Thursday, July 24, 2014

WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL BEAUTIFUL?

This morning, I accepted a Facebook challenge that has been floating around for the past couple of weeks.  The instructions were "to find 5 photos that make you feel beautiful, post them, and then challenge 5 other women to do the same." 

I had seen the challenge and was actually hoping that one one would tag me on it.  No luck.  Thanks, AnnMarie.  :-P  

No, seriously. THANK YOU, AnnMarie!

Regardless of how others see us, we all have those self-sabotaging voices and thoughts about our physical appearance. And, I think we all have a couple of photos of ourselves that we particularly like. So of course, I chose them first. As I started perusing my photos, it was interesting to me that some that may have reflected some outer beauty didn't make the cut. 

As I looked at the photos, I kept hearing myself say, "photos that make me FEEL beautiful". So, my lovely lesson this morning was that I don't just feel beautiful when I'm having a good hair day, or I'm not bloated, or the color I'm wearing makes my eyes pop, or my thighs are hidden. (Although those things certainly do help.) ;-) 

I feel beautiful when I see beauty.  I feel beautiful when I see loved ones looking at me.  I feel beautiful when I feel hope.  I feel beautiful when I'm happy and having fun.  I feel beautiful when my senses are alive.  I feel beautiful when I'm doing things about which I'm passionate.  I feel beautiful when I'm with the people who matter most to me. I feel beautiful when I create art and beauty. 

Of course, I couldn't only choose 5 photos.  I'm not so good at following instructions. :-)  What a wonderful way to have started my day.  ≠What makes you feel beautiful?  


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

NEED A BODY DOUBLE?

Most of us are familiar with the term body double as it relates to film or television.  It is a person who stands in for another actor in a particular scene, such as a sex scene.  However, that is not at all what I am talking about here!   In the world of ADD/ADHD, we use the term body double to refer to a person who hangs out with you while you work on a task which is difficult for you to start or complete while alone, or on which you have been procrastinating.  The concept may seem pretty simplistic, but it can actually be an extremely helpful strategy.

Here are some DOs and DON'Ts to keep in mind when selecting a person to be your body double:


DON'TS
  • DON'T choose someone who will nag, instruct or judge  (Often, but not always, true of a family member); 
  • DON'T choose someone with whom you tend to be especially chatty (unless you are certain you can resist chatting or perhaps agree to use it a reward);
  • DON'T choose someone who is likely to step in, unsolicited, to give you "advice"
DOs
  • DO choose a person with whom you have some comfort level;
  • DO choose someone you know can sit quietly and do her own thing;
  • DO choose a person who really 'gets' your challenges, if possible;
  • DO choose someone with whom you can reciprocate, either at the same time, or at a later date
Having someone there with you can be very effective in helping you begin and stay on task.  This is not because the person is acting in the role of taskmaster; simply, the mere presence of another person can serve as a reminder of what you want to accomplish at that time.   The body double can also function as a sort of mirror.  For example, have you ever said something like this to yourself, perhaps while procrastinating?  "If I had a boss, who was watching me right now, that would NOT be a good thing!"  When you know that someone IS there, who also knows what you are 'supposed' to be doing, it can feel a little bit like an audience, in a helpful way, because that presence can help you feel more centered and help you to stay on task, should you become bored or distracted. 

You can use a body double in any way that serves you and for any type of task, but here are some that lend themselves especially well to this strategy: 

- Cleaning or organizing projects
- Filing
- Paying bills
- Homework
- Writing
- Reading

Depending on what you hope to accomplish, and on other issues such as pet allergies, noise or proximity of small distracting beings, choose a place that best serves the task and your style.  For example, I used to meet someone regularly at the library for a fixed period of time when I wanted to get some reading done.  I would bring only the material I wanted to read, paper, and sometimes my computer.  The woman with whom I met had challenges which were similar to mine, so she would also bring something she needed to tackle as well.  Design the relationship so it serves you best. Earlier, I said not to choose a person who would nag or instruct; however, IF it serves you to have the person comment if you do something such as get on your computer, or fold the laundry, or water the flowers, or anything that is NOT what you intend to work on, set that up ahead of time.  I have been known to say to people, " If you see me doing anything other than sitting at this desk or taking a quick bathroom break, please call me on it!" ;-) There are NO hard and fast rules- design it so it works for you. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

When Life Gives You Key Limes...

We are often told that when life gives us lemons, we can choose to make lemonade.  But what happens when life gives us stale, unfrosted, key lime cupcakes?

If you have ADD, or similar quirks and traits, you may frequently get very excited about a cool idea or project and drop everything to get it started.  And then… well, yeah… Then, sometimes we get bored, or run out of energy, or get distracted or think of yet another great idea, and the previous project doesn't quite get finished.   

Last month, I tried a new recipe for key lime cupcakes. They were very yummy!  I didn’t totally love the frosting, so I decided to make them again a couple of weeks ago and alter the frosting recipe.  

The first time I made them, I did that thing where I looked at a bunch of recipes and found the perfect one.  I then checked to see what ingredients I had, purchased the ones I didn’t have and then, when I got home, I didn’t feel like making them anymore.  (Sound familiar to anyone?)   I did, however, make them a few days later.  The limes had shrunk a bit, but were still fine.  Zesting and juicing key limes is no picnic, and especially so when they’re even smaller than usual.  This time, though, I did not let the limes shrink and I even zested enough to make the frosting.  Except that I did not make it.  I had been waiting to let the cupcakes cool and got distracted, or tired, or something.  “Ok, no biggie”, I thought, “I’ll just make the frosting tomorrow.”  But I didn’t. Again. 


