Monthly Archives: April 2013

Mirror Mirror…Screw You

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Lately, it seems I can cry over the most benign shit. It is as though my PMS is not paying attention to the calendar whatsoever. When even reality television chokes me up, I know I am entering Hot Mess City. And lately, I am the friggin Mayor.

Last night, I came upon a video which lent itself as a perfect example of my emotional edginess. But in my defense, there have been many others with similar reactions. Take a watch and see how you respond…

If you have read my blog in the past, if you know me “in real life”, you know my annoying issues with self-image and self-esteem. Pretty much every where I go, I feel like the ugliest (or oldest or fattest or worst dressed) woman in the room. I compare myself to all the other women and insist they are better, smarter, prettier. Before an event or an evening out, I will try on 87 outfits and often end up in tears because EVERYthing makes me look “fat” and all my clothes are “hideous”.

I find myself daydreaming about the cosmetic surgeries I would have if I were rich and had the balls. I desperately want a breast reduction & lift, a chin implant, laser hair removal, veneers and skin resurfacing. If I wasn’t scared to death of surgery, I would also throw in liposuction, a butt implant and a nose job.

I am constantly on the look out for the latest weight loss tips, make up miracles and the non-existent perfect bra. And on those days when I actually do not hate the way I look…when I might have a smidgen of confidence…I will see a picture of myself or perhaps a reflection and I fall right back into that pit of grossness.

I have always been this way to some degree. But there is no doubt that it has gotten to a wretched level after having my daughter. Not to mention, I am now pushing 40 and everything is so much more difficult to maintain. I am having a very hard time aging – for many reasons, but aesthetics are a big one.

This insanity must stop. I do not want these girls growing up caring so much about how they appear. I don’t want them hyper focused on this crap. I want to be able to enjoy a day on the boat or a night on the town. I want so badly to be introduced to that sense of having true confidence. I have to fix this because I am damaging myself and worse, damaging the girls. I am the only one who CAN fix this. I have looked to others for that magical cure and they just don’t have it.

SOOOO…needless to say – this video hits close to home…big time, baby.

I shared the video with others, hoping to have some company in this cry baby fest of self loathing. And I lucked out in that apparently there are others who relate to this unhealthy and sad reality. But then…there was this gal named Michelle (shaking the Ralph Kramden fist) who had to go and ruin my new favorite commercial by posting THIS LINK. Go ahead…read it. Then return, okay?

You back? Sweet.

Obviously this blog provided me with further angst and I kinda wanted to punch the author. Not because she is wrong but because I am not sure how to defend my new favorite tear jerker. But I will try. Kinda.

There is no denying the lack of different ethnicities, of overweight women, of those with disabilities. That fact alone is disappointing considering the point they are claiming to make. The women who were sketched were not women society would consider ugly or unattractive. They were indeed naturally attractive women, by most accounts.

I will say that perhaps it was their intention to show women who are closer to the stereotype of what is socially considered beautiful. Maybe they wanted to show us that even these women…ones we may be envious of…also carry with them self-doubt. I dunno. Just a thought.

I was also bothered by an editing choice in this video. It was at the 5:40-ish mark. She says that ‘IT impacts everything.’ And it is edited to sound as though she is saying that our outer beauty is crucial to every aspect in life. But I believe it was originally intended to express that our SELF IMAGE is what is important. That was a terrible editing error. No doubt, scout.

I would like to think that Dove is not exploiting our insecurities while perpetuating the very bullshit that made us insecure to begin with. I would like to think that this company who sells deodorant, shampoo and soap is merely helping us be the best us we can be. And yes, part of that would encompass basic hygiene and grooming. I mean, let’s face it – there is nothing wrong with having some pride in our appearance and being clean. I would like to think all of this even if it makes me a tad naive.

And we can dissect the motivations and strategies of the Dove company until the big fat ugly cows come home. It doesn’t change the original message of the video. It doesn’t change the fact that it is touching some major nerves all over the world. It doesn’t change the reasons we feel this way.

