Monthly Archives: January 2015

Addictive Drama

So I was watching Scandal on Hulu last night and I thought it was really well done. From a dispassionate point of view, I feel like Shonda really changed the game with this episode with regard to the new dramatic direction. Of course I wanted Olivia to just shoot every white man that stood in her way and I didn’t understand why she couldn’t kill the dude (Ian?) who set everything up as well as the guy who imprisoned her.

Oh wait! I do know.

It’s a television drama and that’s what television dramas are built on. That’s what all drama is built on.

When I was a girl I remember re-enacting soap operas that I never even watched with my Barbie dolls. My brother and I had a series of dramas that we role played literally every day, scenarios we had no real life experience with which were lifted from television, movies, books and comics. Drama is the easiest narrative to develop because it’s perpetuated everywhere. And I’m not judging it. So many good things can come out of drama if the conscious intent is to see how unnecessary drama is, in order to resolve deeper issues.

But as we know, that is not what television dramas are about. Television dramas are about keeping you strung out on a series of teasingly hopeful storylines in which the main characters, who may or may not actually be likeable, are people who’s values, hopes dreams and ambitions are put through a series of obstacles and challenges so that we can watch them expose an emotional see-saw of “morally” questionable behavior before they get killed, killed others, get married or the season ends because they jumped the shark.

Dramas are even shamelessly promoted as “addictive” which is why “reality” TV has such a massive following. Drama is addictive. And addiction is a sickness, so be careful what you consume and why.

When I consume shows like “Scandal” and HTGAWM, I realize now that I am only watching something that is seeking to entertain, not to heal or transform. Any healing or transformation I get from drama comes from the intent behind my conscious and critical viewing. I have to be mindful about balancing out the amount of entertainment I consume with the things I consume which are actually meant to guide me towards realizing my best self. Knowing the difference is huge.

Drama is like junk food. It’s fun to snack or binge every once in awhile but no one should make it his or her entire diet. Drinking some water, eating some fruit and vegetables, getting some sun, connecting with others, reading a book and watching a documentary about actual reality is essential to preventing the sickness that arises from a diet composed primarily of drama.

Drama can only sustain you as long as there continues to be more, which there always is, until it kills you, one way or another. But like the guy in this episode of Scandal (and every other TV bad guy in this Century) said, “There are many things much worse than death.”

See what I did there?

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Another Favorite Podcast Hosted by Black People

You know what made commuting to a so so job and walking through a potentially disastrous blizzard this morning easier for me? Laughing my ass off until there were tears at the latest episode of “The Read” with Kid Fury and Chrissle. My girl Cece over at plussizeprincess.com put me onto this podcast when she stopped by for a visit at 3K last weekend and my husband and I have been listening to it ever since.

The Read
Kid Fury and Crissle

As I may have mentioned in the past, I’ve had trouble finding Black people who podcast. It’s like anything else. Photography, fashion, “The Bachelor.” It’s not always easy to know what search term to use when you’re looking for something basic that most people are into but is created, owned and put out there by people of color. Because obviously, we’re not all going to put, “I’m black” in our tags when we create content. It’s not that I only want to listen to or consume content by Black people. It’s that I want to know where they are!!! Like, I want to hear, see, feel, touch, experience content created by Black People at the same level and sometimes higher than that which is always readily available to flood my skull every fucking second that is created by those who identify as White. If that came off sounding a bit hostile at the end, that’s because that’s how I feel about it.

So anyway I’ve only just started listening to “The Read” and for me, it’s not only entertainment and information. It’s research. Like Tea with Queen and J it is a two person hosted podcast which I really love. I like it when two people have this dynamic chemistry that is both engaging, authentic, entertaining and provocative. While they primarily tend to address popular Bossip and express their own personal views and opinions which are always arguable, they also have a “Black Excellence” bit where they give a shout out to Black achievers and entrepreneurs which they select from emails sent in or tweeted by listeners. I love that. They also respond to emails from listeners seeking advice in an sort of advice column format.

