My daughter Madeline has Down syndrome, and I’ll admit I knew almost nothing about it when we first found out. For the vast majority of my life it didn’t affect me so I didn’t bother to get information on it. Instead I lived in a sort of dream world where I thought that since it … Continue reading The Thin Line
I guess it was one of those things I took for granted coming from Philadelphia, that feeling of culture and grit tied up and twisted together into one beautiful… thing. And we spent too much time at the end living in the suburbs, that place we called “Almost Philly” where everyone dressed the part and … Continue reading Going Downtown, Part 1
Dear Journal, Why haven’t I learned yet just to keep my mouth shut? Maybe that’s the real reason I’ve lost so many friends over the years. They just got tired of listening to me, probably. I mean, I’ve never entertained ideas that I was a quiet person who didn’t speak unless spoken to. That’s not … Continue reading Dear Journal: Shutting Up
“I like ’em round and big, and when I’m throwing a gig I just can’t help myself. I’m actin’ like an animal, now here’s my scandal.” -Sir Mix-A-Lot
Fashion magazines show the “ideal” female as ridiculously skinny, and hordes of young girls growing up buy into this vision of what they need to look like. Look at the runway models and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Kate Moss was the epitome of this type of “beauty” in the ’90s, with her severe looks and her angular body. And don’t get me wrong, some women are born like that, concave instead of convex. There’s nothing wrong with looking that way when it’s natural, when you’re not starving yourself to make that a reality, robbing your body of much needed nutrients in order to look like that “ideal.” Let’s look deeper into why that image exists in the first place.
In the middle ages there was what I refer to as the Botticelli ideal, where images of women showed them to be voluptuous goddesses with curves to spare, and they looked natural, beautiful, content in themselves. That’s because while men may not have valued women for their brains in that time period, they did value a warm, full body to come to bed to every night. It was cold back then, and so many of the people lived without proper heat, so a full-sized woman helped out a lot. Seriously, though, both men and women realized then the ludicrous nature of the “starving woman.” If you were starving then you were probably homeless and didn’t have access to good food, and that wasn’t seen as desirable at all. So what changed?
- They never think they’re skinny enough
- Most aren’t born with the body type so they do what it takes to get there
- Those who are born with the body type are judged for it
- People tear down others instead of lifting them up
- While this “ideal” is still espoused by many women, more and more men want that Botticelli ideal Continue reading “Skinny Girls Can’t Win”
There’s a young man going to Harvard who had a 4.0 GPA last semester. That’s no surprise, as Harvard is one of the top universities in the country, and it takes someone with superior academic ability to even be accepted. The surprise is that this young man was born and raised in a trailer park, to a single mother who had him when she was a teenager.
This young man went to public schools all his life, and walked a mile to get to the bus stop every morning, but he never let any of that stop him, and he never felt like he had to apologize for it either. Instead, he broke the cycle and is in the process of making something of himself. Why should that be so surprising? Because unlike so many others, he believes in being other than what he was. He believes in a future of his own choosing, not the one he was born into.
“A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to come true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.” -adapted from the theories of Robert K. Merton
I liken it to the placebo effect, whereupon a person feels the effects of a drug they didn’t actually take because they believe they did take it. It’s all in how you approach your life, not in how others see you. That’s one of the major problems in society, the feeling that everyone else knows us better than we know ourselves. Too often we give in to peer pressure, to the ideas of everyone else about who we are, and about where we’re going in life. But it’s not about them and their views. It’s about how we envision our lives, and we can’t afford to forget it. Continue reading “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”
I am not always happy. I am not always self-assured. I am not always pleased. I am not always functioning as I should. I am not always okay, and that should be okay, right? Expectation is a very fickle thing. If people are used to you being sullen and out of sorts then it is … Continue reading Not Always Okay