If you watch the movie Miss Representation, you can learn a lot about how we got here and more frighteningly, where we are going.

We are constantly inundated with images, messages and suggestions telling us how we are SUPPOSE to look. Telling us that beauty is above all else. We are taught to be disappointed if we cannot live up to unrealistic goals. We compare ourselves to photo-shopped magazine covers and women drowning in botox and silicone. We are even made to feel guilty if we eat more than 1000 calories a day. And let’s not even get into how boys are taught to judge our beauty.

I don’t know how to correct 30-some years of wacky brain wiring. I don’t know how to even begin to change the way I view myself. It seems so daunting and honestly, impossible. But I must try because I am miserable.

I think my first step will be changing the way I take a compliment. I am embarrassingly HORRIBLE at it. I will almost always come back with some smart ass remark. I will devalue what was said and even try to convince the other person that they are wrong. I mean WHAT THE FUCK??!!  I am going to make a serious effort to simply accept the kind words and say thank you. Maybe once I get that down, I will work on actually absorbing those messages instead.

We have so much evolving to do. And as much as I would like to change society…I think I have to start with myself on this one.

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Boston Bombings: The View from Here

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OLB – Overpass Light Brigade – honors the victims in Boston

Sitting here on a chilly afternoon listening to the thundering downpour that is flooding my lawn has me feeling lazy with a bout of ADD. My mind is quickly jumping from one thing to the next, mixed up with a dichotomy f emotions and reactions. Boredom and fatigue with a side of guilt – a meal I will share for a moment.

(Initially I was going to share the whole meal…but after an art project, a book report and getting the kids ready for bed…I have decided to only share the main course at the moment. More to come later.)

Boston…a city I love. A word on the lips of most in these past days. The images of the brutally injured and the faces of those taken have left me feeling a toxic numbness which at times gives way to tears and hopelessness. It is yet another reminder that none of us are truly safe and that life is indeed fleeting and short.

On Sunday I took Kenzie shopping. We were talking about Boston – not really sure why. She asked me if it was my favorite city. And I said it was – I only wished it were warmer. The food, the ocean, the architecture  the history, the T, the shopping…what can I say – the place makes me happy. It may have something to do with my long time love of the show Cheers. In fact, in my wedding, I walked down the aisle to the Cheers theme song. For many reasons, I have always adored Bean Town.

Anyway, the conversation came about with eerie timing.

There are  no words I could say that haven’t already been said. The typical American citizen is feeling compassion, fear, disgust, confusion, worry…the list goes on. Sadly, what has also been expressed in the past two days is a lot of rage, presumption, panic and conspiracy.

I have seen some of the most asinine videos, reports and tweets. Muslims were blamed within the hour. Right wing fringe fanatics soon followed. And not long after, false flag accusations towards our government began to spread.

Here are a few of my thoughts I shared on Facebook the past couple days:

It is a terrible tragedy and my thoughts are with those I know and strangers alike. However, I am avoiding most media right now. It is creating nothing but assumptions and alarmism. I think discussion, compassion and some worry is healthy. But I also think some people need to calm the fuck down.

Some clarification a little later…

This should not be taken as though I am minimizing this tragedy. I am not nor have ever claimed there was no terrorism in the world (sadly, often times it is our bombs creating the bloodshed). I made the mistake of looking at some photos from the marathon. They will be forever burned into my mind. Just as every moment of 911. 

I simply think that much like in the clip above…we have turned into this fear mongering and fear obsessed society. And it makes many of us do and think bad things. And it allows really greedy and manipulative people to cause even further damage just by exploiting that fear. 

I already have been reading comments about how we need to kill these “Arab” terrorists. Or how this is why we should all be armed. People seem so certain they know the who, what and why and truth is – they don’t really know shit. 

