Category Archives: image

Every Moment

often in this life we need to slow down and remind ourselves that the moment we are currently in needs to be consciously attended to, savored, absorbed. easier said than done certainly, but if you make up your mind, you can find yourself in the middle of a moment that will bring you lasting joy every time you replay it in your mind.

i was able to have a second one of those moments a couple of weeks ago with one of our daughters. okay, granted it was kind of an easy moment for the taking – being with her as she chose her wedding dress – still, i think we’ve all seen and heard this experience turning disastrous.

when our oldest daughter shopped for her wedding dress, she asked her future mother-in-law and me to accompany her. she preferred to choose a dress herself and without the pressure of an attendant or an entourage and ended up buying the first dress she tried on. not to say she grabbed something and ran, but to say that she knew herself well enough to know what her choice would be. i worried about her buying the first dress she tried on and encouraged her to try on other dresses, but when she put the first one back on, it was clear that was the dress. it’s so odd to say, but if you keep your mind open as an observer, you really can know exactly when your daughter has chosen the perfect image of herself.

i was afraid at the time that my lasting memory of her choosing a dress would be overshadowed by the worry that was hanging over every bit of my thinking, which was that she was planning a wedding mere months after her diagnosis of cm leukemia. it was so tough to push away the thought that were her future outcome to be not good, this dress might become a symbol of stabbing sadness instead of overwhelming joy. it took every bit of my years of acting training to hide what i was thinking at the time.

fast forward to now. our second daughter is planning her wedding and scheduled a wedding dress shopping day. like her sister, she had a vision of a dress she wanted and a vision of how she wanted her day to go. she asked for a champagne breakfast with a couple of friends, her sister and me (daddy was nice enough to come along as designated driver in exchange for breakfast since he was verboten from seeing the dress).

at the salon, she tried on the very dress she came to that salon to see. it looked spectacular on her! i thought how funny it was that again, one of our daughters picked the first dress she tried on. but since there were still 45 minutes left on the appointment time, the attendant brought her other dresses to try. every one of them looked beautiful on her, but none rivaled the first one. then the attendant suggested something completely out of the box, which was a skirt and bodice combo that is modern but still somewhat traditional, interesting and edgy. her sister was the first to notice how e’s demeanor changed and saw right away that this would be the choice. i was unconvinced about the dress but tried to project neutrality since i firmly believe that my role was as an observer, not an influencer. the attendant encouraged e to go out into the bigger room and look at herself in the huge mirror. i was the last one into the large room and saw her just as she turned around and saw herself in the floor to ceiling mirror and was struck by the sight. trust me, out of nowhere and without a thought of becoming emotional at all, i teared up.

in that moment i didn’t see a dress, or a bride even – what i saw was our grown daughter looking like her happiest self as a young woman dressed to greet the partner she has chosen to share her life with.

i also realized that this was the last time i would ever have that moment in my life and made a mental note to just savor it.
making it all even better was the fact that i was standing next to our oldest daughter who is still happily married, cancer free and about to celebrate the five year anniversary of her bone marrow transplant.
moments that are worth savoring.


Leave a comment

Filed under advice, family, image, Love, marriage, Parent, tradition, wedding, women

Summer Shaming

Summer’s here! Well, maybe not by the calendar yet, but certainly by the change in the weather and absolutely when it comes to summer’s main event: body shaming. Of course, little of this is pointed at men, unless you count Bruce Jenner after his transformation to Caitlyn.

I don’t know about you, but suddenly I can’t go near a magazine stand or log into online periodicals or blogs without being assaulted by a series of photo montages that focus on a single part of a woman’s body. The first one I saw was, of course, breasts, then came butts, followed by legs. I didn’t see any montages that were pictures of an entire female person. I didn’t see any photo montages that featured men.

Oddly nowhere among these montages were any other identifiable information about these women like education, accomplishments, contributions to community or society, area of expertise, or even a name. Clearly the only thing of importance was how pleasing their singular body part was to a man in one man’s opinion. Actually, I’m not even sure I can target only men here because women seem to be becoming ever more vicious in judging one another’s physical appearance.

I even caught some dumb tv show where the cast attended a fashion show put on by a plastic surgeon and the “models” were women who had all had a procedure done. In fact, they were organized by procedure with introductions like, “here comes the parade of butts!” and a dozen or so women all dressed in white jeans with white T-shirts tucked in, marched down the runway proudly displaying their newly enhanced butts. Family, friends and potential patients vigorously applauded. Then there was the parade of women who proudly announced all the procedures they had done… in great detail.

As if the outward body changes weren’t enough, now there’s a growing narrative that women need to have a labiaplasty to create the perfect labia. Huh? So we still maintain our horror at female genital mutilation, but willingly schedule cosmetic surgery that could carry serious negative results on our genitalia.