“The Read” is not for the meek or sexually repressed. Fury and Chrissel can get a bit raunchy and sometimes ratchet and they keep it pretty real. But if you’re a snark and shade junkie like me you will feel very at home there. I was doing the zombie walk of the half awake into midtown this morning while listening to this latest episode and I just busted out laughing, this loud, high pitched, involuntary sputtering laughter as I emerged from the subway. I love that about good podcasts in general. I kinda wish like 65% of commuters would listen to podcasts that make them smile and laugh and take notes so that we could just give each other better energy when we’re crammed together everyday making our way towards the heaven or hell of our own making. I want to see more people laughing and smiling or nodding to themselves or even just feeling anything but apathy, doldrums and misery. There is zero potential for positive connection when we’re routinely in the pit of commuting despair. I feel the same way about reading.

What podcasts are you listening to? And no, I won’t be annoyed if they aren’t hosted by Black people but you do get like 100 points in my book if there are podcasts made by people of color you highly recommend. I’m just saying.

It’s Just a Story

Life-is-about-creating-yourself

I am sitting in a rocking chair by a window in my bedroom with a light blanket over my legs and my laptop on my lap. On the window sill is my plant, a tall plant whose identity I still don’t know though I’ve had it for years, and a plastic cup I use to water it once a week. Also on my window sill is the book I’ve been reading for the past few days, “The Voice of Knowledge” by Miguel Ruiz.

I’ve just finished reading chapter Five, a chapter that has inspired me so much that I had to put it down in order to write about it. Chapter Five is called “The Storyteller.” Without going into a lot of detail about the entire chapter, I can say that there is one theme which stood out to me, that rang true to me in my own journey towards expressing myself authentically and it is that in order to change the story of that which is happening around you, you must first change the story of the main character, that character of course, being you.

“The only way to change your story is to change what you believe about yourself. If you clean up the lies you believe about yourself, the lies you believe about everybody else will change. Every time you change the main character of your story, the whole story changes to adapt to the main character.”

As someone who subscribes very heavily to the influence of literature and storytelling, (ie bookworm) this approach seems to check out on many levels.

My mother actually sent this book to my husband for Christmas over a month ago but I quickly began reading it before him because I was curious and familiar with Ruiz’ other works which I love. But more specifically, I have been having some painful run ins with outmoded stories I tell myself about myself in order to function “safely” in the world but which no longer apply and perhaps never did.

We all tell ourselves our own story and create our own realities for different needs but most of all is the need to connect with others and to identify and distinguish ourselves based on systems created for us long before we ever arrived.

Most of us create our worlds unconsciously moment to moment, accepting, absorbing, assimilating, in much the same way they we lapse into a dream, never really remembering where it all started. In Ruiz’ native Toltec culture it is believed that our lives are a dream as well and that the act of thinking is the way we go about creating our dream, our life. Because so much about what we believe about ourselves is a lie, we often find ourselves in situations that do not serve our true nature. But since we believe that these lies are truth, are reality, there isn’t much we can do change it.

My truth, my story, the song I play myself over and over on the daily goes a little bit like this:

I’m shy so I can’t_________

I’m flakey so I can’t__________

Something bad will happen if I say or do_________

I’m not business minded enough

I will never have enough money

I’ll never finish

I don’t have enough ______________

I’m too old for that

I can’t focus

I am not worthy of having the kind of experience I desire

I can’t admit that I don’t understand

I can’t have ____ until I have ______

If I don’t have these things by this age I’m a failure

If I don’t desire ______ then something is wrong with me

Or some variation of these. I’m sure one or two of these sound familiar to you. Are you comforted by these admissions? Do they make you feel connected? Relieved? Judgmental? Disappointed?

According to Ruiz, we all have the power to change our stories, to modify and shift them, by changing what we believe about ourselves. Now I’ve heard some version of this before but when you’re really up against creating change in deepest parts of yourself, those lies don’t always go down without a fight. I have felt that fight inside myself and it has manifested itself in many ways. Mini meltdowns, tears, laughter, rage, silence, but always there has been a resistance in my spirit to backing down or to sinking permanently into the deluded comfort of self defeat.

