Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tiny Fey Comes Out To Play

Day 26 with #30daysnomakeup!

Well here I am drawing near to the end of my #30DNM journey. What once started out driven by curiosity and enjoyment of social experiments has turned into much more. 

A "small" thing like make-up has led to a much bigger thing. A curiosity has led to a powerful conversation with so many. What is this really about I keep asking myself. 

Like my foundation, mascara, and lipstick falling from my face this month, the curtains have been pulled back on our culture and there are some things I straight up don't like.

I work at a residential treatment center for those struggling with eating disorders as a counselor as some of you may know. We have a documentary group and one day we watched one called America The Beautiful.  It covers a number of issues surrounding the extreme pressures of body image discussing things such as child models, plastic surgery, airbrushed advertising and dangerous cosmetics. 

Naturally, the cosmetic portion of the film really grabbed my attention. It had examples of women who were discriminated against for not wearing make-up and news reports of women who were actually FIRED from their jobs for not wearing make-up. This particular article shares a story about a woman who was pushed out of her job in sales for not wearing make-up. According to some research, "more than two thirds of employers admit they would be less likely to employ a female job applicant if she did not wear make-up to the job interview"

Ugh! This makes me sick. Talk about sexism! The message is clear for women. Your natural face does not make the cut. You are not beautiful as you are. You need to cover it up to accepted. You are not enough. 

It's no wonder I feel pressure to wear make-up. This isn't just some internal pressure of perfectionism I project on myself (which I most certainly do) but is ALSO entirely culturally conditioned. I feel angry thinking about these unrelenting standards society has put on women and young girls that has caused so many to fall into dangerous dieting, eating disorders, relentless and compulsive spending on the latest fashion, restricting of the nutrition their bodies crave. Not to mention the so-called "normal" things women should embody such as being hairless, having big eyes and perfect nail beds. Don't get me started…or Tiny Fey will come out to play….

Okay she's coming.

“Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.” (Bossypants)

Alright so you get my drift. Tina is being hilarious but she's also SERIOUS. This is the expectation. 

Then you throw in the latest research on carcinogen city, toxicity and allergies on cosmetics and I almost feel like there is some undercover operation going on who is trying to take women out. 

ANYWAY…my point is not that make-up is bad. I think #30daysnomakeup has been a spring board for a really important discussion I've needed to have with my heart for a long time. How does it make me feel that I (along with my culture) have given me a message that the face  I was born with is not good enough for the world? It's not good enough unless I do this and this and this and this?! And isn't that the exact opposite of grace and acceptance and inclusion?

Obviously I can't change our culture today. But I can start with me. 

I can start by having a tender dialogue with my heart about my face. 

I want to be on my face's side. I am not the enemy of my face. I don't want to be hostile to it. I want to be gentle and open and kind and brave. 

And I haven't done this all alone this past month. I have been amazed by the support and encouragement I have been given by family, friends and acquaintances and fellow bloggers and those involved in the #30DNM campaign. 

You guys have encouraged me SO MUCH!!! Every time I feel insecure or sheepish about my face I always seem to run into someone who tells me they admire me for what I'm doing or someone sends me a note via social media. Gosh, you guys are seriously the best! I have been totally humbled by your kind reactions to what I am doing. Rather than judge me, you all have affirmed me! It's made me challenge my belief system that people would rather I cover my face. I can listen to the media or I can listen to a flesh and blood person who tells me I AM ENOUGH. I feel like that's the better option. 

Only 4 days left! Carry on #braveones! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

An Open Letter to the World

Well I've been listening to Christmas you guys, and I want you to know what I've been hearing.

Last night I went to our church's annual Christmas concert, affectionately called The Christmas Collective. They combined music, performance art, storytelling and altruistic shopping from global non-profits to help the City of San Diego experience Christmas in a whole new way. It's your favorite carols re-imagined.

My whole life I've heard Christmas carols every year for 29 years. I like them in the sense that they remind me of Christmas, the smell of pine, and the feeling of glossy wrapping paper on my presents, but to say they have really impacted me would be a bit of a stretch. Well last night, way back there in the far corners of the San Diego Convention Center in downtown, I just wept listening to those oh so familiar songs.

Christmas is our anthem of hope and we raise this flag high. Often, though,  I find myself believing I am alone in a scary, hostile world. How many times do I put pressure on myself to save and be all that the world needs?

I wanted to write my church a letter but then I wanted to write some non-profits a letter and then I wanted to write some campaigns a love note and then I wanted to write my friends and husband and suddenly I realized I want to write the WHOLE WORLD A LETTER. So here it goes. Because you guys ROCK.

Dear World,

Wow World.


You stunned me last night. Thousands of people hearing the good news. The actual news, that is actually good.

World, you fight for what is true, good and right. I feel recovery in my sight as I look around and the army of love is brave and true.

