Archive for the ‘self esteem’ Category
In a world where we’re constantly being told we don’t measure up. That we aren’t thin enough or beautiful enough. Where even Disney is getting into the business of body shaming by taking a beloved girl character and turning her into a vamp. It’s nice to come across a woman who has her priorities straight and her dreams for her daugher seem healthy.
When Jaime Moore’s daughter turned five, she wanted a special photography session to mark the momentous occasion. She didn’t dress the young girl in evening wear or dress her like a Julie Roberts character. Instead, she dressed Emma as real-life heroines.
I love this! (Yet another reason to wish for daughters…)
Who are the heroines? Real women who changed the world of women for the better: Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel, Jane Goodall, and Helen Keller. What a list!
Isn’t it nice in the age of dance moms, real housewives, and faux celebrities to have actual women who have actual accomplishments recognized in such a positive way? What a gift Moore has given her daughter!
Who would you like to dress up as? Are their heroines Moore should add?
We hear it all the time, blondes have more fun. Well, I’m now blonde and I haven’t been having any fun. I’m just living life and feeling very…exposed.
I decided to go blonde because my grey/white outgrowth (I once worked with a former hairdresser who became quite agitated when I referred to it as “roots” and stressed that it was “outgrowth”) has been disturbing me. Dark reddish hair…with a skunk stripe. Not very attractive, really. When Kelly suggested going blonde, I thought it was brilliant. It would solve the problem.
I had visions of a nice golden cascade of hair. The grey would be camouflaged. I would be lovely.
I do have blonde hair. But it has a yellow tone I wasn’t expecting. Because the hair had been dyed so dark, the previous color had to be lifted. It’s actually a cool color…that would seem appropriate for a starlet or a teenager.
But on me, I just feel exposed. Suddenly, I realize I had been hiding for years. Going grey meant I was invisible. No one pays attention to old women. Then I went dark again and it was still safe.
Now I feel like people are looking at me. Looking. Judging.
Plus, I’m not having fun. My cousin Keri told me I have to make my own fun. Frankly, I’m to tired. And irritable. It’s been a rocky time in KlineLand. Yes, SusieLand might be a sunny happy place, but KlineLand is filled with angst.
I’m looking for ways to have fun. Any suggestions?! Plus I need a new lipstick to go with the new hair…
At lunch last week with my dear friend, we discussed our kids’ weight. Not because we are really concerned with it. Because there are other issues at hand.
Mine is that my son is obsessed with his weight. I’m not sure how this happened, but as a new recruit to the Health At Every Size movement, it doesn’t make me happy. When he’s asking me for Sensa and poptarts in the same sentence, it drives me a little crazy. Getting him to eat healthy food is a battle. He would live on spaghetti.
My friend’s son is going through his chubby phase. I know about the chubby phases, as I am parenting my third boy. I’ve also worked with children and have observed children. They gain a little weight, grow a few inches, slim down. Repeat as many times necessary to get through puberty. I believe if you don’t make an issue of it, you will avoid eating disorders and come out the other end with a healthy child.
Someone actually told my friend that she was a bad mother because she had allowed her son to get fat. Nope, she’s not a bad mother. She provides healthy food and snacks. She limits sugary stuff in the house. But he’s a tween in junior high and does have access to food outside of her line of sight. And he’s probably not choosing carrot sticks and celery nuggets while his friends are eating chips and candy. Why should he? He is allowed to enjoy life.
Do you know what makes a bad mother? Someone who criticizes and bullies her child for body size. A bad mother starves her child and punishes with food. A bad mother sends the message that a person is nothing if they are not thin. A bad mother lets her child know that if they aren’t “perfect” they aren’t worthy of her love.
A good mother understands that body size and weight fluctuate during puberty. She realizes that she can only patrol her child’s food intake so much. She sends positive messages about eating healthy, maybe even leading by example. She knows that identifying food as “good” and “bad” sets her child up for a lifetime of disordered eating.
