Fraught with setbacks! This project is just fraught with em, guys. It’s not fair but then, really… life isn’t fair. At least that is what I was told at a very young age by a particularly bristly teacher I had. And no, that teacher was not one of my lovely parents, who are also teachers. They would never deliver such a ridiculous line to a six year old, even if I was throwing one of my legendary tantrums (I don’t want to brag but I was pretty good at tantrums in my youth. So good in fact that people still speak of them now, in hushed tones and a mixture of awe and envy all over their faces). But back to the point, last week I found myself grappling with this ailment we call ‘the flu’. Or at least I do, because that’s what it’s called. The thing that baffles me about this whole flu dealio is I RARELY get sick. Again, not to brag but I just don’t do sick. I like to think I’m ‘above’ sick. Delusional, right?! Ridiculous! What a damn fool I am! But hear me out, guys, I have a legitimate reason for believing that I’m above sick. It just DOESN’T happen a lot! I believe that this is due to amazing parenting, or lazy parenting, depending on your take on things.
When I was younger I’d put all kinds of crazy things into my mouth. And before you say it, just DON’T! Do NOT make this into something unseemly and torrid because it definitely is not. I was just… well… I was a risk taker. And I also enjoy food a lot, obviously. When I was a kid and I discovered how wonderful eating could be, I started to think that all things in the world were probably edible; you just had to really want them to be. So I’d shove all kinds of things into my gob and just hope for the best. Sour sobs (every kid did that though, it’s not so weird), all kinds of plants, dry cat food, dry dog food, toys, pillows (they look like giant marshmallows but spoiler alert: they do not taste like them), jewellery, magnets, whatever I could find really. Anything that looked good I’d give a try. Now, I know this sounds insane and gross and a little bit concerning but it was a long time ago, I’m more discerning with what goes in my mouth now. And the good thing that came out of all this was a sturdy, impressive immune system. It’s all like “HA! You think a measly little cold or flu is going to shut this shop down? Think again son. We eat colds and flus for breakfast around here!” my immune system can get arrogant sometimes, I apologise. So when I started to realise that things were not right, I didn’t immediately assume it was illness, why would it be? That’s not really my jam, guys. After about half a day of pretending nothing was wrong things got worse, and I got more and more devastated. Of the few things I am truly proud of; my immune system would be number 2 on the list. Right behind my innate talent of sensing when cheese is near. This flu thing was not supposed to happen to me. But happen it did and I was too focused on not letting it go on for longer than it should to even think about this project. But I’m back on track now, so let’s get to it.
….Which brings me to this week and the project I’ve chosen. First a bit of context as to why I’m choosing this challenge; recently I was chatting to a friend of mine, let’s call her Anaconda, and she was telling me what was going on with another mutual friend of ours, let’s call her Thundercat. Anaconda was saying that Thundercat was just starting to get into this whole fitness thing. I thought that was awesome, I mean I’m all for fitness and health because I think it improves your mental state, I think it helps you get energy and maintain it and I think it makes you a more driven and focused person. I also love people feeling comfortable in their own skin, being happy with their reflection and celebrating their body, whatever size that body may be. These are the reasons I think fitness and health are important. Basically I think if you want to change your body, you should be changing it for you. Apparently this is not the same outlook that Thundercat has. Neither does Anaconda, for that matter. Apparently these two lovely ladies whom I cherish and respect, have very different opinions on why anyone should exercise and eat better. According to Thundercat and Anaconda, the main (if not only) reason to take better care of yourself is to lose weight so that people will find you attractive. Not to improve your fitness, not to be healthier, not to boost your energy levels or improve your quality of life, and not even really to make yourself happy. You exercise to shed kilos, and you shed kilos so that you are thin and beautiful. Because apparently you can only be beautiful if you are thin. Or so I was told during this enlightening conversation.
