friday favorite: my eyes.

Welcome to the first installment of an indefinitely long self-love blog series called friday favorites. Each Friday, I’ll post a blog highlighting something about myself I really dig as an act of self-love discipline.

And so, without further ado, this week’s favorite is my eyes. 

Pretty much everyone on my mom’s side of the family has blue eyes. Blonde hair, too. There’s no denying the European influence in our genes. But our eyes, and I guess mine for the sake of this blog, are especially rad. Not only are they cool because they’re a pretty color (not unlike the sky or ocean!) but they’re recessive. So that means that, eventually, they won’t exist anymore. People with eyes like mine will be just as mythical as unicorns. I love that! (By the way, I’m working off of the assumption that unicorns DID exist at one point, so don’t try to refute that with your “facts” and “science”.)

I’m practically a unicorn!

While I was pregnant, Dan kept praying that our son would get my eyes. Because of their unicorn-like tendencies, and Dan’s dominant brown eyes, I was skeptical. All babies are born with blue eyes, so for the time being, Dan’s prayer has  been answered. So that’s another reason I love my eyes — because I can see them in my son.

However, a good friend of ours was so bold as to say that, based on the shade of blue they are now, she thinks Dax’s eyes will stay blue like mine! What do you think?

Gotta be honest. I hope so!

Okay, now here’s the part where you chime in. Because I’m not doing this alone, y’all. What’s your favorite thing about yourself this week? Comment and tell me!

snow white and the twisted self-image.

I didn’t really like the story of Snow White growing up, particularly Disney’s famed portrayal of the narrative. Not that the story wasn’t, I don’t know, compelling, or anything. But the dwarves freaked me out, even if they did sing catchy songs about going to work, and Snow White herself seemed like a really weak protagonist. (Yes, I had these thoughts as a five-year-old.)

But, now that I’m older, I figured I’d give the “real” Snow White a shot. So, this weekend, one of my girlfriends and I went to go see Snow White and the Huntsman. I very much enjoyed the film, despite it being my first exposure to Kristen Stewart’s “acting” skills and the obvious fact that the story is much darker than Disney has ever led any of us to believe. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the real story of Snow White, sans Dopey, here’s the way it breaks down in a nutshell. (Oh, and yeah, don’t read if you don’t want to hear spoilers. I guess.)

Source

A pretty girl is born to a king and a queen. They name her Snow White. The queen dies suddenly from some illness which sucks. Some crazy sorceress lady who is unhealthily obsessed with an enchanted talking mirror (and also has some weird, creepy relationship with her brother) shows up and seduces the king. He marries her the next day, obvs. She then kills the king because, again, she’s legit cray cray. She locks Snow White in a tower because Snow White is, according to this talking mirror, the prettiest girl in all the land and she, Queen of the Cray, just can’t handle that. Snow White escapes and gets stuck in some horrible dark forest that screws with your brain a la a bad bath salts trip. (Relevant.) Queen Cray hires a very sexy, yet brooding and mysterious, huntsman to go find Snow White with the promise of bringing his dead wife back, even though she’s clearly not powerful enough to do that because HELLO THAT’S RIDICULOUS. Anyway, Hunky Huntsman goes and immediately finds Snow White face down in bath salt mud in the forest as if girlfriend was attached to some Snow White GPS monitoring system. She convinces him to help her escape Queen Cray instead of taking her to him. Even though he’s very distraught over the recent passing of his wife, he falls in love with her instantly because she’s gorgeous (natch) and agrees to help get her to safety. Meanwhile, Queen Cray imprisons all of the young girls in the land and sucks the life/beauty/youth out of them to remain young and beautiful while they age and die. It’s kind of Harry Potter/Dementor-ish, actually. Blah blah blah, there are some fairies and dwarves and craziness, and then Snow White is tricked by Queen Cray (who shows up in the form of Snow White’s childhood love interest) into eating a poisoned apple that “kills” her. But she’s actually not dead! She’s just under a spell that can only be broken by “true love’s kiss”! But no one talks about it! So when Snow White’s childhood love interest finds her all dead-looking, he kisses her sadly. But she doesn’t revive. GASP! Later on, though, Hunky Huntsman lays one on her that evidently does the trick. Snow White wakes up like she was just napping or something and then they go and fight Queen Cray and eventually kill her. Then Snow White takes her rightful place on the throne. The end!

Phew. Got all that? Okay. Much different than Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, right? And I’m not just talking about the lack of high-pitched singing.

So, let’s point out the most twisted flaw about this story (which, granted, was written approximately a billion years ago).

The main conflict of the story is that a girl is prettier than her stepmom (and I guess everyone else in the land, too) and the stepmom is just NOT OKAY WITH THIS. So much so, that she’s willing to kill any and everyone standing in her way of being the “fairest of them all”. (Side note: I’ve had fair skin my whole life and I’m still waiting for paleness to be in fashion. What gives?)