It's not just me trying to help adolescents recover from trauma. It's naive of me (nay ignorant) of me to believe I am the only one educating those around me on the bondage of eating disorders. I am not the only who encourages other to love their face and their body for how it was created. I am not the only who stands up for the voiceless, and the oppressed. I am not alone in my devastation over what the pornography industry has done to our society. I am not alone in my fight to rescue those enslaved by the sex trade.

Last night, world, you showed me that I don't sing christmas songs alone either. I sing them along with thousands and not just in San Diego, but thrown across the space of our world. I sing them with humans who continue to reach out to San Diego, to people in need of a rescue. A world that desperately needs to know it's soul's worth.

All of you, #potentia, #centerfordiscovery, #fightthenewdrug #31bits #christmascollective  #onehope #floodchurch #momastery  #darling #30daysnomakeup  #vom #isanctuary #truckersagainsttrafficking #hollywoodprayernetwork #chisomoidea #ouranthemishope and so many I have not discovered are making this world more beautiful. And then there is YOU. Wow you. You are bringing it. People are bringing it. Heaven is here and I didn't even know it.

It's being made by you and me. The soul is finding it's worth this Christmas.

People are creating a holy night and a freaking HOLY DIVINE DAY.

We are loving each other and we are saying:

yes to inclusion;

and no to exclusion;

no to despair;

and a roaring loud yes to hope;

yes to enoughness;

no to scarcity;

yes to real;

no to counterfeit;

yes to equality;

no inequality;

yes to respect;

no to exploitation;

YES TO CHRISTMAS. You bring us hope.

Good grief world, you are bringing it. I am proud of you. When I think the world is too full of pain and tragedy and sickness and violence, I will call bull shit on this mantra. There is still enough GOOD in this world to go around. Always, always enough.

I say my prayers each night to One who makes our nets heavy with fullness and our glasses full with bubbling goodness. Enough fish. Enough wine. Enough of everything. The same One who came to see the stars from our side of forever, and showed us just how bright they could be.

And so we sing a hallelujah of this sacred and holy night.

That is our life.

Thank you world oxox

Love, your little human - Heather

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Listening to Christmas

Every year the holiday seasons rushes in with the speed of a cheetah and the intensity of a hungry lion. It is almost impossible to figure out how to slow the clock down. Black Friday sales just make me crazy as I feel insurmountable pressure to buy this now or it will NEVER be this price again and you will NEVER have this. THE END. 

I have done little small things to make the season go by more slowly. In October Scott and I figured out a budget for Christmas gifts. We decided to make homemade gifts for the vast majority of friends and family. I bought a couple extra things as well and then on November 28th (Miracles of miracles) my Christmas shopping was done. Check.

We also decided not to get a tree since we won't be here for Christmas but will be spending it with my family in Oklahoma. One less thing to do. The problem though is I LOVE Christmas. I love all of it. The cinnamon and peppermint smells. Reading the Christmas story over and over again. The cracking fireplace. Christmas cards coming in the mail. The cozy sweaters. The holiday parties. The shopping. THE GIFTS. I will be 88 years old and will love gifts like a 10 year old kid love gifts. Somewhere though despite my love for it all, I get utterly loss beneath the consumerism and the never-ending to-do list, and the cultural pressures. By the time December 26th rolls around I realize how exhausted I am and how desperately I need some time to myself.

Time does not slow down unless I make it slow down. What can I do to actually hear Christmas inside myself? Like actually hear the good news in my soul. This is why I decided to give myself a small but powerful challenge. I believe that the habits I cultivate daily create the kind of life i want often more then the big bang decisions that I so often look towards. Every day for the month of December I will dedicate 10 minutes of listening to Christmas.

What does this mean? This means no obligations, no productivity, no work and no hurry. I have a storage bench that faces out our bedroom window that I love. I will light my lavender lemon candle and  listen for 10 minutes. In my mind I thought,  / seriously don't have time for 10 minutes of stillness in December with all the travel and work and partiesI. That thought alone made me think, oh my goodness I need this 10 minutes!!! It's not a long time at all. But it's 10 minutes for me to be still and listen. To create a breathing room for myself that I can step into any time of day. Sacred and holy minutes.

I'm not sure what I expect to hear this month. My husband asked me what "listening to Christmas" means to me. I think it means I want to hear the bells, the reindeer, the snow fall (or rain fall in San Diego's case), I want to hear Santa and his ho ho ho. I want to cause time to S L O W down amidst this fast paced season. But really I want the message of Christmas to draw near to me. I want to know joy to the world is not a song but real life. I want to hear that hope is the voice of truth. I want to hear that love still wins. I want to hear a certain baby's first cry that echoes into my present with surprising tenderness.

This Christmas I will listen.