Category Archives: media

I Choose to LOL (Live Out Loud)

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imagesAbout a month ago, I was in a real slump.  I was feeling inferior to other people (particularly women).  I was feeling insecure and questioning my worth as a human being.  I was feeling ugly and negatively judging my body.  I was feeling self conscious in my old mini-van and it’s lack of cool.   I was resenting my role as a mom.  The boys, they too, had stolen my cool factor.  I was doubting my ability to go back in to the work force and contribute quality work that others would value.  I began to become dissatisfied with the size of my home, the style of my clothes, the color of my hair, the small number in my bank account.  I was comparing, judging, and sitting in the ugliness of the stories my mind was creating and buying. The lies began their sneaky little job of creating this web of madness within me.

Once I realized that this funk was turning ugly and affecting the way I was viewing the world and treating the people around me, I decided I needed to take a hard look at what had changed to cause such unhappiness.  Adam had been out of town during this period of downward spiraling and I had engaged in a lot of, what I believed to be, harmless fun.  I watched Bachelor in Paradise from beginning to end.  I watched the Kardashians.  I lazily browsed on Pinterest and Etsy while watching music videos.  And I was on social media much more frequently…even adding the FB app to my phone.  Media was actually affecting my view of the world.  My view of self.

And there it was, the answer was that simple. I am sensitive to what I view and can easily fall victim to the solicitous agenda of media. I know that not everybody will be as sensitive as I am to overt sexuality and portrayals of what women should be.  Some of us are more sensitive to violence or consumerism or the top ten lists of how to be perfect in some fashion of life from parenting, religion, or home organization. We are all comparing ourselves to a standard sold to us. We are always “failing” at something according to someone. Even if that someone lives inside an electronic box selling a non-existent one-size-fits-all-perfection-solution.  I bought in to the lies, sold to me by the people inside that box, that my 36-year-old female self was all washed up. If I don’t look like the Kardashians, sell sex like JLo, have the same perky body of the women competing for “love” on Bachelor in Paradise, if I’m not as perfect as all my “friends” on FB, and if I’m not buying or wearing the latest/greatest…well then I’m not worth anything. I’m not attractive. My husband won’t want me for much longer. I need to make changes. Run faster. Workout harder. Get a six pack. Make more money. Eat less. Dress sexier. I’m clearly inadequate. I need to be better. Lie after lie quickly building a foundation of self hatred. I wanted to hide my insecurities from all of you. From my friends, my family, my husband. I wanted to appear stronger and more secure than I was. And so I hid. I had been hiding other areas of my life and just added my insecurities and self hatred to the dark corner of other secrets.  The longer I hid, the more insecure I felt. I was now living a false truth. Another mark against my clearly flawed self.

Lucky for me (and those around me), I was quick to recognize that my thoughts were turning into an ugly infestation and I was able to reflect quietly enough to identify the culprit. That damn media had its grasp again. I immediately turned off the media inputs, reached out to my girlfriends and was open about how I was feeling and I soon found myself worthy again. As I rid my life of the noise shouting at me who I was, who I wasn’t, and who I should be, I found who I really am.   In the silence, I found that I am me. Perfect me. And you are you. Perfect you.

 

One way that I have found my center time and time again is to be vulnerable in sharing. I find great healing in sharing in this blog. I become connected to those around me when I let down my guard and show vulnerability in sharing my struggles. I find that others open up and share too. We build a safe community where we can be real and genuine no matter where we are in our journeys. I recognized in this time of disliking myself that I had stepped away from my purpose of living out loud. I had started to hide for fear of being judged. I had gone inward and become alone. I had lost some of my integrity. I needed a good kick start to getting back to a life of vulnerability and authenticity. I was given that good kick-in-the- ass a few weeks ago when I had the pleasure of attending an event in which Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, wa10174916_10152050667061493_5333993137919276168_ns speaking. In that forum, she spoke about Radical Honesty. Cheryl’s belief was the equivalent of my belief of living out loud. Here was a woman who was baring her life in a truly authentic way and I, along with so many others, connect with this type of vulnerability. I felt the pull and encouragement to come out of hiding and begin sharing again.

 

I’ve started by sharing my deep, dark, scary secrets with my best friend, my husband. He’s held such a safe space for me and encouraged me to share whatever my heart needs to share. With his encouragement, I am ready to restart the practice of Living Out Loud with Radical Honesty. I hope that you all will continue to hold a safe space for my sharing, for the sharing of others, and find your safe spaces for vulnerability too. Start by sharing one secret with someone you find trustworthy. Or even begin by writing down the scariest secret you can think of sharing and burn it or bury it. Just writing it down is one step toward healing and letting it go. Freedom from the lie that secret has sold you.  I think you’ll find the more you share the less scary it becomes. And you’ll start to love you a helluva a lot more. Others will gravitate toward you because your energy will be absolutely pure. And, before you know it, you’ll not only be your own safe place but a safe place for others to practice Radical Honesty.

 

So who’s with me? Who’s ready to LIVE OUT LOUD? Journey with me, Friends! Let’s change ourselves, our circles and our communities with a little bit of Radical Honesty!

 

 

 

 

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Films Worth Watching

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Let me preface by saying I am Not a movie buff.  I rarely stay awake for an entire film and even if I do manage to stay awake, one month from now I won’t be able to tell you much beyond whether or not I enjoyed the movie.  I can’t pull up character names, great one liners (“that’s nucking futs” and “Chuuuuuuunk”  both stuck), or even dramatic conclusions from my movie failure memory bank.  I like to think I have decent taste in films (forgiving my love of Jackass and Borat movies).  I’m just saying one should not rely on me for a game of movie trivia.  I’m a guaranteed let down.