The thing about Anaconda is she is and always has been very thin, just naturally. She inherited some amazing genes and she clearly has a very fast metabolism, which means she’s always been slender (like Keira Knightley slender) so losing weight isn’t something she has to work at. As a result we just don’t really talk about weight issues that much. She’s happy with herself, I’m happy with myself, we have completely different body types but we are okay with that. Thundercat has another completely different body type, she’s not big like me and she’s not stick thin like Anaconda, she is blessed in that her body is a lovely hourglass figure, kind of like Marilyn Munroe. Who WOULDN’T want to look like Marilyn? It’s a dream come true, I’d have thought. But no, she wants to be thinner, she wants to be shapeless and she wants a body type that is just not realistic for her. I understand it would be very hard being so close with someone like Anaconda. I’m sure it would be difficult not to compare your body types when Anaconda is all bones and litheness and you are curves and hips and boobs and thighs. I get it. We are all insecure at times, we all compare ourselves to others. Fleeting thoughts of self-doubt are common. But letting these thoughts control how we see ourselves, how we perceive beauty and more importantly how we calculate our self-worth is just… well, it’s just backwards and it’s more than a little heartbreaking. Why are these amazing women, these smart, funny, strong, creative women, putting so much stock in their appearance over everything else they have to offer? Because this is the world we live in. And we can’t change that. Or can we….
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming that nothing is being done to change this outdated and very limited perception of what constitutes ‘beauty’. There are heaps of thought provoking campaigns and creative endeavours focused around positive body image and the celebration of the human form. And perhaps in a decade or two things will be better (for women especially), maybe we’ll be allowed to feel attractive even if we’re not a size six. Maybe we won’t be judged solely on how visually pleasing our figure is. A gal can dream, right?! I would love to live in a world where the majority of the population believes that beauty is not a definite recipe, and that it can appear and be appreciated in all shapes and sizes. But mostly, I want to live in a world where people are being commended for their abilities over their appearance. That’s my goal.
Why even do we CARE so much about looks? Why is it SO much more important to be attractive than it is to be intelligent, driven, compassionate, creative, funny, talented, open-minded, generous or hard working? You know what they say, looks fade; its true guys. I’m sorry but it’s absolutely unequivocally true. Every day you’re getting older and by industry standards, that means you’re getting uglier. I DON’T BELIEVE THAT! Don’t get me wrong! But if we’re abiding all the rules put into place by society on what is deemed beautiful then getting older equals getting uglier. How much stock are you willing to put into something that has a definite used by date? And when you look back on your life, are you going to relish the thought that back in the day you were a hottie and looked great in a dress? Or are you going to regret not accomplishing something more substantial and perhaps even respecting yourself enough to find beauty in your skills, whatever they may be? I’ll tell you something for nothing, my biggest fear is that when I’m old and grey I’ll look back on my life and have nothing I’m proud of, nothing I felt made a difference and nothing to show for my time here on this earth. I am NOT afraid that if I go out with my friends no boys will look at or hit on me. I mean… give me a fucking break!
I know I’ve rambled on a bit here but this is something I feel very passionate about. I’m genuinely concerned about this generation and the next generation and the generation after not putting enough or ANY value on their insides over their outsides. I don’t like the direction we’re going in and I want to change that. I know that I can’t do much, I’m just one person, but whether or not change happens as a direct result of this is of little relevance. The fact that I’m trying is enough to stimulate change however small that may be. If nothing else, maybe someone I know who reads this will think ‘Yes! I want a better world too. I want my children to live a happier life and so I need to try something as well’ and that would be enough for me. Every major alteration is a result of thousands of little changes or attempts at change. At least that’s what I believe.
This week I’d like to celebrate inner beauty. I want to remind the people in my life of the things that make them stunning and special and important. This would fall into the category of ‘random acts of kindness’ if we’re going on my original list. But anyways, I’m not going into too much detail yet about how I’m going to do this. I have a detailed plan but a few of the people I’m targeting read this blog so I don’t want to ruin the surprise for them by broadcasting it all here. Instead, The Execution portion of this week will be heaps and heaps of pictures (omitting names and addresses) to show my efforts. At the end I’ll document it all in the Result portion.
Wish me luck you lovelies!
And don’t forget to check your mail boxes…