I watched those ad spots that Dove created. As I told you, they made me cry. They moved me. I wondered all day about how I view myself once again, coming back to that place. Thinking about my own mother and also the mother I now am. How the life she led shaped me. There are two things my mother can be counted on for. The first is that she always has some new diet scheme; a pill, a book, a magazine article, a juicer, a hormone.. whatever. She was never fat, never even slightly pudgy. She always looked great. Still does in fact, but it was always clearly a concern for her. The second thing is that she always has a new self help book. There is really nothing WRONG with that. Always trying her best to better her mind and soul. She is always suggesting I read one or another of them and some of them have actually been pretty amazing. I feel pretty thankful for the fact that my mom taught me to seek to be a better person than I am today.
However, if you remember in that ad, the lady who talks about how her mom always said she had a big jaw? or was it chin? I'm sure her mother meant no harm. I'm sure it was never with the intent to cause pain or shame. I don't think we as mother's ever really intend harm to our daughters. But I have said before that there will be a day of reckoning. A day when my Charley says to me all the things I did to her to "screw her up." In all honesty I can probably name like three right now. Nothing that I have ever done was meant to cause harm but in hindsight I can see where it may have. It's this job, motherhood. It's nearly impossible to be a complete success and boy you better be careful how you measure that! But I digress....
I think my own mom's constant focus on weight may have caused me to be so out of control with my weight. NOT HER FAULT. That is ridiculous, I own my flaws. They are mine to love and to heal. But I wonder if down deep in there somewhere it lurks. Just as the obsession with self evaluation does. I've also said a time or two that I'm no psychiatrist (If I were there'd be Xanax in the water people!) But I have to ask myself if it's there? Those things just below my surface.So there is the first part of how it started. The egg meets the sperm, the idea begins to split into cells.
Then as luck would have it the "Breakfast Club" came on. in the beginning of the movie and again at the end. A letter is read. It's as follows. "Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole
Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong. What we did
WAS wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write this essay
telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you
want to see us... in the simplest terms and the most convenient
definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a
princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at
seven o'clock this morning. We were brainwashed."
It hits me. (Man I love that movie!) I also have to insert here that my mom has made me read this new book called "The Four Agreements" by Miguel Ruiz. See I told you! Again with the self help books. But this IS one of the better ones. This link is to a website based around the book but it's a great overview. It talks about right on the first page of the site what the book calls "Domestication." The idea that as children we are our true selves and we allow all those around us and our world to change us into what it needs us to be instead of who we are naturally.
Now the embryo is beginning to take shape.
BRAINWASHED..... Not in a cult sort of way... well not exactly. But similar I suppose in that we sing out loud as a child and maybe it's off key but it's beautiful and fun and full of life until another says. "Wow, don't quit your day job." Then we sing only in private and all the while doubting ourselves. We feel pretty and excited about a new hairstyle, until your friend says you don't have the face for short hair. Then we hide and feel ashamed. We believe what all those around us say subtly or otherwise, instead of what we FEEL inside of ourselves.
The kids in the movie believed they were the labels they'd been given, and they believed it to be true of those around them. I believed things about myself that I know in my heart and in my soul are not truths. So how do we undo it? How do we change our perceptions?
I wish I had all those answers. What I do know is that it has to start somewhere. So that is where this idea came from. The Pretty Project. The idea that I will move forward on this day to recreate my own image of myself and to help other women recreate theirs as well. That pretty will no longer mean to me what is reflected in a mirror but instead it will mean ALL THAT I AM and not one thing less. The idea that I will use words only to lift others and thus elevate myself. The idea that I will spend time watching others and trying to see their truth and then telling them how amazing it is. The "label" they will receive is PRETTY. But it will encompass so much more than is shown on the surface. Everyone of us has this beauty in us. We all radiate our truth. We all send off this beautiful energy- ALL OF US. It's there and this cultivation of it needs to happen. Its a radical shift in perception, but I know if you give it a chance you will see what I see. PRETTY all around you. That's how the idea was born.
I will write more soon. It's late. I will tell you though that I have already begun. I will also share this with you- It's one of the most wonderful things I have ever felt. I can't wait for you to feel and share it too.