A few days later, the zest was shriveled up and dried out. The cupcakes were pretty dry as well.  I was about to throw them out, but instead, I decided to taste them.  They were actually still really good! YAY!  I put them in Ziploc bags and after a few days, still no one had eaten them, including me.  

Once again, I was about to toss them, but then I had an idea.  I wonder if you can make cupcake bread pudding?  Guess what?  You CAN and I DID and it’s DELICIOUS!  
  
It’s no secret to those of us who happen to be wired in this way that one of the costs can be wasted money on “supplies”.  But sometimes, out of a perceived ‘sour’ situation, there comes a new invention, or at least, creative innovation!

If you have any Key Lime Cupcake Bread Pudding stories, I would love to hear them! 


                                                                         



Cut cupcakes in quarters, place them in
a baking dish and add  a mixture of milk,
egg, vanilla, pinch of salt and anything
else you think would be good.  I added 
about an 1/8 of a tsp of key lime zest.  
Bake at 350 for 30-45 min, depending 
on size of your baking dish. Top with
whipped cream or whatever you think
would enhance the experience.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Something About Beauty

I'm not sure if I feel empathy or not for actors who feel compelled to surgically alter their appearances. Let me qualify that; I'm not sure if i feel any more empathy than I'd feel for any human who felt the need to argue with nature and hide behind elective plastic surgery or poison, in the name of retaining youth.

Some might allege that it's hypocritical for me to say this, since I color my hair. However, I place hair in a separate category, mostly because anytime we choose, we can cut it off and start over. I will most definitely allow the natural gray to exist at some point, and certainly, by the time I am 80. (If I get to be 80)

Like many folks, I watched the Oscars on Sunday night, at least until I passed out and missed all of the major awards. :-& For the past several years, it seems to have become tradition with some of my friends to hang out (at our own homes), watch the show, have a glass (or 2) of wine and watch "together", chatting and having running commentary on Facebook. Sunday night was no different and we certainly had some fun.

I don't consider myself to be a mean person; in fact, most who know me would likely say that I am kind and empathic. I am also extremely straightforward and honest. I would never knowingly hurt someone's feelings and making fun of a person's physical appearance is something that I stopped doing when I was out of that horrible middle school phase, and even then I wasn't too bad, relatively speaking.

Having said this, I do believe that people who choose a career that requires them to be in the spotlight, and who are, in fact, well-paid for it, are in a separate category regarding public scrutiny of their physical appearance. Don't get me wrong - in no way do I think this gives anyone a license to be cruel. However, I do think that if people place themselves in the spotlight, they open themselves up to review and opinion. And, awards shows such as the Oscars are in a different realm than anything else; they are, in fact, spectacles, by their very nature.

So... what is my point?

No surprise, but I have a few. First, actors are just people; they are human beings like all of us. There are many, many people who are not in the public eye, who cling frantically to youth and who dress and act in ways that belie their true age. In many ways, this can be fabulous! I myself do not EVER want to 'grow up', but I acknowledge and accept that I will, if fortunate enough, grow old. My acknowledgment and acceptance does not mean I have to love all of what accompanies the aging process. I do not. My 48-year-old face and body are definitely not the same as they were when I was in my teens or 20s or 30s. I am also aware that one day, I will likely yearn for what I looked and felt like physically, at 48. There's a big difference between disliking some of the what accompanies the aging process, and wasting precious psychic and actual energy fighting and resisting it.

I often notice and feel sad when I see:

Women (or men) in their 50s, 60s and older, who have dyed their hair a shade of black that is darker than onyx and would rarely, if ever, be found on a person their age;


  • Older people who sport a shade of platinum blonde or red (or magenta) that was never a natural hair color for ANYONE, at any age;
  • Women who wear make-up so thick and so colorful that they resemble clowns, or some kind of bizarre character in a play;
  • People who wear clothes in which they are obviously physically uncomfortable, to conform to fashion and/or fad, or some expectation they have of themselves or which they think they need to fulfill for others.

My point, is that we find these people both in and out of Hollywood and other spotlights.

Wherever we go, there we are. If we are insecure, fearful and uncertain of our own self worth, these feelings will not likely dissipate simply because we are considered beautiful and/or gifted by some, or many. Sometimes, when we do well in our chosen field, it can and does serve to boost our self-confidence, validate our inherent worth, allow us to feel good about who we are and help us to be more gentle on ourselves. Sometimes, it gives us the 'evidence' we need to believe it ourselves. But not always. In Hollywood AND in "the real world", many people are simply not comfortable or satisfied with themselves and indeed, are not even sure of who they truly are.

It is certainly true that in the "movie star" world, people are held to a much higher scrutiny than us regular folk. I have two thoughts about this:

1) People who choose to be actors and go to Hollywood to 'make it', know going in that this is the case, so it doesn't make sense for them (or the public) to be surprised when they are then, in fact, scrutinized.

2) As a society, I very much hope that more people will take a stand to minimize the weight we give to physical beauty and youth, and to honor, value and appreciate the exquisite beauty of people who truly know who they are, why they are here and as fully as they are able, are living the truth of that knowledge.

Please don't misunderstand - I surely know that it IS important for us to feel good: physically and about who we are, and that being pleased with our own visual appearance is often a part of our overall sense of self-satisfaction. Of course, the extent to which this weighs in our overall assessment of ourselves will vary from person to person.

I believe it is crucial for individuals to truly know themselves and to strive to be the best of who they are, from a place of self-love and respect, and not from a place of self-loathing or fear.

Where does this leave us regarding Kim Novak? I have some thoughts, but would love to hear yours.