Tag Archives: the media

naked and unashamed.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you might know that I was diagnosed with an eating disorder in 2007 and have since made it my mission to figure out how to love myself — inside and out — relentlessly. My blog has been instrumental on this journey. I’ve blogged my way through all sorts of self-love hangups, from navigating self-imposed pressures to be the perfect wife to finding my sexy.

I’m thankful to report that, in the past year, I haven’t had many reasons to turn to Ye Olde Blogue in order to make myself feel better about my self or my body. With God’s help (along with the assistance of my sweet husband and faithful mentors) I think that it’s safe to say that I’ve finally made peace with my own body and any chance of ED relapse is behind me.

However, regardless of my own personal growth, a recent chain of unsettling events has made me realize that this world is still, if I may be so bold as to say, effed sideways concerning the ways we women view ourselves:

+ My mom hasn’t had a nice picture of her taken in a while, so a few weeks ago she requested that I take one of her with my SLR. As soon as I was done she pleaded with me to Photoshop away some lines from her face.

+ During prayer requests at my bible study a week ago, a girl asked for a way for her to use her body to get ahead in life.

+ There are hundreds of leaders (male, of course) in the church community that have come out recently speaking against women for what they wear for being the cause of men to lust after them and even cheat on their wives. (Yes, read that again. The women are at fault for the men who cheat.)

+ Someone told me that of course I’m happy with my body because I’m beautiful. And there’s no way they can be happy because they’re not.

You know me — I can’t just sit back and not blog about how much these events (particularly the last one) infuriate me.

I’m currently fumbling my way through the book of Esther and trying to make sense of it; a story about a Jew girl who was integral to saving God’s chosen people because, quite frankly, some batshit crazy pseudo-king thought she was hot and, for that reason alone, wanted to “know” her. (This is, of course, the New Lindsay Translation of the story. I suggest you read it for your own context, even if you aren’t a believer.)

The other day, I hopped in the shower ever-so-quickly while my son was napping and gave myself the New-Mom-Speedy-Scrubdown, my ears tuned to the static sounds coming from the baby monitor in my bedroom. When I finished actually washing and found that, surprisingly, my child was still asleep, I stood very still and watched the streams of water race each other down my body.

For a while, I just stared blankly, sure my child would rouse any minute. But each second that passed with no sounds from the monitor, I would turn the COLD knob just a bit more toward the OFF position to allow the stream to increase in heat. As soon as my skin adjusted to the temperature change, I’d turn the knob just a little bit more.

I did this until the COLD knob was completely off and, though the water was scalding, my skin was comfortable (albeit considerably more pink).

Under the stream, my eyes surveyed my exterior and — as bizarre as it sounds — I marveled. I couldn’t believe that this vessel at which I was staring had done so much in its 27 years of life — danced its 10,000 hours, learned scales on the piano, grew and sustained another human life — and, yet, took the brunt of my own abuse for the better part of two decades. And then I thought about Esther.

And my mom.

And that girl from my bible study.

And men who blame their missteps on their victims.

And all the girls in this society that think their bodies are as deep as their worth goes.

And I got mad. Like. Really mad.

I think the main reason I got so mad is because I feel like I can’t do anything. I’m just one person in this giant effed up world and, as these recent events have pointed out, this issue is much bigger than me.

I said what I could say in bible study in order to encourage that girl. Ultimately I don’t know if anything I said made one bit of difference; I left feeling like something had been stolen from me. Perhaps that something was the notion that this problem is suddenly gone just because I’m not suffering from it anymore.

You know that played-out Goo Goo Dolls song from the 90s? You know, from the City of Angels soundtrack? Meg Ryan and that other dude? I can’t remember the name of it, but there is one line that sticks out to me:

“And you bleed just to know you’re alive.”

I think these events have served their purpose to cut me open and remind me that there is still work left to be done and that lots of people are still bleeding. And we’ve got to speak the truth to those people.

Because God knows no one else is going to.

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Filed under God, life, psychology, rants, the media, transformation

if a tree falls in the woods and you don’t tweet about it…

I know. I need to blog. But what’s a blog? I don’t even know. I’ve been spending so much time pretending the Internet doesn’t exist that I don’t even remember how to interact with it anymore. I haven’t Facebooked, Tweeted, or Instagrammed anything in weeks. What am I doing? Where am I going? I have no direction in life!

And this is what befalls a blogger who goes on a social media fast.

Can’t I just tap dance for you? I’m really good at it. Promise. Took lessons for so many years.

Speaking of lessons, here’s something I’m slowly learning on this social media fast.