It’s weird.

I’m not even sure how to explain it but it has a lot to do with understanding what success and happiness mean for you. Not the story you’ve been told about it, by your family, your government, your friends, your television, your horoscope or the internet, but for you, the main character in the story of your life. How well do any of us really know what we want? We are not as well acquainted with ourselves as we would like to think. What we are well acquainted with are the stories we’ve been told since birth and never had a real hand in writing.

And let me be clear. I think all stories are beautiful. I would even go as far as saying that they are all necessary to some extent, otherwise why would they exist? But the fact is i’ve been holding on to a lot of stories about myself that just aren’t true. They’re not even mine!

I’ll give you a few guesses who they do belong to…

Men With Beards

It has become unequivocally obvious to me that I have a preference for men with beards. Now, those of you who know my husband won’t be surprised by this. He has a pretty major beard and is very deliberate about growing it in thick especially during the Winter. He calls it “Winter’s Beard.” It’s one of those things that makes me roll my eyes and laugh at the same time. I used to play with his beard a lot when we first met and he first started growing it in. Also my dad has had a beard most all of my life since I was a baby. I’ve seen pictures of him when he was young and clean shaven and he and my mom were just getting together. I like his face better with a beard. LOL!

The only reason I mention this is because I never really had any particular body type  or strict physical preference for men I was attracted to or went out with in past. I’ve gone out with tall men, short men, men of different races, older men, younger men (my husband is younger than me) skinny men, big men, etc. My preferences with regard to romantic interests have always been more personality oriented. A sense of humor, intelligence, open mind, love of music. I do like nice eyes though. Not necessarily eye shape or color but eyes with depth and soul, mischief, kindness, communicative eyes. I like men who who are able to communicate on many levels. This is not to say I don’t notice appearance. I’m a photographer. My dad is a photographer. But I think I’m generally open to people showing up as who they are as long as they bathe and are not pretentious. There have been other deal  breakers but once I was hooked by something in the personality, the rest if not relatively agreeable became fairly negotiable.

Mo' Beard Mo'Betta
Mo’ Beard Mo’Betta

But the beard thing is something I’ve noticed recently because when I see men with beards I like, I have an immediate reaction to them. I like them. A lot. It makes a huge difference. Now I do have some beard preferences. I like thick solid beards and five o’clock shadow, shadowy beards. That horrible spotty scruffy hobo beard that Matthew McConaughey was sporting at the Golden Globes Sunday night was a fail for me. It just made me want to feed him and put him in a shower. I’m also not into massively metro-sexual manicured beards either. Too much manicure takes away from the rawness of it, which is part of what I like.

As an air sign, this attraction to rawness in appearance which I associate with earthiness is new to me. But clearly it’s always been there. I must have played with my dad’s beard when I was a baby. We’ve always been very close and he only carried me around like a gazillion times when I was little. So I think my love of beards is somehow wrapped up, not only in an idea of manliness but also in wisdom, age and stability. I remember in high school the point at which most every young boy was wrestling with his follicles in order to tease out some hard earned looking facial hair. I always thought it was kind of silly then but amusing to watch. Like I said, in those days, facial hair never factored into my rules of attraction.

But lately I’ve noticed, both in film and television personalities and in my own personal choice of mate, that the beard is pretty special to me. I do know that I have always loved men with long hair and who let their hair grow. I was always heartbroken when a guy I was seeing had to go to the barber to get a “trim.” If he had long hair, it felt to me like he was shorn like a sheep and naked afterward. I think it’s because I subscribe to the Samson theory about long hair. Oh that was one of my favorite Bible stories as a girl. I couldn’t stand Delilah! And I couldn’t stand that Samson fell for her trifling shady behind. UGH!!! Yet another woman hating fable.