So. What can we learn from this?

Let’s say that Snow White represents us: you, me, women. Just by being born, just by existing, we are all “fairest” of the land. We are all beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made, exactly the way we are, right? Well, not until some overbearing ruler (societal beauty standards) steps in with some stupid magic mirror (Photoshop, perhaps? The media in general? The diet industry? All of the above?) and vows to destroy us by any means necessary in order to communicate what is truly “fairest” in all the land.

The cool thing about this story, when viewed through this metaphor, is that — spoiler alert — Snow White is the only one who can defeat the Queen. They are tied together due to some spell and/or curse. Therefore, Snow White is the “chosen” one, if you will, that must drive the sword through the Queen in order for her to actually die and allow for Snow White to rightfully reign.

I think the same holds true for us. Because we are women born into this society, we have been “cursed” since birth to be abused by a beauty-obsessed world. However! We are the ones who hold the power to destroy its influence in our lives and regain rule over our self esteems. By looking in our own mirrors and seeing ourselves the way we were meant to be seen, beautiful inside and out, we are doing the same thing Snow White does to the Queen at the end. We stare Queen Cray, and everything about her that makes us feel bad about ourselves, in the face and say, “No! You are a liar! You are evil! I’M the fairest of them all!” And, in doing so, swiftly drive a sword right through her.

Only then can we regain our rightful place on the throne of our lives.

the body image avenger.

A little over a week ago, I went with my husband on opening night to see The Avengers. Despite not giving two craps about the comic books, or the characters therein, I still thoroughly enjoyed the film. The writing was punchy and smart, and, for those of us who have no back story to go on, it was easy to follow. Partner that with phenomenal special effects and a conceited yet endearing Robert Downey Jr. spouting off one quip after another? Magnifique.

I will say, however, that at 7 months pregnant and growing, with a steadily shrinking wardrobe, a face that has exploded with zits, and hair that refuses to be anything but unruly frizz, it was difficult for me to spend two and a half hours staring at the immaculately gorgeous Scarlett Johansson, next to my husband who has publicly admired her beauty in the past. While I tried to focus on the movie, my thoughts kept interrupting me:

Is he looking at her? Does he still think she’s hotter than me? Of course he still thinks she’s hotter than me! She IS hotter than me! She’s Scarlett F—ing Johansson! And I’m a big, chubby pregnant slob! I’m pretty sure angels sing when she wakes up in the morning. Angels who, undoubtedly, have pictures of Scarlett hanging on their walls. Angels do not have pictures of me hanging on their walls. If they do, it’s only as a visual reminder for them to talk to God about arranging my appearance on TLC’S “What Not to Wear.” You know… as a favor to me.

You’d think it would be easy for me to hate Scarlett because of all of this. Wish she never existed and all that. But the truth of the matter is, I think she’s just as bloody beautiful as everyone else on the planet thinks she is. And, today, she proved to me that she’s more than just a knock out.

Damnit, you guys. Scarlett’s sharp. She’s intelligent, a self-proclaimed body image warrior, and a fantastic writer to boot.

Touche, Johansson. Tou-freaking-che. You are a superhero, aren’t you? How can I ever measure up?

Anyway.

Scarlett wrote an article for the Huffington Post in response to tabloids making (wait for it) outlandish claims (gasp! who knew?!) concerning her body and weight loss in preparation for The Avengers. The article is bloody brilliant and should be read by everyone. Here’s an excerpt:

Since dedicating myself to getting into “superhero shape,” several articles regarding my weight have been brought to my attention. Claims have been made that I’ve been on a strict workout routine regulated by co-stars, whipped into shape by trainers I’ve never met, eating sprouted grains I can’t pronounce and ultimately losing 14 pounds off my 5’3″ frame. Losing 14 pounds out of necessity in order to live a healthier life is a huge victory. I’m a petite person to begin with, so the idea of my losing this amount of weight is utter lunacy. If I were to lose 14 pounds, I’d have to part with both arms. And a foot. I’m frustrated with the irresponsibility of tabloid media who sell the public ideas about what we should look like and how we should get there.

Check out the rest of the article here.

brb changing career path to become scarlett johansson when i grow up kthx.

beauty and torture.

The other day I was putting on make up in front of my husband. Usually I don’t do that because Dan hates when I wear makeup, so I like to keep up the guise that I don’t actually wear it by waiting until I’m alone to put on just a tad of concealer to cover my blemishes. But this time, we were both getting ready for an event we were going to together, so I had to lift the veil.

As I was taking the eyelash curler to my lids, I had some interesting thoughts to myself:

This kind of looks like a torture device. I wonder if Dan, or any other male who is unfamiliar with such an apparatus, thinks I’m torturing myself? 

