Posts Tagged ‘self-esteem’

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A New First?

March 14, 2014

I think I just wrote my first letter to the editor! If you’ve read my blog long enough or know me on FB, I don’t try to get political. I have my views, I speak up when necessary, and I let my actions speak for themselves. But this time I just felt I needed the editors to know I was disappointed.

The magazine in question is Outdoor Photography. I got a subscription because my children were selling magazines for a fundraiser and I didn’t like too many of the choices. I’ve always wanted to get into photography but, well, like most of my endeavors unless pushed I rarely move forward with it. But I like this magazine and all the amazing outdoor photography and photography tips.

To my great disappointment in the April 2014 issue is an ad on page 19 for photo editing software that extolled the virtues of taking a photo of a rather pretty young lady and manipulating it to the point that I was left shaking my head and wondering what on earth was wrong with the first picture?

I know editing software is a must. I play with the lighting effects; I’ve cloned out a stray foot or wonky background. Heck, I’ve even blended out a pimple on my nephew’s forehead. I’ll even agree to whitening the eyes and teeth (haven’t figured out how to do that yet). But to give this beautiful young woman a nose job, new cheekbones, and new chin and reduced jaw line to try to achieve some fake and unrealistic view of beauty is just wrong. They even played with her beauty mark and removed a mole on her neck!

“Transform your portraits into polished, cover-worthy images. Capable of sophisticated enhancements, yet extremely easy to use.” Digital Photo Buyer’s Guide Nov 2013 said of Portrait Pro’s product.

Wow.

I felt compelled to write to the editors because I have recommended their magazine to the girls I mentor through scouts as they work on digital photography. I will think twice about recommending the magazine. There are other ways of demonstrating the value of retouching than saying “your everyday subjects just aren’t good enough.”

Seriously, what message does this send? And trust me, I’ve been watching the friends of T1 play with such “enhancements” to their photos that they post on Instagram and I’m heartsick about it. Is it any wonder they think less of themselves and think they have to market themselves as pieces of meat with ads like this and so many other horrible images out there?

I encourage anyone out there with a photography interest to contact not only Outdoor Photography but Portrait Pro to ask them to change their advertising messages. I also encourage you to support forward thinking projects like the Eleanor Project and get their message out to girls and women of all ages that beauty radiates from within.

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Pssstttt….

February 24, 2014

Calling all Eleanors! I nominate you!

EleanorProject1

Hey, I think I know this person….

The Eleanor Project

It’s taken me about a year to want to post this.

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Almost … but not quite

November 5, 2013

For the most part I am glad we don’t have total recall of our teen years. But it sure would come in handy when trying to help your own child through these angsty tumultuous years. I want to be able to know why I just don’t have the memories of letting people bug me so much that I’d want to harm myself or others–or of being overly concerned about not having a boyfriend.

Actually, I do know why some things just seemed a little trivial and made me okay in my own skin. But it is interesting that my sister had all the angst and self-esteem issues and boy drama. Sometimes I wonder did we even grow up in the same house? The answer is yes but being older she could escape and she didn’t see or experience the same things. Her world was the popularity drama and the feeling of worth being wrapped up in whether she had a boyfriend or not.

When you have PTSD bringing children into this world can be a scary prospect. How much is nurture vs. nature? When the Chief and I were talking about whether are family was complete or not after having T2 and the postpartum depression I did some research about my options. It is a personal decision but I knew I would not be able to make it through another pregnancy or infancy without needing an antidepressant and there wasn’t enough data on what the long-term prenatal exposure damage would be. But there definitely was evidence about what the effects of the hormonal imbalance of being depressed during pregnancy could lead to. We made the decision to not have any more and I don’t regret it.

But I look at my two girls. As they are both hitting puberty and teen years, I wonder is this going to be the day or the crisis that sets them off? T1 is wired the most like me. Anxious. Perfectionist. Volatile temper. Even as an infant it was clear she was wired like me as she reacted with such a temper if you tried to help her while she screamed in frustration at being able to master a task. But I don’t remember being that way as a child–my temper didn’t change until the PTSD.

T2 is more the ticking time bomb though. Because her little forming body was flooded with depression hormones from the first day of her pregnancy and for the following 39 weeks, she is the one the studies say could present with depression and other mental illnesses in her teen years. Talk about guilt. I just don’t want either of my children to have the same self-esteem issues my sister had either.

This is where I hope and pray the nurture part will override and step in. T1 got into a fight with a friend and suddenly everything was so black-and-white and the situation dire. With the PTSD I lived in that state for years, never seeing, never believing there could be gray. I was able to get T1 to calm down and see that those shades of gray existed and the world was not crashing down. Having lived that way for over 10 years while my brain matured and formed the faulty pathways of PTSD how I wish someone had known to point out that behavior to me and talk me down.

We’ve been talking a great deal and one of the topics is depression or how people can feel so hurt or bad about themselves they seek to harm themselves. Let me state that my children do not know about my PTSD or postpartum depression–only that I got sick after having T2. The cause of my PTSD is not something I wish to tell them any time soon. But they do know about the brutal attack a family member made against me almost three years ago. They have seen what it has done to me.

This recent history, this recent part of the PTSD actually gave me something to talk with T1 about. As I was explaining that people hurting may find different ways of coping–be it drugs or alcohol, or eating disorders, or reckless behavior, or this “cutting” that seems to be all the rage–either as additional punishment or ways to numb the pain. I told her that for a while I thought of E.o.t.T. as punishment–punishment for not following the diet, punishment because maybe there was truth to the accusations. I didn’t necessarily feel I deserved the punishment–after all I still ate the donut–but I thought of it as punishment nonetheless. Then I was struck withe psoriatic arthritis (PsA). When every step taken becomes so precious, you have to stop thinking of exercise as punishment.

I think T1 reacted like “Really? You’ve felt that bad and wanted punishment? And you made it through?” Yeah, T1. “The thing is, we need to remember that we are loved and valued and we need to be easier on ourselves. Life is easier then.”

Where does “Almost … but not quite” come in to play? For the first time in almost three years something personally positive about that brutal attack came through. As I said, my initial PTSD is not something I wish to share with T1 or T2 just yet or ever if possible. But I had a real, current example to be able to share with T1 about emotions, self-worth, reactions, beliefs, struggles, and triumph–and because she lived through those years with me it was all the more real.

So I had a moment where I found myself thinking, “I should send a note thanking that heartless person for giving me an example to tell my children without bringing up a painful past.” I almost believed I should. And then I laughed and said, “Yeah, right.”

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