Anyway, fable or not, hair is very personal and every man grows his beard differently so maybe that’s also why I like it. It cannot help but tell the unique story of it’s owner. It’s one of those things that men claim as a of symbol of maturity, even if they aren’t actually mature. LOL! It feels primitive and ancient. You know? Like a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Whaaaat? Did I go and lose you?

LOL!!!

Female Gaze=Depth in Sia’s “Elastic Heart”

sia_video

Much speculation has been made since the video for Sia’s “Elastic Heart” was released last week about what goes down in the video using terms like half naked, violent, cage match and pedophilia. I’ve seen little expressed about the interpretation of this video as two warring internal forces as depicted by two incredibly well matched performers through the art of movement and drama.

I was elated to discover  when I came home the day I watched the video for the first and second time that my husband was just as compelled and captivated by the visceral and interpretive nature of the video, not to say the least of the sheer physical achievements of both Maddie and Shia.

We watched the video again several times and then had a long discussion over what we saw as a myriad of possibly intended meanings but what we ultimately understood to be a deliberate lack of easy answers particularly if looked at only as a literal translation of two people fighting in a cage.

My husband made me think about things I would never have thought to examine while watching the video, mainly because I looked at it from a very stereotypical female perspective ie, the female perspective by way of a patriarchal framework . I could only see a study of opposition which placed Maddie in a position of being trapped and wanting to escape. But I was very aware that Shia’s performance was one of deep, raw, fear, panic, loss, vulnerability and victimization as well, emotions that are traditionally relegated to a female performance because they are seen as weak. The choice to cast him was nothing if not deliberate and thoughtful. My husband made me understand that Shia’s character was just as abused, as scared and as lost than Maddie’s character could be conceived to be if not more.

The idea that this video has anything to do with pedophilia simply because it pits a twelve year old girl physically against an adult man was shed for me within minutes of what I comprehended as two beings equally matched in physical power who were battling against larger, more symbolic forces of pain, addiction, abuse, fear and liberation from imposed victimhood. This is far beyond the pornographic images cranked out by the White male gaze we are so accustomed to viewing the world through.  When White men speak power, a woman or person of color is always in chains of some shape or form. The cage is never interrogated, studied or interpreted. It simply functions to keep pacification, marginalization, perversion and self-hate cultivated and prosperous. And that is not this video does.

But I can understand how we as a society, which is not accustomed to seeing life through a female gaze might find itself despondent and shocked when being confronted with one in much the same way that a nation can be despondent and shocked at seeing a Black man elected to Presidential Office.

What did James Baldwin say in “The Fire Next Time” about what happens when dominant oppressive culture reacts to those who have been enslaved and subverted for decades, breaking free from their chains? He said that to those who benefited from the placing and maintenance of those chains it would appear  upon waking in the morning that the night stars were shining in the blue sky.

Or as Leonard Cohen in “The Future” Things are gonna slide, slide in all directions, won’t be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore…”

When women speak power, it is a very different thing than that which we are daily fed by a dominant patriarchal system. Out power is not in dominance but in vulnerability and allowing access. “Elastic Heart” takes to task ideas which speak to what happens when one part of the self tries to liberate itself from another and how much of that self identifies with something which no longer serves it although it experiences the heartbreaking pain of loss when it attempts to separate.

Patriarchy could give a fuck about these ideas.

The use of dance as a form with which to represent these two embattled parts of Sia and humanity as a whole to be honest, are both personal and universally human at the same time. We sometimes have the tendency to want certain artistic expressions to be very literal, to reveal themselves and their purpose or narrative based on reflections of our own inner projections and collections of specific past experiences.  And while I am certain that there are specific experiences in Sia’s life that this song and video are inspired by, I don’t believe that she is depicting any one particular experience. I think it is vague because she seeks connect with a broad meaning of the struggle she attempts to depict and not just her own.

For me, the cage is an obvious metaphor but in addition to that, there is much that occurs in the relationship between these two performers that can be interpreted narratively in many ways. But the assumption that this is just about a small girl being overpowered by an adult man is just a way to provoke and challenge viewers to go deeper.

