26 September 2007

#51 Because you're worth it

I’ve always felt bad for the models whose images adorn posters in tube stations – within days, they’re decorated with a variety of gum, graffiti and savoury slang. I don’t tend to notice the remarks – although, the ‘She was my first’ line I spotted a few weeks ago did get me giggling – but the Perfectil posters in Angel tube station were different. Across the faces of the airbrushed model were a series of stickers, reading, ‘For women who hate themselves.’ My first reaction was to snort, I’ll admit – somewhat derisively, at the extremist notion. On my way home, I spotted them again. During the short ride home, I couldn't help dwelling on it. The airbrushed model, the peachy lighting, the name of the product – ‘perfect’. Someone was sort of right – the idea and image grated and of course, there isn’t a pill out there that will promote flawlessness – but perhaps those that swallow it do so in the hope that they’ll edge that little bit closer to the unattainable. And that’s rather a sad thing. But it’s the same idea that feeds the entire vitamin and mineral supplement phenomenon – the belief that you are lacking something, and when you address it, you’ll be complete, healthy, at your best. When in truth, the tubs of tablets – be they for hair, skin, nails – that I have purchased in the midst of many a self-perfecting crusade, reveal far more about my mental state than they do about my physical one. During weeks when I’ve been feeling down, low, fat, unattractive, I’ve been known to spend a lunch hour amidst the aisles at Holland & Barrett, rooting out wild algae, aloe vera, co-enzyme Q10, coconut oil… trundling home with a bag of rattling goods that celebrate their use-by dates at the back of a dusty cupboard. Had I taken them (or had time to swallow the myriad pills), they might have made a difference. I started, but didn’t finish. Something happened – normally my mood shifting back to a more positive plane and deciding I’m fine, just as I am, without the help of agnus castus or acai berries. I could be healthier. I could be slimmer. I could be a veritable wonder woman of pink tongue, glowing organ and glossy mane – but I am normal. I am healthy. I am happy. It sunk in, eventually – there’s no miracle cure, there’s no holy grail. Don’t waste your time or hard-earned money on mysterious multivitamins. So I don’t. Have not – not for years. Perfectil may be the greatest supplement ever, it might make your nails stronger, hair thicker, skin clearer – but there is one thing of which I am utterly certain, it will not ‘perfect’ you. As a matter of fact – NOTHING will perfect you. You’ll always be flawed. Now, isn’t that liberating?

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