Saturday, March 7, 2009
Rambling thoughts spurred by the last post
Thank you, dear readers, for your responses to the last post. I appreciate them all. I want to respond to each one of you personally, for you all had something interesting and provocative to say. I know I'll be writing again about all the topics I touched on. Aging, self image, body image, control, insecurity, strength, acceptance. I could pick any of these topics and devote an entire blog to it. But since I contend that "everything is interesting" I won't be doing that. Speaking of single subject blogs, my second side blog is not being attended to. Again, I am keenly aware that I am in need of at least three lives. Perhaps they'll cure death before I die. Somehow, I doubt it.
When I re-read what I had written, I had to disagree with myself about one thing. I wrote that I had not gotten over some of my anorexic thinking, "not by a long shot." I still have remnants of anorexic thinking, to be sure, but I am over most of them. And I want to acknowledge that, not just for myself, and not just to set the record straight, but for anyone who is suffering from an eating disorder. Yes, one can get well.
What's left? I still am attracted to extremely thin people. I admit it. One part of me recoils in horror as another part of me is attracted. But at the same time, I have come to find all shapes and sizes attractive. Unfortunately, I do not extend that to myself, but most of the time I just do not notice. Another thing that is left is what is called "body dysmorphia." When I look in the mirror I see what I feel, not what is really there. These days, this is a positive thing. I like the person in that mirror. It's only when I have to try on some pants in a dressing room that I notice I'm not thin.
In the downscale stores, the dressing rooms are a horror. The designers of these torture chambers are idiotic. For one, turn the lighting down. The room should feel candlelit, slightly romantic and luxurious. I'm not the only person who feels drained and stressed out after leaving a dressing room. The last time I tried on some jeans, I left the dressing room with sweating palms, and much to my shame, a mess. I was shaking slightly. Victoria's Secret has great dressing rooms, but they don't sell minimizing bras, so I don't go there any more. Listen up, Kohl's, if you want your next quarter to be better, pimp out those dressing rooms.
Now that I've veered off course, I'll try to reign myself in. One commentor had mentioned that Annie Lennox looked like she had plastic surgery. I'm not so sure, but I'm no expert on this. Here's what she had to say to Reuter's:
"I still want to be an empowered performer, an empowered woman. I want women to see that and think, 'It's OK, she's got a few wrinkles and it's fine.' I don't have to lie about my age ... What's to be ashamed of? And what is so wrong about being older?"
Lennox is 54 years old. She's just put out an album. Personally, I'm not all that interested in hearing it, but it's great that she's still at it. Patti Smith is still at it, too. Now, I'm fairly certain that she hasn't had "work done."
I'm not posting these photos to be catty. These women have been role models to me, as I once was a performer trying to buck the beauty standard and just perform. Of course, sex appeal and charisma are a big part of being a popular musician, no matter how edgy one is. But, there are some women who have either not relied on their looks to carry them or who have had great fun playing with their adrogyny. Patti Smith and Annie Lennox are two of them. Others that I can think of (off the top of my head) are k.d.lang, Laurie Anderson, and Sinead O'Connor.
Patti Smith genuinely changed my life. I wasn't a fan of hers. She was too "pop" for my taste. But I had never seen her in person. I was a bit too young to have seen her at CBGB's, and saw her play at at fairly small venue just when her album "Horses" came out. There were balcony seats and I was in one of them, but not for long. I was mesmerized. There was a woman on stage who was not seducing the audience with her sex appeal. She was as intense as any performer I'd ever seen. She looked like an innocent waif girl and a young street boy at the same time. She howled. She stalked. She twirled. She was doing exactly what she wanted, at least in my eyes. It was a revelation. I wound up at the edge of the stage, barely breathing, transfixed.
That week I started playing guitar in a band. I didn't give a damn what I looked like and what others thought. Seeing Patti Smith gave me that strength. Me, a terribly shy kid, almost mute, who had absolutely no faith in herself, no self-esteem, almost complete self-hatred, somehow, miraculously, played my guts out on stage. I still don't understand it.
Tonight, I'm trying to cover too much ground. The last post brought up a lot for me. The comments, too, touched me. And so, I'll end it here, for now. To be continued. . .
Addendum: I wanted to mention that TMC posted "Strength, Part I", a mosaic of strong women. I'm looking forward to Part II (and more?)