With regard to the metaphor of bird cages, particularly around the construct of what it means to be undervalued, abused and marginalized in a world dominated by fear, I was moved to revisit the poem “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou. For me, Shia’s behavior best illustrates the caged bird syndrome, someone who wants to get out, but who is also become a victim of a comfort dangerously associated with reward based on pacification and subservience. And Maddie is the part of the bird that wants to fly free and leave the cage. When she leaves, Shia dies and she attempts to do what cannot be done, which is to drag him out into a perceived freedom beyond the bars.  But freedom from any cage cannot bring along any elements of the caged mindset. By law, the two simple cannot co-exist, because one of them is not real. Or rather neither of them is any longer real to the other once they separate.

Reading the Code

Meet the buttermilk
The new buttermilk

When I was taking film classes at Baruch towards my degree in Media and Social Issues,  I was very conscious (often self-conscious) as a woman of color that I could not look at the history of film and television in the same way as say, a white male film student.  I also felt compelled to be as vigilant with my own classmates of color about the myriad ways in which great popular films and television meant to tell a broad story of humanity often doesn’t serve us, even when we are “included.”

Remember that scene in the Matrix when Neo walks in on Cypher while he’s keeping watch on the ship and asks him about looking at the code in its unencrypted form? Joey says something to the effect that like anyone else, he used to look at it and see what most human viewers would see, green lines running vertically up and down a black computer screen. “But now I just see blonde, brunette, redhead…” In essence, after being trained, he knows what the code represents. He knows that the code is written to replicate the illusion of reality which is accepted as the only reality that exists for all the humans who are still plugged in. And as we learn later, he’s already made a deal with agents to have himself plugged back in.

Sit with that for a moment.

It’s not necessary to have a background in film and or media to understand the underwritten code that runs like a current through just about every form of media we consume. And as a person of color and a woman of color no less, my fascination with film and television is based not only from what I have gleaned from an early age from being “plugged in” but even more from what I have discovered and still uncover constantly from the study of intersections of race class and gender politics in film and the ways in which studios, networks, and writers collaborate and clash to produce narratives and pieces of propaganda that feed our minds subliminally and overtly with ideas that have been implemented from the dawn of the age of film, formulas, gender construction, codified mise en scene. We’ve come very far with the transformation and reinterpretation of some ancient narrative devices. And I  am not necessarily an enemy of what’s old, because in art as in life, there are some things that always work. The wheel only got invented once and that’s all that was needed.  The ideas that are derived from foundational discoveries are endless.

However.

There are the foundational ideas in film and television and there are the politics of racism, sexism, homophobia and power embedded in the censored approach to storytelling that has become the mainstay of American Cinema and television.

So for instance when I’m lying in bed watching the trailers app on my iphone which is something I do religiously, and I see the trailer for a film like “Interstellar” which is sold as this modern day space frontier film with the power of love at its core, I also see what is just beneath that, White space cowboy hero, token black guy, token female fly off into space to repopulate another planet because the Earth is dying.

When I watch the trailer for “Black or White” (aw jeezus) which is being sold as a color blind commentary on a cross racial family divide with of course, love (because it conquers all) at its core, I see White, not “Black or White.” And I see Costner as a yet another tool, a representation of rugged white American male ideal with a little Black girl on his lap.

Hey!

I love Costner. He’s the spoonful of sugar that’s supposed to make the Kool Aid go down without you realizing it’s just more acid. But I’ve been on that trip before. I don’t need to spend my money on that.

Last night I watched the first episode of “Empire,” a show that I had been anticipating only with the energy of someone excited to see people of color on a television show in such large numbers. But best believe my critical mind took in the code of predominantly light skinned black who make up the majority of the cast and what they means about what networks will accept as representations of people of color on television that can occupy spaces of power. That was kind of a hard one for me to miss. Did you watch it? Did you notice who comes begging for money? Did you notice who gets killed first? Do you remember who asks the oldest son not to forget him on his way up the ladder of success?