You know those people who put pictures of their food on Instagram? Or post a Facebook status about finally being able to fit into their skinny jeans? Or tweet about getting a promotion? 

I’m not so far removed from the social sphere that I don’t understand the appeal of doing any of those things. Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows I love me some food (but not as much as my baby). But I think now that I’ve stepped back a bit, I have a better grip on the why behind this behavior.

Before I go on, I’d just like to dust my shoulders off and say that I do have a degree in mass communication with a minor in psychology from a Florida state school so I obviously know what I’m talking about to an extent. (I also know which bars you should go to and on which nights in order to get the highest volume of alcohol for the lowest amount of cash.)

The old adage asks the question, “If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?” I’d argue that today the question is, “If you do something in life but don’t tweet about it, did it really happen?”

While I don’t know for sure if this is the root of our Internet addiction and our need to be virtually affirmed, I definitely know that our culture does suggest that if it isn’t on social media, it isn’t real.

How sad.

That’s why when you tell your best friend that you’ve started seeing someone, she immediately asks why it isn’t “Facebook official” yet. Or why you upload a picture of your baby smiling to Instagram (but not a picture of them screaming). Or why the first thing you do when your alarm goes off in the morning is sleepily scour your Twitter feed.

I’ve been struggling a lot with this. Inner parts of my being are wracked with guilt over the fact that only a handful of people (those who I can show it to in person) have seen my baby say “dada” because I haven’t uploaded the video to Facebook. So, like, what if no one believes me? Or cares? I can’t gauge the world’s affirmation of my personal life because no one can like or comment on this video! It’s terrible!

I don’t think I’m ready to come back just yet. But I’m really enjoying re-learning how to process things and experience life in private.

That said, if you’re struggling with being affirmed by trolls on the Internet, just look at this gif.

i_can_typing-26439GOD IT JUST GETS ME EVERY TIME! I CAN’T STOP LOLLING RIGHT NOW.

 

 

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Filed under commentaries, life, psychology, rants, the media

cher horowitz on valentine’s day.

I’ve always been pretty apathetic toward Valentine’s Day, no matter if I had a “valentine” or not. I don’t hate it. I don’t love it. It’s just another day to me. My husband feels the same way. Each year we approach February 14th a little something like this:

“What do you want to do for Valentine’s Day this year?”
“Crap. When is that?”
“Tomorrow.”
“Oh.”
“Yeah.”
“Guess we should go out to dinner. Where do you want to go?”
“Oh I don’t care, you pick.”
“No, you pick.”
“Buffalo Wild Wings.”
“Sounds good to me.”

Even in my apathy, I do tend to think on and sympathize with those people out there who hate Valentine’s Day because the holiday makes them feel bad. I’m not writing today to say that that’s DUMB because, hello, I do everything short of throwing a tantrum on Father’s Day; I know what it feels like to lack something you think the entire rest of the world has.

I have been on a major Clueless kick lately, from sending text messages comprised completely of quotes to coming up with Cher-inspired hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. And so, because of my current re-obsession with the classic 90′s film, I turned to Cher for advice. (Which meant I just started reciting quotes in my head because I may or may not have the entire film memorized.)

“Tai, how old are you?”
“I’ll be sixteen in May.”
“Well, my birthday is in April so as someone older can I offer some advice?”

YES YOU CAN, CHER. I AM ALL EARS.

Cher_Clueless

To those of you who are hurting on Valentine’s Day, I totally get it. You are probably surrounded by a butt ton of love-sick, twitterpated morons and, with the curse that is social media, you probably can’t even look at your Facebook or Twitter feed until at least Monday to be in the clear of sappy, saccharine-sweet photos of overstuffed teddy bears and boxes of Russell Stover.

You might feel like the only person you know who is both a virgin AND someone who can’t drive.

Instead of crawling into a hole for the next few days to try and avoid these things that might trigger negative feelings within you, just ask yourself, WWCD? (What Would Cher Do?)

Answer:

…I did what any normal girl would do. I sent myself love letters and flowers and candy just so he’d see how desired I was in case he didn’t already know. 

That’s right, ladies.

Treat.

Yo.

Self.

Buy yourself some chocolates. Pick yourself up a bouquet of flowers. Make an appointment for a manicure or a massage. Run a bubble bath with a bottle of red and your favorite book.

And own that shiz. Seriously. Don’t walk into the flower shop and be all, “Blah blah blah, can I have a half-dozen roses because it’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t have a Valentine and I’ll probably be single forever and SOB SOB SOB SOB.”

NO. STOP.

Say something like this:

“I’ll have a half-dozen roses, please. Oh who are they for? Me, of course! I deserve them. I’m beautiful and lovely and amazing and these are going to look DANG GOOD in the living room I designed and decorated myself. Thanks for asking!”

