What Can I Do to be a Counter Balance?

I am just totally digging the places the conversation is going in the last post and it’s got me thinking.  If we’re taught from such a young age that we are inadequate and that there’s always something about us that could be fixed (always for our own good, of course), what can we do to counterbalance that?

Clearly, the obvious solution is to put folks like Exador, the Church Secretary, Plimco, and Queen Latifa (shut up!  It’s my solution, I can put the Queen in it if I want) on the task of giving us all wicked, salacious looks, squeezing us, and then smooching us passionately, as if they find us irresistible.  But folks start feeling bad about themselves in junior high, if not earlier, and we don’t want grown-ass folks giving twelve year old salacious looks.

So, the obvious solution is not the best.

But solutions do suggest themselves.

Here’s mine:

1.  Do for yourself what Chris Wage does for others–see yourself as aesthetically pleasing.  Get your hands on a digital camera and take three hundred photos of yourself (or more, if that’s what it takes).  The first step is finding one you can live with–that you can look at and say, okay, fine, if that’s what I look like, if that’s how people see me, that’s fine.  The second step is to find a photo of you that you love.  Then take that photo and put it somewhere where you can see it.

2.  Don’t dog other people about how they look.  It’s not a contest and the cutest person in the room does not win (and come on, y’all, we already know that I’m the cutest person in any given room).  And you certainly don’t win by undermining the “competition.”

3.  Learn about how advertising works and be able to articulate it to yourself.  They create a need in order to sell you a product to fill that need.  If they have to make you feel like shit about yourself in order to create a need for their product, they have no qualms about that.  I don’t think there’s any way to completely immunize yourself from that, but you can certainly build up something of a resistance.

4.  Pretend you already are the person you imagine you’ll be once you’re thinner or richer or prettier or whatever.

5.  Have compassion for yourself and others.  We are all deeply, deeply fucked up and broken.  And we are looking for easy, consumer solutions to soul difficult problems.

6.  Masturbate more.  Eh, why not?  You went to the trouble to put in the five-speed hand-held showerhead, why not put it to use?

16 thoughts on “What Can I Do to be a Counter Balance?

  1. Queen Latifah is on TV tonight. Dancing with the Stars. (Now it would be cool if the show was Danzig with the Stars, in which washed-up C and D-list celebrities performed ballroom routines to horrorpunk…sadly, no….but I’m going to watch it anyhow…)

  2. About point #3, one thing you can do is tape (or Tivo, if you’re richer than me) your TV shows. Truly — never watching anything when it airs means never having to see a commercial.

  3. Downloading shows also helps with the lack of ads. Well, lack of TV ads; online ads are annoying, but don’t hit the same spots as well.

    One of the things I find is helpful is to say nice things. “You have pretty eyes.” “I love your shirt.” “You look so happy today!” It doesn’t cost a thing, and it can make conversation pretty cool. (Obviously, at work or in delicate or mixed-age situations, one might want to tailor or tone down one’s approach… we don’t want people to think you’re hitting on them when you’re not. That last one works on pretty much anyone when it’s true.) Say them to yourself and to others, whenever they strike you. If nothing else comes, “It’s so great to see you here!” “I’m glad we had a chance to talk,” or “It’s nice to see you” is a decent substitute.

  4. This is probably going to sound shallow, but I think the way our society operates, how we dress and how we think about how we dress matters on some level. I know for myself that when I dress in clothes that fit, that hang well off of my body, and that feel comfortable and well-suited to me, it goes a long way towards making me feel sexy and strong and ready to face the world. And it seems like there’s a big difference between dressing to cover up flaws and dressing to play up assets.

    A lot of times there seems to be a heavy message out there about what people shouldn’t wear because of how they’re built or whatever. But wouldn’t it be cool if we were more invested in appreciating how certain clothes just work on some people? Like B in a low-cut top. I mean, seriously, people! How much more perfect does clothing get than that?

  5. Kate, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with appreciating how clothes or sexiness can make us feel good. What’s wrong is when you devalue people who don’t measure up to your sexy standards or dehumanizing the people who do.

    #1 is right in line with this feeling good about looking good. I photograph myself all the time – at first because the cats and I were the only living subjects readily available, and later because it’s just interesting and edifying to see myself other than how I appear in my head.
    One of the best things I did for my self-esteem was stage my own semi-nude photo shoot, ostensibly for my lover’s enjoyment but mostly for me. A lot of my shots were completely absurd and unflattering and a lot more were beautiful and mysterious… it was a great lesson in having respect and a sense of humor about my body.

  6. Well. I just wanna say that I love B’s eyes, her lips, and her cleavage…and her wit, wisdom, and transparency.

    I love nm’s eyes, her beautiful hair, and her precious, precious spirit.

    I love Kate’s lips, the curves of her body, and the way she so affirms others, even as they are in awe of her.

    I love bridgett’s way of accepting me and coming on to my blog and commenting before I really knew who she was…it just made me feel good.

    I don’t know tanglethis, but they just have to be awesome considering they had enough nerve to do a semi-nude photo shoot. That in itself makes me aspire to their level of courage.

    …and none of this has anything to do with the fact that I am three sheets to the wind. ;)

  7. oh, and holy crap…mag, who is so patient and willing to teach us about things we never understood before, in a way that is so “real”…and she’s also a cute as a button…

  8. Haha, Ginger, you’re awesome both for giving me a drunk shout-out and for politely not assuming a gender on my behalf.

    I’m a girl. And I suppose it does take some measure of courage for any girl to laugh at herself and love herself at the same time, since we’re usually taught to be either/or… but on the other hand, if a girl can’t do this for herself, who’s going to do it for her? That’s why I enthusiastically seconded B’s suggestion. I hope you try it someday. : D

  9. What I love about Ginger is that she’s a good judge of character even when drunk. :)

    Seriously, drinking may not make you speak the truth, but it generally makes you act truly yourself. And look at how clear-eyed and generous Ginger gets when she’s being herself. That’s what I love about her.

    Tanglethis, that’s awesome.

  10. “drinking may not make you speak the truth,but it generally makes you act truly yourself. ”

    I always knew I was a blithering idiot who always had to pee!


  11. See, Mack, drunks lie all the time. They just lie in ways that let you know who they truly are. Slarti, hah!

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