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Yes to Nose & no to plastic surgery

Recently I read a blog post in which the author openly described the process of her considering plastic surgery on her nose so to improve her looks. My reaction? A blog post-worthy comment. I was so inspired because I have had my own troubles relating to my nose and to other parts of my body. This post is a further exploration of my thoughts and feelings.

I cheer for everyone who chose to not use plastic surgery but to accept themselves as they are instead. Or to at least aim to learn to accept themselves. Getting to self-acceptance takes a lot of practice, I acknowledge that.

I cheer for this because the positive effects of plastic surgery are so little. I would almost say that they are insignificant to the unwanted side-effects. The only positive thing about it is the change in looks, really. The other effects include: physical stress or damage, financial costs, negative side-effects that are associated to making the surgery happen (e.g. carbon emissions, involved money flows). Then there’s the psychological effects of the change in looks. Let’s explore how positive these are.

The desire to look differently than you do, is a symptom of the notion that you are not good enough as you are. It is a symptom of our culture in which especially women are being cultivated to be in constant competition with each other. It is a symptom of a culture in which women are taught that their looks are their most important asset and that these looks are never good enough.

How I see it, by physically altering your body through plastic surgery only for your looks, you reinforce these un-truths of our culture, and you thereby maintain the need for others to have surgery too. And you maintain this need as perceived by yourself.

We tend to think that something is wrong with us and we look for a quick fix.

There is no quick fix. We can alter our bodies all we want, figuratively speaking, but it won’t fix us. It won’t make us happy. The only thing it does is allow for a shift in our focus: is the nose fixed? What about the other parts that aren’t good enough?

Here is my story:

I used to have trouble accepting my nose as it is. I perceived a responsibility to look a certain way and my nose looked different. I felt responsible for my nose looking different. I expected others to hold me responsible for it, as if I had chosen it and I had chosen wrongly. I felt like apologizing for it, like telling others that I agreed with them and did not like my nose either. As if liking my nose would mean that I had bad taste. I was pressured by our cultural idea of beauty to dislike my nose.

Now I find these experiences very shocking. It makes me feel so much love and compassion towards myself and my nose. Clearly my nose was underappreciated all along. My nose functions perfectly and I am so thankful for that. I do not have to apologize in any way for my physical looks. People can look at me and think all they want, but I am not apologizing. I love my body.

I like how our bodies have different looks. I like how this has a great social function, because how are we going to tell each other apart if we all look the same? I believe that we have such differently looking faces because this helps us and I love it. People may recognize me by my distinct facial features. Also, I love observing people, especially faces, and seeing what makes them themselves. It is one of my favorite hobbies actually. Our different looks are expressions of our different personalities and qualities. I love how each of our bodies is amazing in itself.

Our diversity shows us the way to acceptance of all there is. If we are triggered by something we see, this trigger is an invitation for us to learn to appreciate it for what it is or can be. If we judge a certain nose as ugly, which is the example in this post, this is an invitation for us to learn to appreciate this nose and with that all other noses. It goes even further. If we can learn to appreciate one nose we did not like before, this means we can also learn to appreciate other things we do not like. It can be a gateway to a more loving life.

As mentioned before, using the ‘quick fix’ of changing the physical part of yourself that you do not like to ‘more accepted features’, actually strengthens the thought patterns that make you dislike parts of yourself and others. Read More

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Female Power Friday #03

Evolution! From this edition onward this rubric is about female power instead of female empowerment. This (Dutch) One World article explains that the word ’empowerment’ implies that the person ‘to be empowered’ does not already have power (of their own). I am not sure to which extent the use of this word is problematic, however, I do think female power sounds more powerful than its predecessor because it is more active. So there: a change in name.

I am not fond of the news, so I only just heard that Alicia Keys stopped wearing make up over two years ago. That is amazing! The more people dare to show their natural faces, the more people will dare to join them. #nomakeup

I personally stopped wearing make up over six years ago, but of course I’m not famous. I have to say that these days I feel uncertain about whether the norm is to wear make up during job interviews. Therefore I consider using mascara to be less insecure about it, which occurs to me as ridiculous. Besides, I like my face better without.