Channel your inner Cher today, ladies. Make that cameo at the Val Party because you DESERVE IT.

Just don’t overdo it on the mochachinos; no one wants to spend their Valentine’s Day ralphing.

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Filed under gushes, life, the media

words to live by: mindy kaling.

words to live by: mindy kaling.

I love Mindy Kaling and I love all of you.

Have a great weekend, role models!

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February 1, 2013 · 4:47 pm

friday favorite: going from amber to julia.

DISCLAIMER: If you don’t watch Parenthood on NBC, this post probably won’t make any sense to you. If you don’t, here’s a fun guide to the cast to keep you up to speed. 
Pro tip of the day: Watch
Parenthood because it’s great. 

I’ve been catching up on Parenthood, NBC’s heart-warming and gut-wrenching drama all about family, on Netflix over the past couple weeks. When I first got into the show a couple years ago, I instantly felt a connection to Sarah Braverman and her rogue, outspoken daughter Amber, for all the obvious reasons: being a single mom, Sarah’s interactions with Amber reminded me a lot of the interactions I had with my own mom growing up; being the daughter of a drug-addicted absentee father, I could see a lot of my own angst and, shall we say, “colorful” language played out on screen; Amber and Sarah are freaking hilarious sometimes and so am I (humble, too, I might add) and are, quite frankly, hot messes sometimes. (FUN BONUS: Amber is also a musician and Sarah, we find out in season 2, is a also writer! So there’s that!)

I guess the connection was obvious to my husband as well because, after witnessing a rather passionate monologue by Amber, Dan turned to me and said, “Wow, I didn’t know you wrote for this show.”

That prompted me to rattle off all the reasons it was so scary to watch Amber and Sarah on TV because it was like watching myself. But then Dan said something really surprising to me.

“You’re more like Julia, actually.”

erika_christensen

His comment made me scoff at first.

Julia, Sarah’s sister and Amber’s aunt, is very different from Amber and Sarah. She’s been described by other characters on the show as, quote, “a little intense”. She’s a busy lady, what with being a successful lawyer by day and trying SO HARD it almost HURTS to be a perfect mom by night. Her husband Joel — a stay-at-home dad to their daughter Sydney — is much quieter than she, a bit subdued I’d say, but is completely adored by her and is head over heels for her.

At first, I struggled to find anything in common with Julia. But as the episodes wore on, I started to see what he was talking about. I am a working mom. Dan is a work-from-home dad. I have been described as “intense”. I am louder, probably to a fault, than he. In all of these ways, I mirror Julia. But Dan’s point was proven at one point during season 2 when we watched an exchange between the two of them that we swear we’ve had in the past.

There is no doubt that I used to be a hot mess like Amber. Maybe even as hot of a mess as Sarah. And I’ve been pretty reluctant to relinquish that identity because it defined me for so long. But now, I’m Julia. I’m kind of put together, but not without my own obvious junk. And that gives me hope for Amber’s character (no spoilers, please — still working through season 3!).

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Filed under the media, transformation

pop singers don’t eat.

In recent days, Lady Gaga has come into the spotlight for, ahem, “letting herself go” and gain some weight. Media outlets, like they tend to do, have criticized her new “fuller” (I put all these words in quotes because GOOD GOD SHE LOOKS BLOODY NORMAL) figure. To defend herself, she posted a couple pictures of herself online in her underwear with the caption, “Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15.”

 

Now, all of a sudden, people are coming up alongside Gaga to aid her in her new found quest to spread body image positivity and courage.

Yayyyy, right?

Bleh. Yes? I guess? But here’s what pisses me off about the whole thing.

I used to love Lady Gaga. I would dance like a damn fool whenever her songs came on the radio or in the clubs. My husband and I bought her newest record (which was disappointing, honestly) the day it came out. I can’t remember another artist for whom I went out of my way to purchase their stuff on the drop date. (Okay, there’s Hanson, but they don’t count because I buy their stuff BEFORE the drop date. Obviously.) But I stopped supporting her cold turkey recently.

You see, all of you are late to the “Lady Gaga Has An Eating Disorder” Party. We were all invited to that party years ago and I guess no one but me noticed her invitation to it… despite it being on Twitter. 

I stopped supporting Lady Gaga because she tweeted about eating a salad with the hashtag #PopSingersDontEat. It was almost like she was proud of it, like she knew she was “better” than the rest of us for foregoing calories in the name of thinness. I didn’t want to support anyone, ESPECIALLY anyone who women (and girls!) across the globe looked up to, who would publicly advocate such unhealthy behavior.

