Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Body image, or why women feel fat no matter what we do

I saw an excellent video today that reminded me why I will probably never look in the mirror and see what I think I should see; in our culture, women in photographs aren't real. They've been edited, polished, thinned out and turned into something very unrealistic; we see these photographs every day, and they influence our perceptions.

The picture on the left is me. Today. As I really look.

The picture on the right has been photoshopped, following the guidelines used for publication. I've been smoothed, my legs have been lengthened, my bust-line is perkier and my waist is thinner. My wrinkles have been touched up, my lip-line redrawn, and my hair is a bit fuller. My neck is longer and thinner; my arms are slimmer. I didn't spend a ton of time on the retouching, so it's not perfect, but you get the idea.

I'm not real anymore, but most people would say I look a lot better.

I will never look like that in real life, no matter how much weight I lose, no matter how many weights I lift. There is simply no way to make my legs get 30% longer. But it's what we see in every magazine, it's how we grow up thinking we should look, and when I looked at it, even I thought, "Yes! That's how I should look."


Not, not, not, not, not.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Muscles and bones

I'm adding them to my goals for the next four months. As I've lost weight, I've seen some of my bone structure re-emerge; today I saw an abdominal muscle.

More, please.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Four months is only the beginning

This probably comes as a surprise to no one but me, but here goes:

I've made it through four months of healthy eating, and about three months of exercise, and, although I've met my original goal of losing weight and wearing smaller sized clothes, I'm not about to stop now.

Four more months.

Yup, I'm officially committing to four more months of healthy living; I will continue to keep taking a look at myself every month about this time, and will re-evaluate my position at the end of another four months.

This time, I'm not setting size or weight goals for myself; I'm setting health goals. I've been getting stronger, and I will keep lifting weights and exercising in order to keep getting stronger. I've been sleeping better; I will keep exercising and eating lightly so that I will continue to sleep well. I'm generally happier, calmer and more optimistic; I won't say that I can handle everything that life throws my way, but I'm definitely feeling less panic in situations that used to throw me for a loop. I have discovered that I don't need to eat my way out of trouble; I can get through fear without food. I will keep exercising and eating properly because proper nutrition and exercise definitely enhances my positive energy.

I feel better, and I look better. Because of that, I'm less fearful now in social situations. While I will always be on the shy side, I'm becoming more comfortable talking to people I don't know, and I'm enjoying life a lot more. I'm taking a big step, starting today; I will be taking voice lessons. I've always wanted to be able to sing; I don't know yet if I can learn, but I believe that I can get better, and I hope I can become more comfortable singing out loud. Right now, I'm really only comfortable singing when I know no one can hear me, so it's a very big leap for me to take lessons; there is no way to do that without being heard by at least one person.

So, although I suspect that I will want to keep going down this path for as long as I keep going, I'm only committing to four months at a time. Four months is doable, comfortable, and not threatening; it's also enough time to see progress. I need reasonable goals with defined outcomes; I need rules, time limits and routines.

I want to be able to sing.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I overbooked myself this winter; I made too many commitments, and said yes to too many projects.

I don't regret any of them, but it's nice to have things winding down. This past weekend, I finished two big projects - on or before their deadlines - and I'm looking forward to making something that I've been thinking about making for over a month.

Coincidentally, I also had a wonderful letter from a customer this week; she told me about her aunt Elaina, a free spirit whom I wish I could have known, and asked me if I could design a bracelet that would honor her aunt's memory. The more she told me about her aunt, the more I realized that the bracelet I've been wanting to make just might be exactly right.

I've laid out the lampwork beads, and the seed beads I want to use with them; now it's time to figure out the details. I love to play with beads, and I'm feeling especially playful right now. I'm not unlike a kid after finals; school's out, my assigned projects are done, and I'm tossing my books in the air.

Color. Gotta have color! and big, bold shapes. Nothing subtle about my mood; it's time to let the wild child run.