July 31, 2012

they're only pretending.

I'm watching About Face, HBO's documentary on the rise of the Super Model in the 40's thru the 80's.  These are present day interviews and most of these lookers look no older than 40.  Some were modeling in the 50's.  You do the math.

Isabella Rosselini is intoxicating.  She exudes culture and awareness and a shy, almost sheepishness of her renown grace and powerful beauty as a model in the 60's.  She now has a pixie cut and is wearing a suit that awkwardly suggests men's wear circa 1996.  So, I gather she's using androgyny as a visual device.  She can and she's still Isabella Rosselini.  Anyone else wears Mr. Bean's Sunday best and you think she's chaneling him due to lack of medication.  Isaella Rosselini wears it and she's conscious and confident.  Smarter than us because she knows she's stunning and that at this point of her life, her attire is not, in fact, what determines self worth.
Rossellini, as featured in About Face

Isabella Rossellini, Modeling for Elizabeth Arden

These first few generations of super models saw the world in a way that no young girls at that point had ever been able to.  They donned designs created by the very hands of the fathers of fashion houses that laid the tracks.  Halston, Calvin Klein, Hermes.  They posed for the covers of Vogue that we can now buy  as vintage art posters.  These women were [are] beautiful, young, everything on their bodies in the right places; the right proportions.  The few that actually set out to model back then evidently had a gut feeling that Studio 54 was in the works, that Playboy was an up and coming club with a cute mascot, that coke was an avant guard nutritional supplement that allowed you to work hard and play harder.  Women who we look at now as trend setters and pardon the pun, role models.

With Vienna so impressionable and so female, I frequently consider her journey through all of this.  I was surfing the channels tonight with Nico and made him stop on this documentary (which I'm sure he was thrilled).  But it's important. This isn't just about pictures and ruffles and the magic and the flying.  It's about a culture that had [has] 16 year olds starving and competing with one another- much more with themselves- trying to decipher which part of their bodies was good enough to make them acceptable as people.  These models were at least paid for it.

The underlying message is that most of these girls felt like frauds.  "It's like you're not even really there. It's what the person perceives from you."  Fine.  I accept.  But what's admissible in this culture; what's even palatable to the general public to perceive perpetuates the notion that a carrot a day so that you get the lines in the chest thinness and the hipbones that jut out of the waistband of your jeans is strong and right and worth the hunger.

Listen folks, there was a time when my hipbones used to chafe the mattress when I'd sleep on my stomach at night.  I was nowhere near as confident then as I am now.  (K, so maybe I felt better in bikinis, but that's besides the point.)  Nothing tasted as good as being thin felt.  I'm not the first person to ever say that and sadly, I'm far from being the last.

Paulina Porizkova remembers being a typical 15 year old, completely insecure, who wanted to seem more grown up than she really was.  I'm going to blink and this will be Vienna and her girlfriends- much to my horror.  Hopefully Vienna's context will fall within the confines of her very strong family life and secure friends so that her teenage years are not as painful as mine were.  (Yikes.)  I digress.  Ms. Porizkova discusses her modeling friends lost to drugs, bulimia, anorexia, and newly acquired STDs.  Young girls model because older, stronger women wouldn't dare under such circumstances.  "What people call sexual harassment we called compliments."

Paulina Porizkova
Vogue Fashion Director (1971-1988) Jade Hobson (think the Devil Wears Prada) recalls these 'girls' as kids and "with makeup we turned them into someone they weren't" as HBO does a short video montage of modeling's gruesome and gorgeous tragedy, Gia. "I think, unfortunately, we created a monster."  She mentions overlooking the track marks on Gia's arms that just gave her 'that look.'  At least she had the decency to look embarrassed.

Gia, known to 'look through the camera'

It's not all drugs and death.  It was drugs and life.  Parties, free love, beauty, money- the world is your oyster when you're the beautiful pearl.

Miss Pish is a pearl.  Who or what will shake her of that freedom that she was born with?  When will that day come when her awareness of herself goes beyond her own system of security and succumbs to the culture of a body as parts instead of a body as life?  I won't discuss my physical insecurities in front of her.  I call her pretty [and beautiful, and adorable...etc, etc], but more often you'll hear me dote on her as a 'lovely lady.'  It's not about how you look, 'nana, if you're reading this in the future, it's about your spine and your grace and your willingness be the observer.  ...This is your mother speaking.

But let's all face it.  Women thrive off the chance to feel beautiful and to do beautiful things and to be apart of something that will have a lasting and beautiful product.  We are beautiful.  What we are capable of; creating, raising, leading...fixing... there's nothing more beautiful than that.  My most beautiful project will be to cultivate my girl's existence so that her self worth knows no bounds.   Anything other than that is just playing dress up.

"We all have to go sometime, and when I go, 
I want to go with my high heels on."  
-Carmen Dell'Orefice
Camen Dell-Orefice, 1948
Dell'Orefice, present day





July 6, 2012

Oh, hey.

You're in college and for a week you're an all-star.  You complete projects, effectively study for exams; you get ahead.  You knock your business out of the park and you're on top of the world.  When you're out, you easily find yourself in the midst of conversations that fundamentally interest you and you couldn't be more involved.  Plus you're a funny person, so basically you rule the world.  And by you I mean me.

And then next week rolls around and you look at your list of to-do's and your brain seizes and you have to literally coax yourself to simply type an email.  What the hell happened?

This happens to me, my friends, my husband...  It's the most frustrating thing in the world to want so badly to be productive, to have something to say, to make something interesting out of the minutiae and then literally blow a gasket.  

Brains are no different that computers or smart phones.  You over-load them and they become lethargic, worthless, prone to stalling.  "This is your brain, this is you're brain on productivity.  Talk to your kids.  Before it's too late."  My brain is an over medium egg.

I long to be able to humorously bitch about some nuance of my daily life.  

And even that is something to mull over.  I'm way past the place where I'm lamenting over laundry or my husband's inability to be cognitively wired like my best friend.  My new "problem" is that I'm so busy I don't even have time to notice what's been chapping my ass lately.

And that really chaps my ass.  

I like to write.  When I was a teenager I used to compose poetry about love or about being an hourglass shaped peg in a toothpick world.  Now I have no time to blow smoke up my own ass.  I'm busy, professionally motivated, mother to a sassy doll-face, wife to a very handsome, fabulously wonderful man who happens to be the only one in the world (besides my brother) to be able to call me out on my bullshit without [always] pissing me off.  I do not have time anymore to tai-chi my way though my subconscious constipation.

I work full time now.  We're trying to rent out our condo so that we can move closer to work and Nunnie day-care.  I spend every second I'm that home after-work with Pish and after that I'm supposed to work on design school and then say hi to my husband and also find five minutes to look myself in the eye in the mirror and hit ground zero.  

It leaves little time for the blogger past-time.  But I miss it.  So even though I've managed to ramble for god knows how many paragraphs and words and thoughts and seconds, I hope I've said something.  

Then again, maybe I just needed to say hi.