Saturday, August 17, 2013

An Open Letter To You, Ladies

Ladies, When did we decide that subtracting from who we are would make us mean more to this world, that guy, or "them" in general? When did we start hiding the fact that we actually enjoy the taste of chocolate, and sometimes we eat a lot of it, in hopes that it will distract others from noticing the "extra" being carried in our waistline? Chocolate is delicious, you have curves, why the shame?

You have been conditioned to believe that you are wrong. Wrong for even entertaining the notion that you are beautiful, even if you aren't average. And when did "average" become beautiful? When did we all start striving to assimilate, to mold ourselves into replicas, when we are born as bold originals?

Remember a time before you were told who you were supposed to be.

Turn off your television and close that magazine that target faceless consumers. You will never be special to people who call you "consumer" or "target audience" so stop believing anything they propose right this minute.

Think back to a time before you hated your thighs for touching and appreciated their strength when you were the fastest girl playing tag. Remember a time when your father told you he loved you, that you are beautiful and special, and you believed it without hesitation because he never wanted you to be anything but what you were. A time before the internet created a photo-shopped world view, all smooth lines and porcelain faces or you never wore that dress you died over at the store because you suddenly developed the notion that your curves are all wrong.

When you perceive yourself in this way, when you present this fragile being ready to be shaped by anyone's hands but her own, you are giving the world permission to judge you. Why give someone who doesn't know you the right to shape who it is that you are going to be?

Take a breath, and stand in front of the mirror. Look at your skin, freckled and lined, scarred and bruised, that protects the softness inside. Appreciate it for holding you all together, for being strong even when you are weak. Look at the softness of your stomach, that portion of you that feeds the rest. Admire your strong legs, your bright eyes, your firm forearms and realize that you are more than the sum of your parts.

You are more than skin and curves, you are life itself.

Your potential is only limited by the thoughts you think, so be vigilant and, above all, kind, when forming them. Challenge the world not to love you, all of you, and rest easy in the truth that you love you and that is enough.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Being Human

Sometimes the most difficult thing in the world, is to just be present in what it is that you're doing. Multi-tasking has become not only a social norm but an expectation. If you aren't checking your email, while you're paying your phone bill all during your trip to the grocery, then you're a slacker.

I call bullshit.

It's makes us sloppy and disconnected. We miss things that matter for things that we'll forget next week. Our memories are being clotted with alpha numeric passwords and deadlines and we're overlooking the changing of the seasons, the laughter filled nights with friends, the plethora of experiences that helped create our "offline profile."

Earlier today, I was at the grocery store during my lunch to pick up some tea (it's kind of a crisis when I run out of decaf tea during a busy morning working from home). While in the line at the store, a young mother (I'll call her Cyber Momma for the sake of this blog) and her absolutely adorable kiddo starting checking out in front of me. Seriously, this kid was Shirley Temple cute and was putting on a full scale production from that buggy. We're talking singing, dancing and jazz hands emphasized with the leafy green lettuce she was holding. It was a hoot and something that I'm pretty sure would have been committed to Cyber Momma's memory had she not been staring at her phone the entire time she was scanning items. I watched the enthusiasm fade from that little girl and she sat down and asked for her IPad, which her mother pulled out of her gargantuan bag and stuffed in her tiny, previously marvelous, hands. In that moment I wondered how many other memories she had sacrificed in order to be "connected." I thought of how fast life would turn that adorable little kid, filled with vitality and enthusiasm, into another user staring at a screen.

Yes, I had a philosophical moment in a Kroger checkout.

When you're present, "moments" can happen anywhere and with anyone. I looked around and I would dare say about 70% of the people in my line of vision were on their cell phones in some capacity. I've been in that number many times, sacrificing making eye contact with someone who might reject me and instead checking a Facebook status update. To be human is to be exposed and raw and the influx of technology at our disposal is making that feeling optional. We face a conundrum because as human beings, we crave social interaction. We need to be around others, even if only sporadically but we're terrified of it. We've been taught to tear one another apart for appearance, financial and political status, and even geographical location (Oh, the teasing about Kentucky Fried Chicken and being barefoot, will it never end!?) So, we plug in, upload a perfect version of ourselves, and connect on the most superficial of levels.

Technology is a necessity in the professional world, I'll give you that. However, who says we have to make it a focus in our personal life? If you're reading this thinking "This is isn't about me" then I have a challenge for you. Turn off your phone from 6p.m. until it's time to get up in the morning for one week. Your computer is not to be used either (unless you're only streaming music, that is forgivable.) No excuses about how someone could call you in the event of an emergency. You not being available for a night, when you should be connecting with your friends and family, creating something, going for a walk, looking up at the sky, maintaining your home, will be okay. Now, pay attention to the urge to pick it up. Process why it is that you feel a sense of loss for not having it in your hand. Why does it make your anxious? Why do you care if that little device is on or off? You have formed an attachment to a machine, my dears. You have developed a relationship with an inanimate object.

Ultimately, remember that you have warm and beating heart that longs to be used. It can withstand being put at risk when you seek out relationships with others. Stop making easy choices. Unplug and be human.


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