Check out the artworks of visionary artist Helena Arturaleza Scholman. My partner just birthday-gifted me a print of one of her artworks, one that was painted on a festival we were together. ❤ Helena’s artworks are amazing – super inspiring on such a deep level. I cannot describe it, you have to see it for yourself. I do see in them an expression of female power, and of the greatness of humans and the universe. (She even sells Yoniverse stickers! She’s my hero.)

Recently, I got two body-positive clothing and accessory items at Monki that make me happy and that I’d like to share. Check out the amazing Body rights tote bag and Periods are cool briefs! They’re from the campaigns Monki × RFSU and Monki × Lunette × The Cup. I love ’em! And I like that Monki is promoting body positivity in some way. Monki scores a C on sustainability, according to Rank a Brand. The slogan that goes with Body rights is: You have the right to own your body. The items I got are made from organic cotton, which makes them better than the Monki average.

 

 

Speaking of which, I recently found this period-positive tee in a dressing room. It reads ‘menstrual cycle’ in Dutch! The owner was not present – she was bouldering – so I stole this picture. I love how it’s very neatly done and in pink.

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Do you show off female power or period-positivism through your clothing or tote bags?

Know your value

Dear lovers, I likely need to restructure my work (here) so to make it more accessible and more valuable. I will update you as soon as I know more about how it will happen. 💓 Now I will share something I wrote half a year ago about knowing your value. Since then, I have come to value myself a lot more.

I get so caught up in world problems and in feeling responsible for things, including the feelings of people around me, that I forget to just be.

I still have this negative belief that I am not good enough or not worthy of love. This belief tells me that I have to meet all kinds of requirements to earn respect and love. Conditional love this is.

I also hold the belief that I am ugly. I feel ashamed for having this belief. I feel torn between loving myself and my body and being humble. I long for looks to not matter and for not judging people or bodies based on their looks. On the other hand I wish to appreciate beauty, all beauty of the world. Human bodies are beautiful, just like other forms of nature are beautiful.

I need to come to terms with my value. My value is not determined by these thousand possible requirements or by my appearance. I do need to regard myself as valuable. My value is within, in my being.

I am not more valuable than others, but I am experiencing this world through me. Therefore, to me I am the most valuable. My world, inner and outer, are most valuable and they need to be treated as such.

My body is my vessel. It is so wonderful and useful to me, allowing me to sense, to move, to experience everything so intensely. I am thankful for my body.

It is so diminishing to judge a body or a person merely for its physical looks, based on our limited perception of beauty as is part of our culture. And even though I manage to not harshly judge others, it’s most difficult to stop judging myself. This is a process that can take many lifetimes to complete. And that is okay.

I have read The Woman Code by Sophia A. Nelson, and Code 1 is to Know your value. This code forms the base of all other codes described in the book. It is so true. Your whole way of being is based upon how you value yourself. All your beliefs are based on how you value yourself and how you relate yourself to your surroundings.

Choose to be aware of your belief systems and choose to value yourself. Value yourself as you are worth.

Female Empowerment Friday #02

Look who’s back?! This rubric is fun and needed. Noteworthy is that it came to me as Feminist Friday, but I figured that the word feminism scares some people off. So using that word would require a little disclaimer – which I ended up adding to Edition #01 anyway, but without the -ism. I write and speak many disclaimers, really. ‘This is what I do and this is why.’ Interesting.

So: Female Empowerment Friday for listed noteworthy infos about fully being female! ♥

Where do you get regular female empowering updates? One awesome source I know is the Thinx newsletter. Thinx provides you with period proof underwear, but their mailings are as noteworthy! They’re actually lined up on their blog page, which does not clog your inbox and is easier to browse. Head over there for mostly short and to the point (read: easy to read), generally quite informative pieces about everything related to being a women! This includes medical information about sexual organs and hormones, anticonception, thought pieces about all kinds of stuff, and many many puns. I find their posts very honest and disarming. We need more pieces like this – and places where to find them.

