Tag Archives: Self-Destruction

Body Image: It’s A Family Affair

desrosiers duo 1My mom and I were kicking back in the grass of Sheep Meadow in Central Park last summer when it hit me–we needed to write the manual on positive body image in the context of the mother-daughter relationship. We are exceptional in that we share a positive image of our respective bodies. I learned it from her, and she learns it from me. We understand we are lucky, and we are grateful. We talk a lot about what holds women back in society, and we’re convinced that struggle with body image is one of the major culprits. The pressure comes from the culture, it comes from the family, from friend groups, the media, ourselves. Disliking, hating, and shaming our bodies, our desperation to change them to an unattainable ideal all take valuable energy we could be using for gender-advancement purposes. We have to do something. Continue reading

Rugged Individualism

20160619_152022I’ve been doing things the hard way for as long as I can remember. As an only child who grew up to be a lone wolf, rugged individualism was but a way of life. I did not question that my life, my plans, my love, my struggle were all of me and for me, a perfect vacuum. I was responsible for 100% of what went on, and I was proud to grab my bootstraps over and over to grind it out and get it done, whatever it was. Continue reading

It’s Never Over

20160515_152539What do we do with loss that isn’t from death?

Has it happened to you? A bad breakup with a friend, a head-on collision where both parties limp off in separate directions? A passive drift into silence, the years without contact piling up like snow? Being tossed into the trash by another, sold down the river, cut out like a malignancy? Friendships end. I’ve become more comfortable with and accepting of this truth, the older I get. It’s the ones that end when I don’t want them to, when I feel strongly it’s not for the best, that I have trouble taking.  Continue reading

Fixation

fixI fixate. I obsess. My mind sticks in a groove, and when it tries to wander, I move the needle back into the groove. I become stuck in a feedback loop that results in rigidity of thought, emotional instability, and a narrowing of life. I have fixated on one thing or another for as long as I can remember, and it’s only recently I’ve understood it’s willful. And only more recently have I begun to understand the foreshortening of horizons this way has caused. Continue reading

Why The Villain Is A Stronger Role Model Than The Princess

villainOn our most recent girls’ nights, my buddies and I decided to re-watch some of the Disney classics (both the 1950s and 1990s era) to see how they hold up in modern times. We selected “Sleeping Beauty” (1959) for our most recent hang out and snuggled into the couch under blankets like six year-olds. None of us had seen this particular movie since we were very young, and we were eager to see how it played to our adult sensibilities. Would we long to be princesses?

By the end of the movie, I felt a stronger connection to Maleficent, the evil fairy than I did to Aurora, the title princess. I remembered then that I had always found Maleficent captivating, even as a child. And why wouldn’t I, when she holds all the power while Aurora/Briar Rose has no personality and makes no choices of her own? Continue reading

Gaslit

gaslitMy perceptions of reality became so wholly dependent on external validation that I pretty much stopped having them. Or maybe I had them, but couldn’t access them. It was as though what I was sensing had to be passed through the filter of someone else’s perception. I had to get someone’s opinion on whatever was before me in order to even sense it sometimes, that’s how far outside myself I was living. Continue reading

The Doll Evolves

evolvesSo what do you guys think of the new Barbie Mattel has rolled out this week? That’s right, after about, oh, thirty or so years of pressure from feminist groups, Mattel has designed three new dolls to better and more accurately represent women. Joining the classically, completely unrealistically-proportioned original are tall, curvy and petite models. It’s almost good, except that tall and petite retain the mini-waist, massive thigh gap, and big tits. Only curvy has an (unnaturally) pointed toe dipped in reality. Are we getting somewhere, though?  Continue reading

This Is How I Do It

facebook_1453575635098This month marks seven years since I quit drinking, since my life went off the rails and skidded out of control. I memorialized that experience with a post I shared last year, a warts-and-all portrait of alcohol use gone unmanageable.

I believed my drinking gave me an edge, allowing me to express my most unhinged, outrageous desires and thereby differentiating me from the group at a time I felt invisible. It turned out, however, that when I got right down to it, blackout drinking (I know no other kind) was a form of self-erasure, a way to pull the plug on my conscious self and disappear. What good is standing out from the crowd when you’re not even there? What had gone so horribly wrong socially that I felt such a need for otherness, when my sense of otherness was the source of such pain? Why was I unable to make a choice about how many drinks I was going to have and stick to it? Why wasn’t one cocktail feasible? I was living with my foot pressed to the gas, and dying all at once, and these questions had to be answered. Continue reading

Doormat

mat I stood cowering in the middle of the mall, as my fifty-five year-old chain-smoking boss spoke harshly, angrily, an inch from my face. Her blue eyes turned to ice and narrowed, she hissed threats, her hot, tobacco-and-death-reeking breath penetrating my nose. Humiliated, scared and disgusted, I took it, without taking a step back or saying a single word. I was shaken and upset the rest of my shift at the MAC Cosmetics counter, and I cried my eyes out the moment I got home.  Continue reading

At Hope

hopeA few months ago I resolved to take a certain path in life, mostly relating to career, and more importantly, actually setting a life goal. I’ve rejected goal-setting for as long as I can remember.

Junior year in college I started hanging out with some new friends, who happened to be very ambitious people who had their lives neatly mapped out to include all kinds of tall orders, pies-in-the-sky and grand visions. I hadn’t thought much beyond next quarter’s class schedule, let alone life after college. I would listen in rapt fascination at their conviction, wondering if any of what they wanted was possible, and secretly dismissing their plans as grandiose, their future lives as boxed-in before they could begin. One time one of them said, “people without goals are losers. I simply can’t understand them.” Not long after that assertion the relationships ended and I parted ways with the group. There’s only so long a loser can hide out, before her lack of goals is revealed, her worth as a friend diminished. But to me they were the losers, setting everything up into tight patterns in advance, every detail accounted for. What about spontaneity? What about living for the moment? What about crisis, and life is messy, and shit doesn’t always go your way? These people knew nothing. I was the realist. Goal setting was out, because life smashes your plans and hope spirals down and away, and I was a cynic already at age twenty. Continue reading