What she doesn’t have to do is listen to half-baked advice from the people around her. Unless someone can telepathically tell that her child is indeed malnourished in some way, they need to keep their mouths shut.
Weight doesn’t equal health. Fat people aren’t instantly unhealthy or sickly or ready to keel over at any second. Thin people aren’t automatically given a clean bill of health.
And having a mouth that works doesn’t make you an expert at parenting. So keep your trap shut.
This week’s victim: a bride-to-be. Check this out. Like one of the commenters, I had no idea Jeff Probst has a talk show. I’m not even sure who Jeff Probst is, but I am associating him with Survivor.
A couple decide to be clever about their obligatory save-the-date announcement. Instead of garnering well-wishes and congratulations, the video goes viral. And people hate her teeth. Particularly, a “dead tooth.” Honestly, I watched her mouth every time she speaks and I still am not sure which tooth is dead.
Once again, let me say this: your opinion of someone’s appearance should never be spoken. Never ever. Didn’t your mama teach you that if you have nothing nice to say, keep your friggin’ mouth shut? Who died and made you the boss of everyone’s underpants? Like I keep telling Aaron, “every thought in your head does not need to be spoken out loud.”
I understand teeth are a hot subject now with all the tooth whitening products on the market. Commercials tell you that you will never meet Mr. Right, get married, give birth without having glaringly white teeth. Or that Mr. Dumped You will only live to regret it if you have glaringly white teeth. Or you’ll never pick someone up in Vegas without glaringly white teeth. We are being brain washed by Crest and Colgate.
Why are we–imperfect people–falling prey to the idea that everyone must be a perfect human specimen? Is it reality television? Just because the Kardashians appear perfect, doesn’t mean they represent the entire human species. Real Housewives aren’t much like any of the housewives I know. People on television are not real, even when their shows are called “reality.”
Frankly, everyone who comments on someone else’s appearance–even if the comments are made “for their own good”–needs to be slapped. A la “Airplane.” That means no comments on weight, height, skin color, eye color, choice of clothing, choice of makeup, hair color, hair cut, etc.
I am not perfect. Believe me, the war on dingy teeth has me making comments in my head about people’s teeth. I mean, did you know in television shows from just a few years ago, not every character had nuclear teeth?! The horror! One thing I do when I catch my inner catty coming on is focus on something good about a person. Cool shoes? Oh yeah! Smells good? Kudos!
Unfortunately, we live in a time when we all think each other’s business is our business. This is what the media has led us to believe. That’s why they have entire articles about the state of dress of some b-list actress or the state of the Kardashian Nation. Fashion and celebrities really aren’t news. Politics, world issues, domestic issues are news worthy.
Please don’t make me say this again: shut your mouths and be nice to each other. Appreciate our differences.
I found this video in an Upworthy email yesterday. I have found the best videos through them, but this one is the most special of all. It was done by Karen Walrond (aka @Chookooloonks) who wrote the book The Beauty of Different.
Watch it and know that you, my dear, are beautiful in every way!
Here in America, we have a tendency to focus on something and suddenly it happens everywhere. I don’t know if this happens in other cultures. I don’t know if it happens more because we live in an instantaneous/share everything/share immediately society. We no longer have to be the nosy neighbor on the front porch checking out the neighbors; we can read their blogs and their twitter streams to see what’s happening.
Suddenly, information is everywhere about bullying. Everyone has a story about being bullied (I’ve told some of mine). A few of us have admitted to being a bully (yes, I’ve done that too). But not every cross word spoken your way is bullying.
I cheered when I saw journalist Jennifer Livingston spoke out to the man who criticized her for her weight. He made assumptions about her health from her looks and deserved to be publicly chastised. She didn’t ask him for his opinion. As far as I know, she never asked any of her viewing audience for comments on her appearance and health.