I have lived with many women and talked about menstruation many times and I never encountered fully syncing cycles with them. Have you? Thinx, from the period panties and newsletter that’s right, declares that this menstruation syncing up that is commonly accepted as true is a myth. I think this is important – I want to know my cycle and how it works. Very importantly, I want to add that for at least some women syncing up with the moon is true. I can certainly know because I am one of these women. I used to have my period with new moon, then it shifted to full moon when I had a copper IUD*, it shifted away to waxing/first quarter moon after the IUD came out, and just this period it shifted back to new moon! I have friends with similar experiences, so it’s not just me (it never is). So maybe you and your sisters aren’t syncing up with each other, but with the moon! (Which happens to have the same cycle to anyone. You know.)

The Heart is an amazingly well-crafted podcast about ‘love, life, bodies and feelings’. I would say it is mostly special because of its openness, in general but mostly specific about sex and related issues (involving love, life, bodies and feelings). The Heart was hosted by Kaitlin Prest, broadcast through Radiotopia and situated in Brooklyn. It is no longer in production, but you can still listen to the episodes through the Radiotopia website and the Soundcloud page. I highly recommend it since I highly enjoyed them!

Extra for Dutch peepz: Harlot is a news platform, as part of larger news platform One World, dedicated to informing about sexual freemdom in the Netherlands and elsewhere. They give a ‘multi-layered’ perspective and are a medium through which young activists can tell their story without being disrespected, which often occurs in other media. They address very important issues and indeed show perspectives that are generally often overshadowed by more common viewpoints. They also share fun but important stuff, like sex-addressing podcasts among which The Heart.

* With the copper IUD I used to have a period that started with a few days of spotting before the big wave came. My first day of blood loss wasn’t always with full moon, but my heaviest day was. It occurred that my first day of blood shifted forward in time compared to the moon cycle, but my heaviest day remained to be with full moon. Interesting right?!

Belated but beloved foods (and harvest!)

It’s amazing how sometimes I draft a blog post and then completely forget about it! Later I find it and get surprised by how nice it is. This juicy food-picture line-up here even dates back to last February! It includes dishes that were consumed with Christmas ’17, can you believe it?! Crazy stuff.

This is now even my first food-related post of the year. Except for veggies growing on plants and freshly harvested, which I treat as nature-related posts. 🙂 Things are changing! (Have I completed my mission of spreading vegan food inspiration? Is that it?)

As I’ve witnessed in my garden, this year’s delivery of pumpkins and bell peppers is coming in so I can happily post this now and tell myself I am a conscious blogger.

Speaking of my garden: I’ll add a picture of our latest harvest! And as you can see from that one, my priorities also slightly shifted away from taking good-quality pictures with my actual camera. Also, my Photohop moved to a farm. So pictures can be blurry and pale. But you get the picture!

flax-crackers

super easy flax seed crackers

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Stories of clothes and ourselves – a wardrobe update

Earlier I shared with you my enthusiasm for the capsule wardrobe: a simplistic method that, when applied correctly, would free you from all wardrobe misery. I set out to play with it, and I already wrote some thoughts about my experiences. Here are a few more of those thoughts & experiences.

A few months ago I had a short period of visiting webshops to browse through pictures of clothing, searching for items I’d consider buying. I then would consider buying them for a bit, to undecidedly leave the matter for later. I repeated this process several time, for fun. Browsing for clothes is kinda fun. You get to create these stories in your head about them and about yourself. But then apparently my attention shifted away towards other activities. I went on doing other stuff and forgot the whole clothing browse. But where did the stories go? Did they stay or leave?

The reason I am writing this out is that it’s a classic story. We want to do something to make us feel happier and we think that looking for clothes, or any other items, and buying the nicest ones does just that. Here, in my example, I liked the activity! But I also love how in the end I just turned away, having enjoyed the ride, without buying. Without buying into some fantasy in which new pretty clothes actually make you happier, or whatever version of the fantasy speaks to you most.

