Monday, May 30, 2011

Leading Lady

Hello Beautiful

Do you ever dream of being a movie star?  Sandra Bullock or Megan Fox?  Or perhaps the lead in Chicago or Mamma Mia?  Can you imagine yourself amidst all the lights and all the glamour.  But that’s not real life, is it?

My favorite Christmas movie is The Holiday.  In this movie an old director named Arthur Abbot played by Eli Wallach says one of the most reveling lines of modern romantic comedies. 

“Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend. “

Your life is your movie.  You have center stage.  And don’t let anyone take it from you.  What you do with the spotlight is up to you.  Will you lift yourself out of humble beginnings?  Will you use it to rescue those with no voice?   Will you chart your own course into the history books?

Don’t be the best friend of your own life.  You are the leading lady of your life.  So kick the encroachers out of your dressing room.  Put on all the expensive makeup, glittery dresses, and glamorous hair.  Turn on the spotlight center stage and get ready to shine.

Be the best friend of someone else’s life.  Be their rock, their support, their confidante.  The best lead characters are those that make sacrifices for those that they love and care for.  The heroine is the one with the most noble and courageous qualities.  And let others be the best friend in your own story.  Every movie needs a supporting actor or actress.  Don’t try to be a star on your own.  You need love and support as well.  Let those that surround you lift you up.  When the spot light turns on everyone will see that you are beautiful.

Monday, May 23, 2011

How to Become Perfect

Hello Beautiful

Perfection. The unobtainable desire of our hearts to be without flaw.  An impossible state as a cause of our humanity.  Humans make mistakes.  We feel the consequences of errors, whether they are justly a direct result of our own exploits.  Or our demise is the effects of another's volition.

Flawlessness is our goal.  We pump our skins full of Botox to maintain our youth.  Our minds are indoctrinated with higher education for eloquence and correctness.  We labor in the gym to fit into that amazing pair of skinny jeans.  We are driven by ideals.  Many proudly wear the title of perfectionist.  Meticulously refining every detail of a project. A subject. A life. 

There is nothing wrong with bettering oneself.  In fact it should be lauded.  But it is a cautionary tale.  As Master Yoda said, “once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” 

One must maintain a realistic expectation while continuing to push the limits of their humanity into divinity (not to be confused with deity).  How is one inspired for weight loss but not anorexia?  How does one out perform their classmates without alienating their friends?  How can one be in vogue, without appearing extraneous?  It is a matter of realizing your humanity.

Being a perfectionist is not doing everything perfectly every time.  It is not getting everything right in every situation.  It is not winning every debate.  Becoming perfect is putting forth your best every time.  It is trying to do better today than you did yesterday.  It is making yourself a little more whole as time passes on.

We confuse the need to be right with the desire to be right.  You cannot be right all the time.  But you should long to become right.  Righteousness requires of us to admit our wrongs, receive correction, learn from our mistakes, and rectify ourselves.  Then you can be right again.  We once thought the world was flat. and no matter how much we swore upon the throne of God and of England that it was, it could not change the fact that we were wrong.  The only way to become right again was to change our thinking about the world.  We do not always have the luxury to change the entire world.  But you can change your world and discover the Americas.

You aren’t perfect yet, but you are beautiful.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Captivated

Hello Beautiful

I take a lot of photos. Taking 500 photos is a negligible act in my week. And out of those, I might be content with 25 of them. Some because of technical issues with the camera. Others because of blinking eyes or awkward faces. But the most important reason is because of life.

When I ask someone if I they will model for me, I often hear “I’m not pretty enough,” “I’m not thin enough,” or “I don’t know what to do.” I usually laugh. Being photogenic has far less to do with the physical condition of ones body than most people realize. When I take a snapshot of even the slimmest, fairest complexion, gussied up model that I know, I am not initially pleased with what was recorded. It is junk. The reason is because there is no life in the photo. It is a static recording of a dynamic moment. A person pulled out of their context. A life portrayed as an artifact.

A good photo is an anecdotal act. There must be a relationship between model and photographer. I know what makes my models cry and laugh. If they are dating anyone and what they are studying. I learn their life stories. We work through several layers of high quality glass to draw forth an emotion. Over the weeks that follow most of the photos are tossed out. The few that remain are worked over. And over. And over. At first removing simple mistakes. Then accruing more emotion; adding to the photo the story of each individual. The end result is a life captivated in an image.

