Yes you, Mey!

March 29, 2013

mey

Oh, it’s early in the morning and my word brain is not yet awake so I’ll keep this brief.  If you have ever felt like you were waiting for permission to feel good in your body and that invitation never seems to come in the mail, you may want to try taking a page from Mey’s book.

Write your own darn invitation – and RSVP yes!  Thanks for sharing some of your story with us, Mey!

http://www.autostraddle.com/fat-trans-and-working-on-being-fine-with-it-168108/

scale

As Kate Bornstein says in her memoir (and I am quoting from memory because I loaned the book out, so forgive the approximation of her words):

“I finally realized that there is nothing wrong or anti-feminist with wanting to look cute.”

As someone who considers herself a feminist AND has enjoyed playing with different ways to glam up my mortal coil, I couldn’t agree more.

Of course it can be hard to look cute if you aren’t finding clothes that fit your body type.  That’s why I was very excited to come across a new blog for curvy girls that is one part body acceptance, one part fashion.  Such a great mix!  I hope she keeps it up!

http://extrahelpingfashion.blogspot.com/

How did I just now find this transgender and genderqueer resource page?

http://stuffqueerpeopleneedtoknow.wordpress.com/resources/transgender/

Don’t Forget Your Star Player

Okay, I’m not endorsing all the language used here.  But with all the non-official authority I can muster I am endorsing Katt Williams as a self-compassion ambassador!

 youarebeingliedtoAmazing Photoshopped Images

Do your brain a favor.  Go here now:  Seventeen Mesmerizing Before After Photoshop Gifs.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-14660-1360694322-6

 

The Best is Not Good Enough?  Not a Problem.  Photoshop to the Rescue!

These Photoshopped images are wonderful examples of how far the art of visual deceit has come. These are beautiful women with bodies that are closer to the ideal than most of ever had or will have.  These women have the budget and time for healthy eating and a personal trainer.  These women likely already started “ahead” with what genetics contributed.  And as if these advantages weren’t enough, they are transformed by a team of stylists before a photo shoot.  We never stood a chance of having a picture of ourselves look as amazing as these women.  And yet being one of the most beautiful people in the world is no longer enough.  Celebrities are routinely subjected to a virtual nip and tuck bonanza before their image ever reaches our eyes.

Photoshopping:  Now with More Deceit!

Yes, already ample breasts are often enhanced.  And already slim waists and arms reduced.  But it goes so much farther than that.  Pick any image and watch it flick back and forth between real and unreal several times.  Look for the smallest changes that are being made.

  • See Beyonce’s already slim face gets trimmed ever slightly more.
  • See the lines removed from Megan Fox’s neck to make her skin look younger.
  • See the one eye that is raised on Angelina Jolie to make her look more symmetrical.
  • See Katy Perry’s forehead get reduced on the right side.
  • See Faith Hill’s already slender back get trimmed along with her arm being reduced almost in half.
  • On the second image of Megan Fox, see her already full bottom lip get plumped, and already seemingly perfect eyebrows get reshaped.

“I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford”

It’s important to understand just what “Photoshopped” means.  We aren’t talking about just adding a cup size or two in a bathing suit.  Today’s Photoshopped images are a study of intolerance for human beauty.  Cindy Crawford famously once said, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.”  Even she can’t meet the beauty ideal put forth by her own image. 

You are being lied to.  Your eyes are one of the most important tools you have for taking in the reality of how things are.  When I talk about using distress tolerance skills, I often suggest techniques using the senses, particularly the generally dominant sensory system of vision.  I suggest using vision precisely because our senses are here to detect what is present and true.  Turning our attention to the truth of the present can help pull us out of a looping internal narrative that is causing us pain. And so!  Photoshopping images of bodies is a particularly dangerous way that our understanding of reality is being altered.

Our brains trust that what it sees is true.  It has virtually no defenses to prevent Photoshopped images being uploaded from our eyes to our filing system of “human bodies” in the brain.  The repeated exposure to these images alters the file we have in our head of “human bodies.”  We begin to look around us and notice “flaws.”  But these flaws are only detection of differences between an unrealistic ideal that snuck into your head and the reality of beauty that surrounds us.

Back to Life.  Back to Reality.

So what can we do to keep ourselves from being hurt by these visual lies?  Keeping our eyes shut at all times would certainly be 100% effective, but also probably impact our lives in other ways.  (Move over texting while driving.  Here comes Driving with Eyes Closed!).  But when we see an image in advertising we can remind ourselves that it’s a lie.  We can upload visual information of real bodies by looking at the diversity around us.  Careful – our eyes loves to look for examples only of bodies that are “better” than ours in some ways.  Choose to look around at ALL of the bodies that surround you.  Young ones.  Old ones.  Different skin and hair and teeth and genders.  Each body carrying around a person with hopes and fears and a desire to connect and be loved.  And the same is true for you.   You deserve to be loved, and to love your body for what it does for you in this moment.  It will never be perfect, because perfect doesn’t exist.  But your body is here now.  Practice being grateful for what it does for you, and the beauty that exists in the uniqueness of you.

And for goodness sakes, don’t compare your body to a picture!

(If you find that your body image concerns are significant enough to impact your life on a daily basis, I’d recommend checking out this book:  The Body Image Workbook.)

http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/super-soul-sunday.html

Brené Brown on Super Soul Sunday

Okay folks, set your tivos for 11amET/PT this Sunday. Oprah has another great Super Soul Sunday coming up this week.  Brené Brown!  Fist pump!  This episode is not to be missed. (Okay, or to be missed and watched on the internet later.)

Authenticity Advice from A Vulcan

Long before Brene Brown came on the scene, Dr. Spock (okay, Leonard Nimoy) was on making the case for connection with others starting by letting go of who we want to be and embracing who we are.

spock advice 1

spock advice 2

In times of distress, it is helpful to remember that we live in a world much bigger than ourselves and our current state of suffering.  Visiting nature webcams is a great strategy for shifting our attention onto something other than our distress.  Beach/ocean related webcams are my favorite, as there is always something going on.

Here are two good sources:

Surfchex (largely NC) web cams

Monterey Bay Aquarium web cams

(I particularly like the kelp forest.  I find the constant shift and flow of fish and kelp to be very soothing.)

Plenty of other web cams available from around the world so search until you find some that work for you!

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Not sure what I mean by distress tolerance tools?  Click here to learn more.

Want some more suggestions of distress tolerance activites?  Click here for more suggestions.

Don Miguel Ruiz will appear on on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday this morning at 11 am EST.  I can’t wait!  Click here for Oprah’s webpage for the this episode.