I’m never going to dispute that sometimes corrective surgery for any number of issues is a godsend, but when it gets to the point where we don’t know what our bodies are supposed to look like and therefore think we need to subscribe to an artificial standard, then it’s clearly time to hit a reset button.

Listen, I’m not one of those all natural, crunchy women who ignores all manner of conventional enhancement. I dye my gray hair, I shave, I get pedicures and I’ve had laser hair removal. And whatever manner of body celebration or objectification that takes place between my husband and me is just fine because it involves all of me along with the body part. And vice versa.

But I wonder where the line is between tweeking yourself for your own sake and getting a major overhaul to try to fit some false illusion of women’s beauty.

Certainly body image is something you carry inside yourself, but the constant bombardment of rubber stamped images of “beauty” can’t possibly be helping everyone’s self-image. By the same token, our hyper attention to these kinds of superficial topics and vacuous people (Kardashian kabal) rather than humans of worthwhile knowledge, action and accomplishment speaks volumes. Can we all just get a brain?

If you really want to explore images of some individual body parts, check out this Instagram account: mrs_angemi. It might not be for the faint of heart since she posts pictures of actual body parts, but if you want a little truth to your version of body “normal” maybe you need to see what bodies actually look like and her commentaries are spot on. One of her latest posts is a picture of a liver damaged from wearing corsets.

So happy summer to all and celebrate the individual that you are.

1 Comment

Filed under advice, image, medical

What We Value

whew! i just survived one of the most over-hyped awards show seasons in history! you too? yep, i’m pretty sure that we were all subjected to the never ending cycle of self-aggrandizement, self-adoration and selfishness that attacks the nation during the winter months.

january begins with wall street bonus season. the bonuses are voted on by the board of directors for each firm based on nothing at all and meted out in an obscene fashion that rewards both “success” and failure. recently these bonuses were even paid out using taxpayer money. the fashion is not the best and the red carpet is the red line though the returns in your investments as these firms skim off their share of your investment earnings.

sometime later in january are the golden globes. these are awards voted on by the “hollywood foreign press”, basically a group of less than 100 journalists and photographers who cover entertainment. here’s the definition of the actual requirement: requirements for active membership include primary residence in southern california and a minimum of four published articles per year. in golden globe voting there is no rule or regulation about interested parties in the entertainment industry paying bribes to these voters. kind of like congress. actually, the best part of these awards is that someone like ricky gervais or tiny fey and amy poehler have been tapped to host and their humor is directly to the point about the self-aggrandizing nature of the entire affair.

in early february the grammys show up. although, there doesn’t seem to be any timeliness to the nominations for the grammys. often music that was released years ago is nominated alongside taylor swift music that was timed to be released and make piles of money just before voting begins. the performances during the show end up being more important than the show itself and once-in-awhile a performer actually sings live and drives home the point that only 99% of music is auto-tuned. this crowd doesn’t seem to take themselves as seriously as actors, or take the awards as seriously, except for kanye west who, as we all know, is the only voter whose opinion counts.

finally, there is the award show to beat all awards shows: the academy awards. this show is hyped for months beforehand but in the days before the show there are nightly specials highlighting everything about the actors and the show and fashion and the never ending list of satellite industries that leech off of the oscars. the odd thing is that the oscars were designed to get us out of the house and into the movie theatre but oddly, the nominated movies aren’t usually in the theatres around the time they are being hyped for the oscars. need any more evidence that the academy awards are about self-aggrandizement? here’s the best quote about the academy awards from troy cambell, a social scientist at duke university: “the event allows artistic elites to indirectly praise themselves by praising others and the magic of art.”
consider that three of the four best picture winners in the past four years were movies about movies or acting. he goes on to caution that there’s a lesson for all of us in that we tend to only offer praise to those who look, act and think like us.

well, what’s wrong with offering praise to those who are like us? shouldn’t we praise the teachers, police officers, fire fighters, moms and dads, aunts and uncles, grandparents, neighbors, friends, temporary workers, truck drivers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, office workers… you get my drift.

i want the real hero worship to be about everyday people who create, build, run, teach, inform and advance themselves, their families and us all by what they do every single day. we all don’t get awards, but we certainly all deserve them.

Leave a comment

Filed under Heroes, image, movies, music, success, work

my friend, ted

I’m still hard at work on my book Counterfeit Cure, which should have a publish date of March 1, 2013. Look for more information soon!

most probably you’ve already heard about ted university. if you haven’t, certainly your kids have. here’s the official word:

“TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader.”

it’s like free university on universal topics of interest. if you haven’t checked out the ted website, you should. there’s a lot of interesting, entertaining and just plain thoughtful stuff. and we could all use a bit more thinking.

here’s a lecture that our daughter, l posted recently that’s well worth watching.

1 Comment

Filed under image, women