Since I have written about my #1 and #2 2010 goals in the last two weeks, it would be logical to write about goal #3 tonight. But something else is niggling at me, so goal #3 is going to have to take a back seat for a week.
If I get custody of the remote at our house, it’s likely that I’ll turn on the Style Network. I love “Whose Wedding is it Anyway?” and “How Do I Look”? I’m still disappointed that the pictures Tenley sent in, me in my hot pink crocs in combo with some past-their-prime clothing, didn’t make the “What Not to Wear” cut. I also love “Clean House.” It’s just a shame they don’t “do” homes outside of the Los Angeles area.
Style Network has a new show, “What I Hate About Me.” When this show was on in the background recently, I thought it was another take on something like, “What Not to Wear” but then I realized the host was teaching the “subject” (Ambar) how to write thank-you notes. It turns out that one of the ten things Ambar “hates” about herself is not knowing what to say on thank you notes.
The show’s website describes the show in one line: Real women admit their imperfections—and Style’s A-list experts share practical tips for fixing every foible. After watching that initial show, and most of another one this weekend (there have only been three shows so far), I am struck by the difference between “admitting imperfections” and “whining about imperfections.” I am simultaneously intrigued and repelled. Here’s Ambar “before”:
One of the BIG, top-10 moments for Ambar, for instance, was when she disclosed that she has always covered up her arms because they are unsightly — what she describes as “chicken bump arms” that a dermatologist reassures her can be minimized with treatment. After using something called a “Clarasonic brush,” Ambar gets all weepy and says, “I’ve never had clear arms before.” I am really happy that this issue was resolved for her, and I totally “get” how something like that can eat at you for years and undermine your confidence quietly and chronically. (My choice to get orthodontics at the age of 40 probably is in that same category.) But, having just read several books about soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq, losing appendages, losing all ability to lead the lives they had known previously, and losing forever the carefree approach to life many of them held, I wanted to jump through the screen and yell, “GET A GRIP!!!!”
I guess a show called “What I Love About Me” would draw anemic ratings but it sure would be less irritating. For a mental exercise, I composed my own list today to see what ten “hated” things I would list if pressed to do so. So it’s self disclosure time!!
1) My teeth (although that’s now been checked off the list)
2) Not saying what I really mean
3) The fact that I am 45 years old and have never used my passport
4) The fact that I don’t speak better Spanish
5) My clothes
6) My poor housekeeping habits
7) My neglected yard
8) Not being assertive enough
9) Getting drowsy every time I sit still (especially in meetings)
10) Being addicted to Altoids and Diet Coke
Each of the three “subjects” so far has had some type of physical issue in her top ten. Ambar had issues with her body (too tall, too slouchy); featured woman #2, Brandi, had issues with her body (too curvy); featured woman #3, Amanda, had issues dressing her athletic body in a feminine way. I will not complain about my body; it gave me two children so it gets an exemption from any “hate” list. I’ll keep working on it but I refuse to hate it.
I was looking around for some quotes to more adequately address the “get a grip” thing I was feeling when watching chicken bump arms Ambar, something I would say to her if we were having coffee. I came across a blog for newcomers to meditation. One of the concepts the blog introduces is the essence of meditation, witnessing, as in “witnessing our thoughts.” In the blog (found at http://www.onlinemeditations.blogspot.com/), the author says, “Witnessing is done by the soul. Right now mind has created a cloud of dust in our inner space and that’s why we are not able to experience our inner nature. But as we become more stable in witnessing then slowly the mind starts settling down and inner sky becomes more clear and we start having glimpses of our real self.”
My concern is that spending an hour (and all the days of production time that must have gone into the creation of these episodes) focusing on what these women hate about themselves keeps them (and us) thinking about the hated traits. The show puts some window dressing on these ten things, brings in experts, and always wraps up with the woman looking made over, more confident, and gushing about the changes she has made. Here’s Ambar’s “after”:
My concern is that the cloud of dust may be still whirling around in their inner space. Calming that cloud takes much more than hate; it takes love.
So Ambar, Brandi, and Amanda, I hope your sequel, even if it never airs on the Style Network, has a different acronym: WILAM (What I Love About Me).
I’ll “run” into you next week.
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.