Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Silver Linings of a Troubled Mind

I finally got around to watching Silver Linings Playbook...yes finally! I absolutely loved every anxiety driven moment of it. Btw I still think that Quvenzhane deserved the Oscar for Beasts of the Southern Wild...I'm just saying! Upon reflection I realised that although humourous the movie touched on a topic that we often laugh about. When someone suffers a heartbreak we say 'they took it on', we tell them to stop whimpering and whining and man up. We laughed about the man that ran around town naked after his partner allegedly left him. Men arent allowed to cry and women only have a few tolerable days to sulk before their friends and family give them a stern talking to.

Silver Linings Playbook illustrated the fact that some people cant man up and face life as directed. Some people with no fault of their own, mentally fall apart. Anybody can break. We keep selling this myth that weak people fall apart, that the weak go 'crazy' and that the weak go to therapy three times a week. When the conditions align against you even the 'strongest' of persons can snap under pressure. I've had friends that have scared the crap outta me with things they have said or done indicating that they were close to breaking. Scared me to the point that I wanted to go to counseling to get advice on helping them. The worse thing to do would have been to attempt operation tough love. Sometimes all you can do is offer some alternatives. Sometimes all you have to say is 'I want to help you, tell me what you need.'

Today's lesson- Be gentle, be understanding even if you don't get it, and most importantly help where and when you can.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

For the love of Janet Jackson & the small of her back!

Recently a friend of mine, whose presence I cherish greatly, composed a blog posting to 'The Girls Whose Thighs Touch'. She delved into the issues and triumphs of being a girl whose thighs touch. I would like to dedicate this post to the girls who love small of their back....stay with me I promise this will make sense shortly.
Janet Jackson did an in-depth interview a few years back. I like these kind of heart to heart interviews, I always get to see the human side of the star. She spoke about her struggle with self esteem. Janet revealed that the one thing she loved most about her body was the small of her back. I have never in my life heard someone say 'The small of her back is so hot.' or 'I wish I had a lower back like her.'
I was dumbfounded to hear that she didnt really like much else. The woman that has been on the cover of multiple magazines, the one walking the red carpet in some sexy mid- drift bearing outfits, the mega star that performs for hundreds on a nightly basis doesnt find herself attractive? I found it ironic. In 2001, I actually tore off the cover of a magazine and took it to the makeup store. I wanted her look for didnt work out the same but I adored the picture and wanted to look as sweet as her.

After I got over the shock of her admission, I saw a real person, a person I wanted to have lunch with. She went on to say that she struggled with weight gain as a child and that her brood of siblings would poke fun at her. She relayed that poking fun at each other wasnt uncommon to them, nor is it uncommon to kids. But not all children are built the same. Not all of them have found their identity, so they have nothing to base their strength on. So what  doesn't bother one child, can scar another. And for once in my life I didnt feel alone. I didnt feel weak. I didnt feel misunderstood because this woman who I have never met explained why I couldnt manage the jeers of others. I didnt feel crazy to think that once in my life I would have probably said that my fingers were my best asset. I thought I could say my fingers and no one would compare me or disagree. To hear this woman photographed by thousands, say that she kinda likes her butt now and that she is only now beginning to appreciate herself in her 40s was a huge relief.
It doesn't matter if you are the subject of a photo shoot or standing in your mirror. A part of the reflection you see is what the outside world has engrained in you. For some of us the world hasn't been too kind. For some of us a general appreciation of self is only now developing. Miss Janet Jackson if you ever see this, I just wanted to let you know that I heard you, I understand and thanks for saying it.