Wait. As a matter of fact, curling my eyelashes IS pretty bizarre, whether it looks so or not. These little hairs aren’t even an inch long. Does anyone notice whether I use the curler or not? Come to think of it, if I catch my eyelid at just the WRONG angle, it absolutely IS torture! I’m torturing myself! Ah!

Why do we do such strange things to ourselves in the name of beauty?

Today I stumbled across something on the Internet that takes the torture-for-beauty cake (and doesn’t eat it, apparently):

Image via The Daily What

(From TDW) Disturbing Trend of the Day: In a last-gasp attempt to fit into the THE DRESS, desperate brides-to-be in the U.S. (like Jessica Schnaider, pictured) can now have a feeding tube inserted into their nose that provides a drip of liquid protein and fat (with no carbohydrates) through the esophagus into the stomach. The $1,500, 10-day treatment is effective: The tube delivers just 800 calories a day, and generally results in the loss of at least 10 percent of body weight — and perfect wedding pictures. But… ew?

This makes me so sad. And hurt. And angry. Mostly, though, it makes me want to put my two weeks’ notice in on life on this earth.

I think about all my close friends whom have gotten married recently. I think about my close friends who are talking about getting married soon. I think about my wedding almost three years ago. And my heart breaks into a thousand pieces just imagining any of them literally torturing themselves like this before the happiest day of their lives.

I never watch the show Mike & Molly, but last night it was on while Dan and I were doing chores. The subject matter of last night’s episode was Molly being on an unhealthy juice fast in order to drop several pounds in three weeks to fit into her wedding dress. Sigh. Granted, the moral of the episode was that what Molly was doing was turning her into a crazy person, not at all the person that Mike wanted to marry, but still — the mere fact that this was portrayed on television at all puts the idea into girls’ heads that you can’t possibly wear a wedding dress without obsessing over your weight first. And oh, ha ha ha, it’s a comedy, so let’s all laugh at how silly it is instead of talking about how serious and disturbing it is. Oh ha ha ha, CBS, you’re hilarious.

So how did we get here? How did we get from ha ha ha, silly sit coms about overweight people, to bloody feeding tubes?! Are you kidding me? When will the insanity stop?

Why, oh why, are we perpetuating this? Why are we continually sending out messages that this type of behavior is acceptable and normal? WAKE UP, WORLD. THIS ISN’T OKAY.

I have no more words to offer. Instead, here’s Internet phenom Jenna Marbles on diets, F words and all. Enjoy.

tuesday tip — less is more: on lent.

A few weeks ago, after coming to terms with the overwhelming reality that is the amount of space we lack in our tiny home and the fact that we’ll somehow have to accommodate another person come July, I went through my closet and dresser and collected three bags full of clothes (mostly t-shirts, naturally) and shoes I didn’t wear anymore to donate to Goodwill. I was prepared for the lump of old t-shirts I’d give away, but I couldn’t believe I was holding on to so many other obscure items that I  knew I’d never wear again. (Plaid booty shorts? Really? A WHITE DENIM MINI SKIRT? Seriously, who am I even kidding anymore? However, those items do pair nicely with a good t-shirt.)

Last night, I did the same thing with my makeup. I took all four (yes,  four) of my makeup bags and dumped them out on the floor. I pulled apart the items I desperately “need” (if one can “need” makeup, that is) to get by, and tossed the rest. Here’s what I have left after the great makeup purge of 2012:

A concealer stick, a powder compact, a near-empty tube of mascara, and one lip gloss. That’s. It. One item for every bag I had yesterday.

Is a part of me panicking? Not so much about the clothes (thanks, Nathan!) but as far as the makeup goes, yes. Absolutely. I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll purchase more (I mean, seriously, how will I survive without MAC’s seafoam green glitter eye shadow? That was a tough one to toss.) I don’t even have blush. I know that Becky, one of my best friends, is probably rolling her eyes at me right now because, I can hear her in my head, “You can’t just NOT wear blush, Lindsay Shaw!” 

I know, I know. But for the time being, I’m going to not wear blush. And it’s going to be okay.

TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: LESS IS MORE.

The season of Lent is upon us (as in, starts TOMORROW, holy cow) and, for those of you not familiar with it, that means we’re entering a season of self-denial to gain some iota of an idea of the suffering Christ experienced for us, allowing us to grow closer to Him and celebrate His resurrection on Easter more earnestly. I suppose I’m a bit of a procrastinator (let’s just chalk that one up to pregnancy brain) but I’m still praying over what to “give up” this year. As many of you know, Lent always ends up changing my life: in 2010, a trip to the emergency room led me to swear off caffeine forever and last year, I learned to love the curly hair God gave me. Both of those were huge leaps in my journey toward self-love and holistic health, so I never take Lent lightly.