The sets are bombastic, hyperbolic and over the top. Did you catch the two large ass Kehinde Wiley paintings? Loved them!

“Empire” is a stallion that busts out of the gate charging forward with seemingly reckless abandon. Yes, I just wrote a promotional blurb for “Empire.” But beyond that, I see some of the same destructive elements of broken black family culture that have been the running theme of many successful reality television shows which revolve around so-called “Black life.” Taraji as the ruthless bitch who stops at nothing to win back her stake on a company she bankrolled, Terence as the ever resplendent male Mulatto who builds and Empire but is destined for tragedy. And the darker skinned bit players who scrabble for scraps near the bottom rung while brushing off the shadows of subordination by their lighter, more privileged superiors.

At least that’s the formula and code I’ve become accustomed to seeing. I’ll watch it few more times and see if it heads in a “surprisingly unexpected” direction because that’s what I long for. And let me be clear about what I mean when I say surprisingly different. I want a dark skinned Black hero, preferably a woman with a decidedly mysterious but grandiose and royally descended past, to pop up, seemingly out of nowhere, unite everyone divided by power and commerce to fight the real enemy.

Okay wait, did I just write a pitch for my own original television show idea?

Hm…

Sunday Morning in Bed with Two Geminis

kanyepaul

“I know you’re happy, cause I can see it

So tell the voice inside your head to believe it.”

Yesterday, one of my friends posted the story about Kanye fans not knowing who Kanye West is. I didn’t bother to read it but I thought my friends’ own written byline, “This is why we can’t have nice things.” Was hilarious.

This morning I discovered by chance that the story was the result of a song the two recently collaborated on together. I went to my itunes app just to see what was new and saw a photo of Kanye and McCartney representing a new single, “Only One.” I had a happy flip out, listened to a sample and then bought it.

I knew nothing about the song but I knew it was sung from the spirit of his mother the minute he began to sing. She is his heart. Tears came to my eyes as I listened and felt every word coming from a divine place. Later on, reading that his daughter was sitting on his lap when the words came to him was just the most incredible way to start off a rainy Sunday in a new apartment I could think of. Especially after talking with my own mother, an incredible woman I love, for hours last night.

So much about this collaboration is huge. The generosity of a music giant to fall back and support this Black Genius while he channels the spirit if his beloved mother while his beloved baby daughter sits on his lap. It’s just…beyond. The amount of trust that requires is just so deeply moving to me, so fragile and strong at the same time. Okay, I’m getting emotional again. Like I’m just overwhelmed with feelings I cannot put into words here which means that I might have to get a bit abstract and write a poem about it over on eternalista.

This is what I love about music! Its ability to mend, to build, to bring together, to heal and to channel the divine is just…hope giving. It’s magical, spiritual, miraculous and political all at once!

Geminis like to have their fingers in a lot of pots at the same time. As a typical Gemini sun, Gemini rising, I know this first hand. Sometimes it wears us thin and fizzles out, and sometimes it produces something unforgettable. But I’m starting to learn that what’s important is focusing on the process living a creative life, if you so choose and not the outcome. Dedication to the process ensures the outcome will always be what it should. Success has a multitude of faces.

Kanye and his mother are still together, still collaborating all the time. He’s always felt this. I feel it as well. Kanye’s fearless sharing through art is always an inspiration.

Heavenly Creature

I took me a few days to get through Maron’s WTF podcast interview with Melanie Lynskey for a couple of reasons.

  1. I really like her a lot as an actress (Heavenly Creatures” is one of my all time favorite films) and apparently she is very shy and meek with a super quiet voice who has and does struggles with several disorders causing Marc who loves her as well to really apply some tough love to bring her out of herself. In this case it got a bit raw and shaky at times but they were both very smart and respectful of one another so it seems they still liked and deeply respected one another by the end.
  2. I’m an accent junky, so I got really wrapped up in listening to Lynskey’s New Zealand accent. I just….I love accents, twangs and distinctive voices in general. The one time I was in England years ago I remember meeting my cousin there for the first time and not really understanding everything he said because of his thick cockney accent. Oh, God, how often as a girl did I do my own version of the cockney accent after watching “Upstairs Downstairs” on PBS with my mom? And now here was my own cousin just wafting his thick cockney over me unaware that I just never wanted it to stop, that although I nodded in comprehension, most of it was just me prompting him to keep talking. LOL!!