For honesty and amusement’s sake I have to add that earlier this year I did fell for a huge sale on ethically-made clothes and I bought stuff that I hardly wear. I am not sure if I will wear the 30 wears and follow the #30wears rule in the end – yes, that’s a thing. But I learnt from it, at least some. I aim to not repeat that thing any time soon!

I will spare you the deets of my wardrobe contemplations, but I do like to share some things. Generally, I still dislike giving (old, little loved) clothes away so I keep most of my items and plan to wear ‘em out, I still hardly buy stuff, I did receive some items as presents, so my wardrobe is pretty full and not in capsule-mode. I am reliving old items and trying plenty of new combinations, which is great.

I never committed fully to the capsule wardrobe. I don’t want to force myself into buying clothes in a certain week of time. I prefer to do it when I feel like it, which isn’t too often anyways. (Fun fact: serious capsule-wardrobers were prepping their summer capsules two weeks ago and are rocking them right now.)

However, since I know of the capsule wardrobe, I am observing more structurally which clothing items I would like to have someday; I am collecting these preferences somewhere in my brain for future reference. This is how it’s supposed to be in Capsule Wardrobe Land. Personally, I love how I do not feel as if I need the items I am picturing in the near future. I am fine with waiting a few years – or until someone hires me and gets me a pay check. I’ve been doing without these specific items for 25 years and I’m quite fine. So I surely don’t need them now all of a sudden, because I have seen them somewhere. There’s no need to stress about it.

As it is, enough things are more important to stress about. Like: how do I get someone to hire me and actually write me a pay check?! I’m graduating soonish and I am growing nervous for having to do job interviews. At least I got some new ethically-made shirts to wear! They may be too formal for me to wear casually but they sure are suitable for job interviews.

That’s it for me now.

I love having you around.

Mulching on a Dream: garden harvest mid-June

Oogst 21 juni

In the midst of my interning episode, I make a point of contributing to the garden and of enjoying how lovely and peaceful it all it. Back in May, I did get stung by bees twice in two weeks, which is ridiculous and not at all peaceful. I had bad luck being close to aggressive bee hives two times. I found the experience of being attacked like that pretty horrifying! As was the resulting swollen upper lip. Ouch. It took me some time and unnecessary panicking before I could trust bees again, but I think I managed!

Now I’m just showing off this beautiful bunch of plant materials. The flowers on top are being dried. The rhubarb went down as a pie. The kohlrabi – yes, the purple two! – are not supposed to crack in the middle. Today the Courgette Counter proudly reads 19. 🙂

No non-garden updates today. Enjoy the picture and as much as you can!

Female Empowerment Friday

I am very passionate about female empowerment. I want all humans to be empowered, and I think that equality both contributes to that and comes as a result of it: empowerment brings equality and equality brings empowerment, ultimately. Because of the many gender-related issues I experience, I cheer of joy every time I find anything that contributes to overcoming these issues. To share the joy, today I list three amazing artists and their art pieces that surely empower women. ♥

Emerging filmmaker Helen Plumb made a wonderful short film about female body hair, in which poet Anam Cara is considering whether or not she should embrace her body hair in public. I find this topic very relevant, since I also experience this tension between my and other females’ natural hairy state and the ‘beauty ideal’ of shaved legs. I love everything about this video: Anam is so real and authentic and I experience much intimacy. Watch the short film here on The Barbican Centre and read the short interview with Helen.

Barcelona-based artist and self-called artivist Zinteta makes incredible, colourful art featuring women’s bodies, specifically portraying what is usually not shown. This art consists mostly of illustrations and body-painted women (captured in pictures). I find that her art celebrates women in all of their being and seeing it makes me really happy. Check out Zinteta’s Intragram page here.

Songwriter Marya Stark just released her newest album Lineage. Marya is not only a songwriter, but a mentor in the art of voice and archetypal embodiment. I absolutely love her beautiful voice and the lyrics she sings. I am also still not over her previous work in collaboration with Carmen Crow: the album RemembranceListen to Lineage and find Marya’s other work here.

Got something to add? Do it!