The fact that I haven’t chosen one “thing” to fast yet this year doesn’t mean that Lent is on the back burner for me. If anything, I’m more aware of the sacrifice of Lent since I’ve been sacrificing a whole heck of a lot (food, drink, sleep, money, moments of hormonal normalcy) ever since becoming pregnant. But, here’s the sitch: without getting too preachy, Lent is the perfect time of the year where we can look at the closets of our lives and pick out the white denim skirts and seafoam green eye shadows that are merely taking up valuable space where something greater — Someone greater — could live and enrich us.

Are you giving up anything for Lent?

uglies.

I used to hate on young adult fiction like it was my job, mostly because the only exposure I had to it was the Twilight series. (And before you’re all, “But Lindsay, you’re obsessed with Harry Potter,” I’ll have you know that I think that Harry Potter transcends “young adult” and is just “literature” or, more specifically, “a masterpiece.”)

But earlier in the year, Emily begged and pleaded for me to read The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. After a few months (and a handful of friends my age pushing me to read them) I finally caved and borrowed the books from a friend. I assumed it would be at least moderately enjoyable, but I didn’t anticipate loving the series. I thought it would be an easy, fun read and an equally accessible way for me to form a deeper connection with one of my students. The Hunger Games series turned my world upside down. The books were incredible. They instantly became my favorite series after Mr. Potter’s. So I guess I’m a YA convert now. (However, I would argue that because of the nature and content of the series, the only thing “young adult” about it would be its main characters. But. That’s irrelevant.)

After I finished The Hunger Games, Emily suggested I read The Uglies Series, comprised of four books (Uglies, Pretties, Specials, and Extras) by Scott Westerfeld next. Because I was so deeply impressed by The Hunger Games, I didn’t even ask to borrow the books — I stormed a going-out-of-business sale at Borders and got all four of the books for $25. (Oh, side note: my birthday is in December and I still don’t own The Hunger Games series. I mean. Just a heads up.) Anyway. Here they are!

Emily didn’t go into much detail about the series. She gave me her 13-year-old-girl synopsis, which means she told me about the characters and why “they’re cool,” but as far as the overarching plot, she didn’t divulge much. (Perhaps she did that on purpose?) At any rate, I’m almost done with the first book and, while the writing is significantly less engaging than Suzanne Collins’ or J.K. Rowling’s (but certainly light years beyond Stephenie Meyer’s) the storyline is one that I am glad is geared toward teenagers.

According to Wikipedia:

Uglies is a 2005science fiction novel by Scott Westerfeld. It is set in a futurepost-scarcitydystopian world in which everyone is turned “Pretty” by extreme cosmetic surgery upon reaching age 16. It tells the story of teenager Tally Youngblood who rebels against society’s enforced conformity, after her new found friends Shay and David show her the downsides to becoming a “Pretty”. They show Tally how being a “Pretty” can change not only your look but your personality. Written for young adults, Uglies deals with adolescent themes of change, both emotional and physical.

I don’t want to give anything away (because you should read them!) but in the book, the reason everyone undergoes this operation to become “pretty” is because back in the “rusty” time (aka, present day) those who were considered “pretty” were treated better than those who were “ugly.” They got better jobs, better opportunities, and were respected more in society.

Right on!

Check out an excerpt from the book that literally made my jaw drop. Two of the characters, Tally and Shay, are flipping through “old” (again, present day) magazines, when they come across an overly airbrushed and dangerously thin underwear model:

“What on earth is she?”
“A model.”
“Which is what?”
“Kind of like a professional pretty. I guess when everyone else is ugly, being pretty is sort of, like, your job.”
“And she’s in her underwear because…?” Tally began, and then a memory flashed into her mind. “She’s got that disease! The one the teachers always told us about.”
“Probably. I always thought they made that up to scare us.”
Back in the days before the operation, Tally remembered, a lot of people, especially young girls, became so ashamed at being fat that they stopped eating. They’d lose weight too quickly, and some would get stuck and would keep losing weight until they wound up like this “model.” Some even died, they said at school. That was one of the reasons they’d come up with the operation. No one got the disease anymore, since everyone knew at sixteen they’d turn beautiful. In fact, most people pigged out just before they turned, knowing it would all be sucked away.
Tally stared at the picture and shivered. Why go back to this?

Um. Crazy, right? In this series, Westerfeld is straight-up challenging society’s view on beauty, and he’s doing so in front of an audience of those who are arguably the most deeply affected. I am extremely encouraged by this. For once, the media is actually doing something productive concerning the growing problem of self-image, eating disorders, and beauty standards in the world. I’m pretty stoked.

Have you read or seen anything lately challenging beauty standards?