So I had to listen to some parts of this interview several times so that I followed it all the way through. Because it gets a bit harrowing, at least for me when Melanie starts talking about her struggles with an eating disorder as a girl and Marc gently shares his own struggle with body and food shame with her.

The part I just loved is when she talks about stopping her obsession with thinking about food and just decided to let herself enjoy eating. Believe it or not, this all starts with Melanie bringing Marc a gift of cookies at the beginning of the interview. The thread of food and body shame runs pretty heavily throughout their exchange. She shares a moment where she looks at her body one day and actually finds herself enjoying it for the first time and thinking how lovely and sexy her roundness was. “What’s wrong with that?” she said. Of course the answer is nothing and I’m smiling and nodding affirmatively at this point.

Many of us who know of Melanie, know her from Peter Jackson’s “Heavenly Creatures” a dark film based on the true story of two severely emotionally dysfunctional high school girls in New Zealand who successfully plot the brutal murder of the mother of the girl played by Lynskey. They do get caught. Yes, I know it sounds awful if you’ve never seen it but it’s really a very nuanced, funny and beautifully directed and performed study of the interior of female adolescence gone just terribly wrong. Lynskey’s pasty, miserable, dour portrayal played across from a young Kate Winslet’s hysterical, fantastical glamour is brilliant.

I saw nothing from Lynskey for years until one day last year I saw her appearance on a few episodes of “Two and a Half Men” which I never watch. But I wasn’t sure it was her because she had a flawless American accent. She was taller, slimmed down and on an American comedy. I was confused. Where had she been?

After hearing this interview it’s become obvious that she may not have believed she really deserved to be working as much as many of us wished she had been. Her self-esteem just seems so precarious and I guess it reminded me of what a lot of women in general struggle with in regards to what they feel they deserve, despite a significant amount of well deserved praise, acclaim and accomplishment.

Now I’m not going to sit here and say, what’s up with that, although I could hear the words in my head several times while listening to the interview. I know why. But it’s funny when you’re listening to a woman you admire, sharing very intimately, the nature of her struggle to see herself at all, let alone see herself the way the gaze of celebrity and fame do. In fact the latter would have greater potential to destroy by degrees without the other.

One of Lynskeys greatest triumphs was just to see herself and her body through her own eyes and to enjoy food! I can relate to that struggle. I can also relate to the fact that there’s really no point at which as women we’re not always working through it, and that accepting that is okay as long as we’ve made the decision that self-hate in it’s various forms does not work for anyone.

There were also discussions between Marc and Melanie about the roles in which both their mothers informed their body and food shame issues which were of course integral to breaking this cycle without making them feel guilty or like they were throwing their mothers under a bus. I know from experience how important this is. As someone who was raised vegan, I have only recently come to understand that in a deceptively indirect way the message that slimness and skinniness is healthy, is also the message that the opposite of that is bad, is automatically equated with shame, unattractiveness, lack of value and beauty. It’s a message I received in my life in formative stages and a way that I looked at the world without being conscious of it for a long time.

Lynskey, in expressing her revelations about seeing herself also said that she likes the differences in the way people’s’ bodies look and immediately cops to freaking out when she watches Awards shows and seeing how skinny everyone looks, feeling like maybe she should look that way as well. Naturally! I would imagine that any woman in the industry who doesn’t look like a stick is always doing the comparison game when looking at red carpet shows. We all do it. But I too have always loved differences and the uniqueness and distinction that people bring to the table by embracing not who they feel they should be or how they should look but who they were born to be. Like so much we know intellectually, that is so much easier said than done, I know, but ultimately, there is beauty in the struggle towards it. At least I think there is.