So, yes. Calm the fuck down. Hold your kids, love your family and live as though the sun will continue to rise tomorrow because chances are – it will. Planning revenge, building arsenals, preparing the bunker…those people do nothing but perpetuate all that is fucked up with this country. 

(stepping off soapbox…for now)

PS…just yesterday I had a long conversation about Boston with my stepdaughter. Told her about the times I have been there, my family and friends who live there and how it is one of my most favorite places in the world. Today really did break my heart. But I need to step back, stop absorbing all the toxicity and be sensible. That is how I chose to handle this.

And then the next day after seeing far too much ridicudonk bullshit all over social media:

Holy hell people. You don’t know if the bomber is a Muslim or a right-wing nut job. You claim already that it is a government conspiracy? You all sound like a bunch of tin foil hat wearing morons. You are not the star of some Michael Bay movie. You are not working for the FBI. You look nothing like a Matt Damon character. So please, for the love of cheeseburgers…STFU!!!

I think that pretty much covers how I feel about that right now. And of course, along with that and above anything else – my heart breaks for those who have lost and who have had to face such life altering terror.

I would also like to share something that Patton Oswalt wrote after the bombings. I have been a big fan of his for many years. Just love his comedy and politics. And I thought his sentiments were so spot on and brilliant.

Boston. Fucking horrible.

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in a while, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

 

From Abstinence to Addict

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wreality_0222The summer of 2000 I became slightly addicted to, what I think, was the 1st season of Survivor. It was my first modern day reality television show (not counting Star Search or Dance Fever because those were from the stone age) and I swore it would be my last. Yet another example of my lying to myself or simply not realizing what kind of ridiculous, enticing crap would be to come in the following decade.

It was about 7pm and I realized the season finale was about to begin. I went into panic mode. Not because I forgot to set the DVR (there was no DVR) but because I was floating in the middle of the Caribbean and I wasn’t sure how I would find network television. I was on a cruise for my brother’s wedding and being single, I was pretty much on my own for most of the trip. It was glorious. And because of that, luckily, I had no witnesses to my frantic search for a stupid television show in the middle of fucking paradise.

After checking the room, the various lounges and lobbies…I finally found a pub with cable. Cable? Whatever. I caught the very end while I ordered yet another Jack and Coke (I couldn’t take another rum concoction). I vowed I would never watch another reality program again. I mean, I could see being obsessive about something worthwhile…like Sopranos or Ally McBeal. But Survivor? Please. I claimed temporary insanity.

For years I proudly bragged that I had never watched an episode of The Bachelor or Dancing with the Stars. There was no way I would watch Real World or even American Idol. Yes, I was cool. I didn’t watch talent-less crap. I was a TV snob and I was better than that. For about five friggin minutes.

Eventually everyone started talking about Simon Cowell and Gordon Ramsay and Bethenny Frankel. I became fixated on plastic, rich women and cooking competitions. I loved watching dance offs and designing contests. Even the fighting, bickering and personal tragedies sucked me in. And I was quiet about it for a while. Totally in the closet; ashamed of my assimilation.

Now my DVR (best. invention. ever.) is filled with random people who do and say crazy ass nonsense. And it entertains me. I admit it. I love this shit. And I am fully aware of the societal ills it is helping perpetuate. I even recognize how it fucks with my own self image (comparing my body to those on Real Housewives, for example). It wastes time. And often contributes nothing worthwhile to anyone.

But sometimes it does. I have basically learned how to cook – and cook well. I now know how to apply makeup and which clothes look best for my body type. I have been shown that money and beauty do not equal happiness. And some of these shows actually do have altruistic qualities like Home Makeover or Undercover Boss. Many raise money for charity and some may help one realize that it isn’t always better on the other side of the fence. Aside from my own attempts at justification – there truly is SOME merit to SOME of these shows.

I will continue to boast never having watched any Bachleor-esque or Jersey Shore-ish types. But I will admit that this is my first season of Dancing with the Stars. I just simply couldn’t miss Andy Dick doing the cha-cha.