Now that you’ve been forewarned, I’ve recently watched three great films and thought I’d pass them along for those of you stuck in the house with spring snows or showers.

8: The Mormon Proposition

8: The Mormon Proposition

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A documentary about the infamous proposition regarding gay marriage in the state of California.  This film really opened my eyes to the realities of lawmaking and the funding that sways voters.   A very fitting documentary as today our Supreme Court finishes testimony for/against prop 8 and DOMA.

The Intouchables

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

A French film that is deeply human and vulnerable.  Find yourself feeling a part of this unconventional group of friends and leaving with a rich love of life.  The characters are so believable and will remain with you long after the film is over.

This is 40

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Okay, so I’m not quite 40.  Quite being the operative word.  But I’m close.  Watching this movie was like watching my life.  Watching my insecurities play out.  Seeing interactions with my sometimes hot headed children and my hot headed self.  In-laws.  Witnessing my family on screen…all the way down to the cycling husband.  A film so accurately dysfunctional that it’s nearly impossible to not identify with the characters.  After reading the reviews it appears that I may be more dysfunctional than I care to admit 🙂

What are your rainy day film suggestions?

Miss Representation – What is Media Selling You?

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Do you ever wonder how and what the male run media is selling to us?  Do you ever wonder exactly how the images and stories that are sold to us affect our thoughts and actions?  As a woman do you ever stop and think if media has played a role in your own personal story?

                                                                                                                                                          Well, I do.  And I wonder how my young boys are being affected and what ideas they may be forming about women in their society.  I want them to grow up with a healthy respect for women.  I want them to be leaders in the feminist movement.   By the time they are grown I would like to see more females in power without those women being referred to as bitches.  I would like to see a female president.  I would like to see a news station selling us legitimate news!  I would like to see zero women portrayed as nothing more than an object, an object to sell, an object to demean and criticize, an object to sexualize.  And I want them to recognize that capitalism is the real bitch…every image we see has a purpose of selling us an idea or product so that someone else can make a lot of money on our desires and/or insecurities.   So it’s important to always ask, what? and why?.  
I believe men and women both play an important part in the need for change.  Men need to accept women as equals.  Men need to start seeing past our breasts and asses.  Women need to continue to break the stereotypes and women need to start uniting rather than being our own worst enemy. 

Take two hours and sit down to watch this enlightening film, Miss Representation.  If you have teenagers (boys or girls) watch it with them.  Talk about it.  Talk about how media has influenced their thought processes and yours.  Then go out and make some positive changes!
Here are the changes I am making (I would LOVE for you to share the way(s) you plan to shed light on this problem as well)!!!!
1.  I’ve canceled my subscription to InStyle magazine.
 And I vow to not renew my subscription to Women’s Health ( a magazine that sounds rather innocent but is chocked full of stereotypes and nothing short of a kazillion standards the average woman cannot live up to).  I will also stop purchasing Smut like People, US, etc.
2.  I will stop watching the Kardashians!
(this one is really difficult for me!)  And I should probably give up ANTM too 😦

3.  I signed up to join the Miss Representation movement.  
And I will write letters to the media when an outcry is needed.

4.  I will continue to educate my boys to think beyond what is being sold to them.  

When we see a racy billboard or advertisement I ask them, “What do you think that woman is trying to sell you?  Why would she go braless to sell that? What other ways could they have sold us that product without using a sexy woman?”

Talk.  Talk.  Talk.  Too many people are afraid to talk to their children.  We never stop talking and there are zero topics off limits!  You’d be surprised what your kids are questioning and processing.

5.  I will introduce my boys to powerful, positive female role models.  
We know women business owners, teachers, doctors, therapists, athletes, scientists, authors, moms etc.  I’m going to show them that women can do as much as men.

6.  Break stereotypes.  

Mark and I will continue to educate our boys that there are no gender roles.  A woman is not required to stay-at-home with her children (that is a choice we made as a family because of x, y, z).  A woman can be his boss, can be president, can be anything she chooses to be.  A man is not above a woman.  And a woman is not above a man.  All things are possible for BOTH genders.  Crying, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, sadness, are all acceptable forms of emotion for males and should be accepted as well as expressed. 


7.  We turned off our cable television and we stopped watching the news.  
We discovered quite awhile ago that television has very little positive impact on a society.  And any real news will not be found on the morning shows or even the 24 hour networks.  If you have cable please invest in a DVR so you and  your family are not constantly exposed to advertising.
8.  I will be an example of change.  
I’ve removed my false lashes (my lashes are beautiful enough on their own).  I rarely wear makeup (only for special nights out), and I’ll stop obsessing about my weight. As long as I’m eating healthy and exercising it shouldn’t be about the number on the scale or the size of my pants.  I’ll be more thankful for the sustenance my body provides for me.  
I do think it’s fine to dress up, put on makeup, wear jewelry…I just don’t want to be obsessive about any of it or hide behind any of those superficial things.  
9.  I’ll constantly challenge myself to ask myself, why? 

 Why do I want those clothes?  Why do I feel the need to alter myself?  Why do I feel I need to be sexy?  Why do I feel like I don’t measure up?  And what message am I sending if I do x, y, or z and is xy or z worth that message?




10.  I will volunteer.
When all boys are in school and my time frees up I will look in to mentoring young girls through 
Girls on the Run…this organization encourages young girls to love themselves and their bodies through training for and eventually running a 5k.