Saturday, 15 June 2013

secret: beautiful is not skin deep

look, sometimes i think deep thoughts. this particular breed of thought has been floating around in my brain a good long while now. and i don't think i'll quite cover it in one blog. because parts of it have a tendency to be quite ranty, and it's weekend time and i'm all mellow and whatnot.

it's hard to be a human sometimes. it's harder still to be a happy human; there are always going to be those times where you feel like shit and have a strong suspicion that goes alongside this feeling that you, in fact, look like shit. unhappy people, or let's be honest, me when i am an unhappy person (because that's the only real authority with which i feel comfortable to speak), tends to be a bit down on my levels of self-awesome.

ok, and to add to that, it is my opinion that humans are not meant to be happy, as far as this wonderful world full of shiny things is concerned. after all, if you are happy and fulfilled, why would you buy a footspa, a wafflemaker, books you may never read, unlimited brooches from etsy? and then where would we all be? jobless, homeless, cold. this is my very basic understanding of capitalism. i stubbornly refuse to look into fleshing this explanation out on account of an ex-boyfriend who has made an academic career out of things surrounding and pertaining to this very question (he was against it, but it didn't stop him enjoying the waffles, did it?).

there are plenty of things in the world out there that are geared towards making us feel we're not enough - we're not smart enough, we're not fast enough, we're not rich enough, we're not thin enough, we're not pretty enough (ask kasey chambers). but the hint is that perhaps if we bought some more stuff, maybe then we might be a little happier.

i'm completely guilty of all of this. i'm somebody who opshops when their room is already filled with things. i like shiny stuff, i cannot lie. and i own a lot of clothes. like, a lot. and books ... well. at some point my brain processed the thought that books = safety. and so now i line my walls with them, almost literally. i figure at very least they're insulation and maybe kindling if it comes to that... you know, when the world ends.

but i digress. if we never feel ok with ourselves we'll keep spending our money. and truthfully, i don't think humans can be happy all the time, but we could probably work on being a little less unhappy.

the main way in which i've been noticing and processing the unhappiness of humans is our connection to our physical body. man oh man, that's a tricky one. as far as my own physical experience allows as a woman, yeah, hella tricky. note how carefully i don't say women have it worse than men. i guess it's a tricky for each individual as we allow it to be.

NB: this is a huge turnaround for me - i'm a feminist at heart, but have been working a lot on making distinctions between my own experience and those of others. that way, people can hopefully identify with things i say as being a reality of my life, and i'm not ranting too much. i may end up ranting though. i have some opinions, in a most human-like way.

recently, i've been noticing increasingly how life is a push to always be better, faster, fitter (more productive), thinner, stronger. strength and betterness i can get behind. since i was probably 11 or 12, i've been well aware of that push. it comes from everywhere, and of course let's blame the media, whomever they are, as well as the things and the stuff. but really, i wanted to go grassroots here and suggest we do it ourselves (DIY is so hot right now) or we help each other out with maybe taking a bit of control over the monolith of Push.

the Push to be beautiful. beauty. what a notion. it's powerful but it's completely subjective. it's been invented over and over. why does it matter what anyone else calls beautiful when we are the ones that have to live with ourselves?

self-help, kids. what i mean by 'beautiful is not skin deep' is that we can decide on our own, if we want. and then we can go out and be beautiful. and not push, unless we want to push. perhaps beautiful is not the most sensical word to apply to a man, but i think you're picking up what i'm putting down here - perhaps it's just taking a good long look at what motivates you to be yourself, what bits fill you with joy, and which bits are dark and bruised and tender.

for me, being a beautiful version of myself is doing what i want to do, as often as i can. checking in to make sure the means to my end are worthy. you're right, it's pretty easy to write and feel from a place of happy, which is where i am now (generally; most days).

in a physical way, my mentality has developed over years of hate and discomfort to this: be healthy; be strong; smile at yourself in the mirror (even if there are pudgy bits hanging over the top of your pants), get sweaty and love it; eat food; if you want chocolate, eat it and enjoy it and then continue about your day without regret or mental flagellation; do squats; enjoy the day-after muscle ache with a tinge of pride; be proud of your good decisions and forgiving of your mistakes and moments of veering from your planned path. just stop saying negative things about yourself; if there are things you want to work on and it helps you tell someone your goal to keep you on the path, tell them, then do the work required. propel yourself forward right into your life.

“You don’t have to be what other people want you to be. You don’t have to be interesting or agreeable or entertaining. You don’t have to tone yourself down, quiet your voice, or hide your feelings. You don’t have to be outgoing or spontaneous or sociable. You don’t have to be thin or beautiful or anyone’s definition of attractive. You don’t have to be anyone other than who you authentically are, and you sure as hell don’t have to spend your time and energy trying to convince people that you’re worth keeping around. The right people are going to recognize your worth. They are going to respect you, appreciate you, and accept you, without forcing you to compromise who you are. Life is too short, and your happiness is far too important, to make room for anyone who treats you otherwise.” ~ Daniell Koepke

i know it's not easy. to figure out how to be happy and then to be it, that's an undertaking worthy of a whole life. beautiful is not just skin deep. it goes beyond your bones. ignore those things out there that make you feel like you're not worthy, or that you will only be happy when you get to a size or weight or shape. ignore as hard as you can, and when you have a slip and accidentally listen to all those things out there, go back to the mirror and smile at yourself. think a little on how pretty your eyes are, take yourself out for dinner and a movie, reset ready for the next morning.

the unhealthy decisions we make are always guilty, always over-do it, always confirm the whisperings of that nasty voice telling us we don't matter enough to take care of. go for a walk listening a song like Ben Howard's cover of "Call Me Maybe" and think some deep thoughts, or put on "Waiting all Night" by Rudimental featuring Ella Eyre. and just boogy. my logic here is to move your blood around til it's warm and happy again. it's not science, i'll admit. but there is science to back up the whole exercise = endorphins thing. believe it. just don't think that simply exercising will straighten your shit out. this requires careful thought, and you are worthy of the time.

rant over, for now. probably more to come - who knows how much more i might have to say on the subject.

... [if you're] a person of intelligence, a person of integrity, then you're considered a minority in this world ... And it's going to be really hard to find messages of self-love and support anywhere. It's all about how you have to look a certain way or you're worthless. For us to have self-esteem is truly an act of revolution and our revolution is long overdue." ~ Margaret Cho

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