Every photo should tell a tale of life. No one takes pictures of cheerios, mountains, tears, and dresses. Your photos tell your story. They might say how you started your morning or with whom you ventured on a hike. They can reveal that you are hurting or that you are ready for your hot date. They show off your fresh haircut and let you brag about the flowers that some special sent you. Photos display your life.

So don’t shy away from cameras. Your life is fascinating. Be the rock star and give them all you got. Live in a glass house and dare them to throw stones. Let someone captivate you because you are beautiful.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Inequalities

Hello Beautiful.

We are taught throughout our lives to compare. Six is greater than two. A county is less than a country. Diamonds are better than cubic zirconia. To ascribe value to physical objects is a skill that is constantly impressed upon us. And while this is a great skill to have, perhaps we translate it too literally onto ourselves.

Do you worry more about your value than your worth? Worth doesn’t compare. Worth is an intrinsic value that something posses. A tattered blanket to a child. A Christmas card from Grandma. A touching Lifetime movie. Ladies are bombarded with the need to raise their value. Mothers force daughters into beauty pageants. People magazine lists the 50 most beautiful people in the world.  Facebook tracks how many friends we have.  And while none of these competitions are bad, our identity is not determined by a ranking. So often we see a clique of girls make fun of others at a party. All to feel better about themselves. But at what cost? Others are hurt. Ugliness is breed. True beauty is compromised. 

We must remember that apples do not care about oranges. Oranges do not boast that their sales are up. We do not purchase apples because they put down oranges more skillfully.  We select an apple because the orchard was nurtured by the sun with unadulterated richness. Its perfectly bright red color calls out to us. We are captivated by its firmness. When our teeth pierce the apples skin our ears will savor the crisp sonance. A fine mist of essence sprays into our nasal cavity exciting our olfaction. Our tongues will dance with delight as the juice fills our mouth. We are fully engaged with the apple because this apple is the best an apple can be.  We have completely forgotten about the orange.

Cease worrying so much about being the prettiest girl at the party, on the stage, or in the world.  Concern yourself more with being the most beautiful Michelle, Brittany, or Alison. Imagine where we would be if we stopped wasting time with comparisons. Realize your worth. Transform your life by raising yourself up and bringing a friend along too. Be confident because you are beautiful.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Inside Outside Inside

Hello Beautiful.

Do you think you look beautiful today?  Do you feel it inside?  Did someone compliment your dress?  Did you feel beautiful before you put the dress on?

A young reader commented that beauty comes from within.  In general we can all agree with this concept, yet further consideration is merited of this abstraction.  There is an undeniable industry marketed with the idea of beauty. Express. Glamour. MAC. Prada. Tiffany. Paul Mitchell. Special K.  They all sell one product:

Agents of Beauty

They are not beauty in themselves.  They are just an amalgamation of molecules from the vision of a designer and the mind of a chemist.  They are only ambassadors to assist you in advocating your beauty.  A beauty which comes from within you.  But what about the days when you wake up and simply don’t feel it?  Something has barricaded the view of your true self.  Perhaps it is a day you feel a little more full.  Maybe your spirit was crushed by relationship trouble.  Possibly you are weighed down by a stressful burden.  How does one realize their beauty when the candle is burning dim in the storm?

Just as products help physically manifest your inner beauty, so can inner beauty revelation be encouraged by outward appearance.  There is no replacement for a box of Kleenex, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and an Audrey Hepburn movie.  But sweatpants yield frump, ice cream craves cookies, and sadness breeds depression. Awe striking are the times when the sun’s rays pierce through the tumultuous clouds.  The sun doesn’t wait for the storm to end.  It declares its presence boldly.  On those days arm yourself with the tallest pair of heels, pull out the special eye shadow, and rock those sunglasses.  Because you are beautiful not just inside-out, but outside-in as well.  Let your deliciously glamorous appearance wipe away your cares.  Be swept away by the complimenting eyes of your co-workers.  Allow your spirit to be encouraged.

Products help shape who we are.  They brighten our days.  They help us get past hindrances.  They remove the pieces that are not truly us.  They allow inner beauty to be exhibited.  Perhaps these agents help who we are take shape.

They do not make you beautiful, they display you are beautiful.