Because I struggled with an ED, I know that her tweet, and the thought process behind it, had ED written all over it. The desire for validation. The absurdity. The stubbornness. The emptiness. Everything about her tweet SCREAMED, “Help. I have an eating disorder,” but only NOW, when we actually see Lady Gaga give her ED a name, do we feel sorry for her?

Why is it that a tweet that LITERALLY STATES one is refusing food just gets swept under the rug, while a picture that states, in lesser words, I DON’T EAT FOOD actually gets your attention? It’s the same thing! Is it the sheer fact that now, a medical term — anorexia and bulimia — is tied to the behavior? If so, that’s horribly sad, because think of all the people who are currently suffering from eating disorders without diagnoses.

I was one of them. For those of you who know my story, you know I suffered from an eating disorder for TWELVE YEARS before being diagnosed. Twelve. Years.

After Gaga’s original tweet, that’s when we should have been rallying up alongside Gaga for body positivity! We should have tweeted back at her that nothing is worth damaging your body for, especially not thinness. We should have tweeted back at her the truth that she’s fearfully and wonderfully made. But we didn’t.

I didn’t.

Had Twitter been around back in the days I was knee deep eating disorder hell, I’m almost positive I would have tweeted something about how a Pepsi One (yep, throw back) totally counts as a legitimate lunch option. And you know what? I would have secretly hoped that someone, anyone, would tweet back at me, “Please, eat something more than that. You’re beautiful. You deserve to treat yourself better.”

Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad Lady Gaga is doing what she’s doing. I think she’s a beautiful woman, inside and out, who, like a lot of us, has been tricked by society to believe that her worth is only skin deep. And I’m not mad at her for doing this all of a sudden. What makes me mad is that THIS IS NOT NEWS. Poor Gaga practically threw a Hail Mary pass on Twitter asking for help and no on caught it. But now, she’s in the end zone doing a dance after rushing for a touchdown in her underwear, and NOW we’re paying attention?

Welcome to the party.

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Filed under commentaries, eating disorders, psychology, rants, the media

i’ll have curves with a side of bones, please. hold the cellulite.

Well, readers. I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.

The good news is that it seems as though the outrage against society’s “thin ideal” is finally being recognized. Magazine photo editors have finally gotten the message and have stopped Photoshopping images of women down to impossibly skinny frames.

The bad news is that instead of Photoshopping women to look skinnier, now editors are adding fake curves. According to the lovely ladies at Beauty Redefined, curvy is the new skinny, but only in places curves are “allowed.”

Sigh. SO CLOSE, YOU GUYS. SO CLOSE AND YET, SO FAR.

Seriously, people? The problem isn’t that images of women have been manipulated to look thin. The problem is that images of women (and men, for that matter) are being manipulated at all. I’ve been dying for magazine photo editors to get this through their heads and with this new revelation, I feel like I’ve spent the better part of my life begging my parents for a puppy, and they just finally agreed to get me one. Only they came home with a beat up Pound Puppy they found at the local Goodwill and hoped it would pass.

And so. Here we are again singing the same song reinforcing the idea that one body type is better than all the others. Where it used to be impossibly skinny, now it’s impossibly curvy; that is, thin all over except where curves are acceptable (boobs and butt, essentially).

As someone who falls in the “curvy” category (or plus-sized, if you can believe it) I’ve always wished that I could have this exact body type — thin everywhere, but with killer boobs and a butt. But even when I was starving myself into misery, I still had the body type I do: curvy, even in the spots where it’s not acceptable (bigger arms, bigger thighs, and so on). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation with another girl about how we wish we could switch body parts with each other so we could fit the ideal.

ME: Ugh, I hate how big my boobs are. I wish I was skinny all over like you.

FRIEND: Whatever! I wish I had your shape and actually looked the way a woman is supposed to look!

ME: But we’re all ‘supposed to be’ skinny like you.

FRIEND: Yeah, but with big boobs like you!

I wasn’t born knowing that there is a “right” way to look and a “wrong” way to look. I was taught it from a very young age. Sadly, I was also taught that, thanks to Photoshop in the media, the “right” way to look is also the “impossible” way to look.

Either it’s being so skinny that you’d have to have most of your rib cage removed…

 

Or it’s extremely curvy, but only in the places that curves are accepted.

And if you don’t look like this? Well, it’s no one’s fault but your own because you’re the only one not working hard enough.

To learn more about this stupid new trend in Photoshopping, click here to read the article by Beauty Redefined.

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Filed under commentaries, eating disorders, Photoshop, psychology, rants, the media