I am writing this to the goddesses (also known as women) in my life and to those I haven't met yet and to the gentlemen who sometimes need to be reminded that women are also known as goddesses. I want to reach out to women who are gripped with self-doubt and stuck in a rut of constant worry and taking care of others while ignoring themselves.
I'd like to start by the following paragraph woven into a quirky throw sold by Femail Creations (one of my favorite catalogues by women for women). Ladies, print this out in a poster format and hang it on the wall. Read it whenever you are having thoughts like, "I am not good enough for..." or "God, this makes me look fat..." or "I look like shit this morning." Here goes...
"Being a Succulent Wild Woman. Be delicious, eat mangos naked, lick the juice off your arms. Discover your own goodness. Smile when you feel like it. Be rare, eccentric and original. Describe yourself as marvelous. Paint your soul. Investigate your dark places with a flashlight. Make more mistakes. Tell the truth faster. Celebrate your gorgeous friendships with women. You are enough, you have enough, you do enough."
My dear goddesses, there is nothing wrong with self-improvement and wanting to be better, smarter, prettier, etc. But I know that all of you are plenty intelligent enough to realize that the standard of goodness, cleverness and beauty fed to us by today's popular culture (and, sadly, sometimes all too readily eaten up by us and our gentlemen) is preposterous. Why do we all have to look like super-models? And why would we want to?
I've read a legend once about women who died while defending their tribe. To honor them, the shaman of the tribe asked the gods to turn the women's souls into flowers - orchids. And when the orchids blossomed, they were all different - just like the women, whose souls they embodied. DIFFERENT! Not 5' 10", 105 pounds size 2 with an IQ of 160, three PhD's and a wardrobe consisting exclusively of Versace and Chanel. Give me a break!
My other favorite power read is the two What Not to Wear books by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine - the gals who host the British version of the show of the same title. Those books are NOT your standard fashion advice - in fact, there are some fashion choices in there that I could never possibly make myself wear. However... Well, just listen to this (this is from What Not to Wear 1 introduction),
"Our figures are tall and, in Trinny's case, thin, but any semblance of 'nice bod' boils down to clever disguise. Trinny has always been passionate about clothes, devouring glossy mags from a tender age, but it took a good two decades to rid her of her theatrical passion fo filching the look of the latest pop group. In the 80's, she owed a great deal to Spandau Ballet for her girl-meets-gay-boy, pin-stripe suiting, whilst it was Bucks Fizz that paved the way for a fluffed and frosted barnet that was often capped by a jaunty trilby. Big earrings went with the big hair, both of which were set off by an orange skin tone courtesy of No. 7 fake tan and pearly pink lipstick. This sounds vile and indeed it was, but her figure was always spoken of in the revered tones reserved for the extraordinary. The truth as you will see is very different. Trinny is thin, but thin with very short legs, no tits and a disproportionately large and succulent bum. But because she has learnt to disguise these defects all the onlooker sees are endlessly long limbs and a sculpted arse, and because she dresses so well for her shape you don't even notice she's as flat as a prairie.
"First impressions of Susannah many not be as favourable as Trinny, but some could think ooh... sexy, curvy figure. What a joke. Behind the neat waisted jackets and three-quarter-length sleeves lies a body that is out of control and, after two kids, stretched beyond redemption. Her stomach needs stapling, her underarms hang as dramatically as the Gardens of Babylon and her tits are way too large for human handling. Nevertheless, she has been educated well in the art of camouflage..."
Because both these gals are tall, some of their advice doesn't apply to me (at my whopping 5 feet). However, some of it works, and in any case both books were well worth the money just for the empowerment factor. I own every single one of What Not to Wear books and I read them regularly - especially when I start feeling like nothing more than a housework machine or a corporate number-crunching dweeb.
Now that we have discussed the outward standards, let us talk of other things. Look around you carefully, guys. No, don't turn away like you've seen it all - LOOK! Look at these amazing women! They don't look like Cindy Crawford, they don't have Jessica Simpson's legs and teeth, Angelina Jolie's hair or Scarlett Johanssen's boobs. But they ARE amazing. They are intelligent, they are talented, they are well-spoken, they are multi-faceted. A young mom, an artist, an actress, a bi-lingual thrill-seeker, a tiny martial artist - that's my pantheon, and Hera and Aphrodite can eat their hearts out. My mom is in there too - not because she was perfect (she had her own issues) but because despite her issues and imperfections she was an amazing unique person who was in love with life, people and beautiful things.
Please, my dear goddesses, please never forget who you are. You are all amazing, you are tough, you can swim across any ocean and fly over any mountain range. I believe that about you because you yourself have told me about the incredible things you have already accomplished.
And you, gentlemen, don't go looking for Helen of Troy, or Cleopatra - they are right here beside you, all you need to do is take a moment to stop, notice, fall madly in love and stay that way. Give it a shot - you'd be amazed how well it works!