But was she bullied? When I saw the upsurge in comments about Livingston being bullied, I kept thinking: “nope, she was criticized.” Because it was a one-time thing and he wasn’t exactly cruel. Unless there’s more to this story and the gentleman has been writing her and calling her repeatedly, calling her fat. Since that hasn’t come out, I am assuming it hasn’t been happening.
Finally, I saw an article about Octavia Spencer’s thoughts about the incident and they were in line with my own.
It isn’t bullying if it only happens one time. According to the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, bullying is defined as: 1. to treat abusively and 2. to affect by means of force or coercion. Spencer’s definition is ”facing coercion or physical repercussions on a daily basis.”
Bullying is a problem. And where it exists, it should be fought. People should be enlightened about the how and why of bullying. But defining every cross or critical word as bullying diminishes it when it really occurs.
Livingston is a hero to many people, me included. She had the means and the guts to do what many people dream of daily. But her experience is completely different than the children who are bullied every day for being different. They are the ones being truly bullied. They are the ones who can’t or won’t or don’t know how to fight back. They’re the ones that need our help.
No one can make me…feel bad about myself if I don’t let them. We’ve all heard the Eleanor Roosevelt quote before. But sometimes, I confess, I let them get to me. This week, particularly, I had one of those triggering moments.
What is a triggering moment? It’s the moment when something happening in the here and now throws you right back into the past. Usually the event is a negative one, which is why survivors of rape or abuse or other horrible past events try to avoid these triggers at all costs. The event may have happened eons ago, but the emotions and the reactions to the memory seem like they are happening in current life. That’s why articles about strong emotional topics often come with a “triggering event ahead” messages.
The memory this week came from left field. It happened while reading the article about the small town girl who is elected to the Homecoming Court as a prank by her fellow classmates.
In a flash, I was back in high school. Sitting in religion class, with the priest in the front of the classroom. I sit on the right hand side of the room and I can see the boys on the other side of the room snickering. I hear the dreaded words and know that they’re talking about nominating me for prom queen as a joke. Because I am fat. And loud. And obnoxious. Honestly, I don’t know if the last two reasons applied, but it was definitely for the first.
In my mind I see Father J. realizing something is going on, but not doing anything about it. After all, fat girls who are being picked on deserve it. I mean, I dared to be fat! Even as I write this, I feel that horror and sadness all over again. Of course, at the time I laughed it off and turned the other cheek.
But I didn’t go to prom. I never felt safe in high school. In a Catholic high school it was clear that my emotional needs weren’t a concern. Don’t get me wrong, this was the 1980s and people weren’t that concerned about mental health in teenagers.
Horror and sadness weren’t the only emotions I felt that day. There was also hope. Hope that after being in school together for so many years, that someone realized I was beautiful underneath it all. That I was worthy of a crown and a scepter and a sash. (I don’t know if the prom queen actually got those things, but in my day dreams she does.) I wanted some validation and some reassurance that the rest of my life wasn’t going to be full of taunts and teasing.
For me the triggering moment passed rather quickly. Because I am beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I was a lot more beautiful when I was 18, golden haired and youthful. There was no “underneath it all.” Still, knowing what I know now, almost 30 years later, I can be swept to that sad place in an instant. I still wait for the taunts.
I know no one can make me feel bad about myself if I don’t let them, but sometimes I accidentally let them.
The other night I saw a commercial from Dove and instantly got stabby. Why? Because I thought it was going to be another women-aren’t-good enough-unless-they-are-perfect message. But it wasn’t. Here’s the commercial…go watch it and tell me it doesn’t hurt your heart just a little.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a war on women in our country. And we’re letting it happen. Not only are we allowing it, we are willing participants. It’s not only being conducted by our politicians; it’s in the media, it’s in the mommy wars, it’s in the way we judge each other for the way we look.
