“[…]When you see something weird and make fun with jokes
‘Cause your personal tastes are not like those folks
-Miro, Warrior Poet Wisdom
When I started composing this post the feedback I imagined might question what this subject has to do with health and fitness.
What happens when a public figure does something outrageous or something very personal – publicly? Is it open season on them? Does that make it OK to forget our manners; even if it is a marketing ploy to get viewers worked up to generate a buzz?
Lisa-Marie from BodyRockTv recently and very publicly underwent breast augmentation surgery. Amid the supportive comments she received, I was saddened by the negativity that this sort of event brings out in people.
A few months ago, a negative comment relating to the main photo of me on my site landed in my inbox. It came via one of the visual media sites and after the fact, the sender was very apologetic, I know this because I called them on it. Please understand that I’m not bringing this up to embarrass anyone. I bring it up because I think that sometimes really nice people can mindlessly say unkind things – I’m not immune, we forget…but that is a lousy excuse, we need to try harder at thinking twice before we speak. It’s easy to go around being mindless and develop a knee-jerk reflexive “I’m sorry” response – and truly mean it too. Better yet, to develop the discipline to think before we speak or before we press send.
Because I dispense motherly sayings on a daily basis to my children, I feel obliged to pass on these same words…
”If you don’t have something nice to say (or constructive to add) then don’t say anything at all.”
“One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.” –Will Durant (attributed)
The comment about my photo went something like this:
“Am I the only one who finds this DISGUSTING?”
And “Man abs on a woman is so unfeminine.”
I thought about what they said and I assure you I wasn’t offended but rather, it got me wondering where this kind of commentary comes from?
These women, I gathered, were young mothers (I took an educated guess based on what else they had posted), and wondered how women who nurture babies and children could speak so judgmentally or in an unsupportive way about others.
I understand the unfeminine comment, but the word DISGUSTING being capitalized even, really? Disgusting? At the time I thought, “Good thing I haven’t posted a picture of my face!” 🙂
I’ve noticed that there is a tendency to follow what is beautiful regardless of substance. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has figured this out. We have a tendency to buy into what is beautiful because we have been conditioned to believe that by following a certain program or by using said product procures the same results for us. Case in point: just look at what the Diet Soft Drink industry has done! And let me tell you first hand, if working out as consistently and with as much focus and discipline as I do, hasn’t made my nose smaller or changed its shape, then nothing other than surgery will! 🙂 We’ve got to love ourselves for who we are and what we’ve got, but continue to grow and improve along the way. The image we see in a still photograph is just that – a still. It reflects a suspended moment in time. And that is precisely what can make the still photograph so magical.
We will not miraculously transform into an Adonis by imitating the routine of one. We will not become anything other than who we are. Accept it, love it, improve on it however you see fit. At the risk of sounding like a soap opera, we’ve got one life to live – Live it well, find happiness but do so without being reckless.
So, I wrote back…
“I’m sorry you find me offensive. There is a real person behind this photograph. Perhaps the angle or the lighting or the fact that I’m not posing in a more sensual way detracts from the images effectiveness to show femininity. I have two children and they love me for who I am. (Except for when they don’t get their own way, of course). If you go to my website and read my bio and any of my articles you will learn that at my core, I hope to encourage everyone to focus on their health as opposed to focusing on the aesthetic alone. Originally, I had a photograph of a flower as my Gravatar, (because I was not interested in drawing attention to myself -each of us is an experiment of ONE after all) but since I changed the image to this photograph, which for many is a symbol of discipline and hard work – more and more people are flooding to my site…go figure. I know that how my body looks is not everyone’s ideal and I am, in no way suggesting people should strive for what I represent. My mother died at age 69 from Cancer, three months before my second child was born. She was too young and even though she lived a healthy lifestyle in every way, I believe from my research that many environmental factors played a role in her death and also for so many others who suffer from various diseases, which lead to premature death. My focus is to help you to help yourself be fit and healthy.“
To which they replied:
“I am very sorry. I really respect the discipline required to obtain this much muscularity. I believed this photo to be one off of google images and I greatly regret any hurt feelings I have caused by posting this. I will remove it. (They removed the comment trail from the visual media site).
“If it makes you feel any better my stomach area is entirely too soft and I’m sure the percentage of nice comments you get is ten times higher than the ones I would get if I showed a similar picture of my body.”
“I don’t think anyone was trying to hurt your feelings or insult you. I’m sure we really did though, and I apologize.”
Honestly, my feelings weren’t hurt and I was not insulted. When I made the decision to post photographs of myself and start to blog, I prepared myself for both positive and negative feedback, I would have been crazy not to. And really, I’m OK with who I am – big nose and all!
All I want to say by posting this is that all of us need to Try Harder at embracing compassion for one another.
One of my favorite modern poets, Miro introduced me to poet Cat Forsley. She posted this inspiring TED talk video of legally blind, Caroline Casey’s talk about the power of believing in ourself: Looking Past Limits.
“Stop with the labels … because we are not jam jars; we are extraordinary, different, wonderful people.”
“Every single one of us — woman, man, gay, straight, disabled, perfect, normal, whatever — everyone of us must be the very best of ourselves.”
“I never needed eyes to see — never. I simply needed vision and belief.”
In my mind, “Being Happy Just The Way We Are” or “Expecting Others To Love Us Just The Way We Are” doesn’t mean that we can sit on the couch all day and forgo being a good person or stop taking care of ourselves. Being alive to me means participating and making positive contributions in the global community even if that means primarily focusing on raising healthy, self-sufficient, children who will mature into responsible adults, who can contribute to rather than become a burden on society.
If your happiness is based on always getting a little more than you’ve got…
then you’ve handed control over your happiness to the gatekeepers, built a system that doesn’t scale and prevented yourself from the brave work that leads to a quantum leap.
The industrial system (and the marketing regime) adore the mindset of ‘a little bit more, please’, because it furthers their power. A slightly higher paycheck, a slightly more famous college, an incrementally better car–it’s easy to be seduced by this safe, stepwise progress, and if marketers and bosses can make you feel dissatisfied at every step along the way, even better for them.
Their rules, their increments, and you are always on a treadmill, unhappy today, imagining that the answer lies just over the next hill…
All the data shows us that the people on that hill are just as frustrated as the people on your hill. It demonstrates that the people at that college are just as envious as the people at this college. The never-ending cycle (no surprise) never ends.
An alternative is to be happy wherever you are, with whatever you’ve got, but always hungry for the thrill of creating art, of being missed if you’re gone and most of all, doing important work.
Be sure to check out these Related Articles below:
- Try Harder a poem by Miro (warriorpoetwisdom.com)
- Jessie J – Who You Are (1Xtra Live) (youtube.com)
- A teacher, a student and a 39-year-long lesson in forgiveness (oregonlive.com)
- “Gotta Be Me” song by Secret Agent 23 Skidoo (youtube.com)
- Identity a poem by Miro (warriorpoetwisdom.com)