Monday, April 23, 2012

Announcement: 20/20 Segment "On Hold" ...

Happy Monday!

For those of you you have set your TiVo to record 20/20 this Friday, hold your horses!  I've learned that the 20/20 segment featuring my project is "on hold" for a while longer, while the producers finalize the other segments that can be paired with mine, thematically.  (Yes, this means that I will not be the focus of an entire hour-long 20/20 show!  Whew!)

Now don't go on and get disappointed or sad on my behalf... I've been delayed, not dumped!  Further, I'm frankly a little relieved because I'm only just getting used to seeing myself in mirrors - the idea of watching myself on TV felt like too much, too soon.  Sometimes things fall into place exactly the way they're supposed to.

I'll post an update ASAP once I have news of the new air-date.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Taking a break from blogging was delicious, but I'm back now, ready to discuss "The Future of This Blog"....

Greetings everyone!  I hope this post finds you well in both spirit and body.  I'm feeling fantastic, and decided to finally pick up a pen - ahem - my laptop, and let some words flow.

I've been a bad blogger, I know.  I've been curiously absent from the great w.w.w. over the past few weeks, and with no warning.  To be honest, I didn't realize I needed a break from blogging until I abruptly lost the motivation to do so.  I didn't blog.  I didn't tweet.  Even Facebook felt overwhelming (though I couldn't resist updating my status to support Ashley Judd's amazing response to media nastiness!).  So I checked out for a while.  And you know what? It felt great.

Don't get me wrong... writing this blog over the past year has helped me feel incredibly, blissfully, and gratefully connected to a larger community.  I've felt inspired, motivated, and supported.  I've made new friends, and found new ways to laugh at myself and our crazy world.  On more than one occasion, blogging has helped me feel outrageously empowered, bold, and sometimes even witty.

But in the weeks after my "big reveal," I suddenly, urgently, needed to cocoon myself into a smaller world for a bit.  In this smaller world, my husband, family, and closest friends were once again privy to news about my life and emotions before anyone else.  I re-connected with my reflection without concern for how I would explain myself to a broad audience (or anyone, for that matter!).  I returned to Los Angeles on Mondays to begin teaching my favorite seminar at UCLA, and reconnected with my academic work and community.

I was surprised - and initially worried - by how blissfully "normal" and calm that I felt during this time.  Had my no-mirrors project really been so stressful?  What did it say about the success of my experience if I didn't feel like thinking about it - much less writing about it?  Why didn't I miss blogging?

After two weeks "off" I had a change of heart.  After time away, I feel rejuvenated, and ready to share.  Importantly, I have answers to the questions I'd been asking myself.  First, the no-mirrors project wasn't, itself, stressful, but finding myself at the center of attention (in the midst of an anti-vanity project!) was very stressful.  In particular, being interviewed by the folks at ABC's 20/20 was exciting and flattering, but overwhelmingly draining, both emotionally and physically (I had cameras following me around on 5 separate days, while I tried to "act natural"!).  Finally, planning for my "first look" was stressful and time-consuming, even though the first look, itself, went really well.

As for the overall success of my no-mirrors project, I realized that my willingness to constantly blog/tweet/post is ultimately unrelated to my stated goals.  Rather, I've asked myself whether or not I've been (1) feeling more positively about my body, (2) spending less time and energy obsessing about my looks, and (3) situating my "body esteem" as only one portion of my overall "self esteem".  These are my criteria for success, and (happily) I've met them!  Indeed, the fact that I haven't felt like over-analyzing my body image is strong evidence of success; my other interests and responsibilities have felt more enticing and fun than navel-gazing (both literal and figurative!). This feels healthy!  As for not missing blogging... it turns out that the feeling was temporary. I'm psyched to reconnect.

Speaking of reconnecting, several of you have emailed me, or written comments, asking whether I'll continue to maintain this blog.  My answer: ABSOLUTELY.  My no-mirrors project may be mostly behind me, but I'm still outrageously and incurably passionate about improving women's and girl's body image and self-esteem, spreading awareness about the dangers of disordered eating, preaching the life-changing gospel of Health At Every Size, thinking intellectually about fashion and style, and pondering the challenges of authentic living in a media-saturated culture.  These are my topics, and they will continue to ground this blog, thematically.

Of course, the format and focus will necessarily evolve a bit, with a slight shift away from personal narrative.  (I still plan to write and rant in first person, but I'm looking forward to more frequently putting the spotlight on topics other than "me.") Expect to see more guest posts.  I'm also hoping to provide timely analyses of thematically relevant current events, and - as always - Fun Facts on Fridays (well, starting next Friday, anyway!).  Just an FYI, over the next few months I'll likely be unable to post more than once or twice each week, thanks to having a book manuscript due in June (!) and a time-consuming seminar to teach.  It'll all get done (it always does), but I can't do it all at the same time.

Whew!  So that's my update for now.  Thank you all for your patience during my unexplained absence.  Please let me know if you have any preferences or suggestions for how this blog ought to evolve, now that the no-mirrors project is wrapping up. :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 8: Classes Start and I'm Giving a Talk at Trinity College this Wednesday!

It's hard to believe that an entire week has passed since mirrors came back into my life.  I'm still adjusting, but (luckily!) it hasn't been traumatic.  I'm applying my makeup in front of the mirror again, but I am challenging myself to finish in under 5 minutes to make sure I don't "gaze" or obsess.  So far I'm averaging closer to 7 minutes, but I'm not beating myself up about it.  I also glance at myself in a full-length mirror on the way out of the door, but that's about it.  I'm not actively avoiding mirrors anymore, but it's also become a habit and habits are hard to break (especially if you're not sure you want to break them!).  Just  a few minutes ago I washed my hands in Michael's bathroom after scooping the cat litter (oh, isn't life glamourous!) and I semiconsciously decided to not look in the mirror.  Why?  It just seemed like a potential time-suck and I have a lot of things on my to-do list!  Speaking of which.....

Spring Quarter classes at UCLA start today!  Every Monday for the next 10 weeks I'll be commuting down to Los Angeles and back to teach my favorite freshman seminar "Gender, Appearance, and Inequality: From Contemporary Feminism to Evolutionary Psychology."  This is the third year I've taught the class, and I'm psyched to dive back in.  Students, if you're reading this, here's the scoop: I'm tough, but fair, and the class is super fun and (I hope) potentially life-changing!  

In other exciting news, I'm giving a talk about my no-mirrors project at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut this Wednesday evening.  How sweet is this flyer they made for the event?! Trinity has decided to kick off the week with a "No-Mirrors Monday" - how cool!?! - and I can't wait to meet the students who organized the event.   If any of you are live near Hartford I'd love to see you at the talk, which is open to the public.  Here are the dirty details: Wednesday, April 4th, 7PM, Washington Room in Mather Hall.  

Since I'm diving head-first back into the fantastic world of mentoring college students, I have a very important question to ask:
What one or two things do you wish you had learned in college about "beauty"?