On Selfies

Beauty, Guidance

 

selfiesWhen I look at a picture of myself, its a bit like looking at a picture of someone else. This is because the picture is not actually me. It is just a split-second representation of me which is dependent upon the quality and strength of light shining upon my face, the angle of my face and the emotion I feel at that moment. So that gorgeous picture I took when I was all done up and on my way out, THAT IS NOT ME! Likewise, that dodgy picture my friend took from a bad angle so that I look like I have 3 chins, guess what? THAT IS ALSO NOT ME!

None of your pictures are really you, but just a split-second of time where light made you look a certain way and captured certain of your features. And none of your pictures will ever come close to representing all the incredible, dynamic, unique, multi-faceted aspects of your being… Look at this video and see how various types of light from various angles affect the way you look! It really is all an illusion…

Have you ever noticed that someone becomes more beautiful as you get to know them? This is because you start to see their inner beauty instead of just experiencing only their external appearance. Have you ever fallen in love with someone you were not even attracted to on first sight? It could be that their funny jokes, stimulating conversation, charming manner or caring nature drew you in. Well this is the best place to focus, on our inner beauty, since it only gets stronger with age. Whereas our physical beauty will eventually fade.

How much does beauty weigh?

Beauty, Guidance

Black beauty

Above are two of the most beautiful women I have photographed, not just because of their physical beauty, but because of their strength of character and the love they radiate as mothers. But you wont see them on bill-boards and ad campaigns because they do not fit the beauty ‘standard’ that has been set by society. You know the standard I’m talking about, the one where you have to be below a certain dress size, above a certain height and below a certain age…

When you have been forced to look at that one ‘type’ of beauty day in and day out for the whole of your life, its no wonder you might be conditioned to only recognize that one type of beauty!! What about all the other types?? When our own beauty doesn’t match this ‘standard’ we start feeling less than adequate, but who wants to be standard anyway?! Be YOU in all your unique glory!!

My advice would be to make a conscious decision to AVOID too much exposure to ‘beauty’ and ‘celebrity’ magazines where this type of beauty is idealized, watch LESS TV, and most importantly, don’t compare your unique beauty to someone else’s.  Think about it, these magazines firstly tell us what we should think is beautiful, and then go and publish the worst pictures they can find of those models and celebrities without makeup or in bad light, in a bid to somehow make us feel better or show us they are not that beautiful after all? However, shaming someone else for not always looking their best isn’t a positive way of making ourselves feel better. A better way would be to represent all beauty types in the first place. Take for instance, the latest Selfridges advertising campaign The Beauty Project, which uses unconventional models and no retouching.

We should also remember that size is viewed differently depending on which country you come from. In the TED blog this week it states that countries with a low socioeconomic status (i.e. poorer countries) value a body that carries more fat, since “body fat is an indicator of status where resources are scarce”. Could our preference for thin body types also come from this same ‘status’ value? If you think that we prefer a thinner body because its healthier, think again. Last week’s New Scientist (3 May issue) contains an article about the misleading idea that being overweight or obese is unhealthy. Research has shown that actually overweight and obese people are NO MORE likely to die prematurely of diseases (such as cardiovascular disease or cancer) than a ‘normal’ weight person (using the BMI scale – body mass index). This is because weight is not an indicator of fitness. In fact, an underweight person is more likely to die prematurely of disease compared to an obese person. Yes, you read that correctly! The problem is, that even now that we know an ‘overweight’ person can be just as healthy as a ‘normal’ weight person, is that the terms ‘overweight‘ and ‘obese‘ are not positive ones and we have created a stigma, shame and discrimination towards those who carry more body fat. So apart from needing to redefine what we consider overweight or obese in the first place, we now also need to find a new term… a bit like CURVY, but more scientific… and which can apply to both sexes… any ideas?!

The BMI scale also, is an outdated method of deciding whether someone is overweight or not. I recently took a BMI test with Fitness First and I came out as ‘mildly obese’. Well, I am a size 10-12, am 5ft 5 and weigh around 10 stone. I don’t call that mildly obese? Perhaps they just wanted me to sign up! Well I didn’t. I get plenty of exercise cycling to work and jogging around the park, and some body weight exercises at home.

When Kate Moss uttered those famous words “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”… I thought to myself, well the poor woman has no idea how it even feels to have wonderful, voluptuous, sumptuous curves, so she has nothing to compare ‘skinny’ to… It’s like saying nothing tastes as good as bread, when you have never tasted anything BUT bread!

On Ageing

Age, Beauty, Guidance

ageEmbrace your age!

If you are worried about getting older, just remember that with age comes experience and wisdom. Nothing is more valuable. Have you ever noticed someone getting more beautiful as they get older? This is because they have gradually been learning about themselves and now have a better understanding of what makes them happy and what doesnt work for them. Knowing yourself brings a deep sense of inner peace and confidence. You know what you are able to offer as a person and how valuable you are to those around you.

As we age, we may pick up a few knocks and bruises, we may lose the odd tooth, we may break a few bones, and in western society, when something is broken, we throw it out… that is pure madness! The Japanese have a much nicer way of mending broken things. When they break a pot, they fill the cracks with gold – this highlights the crack – because they beleive that when something has a history, it becomes more beautiful.