I read this post over at Beauty Redefined: Taking Back Beauty for Females Everywhere and was especially hit by this passage:
We are asked to believe our power, our very identities, our worth, all lie in our bodies because we ARE our bodies. So we are asked to fix every part of our bodies – from the wrong-colored roots of our hair to the scratchy bottoms of our feet and every new flaw in between , (baggy eyelids, insufficient eyelashes, saggy knees, cellulite, stretch marks, and every other sign of life). Men are not asked to fix these “flaws” because this is women’s work – a work that must last a lifetime.
I like to think I am above all this. I rarely wear makeup. I’ve let my hair go grey. But as I sat yesterday morning piling on potion upon potion to prevent/combat wrinkles, it hit me that I am a very real part of this.
Which made me think even more about the time I spend trying to meet some small standard of the beauty ideal. I figure I am permanently excluded because I am fat. But maybe–just maybe–I can do something that cuts me some slack.
For instance, my quest for the perfect lipstick color. Right now I probably have fifteen different lipsticks in my purse. I wear lipstick maybe once every two weeks. Last week I spent 45 minutes to an hour at various stores looking for The Perfect Shade of Lipstick. It has to exist, right? I should have wonderful lips like they show in magazines and on TV, right?!
I didn’t intentionally go to any store to look for lipstick. While running errands I eased into the cosmetic departments and perused. It just happens…the lipstick displays are like a magnet to me.
What would happen if I found the right shade of lipstick? The logical part of me knows that nothing will happen. I will have different colored lips. I will forget to wear the lipstick. But there’s a little part of me whispering in my brain that if I find The Perfect Shade of Lipstick my life will become spectacular!
Where the hell did that little part of me come from? I’m supposed to be above that! I avoid women’s magazines for the conflicting messages they send. I don’t believe that only thin people are beautiful. Yet, here I am wasting time looking for something that doesn’t exist.
Sadly, this is the message we are giving our daughters and our sons. I wonder what Aaron thinks when he’s with me as I go on safari for that elusive creature–The Perfect Shade of Lipstick. Does he think this is how I spend my days? Will he expect girls his own age to spend time so frivolously?
Do we really want this to be the message we continue giving to our children (boys and girls!)? Is this the message American women want to continue giving to the rest of the world–we are nothing but our looks?
Think about it…
A new one from the WTF?! file. Brides-to-be are using a nasal feeding tube to lose the last 10-20 pounds before the big day.
Once again, I cannot even begin to make these things up! Yes, brides are using a feeding tube–normally reserved for the seriously ill–as a way to lose weight so they fit into their wedding dresses.
According to the article:
The K-E diet, which boasts promises of shedding 20 pounds in 10 days, is an increasingly popular alternative to ordinary calorie-counting programs. The program has dieters inserting a feeding tube into their nose that runs to the stomach. They’re fed a constant slow drip of protein and fat, mixed with water, which contains zero carbohydrates and totals 800 calories a day. Body fat is burned off through a process called ketosis, which leaves muscle intact, Dr. Oliver Di Pietro of Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., said.
Frankly, I always thought ketosis was a bad thing. Certainly not something a bride under the stress of soon being married needs to experience!
I understand the desire to be perfect on your wedding day. It’s something our society promotes. Little girls aren’t planning weddings years before they even begin dating so they look frumpy and disheveled on The Big Day. But, all brides are beautiful! Honestly, have you ever been to a wedding where you wrinkled your nose and whispered to the person sitting next to you that the bride looked hideous?
Of course you haven’t, because that never happens! Whether the bride is a size 0 or a size 100, she will be pretty.
Instead of starving yourself before your wedding, you should leave a little extra room in your dress so you can consume chocolate and alcohol the weeks leading up to the ceremony. You’ll have a final fitting and a pinch or two will take the dress in to fit if you over estimated. But you will have had the luxury of knowing you didn’t need to starve and diet through showers, bachelorette parties, and the rehearsal dinner. And you’ll be able to sit on your wedding day.
But first, you need to buy a dress that doesn’t require you to lose 20 pounds before it fits. Do yourself a favor and size responsibly…