A Woman Visible

Search for beauty. Search for adventure. Search for the visible you.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Oprah? Did someone say Oprah?

I did a strange thing a week or so back--I picked up a copy of O Magazine. I've never, never read this magazine in my life. In fact, I've avoided this magazine for a very long time. It has always struck me as a "let's-all-be-perky" type of magazine. Those of you that know me understand very well that I am not the "perky" type of girl. Still, there was something, I'm not sure what, that said to me--"read this magazine," so I bought a copy. Then it sat next to my bed for a week. I'm not sure what kept me from digging through the thing except for pride. Finally, I sat in bed Sunday morning and read my O Magazine.

The experience was actually really great! I discovered that what I'm writing in this blog could actually be acceptable material in this magazine. Does that make me perky? I don't know. I found articles that I enjoyed greatly, and I discovered that the message in this magazine is one of personal growth, acceptance, and expansion of possibilities. Over and over there are articles that tell women to love themselves as they are, and to know themselves well. As a woman searching for visibility, this is a great magazine to use as encouragement.
I found a few things in this month's magazine and in the April issue online that I think might work in with some of the observations I've made the last few months.

Physical Visibility
"Are you waiting to be skinnier, thinner, more toned, more tanned, better dressed, sexier, more lovable, nicer, smarter, funnier, or wealthier before you really begin your life? Millions of us are. And it's a complete waste of our time. Body obsession and the quest for perfection are destroying our lives, and we are willing partners in this destruction."
Jessica Weiner
, from her book, Do I Look Fat?

I found this quote while I was reading Sunday, and the author is so right! I've watched more women do whatever it takes to pursue this vision of lovliness that seems to be the societal mark we should strive for. I believe that many women have illnesses and problems later in life from this physical quest, and I have to ask if it's worth it. Why can't we find the beauty in all women. Even the plainest women have a certain beauty, even if it's not readily evident every single moment of every single day. We've all gone through this. Each morning brings for most of us that moment in front of the mirror where we decide whether we are attractive or not for the day. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what beauty treatment, surgery, diet, or fancy clothing we wear. If we, for some reason, decide that we aren't attractive, none of that will help us.

I did a bit of research on the book, Do I Look Fat in This?, (yes, this is a question that I've even asked), and found that Jessica Weiner is not only a writer, but an "actionist" and speaker on the subject of women's self-esteem. She seems very concerned with women's view of their own images. I find it interesting that a woman can now get paid to do seminars and give talks about the very thing that women in the past took care of by being connected to other women in their community. It used to be the coffee clatch groups, the bridge club, PTA, and church that connected women to one another and taught them to love each other and their selves (not that that always happened, but I have to believe that it was a part of the female experience in the past). I'm not knocking Ms. Weiner. In fact, I'd love to talk to her and learn from her. She's doing what is an instinctive thing, and making money at the same time. Plus, best of all, she seems to be helping people.

Inner Visibility

I found another article describing a self-evaluation in the April issue of O. I think self-evaluation can be useful, especially for someone who is seeking to become more visible. I like what the author, Martha Beck, says about love:

"There's no risk-free way to love. The possibility of being devastated is always there, but the possibility of joy exists only when you put your battered heart right on the table by trusting that you're lovable. I'm not asking you to do this all the time, or even in large doses—at first, anyway."

As much as I hate to admit it, part of my own quest for visibility involves discovering how I can be more attractive, and, yes, visible to men. It isn't my primary goal--my primary goal is to know myself better and to discover and work on my weaknesses. But, yes, I want to be loved--it's scary, but true. Of course, Beck cuts to the chase--love is not without risk. Inner visibility involves risk. She also give four steps to implement the self evaluation:
  • logical risk assessment
  • attack on self-denigration
  • experiment with exercise, challenges, or new experiences
  • trust the good feelings you have about yourself
She explains each step very well, so well, in fact, that I am willing to try them myself. I'll let you know how it works out. This is not an attempt to find a man, but it is an attempt to make myself perhaps find a little more positive outlook, which could only help, right?

So, I guess I have to lose my attitude about Oprah. She might actually have some ideas I need to understand.


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