Friday, January 22, 2010

What Do You Really See When You Look at Someone?

Last week a co-worker and I were having a conversation about the guy who delivers our coffee. I told her that he hit on one of the ladies in the office next door, and her response was "She's not very pretty". I found that to be an interesting statement. It's not that the woman in question isn't pretty, it's that she made some unfortunate hair and makeup choices. She was very much stuck in a rut of days gone by with her stringy bleached blond hair and blue eyeshadow with blue eyeliner. I watch a lot of makeover shows so I know how the right clothes, hair and makeup can transform a woman.

Why do we think in extremes? Everything has to be either/or with no room in the middle for a closer look or a change in perspective. How many people have you ever seen who are truly ugly? I mean absolutely grotesque. They look so bad that it almost makes you physically sick to look at them. Go on. Think about it. How many people like that have you seen? Not many, right? Because there are very few people in this world, objectively speaking, that are truly ugly. Just because one person doesn't find someone esthetically pleasing doesn't mean that someone else won't. We're not all drop-dead gorgeous, but there is something about the looks of each of us that others will find appealing. Have you ever met someone who you thought had a really plain face but as soon as they started talking their face became animated and you could see a light that shines from within? Some people can look really scary when their faces are in repose, but as soon as they smile you think to yourself "Wow, he or she has a nice smile!". Think about that the next time you see someone that you don't immediately find to be attractive.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Trade Offs Associated with Life

We all have things that we'd like to accomplish by certain stages of our lives. We all have a vision in our heads of what we want our lives to be like, realistically speaking. If we've planned well or at least have a plan in mind, we know the steps we need to take to get there. It would make life so much easier if everything fell into place exactly like we envision it, but anyone who has lived for any length of time knows that life isn't easy. The old adage "Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it" tells us that what we want may not necessarily show up when we want it to.

For example, after years of dating the wrong people, you've just found the man/woman of your dreams. This person has everything you've ever wanted in a mate and there's not a dealbreaker in sight. The only drawback, he/she lives on the other side of the country and owns a business that can't be uprooted because of the type of service that it provides. You have lived near your parents your whole life and all of your friends live nearby. You really like your job and the people that you work with and you've established yourself in your field. What to do? Well, you could move across the country, leaving your friends; family; and job behind, try to establish yourself in your field of work at another company, and work on having a great life with this person. Or you could stay right where you are, continue to excel at your current job, have the security of friends and family around, and hope that you find someone else that may be perfect for you. Of course there's always the third option of the two of you meeting somewhere in the middle.

Regardless of the decision that you make, everything won't be exactly like you want it. To have some things you want, you're going to have to give up other things that you want it to be. The trick is deciding what it is that you want most and what it is that you're willing to live without. Very rarely (if ever) do the options in life come wrapped up in a neat little package tied up with a pretty bow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Difference Between Can't and Won't

Have you ever been watching tv and seen someone do something that you want to do and think to yourself "I can't do that."? Whether it's running a marathon, climbing a mountain, baking a cheesecake, or taking a class; the question is: Are you physically unable to do so or are you unwilling to do so? There are very few things that most of us are physically unable to do. I'm physically unable to sit in the lotus position in yoga, but that doesn't mean that I won't continue to do yoga in some form. Some people are physically unable to run whether it be for health reasons or some other factor, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't go out and take a walk occasionally.

You are your only limitation when it comes to actually trying something new. If someone asks you to take Salsa dancing lessons with them (which is something you've always wanted to do), but you're afraid you'll embarrass yourself, your response will be "I can't." No, you actually can, but you won't because you are in your own head so much that you think the rest of the world is scrutinizing you. Just remember all of those other people in dance class are going to be so worried about doing it right and not looking like idiots that they'll have no time to even think about you.

Just because we want to do something and give it a shot doesn't mean that we'll become experts. It doesn't even necessarily mean that we'll do it well. The most important thing is actually putting yourself out there. Although we, as humans, can be very judgemental, try not to go through your life acting as if you're being graded on everything you do. Each person is different, so what's right for your brother or sister isn't necessarily right for you. If you have children, be an example to them by just trying. You never know; you might surprise yourself!

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Whole Size Issue

I just read the following article on about "plus" size models: Articles like that really infuriate me: A. because "plus" size in the fashion industry starts with size 10 and B. because people assume that if you don't weigh 115lbs you must be unhealthy. Those of you who have read my blog before know about my weight-loss journey. As someone who used to be a size 16, I think it's complete and total bullshit that the fashion industry considers a size 10 to be a "plus" size. The average clothing size for a woman in the United States is a size 14. Of course there will be women who are smaller than that, as well as women who are larger than that. I'm not advocating being big for the sake of being big, but there are some women who will never be smaller than a size 12 or 14. Because of their genetic makeup and their body type, being any smaller could actually harm their health. Their BMI might say that they're overweight, but a better indicator of good health is the ratio between your waist size and your height.

We're so used to seeing super-skinny models in fashion magazines that when we do see a woman that looks "normal", there are those who have a negative reaction. They think "We don't need to see her fat hanging out everywhere." By saying that, they're actually announcing their insecurity about how they look. Because fashion magazines have made the standard of beauty that of a skinny (possibly borderline anorexic) woman with no curves, the average woman doesn't think she's good enough.

When I chose to lose weight, I didn't do so in order to attain some ridiculous standard of beauty. I did it because I am genetically predisposed to certain health problems and I also wasn't satisfied, personally, with how I looked. According to the current BMI standards, my goal weight is the maximum healthy weight for my height, but according to my standards, it's the perfect weight for me based on my body type. If I were to go smaller than that, I don't think that I'd recognize myself. Right now I'm the smallest that I've been since I was 14 years old. That was 20 years ago, and the weight has shifted to new and interesting places since then. I don't want to look exactly like I did when I was 14 because my boobs were about 3 cup sizes smaller, LOL!