Last night I went with the CCC girls to a motivational-speaker type talk with Marian Jordan, who wrote a book called
She was an engaging speaker. She was funny and pithy, and the two "take-away" messages were sound: a) You will not fill up your soul with things, or travel, or people. b) God holds your body and your soul as precious; treat them as such.
She was a little weak, unfortunately on the second line of attack: So I'm already a Christian. And I'm still finding myself trying to fill up; I'm still saying "If only I. . . then the people around me will respect me, find me interesting . . . "
God doubtless thinks he made me in a physically attractive way, but somehow feeling like he's the only guy who will ever be preoccupied with the beauty of this particular woman still makes me feel pretty glum. (dear Dad, if you are reading this, I suggest you stop or skip to the end of the entry.)
The "sex" aspect of her talk was handled well. The two worst authors on sex I have ever read are 1. college and 2. Dannah Gresh, Christian author of The Bride Wore White. Both of them say, more or less, that a woman's worth to those around her is tied up in sex. More or less. Mas o menos.
A disturbing conversation between my mother and me is still lingering around my head. I commented that one reason I didn't think I'd ever have sex, or that I was scared to have sex, or whatever, is that I was afraid that it's one of my few "selling points" -- that if I wasn't a virgin anymore, no one (no boy, no man) would want me in a real relationship. My mom said, Well, I guess that's a good scare tactic to use to keep yourself out of people's beds.
NO. FUCK NO. That is not an acceptable tactic. My worth has nothing to do with my sexual activity. No source will blatantly admit to it, but most opinions, liberal or conservative, that deal with this topic, whisper underneath everything else: What you do, or don't do, as a sexual being, defines who you are, more than anything else. One of the (many) books on gender and seuxality in the Fenway library starts with this sentence: "A person's sexual identity is generally agreed to be the most important thing about him or her. . ." Danna Gresh has a paragraph where she describes her husband telling her he forgave her for not being a virgin when they married.
This is shit. Pure, unadulterated shit.
I am frustratingly inarticulate about this subject.
One friend mocked me for going to such a thing; the other put on her "sympathizing shoes" that I gave her. (Gchat is not the best medium for conveying meaning.) I still feel sharp, disarrayed, disorganized.
I wish I knew what it means to be a woman in the Christian sense, in the human sense, in the sense of forming relationships (which I sort of fail at doing.) I wish I knew what God wanted me to do and where he wanted me to go. I wish I didn't fear a mediocre future.
The Sartoralist is a blog I started reading last term (after finding a link on a friend's blog, in mexico.) It is filled with light, textures, and colors. The attention to detail strikes me as beautiful, even when the clothes are not.
I have one problem with this blog, and it's a stupid one. Scott Schuman, the photographer, never made this claim about his blog, so I don't know why I should expect it.
It's this: This is not a blog about human beauty. Only clothes and composition. Only attention to detail. His photographs are almost all white, slender women, ages 18-35, with thin legs and no curves. (He is generally wearing his "street photographer" hat for most of the blog.)
I am not sure fashion has any redeeming point when it is only shown "working" on a tiny segment of human life, in the same way that architecture that focuses on houses exclusively for the rich and office buildings for mega-conglomerate-blah has no meaning or excuse for existing.
Any time I read about fashion or even dress up, I feel like I am faking myself out. Who am I trying to fool? I will always be the fat awkward girl from Iowa. What do I know?
Garance Dore's blog (pretend there's an accent mark there) is also filled with beautiful things. I think I like her blog better, for a crass reason; her stories about her life make her seem not so distant, a real person wading through all this mess of beautiful models and shoes and Paris and Milan.
The one thing I hate about her blog (and also the Sartorialist, for that matter) is that the ad space on the side is ALWAYS American Apparel, aka scum.
I sometimes watch reality shows.
I love Drag Race, hosted by RuPaul. It is precisely the format of America's Next Top Model, but with drag queens. It is glorious. I love it because there is no expectation that you should want to be like these people -- you just want to admire them, their makeup, their sculpting (both body and clothing-wise.)
Hell no, I don't want to be this. This is just art. I don't want to be art, I want to look at it.
America's Next Top Model is mildly amusing, and scary. Because there is always some hint that this is what you should really be trying to transform yourself into, if you weren't too ugly or short and old or fat and ungraceful. It's just as surreal, but not marginalized.
I am always struck by this website: Kanji Romaji Hiragana Convert every time I visit it. Admittedly, if you're not doing Japanese homework, you have little enough reason to do so. But its sheer usefulness, its ability to deliver meaning quickly, makes it a very beautiful little piece of work in my eyes.