Walking to class today, I came upon multiple chalkings produced by Active Minds (a mental health advocacy group on campus). The chalkings were variations of the same message: “You are beautiful!”
I have two thoughts on this.
1. How fucked up is it that women’s self-esteem is so low, we need to be reminded by a complete stranger that we are beautiful?
2. How much meaning can actually be pulled from these words from a stranger?
My life has been bombarded by a number of body-positive campaigns telling me I’m beautiful, but does that actually affect how I feel about myself? No. Maybe it’s because my self-esteem has greatly improved over the years, but only through my own effort - not because of some stranger’s intervention.
The people who make these campaigns have never even seen me. The people who chalked these messages on the ground have no clue who I am. How can I believe they think I’m beautiful if they don’t even know me?
Furthermore, how many times can we be told we’re beautiful before the word loses its meaning completely? What’s the big deal with beauty anyhow? What about intelligence or humor? What about tenacity and independence? Where did those other excellent qualities go?
Don’t get me wrong, the sentiment is nice. I completely agree that there needs to be steps taken to battle the negative pressures society pushes on the average woman. But I’m just not sure if this type of campaign is effective.
My kitty is getting really old. Every time I come home, she looks bonier and her eyes goopier. She used to come prancing down the stairs as soon as I hollered “I’m home!”, but now she sleeps through it and I go upstairs to wake her up to tell her I’m here. She still gives me the biggest MRAOW (“hello!”) when she sees me.
We found her when I was four. My then five-year-old sister and I were waiting in the van while my mom ran into her office for a few minutes, when we saw this little white kitten wandering around in the road. My mom’s office was on a main street, and the light was red with a line of cars waiting to go. My sister, being the spazz she is, whipped open the sliding door and ran into the street flailing and screaming just as the light turned green. She chased the kitty up a tree and while my mom chased after her. They caused a small traffic jam, all for a stray kitten.
My sister and I fell in love with our kitty the moment we saw her. If I wasn’t strapped into my booster seat, I probably would have run into the street after her, too. My mom told us that if no one claimed her by the end of the day, we would take her home. We continued on our journey to Six Flags (then Riverside Amusement Park), and after a day of family fun, swung back through Westfield to pick up the newest member of our family: Snowflake. (We named her that because she’s all white and we were little kids. What else would you expect?)
There is no cat cuddlier, prettier, or more badass than Snowflake. One minute she’s curled up sleeping on your face, the next she’s slaying a rabbit BIGGER THAN HER like it’s no big deal. She let’s you cradle her like a baby and puts up with my dad throwing her at various house guests. And even though her eyes are getting progressively goopy and her body decreasingly flexible, she still cleans herself constantly to keep her coat pristine and white, never missing a spot.
It scares me to think her end might be near. Besides my human family, her presence has been one of the biggest in my life. She slept with me when I was sick, snuggled with me when I was sad, and never once passed judgment. It might sound weird, but I love and admire my cat more than I do most people. I know that when she dies, she will take a huge part of me with her.
And I can’t help but feel I will be haunted by the reminder of my own mortality.
Gee, I was feeling great about myself until I started applying to jobs. Now I’m basically trying to sell myself to companies, and while I think I have a lot to offer, I’m getting no bites. It’s making me really sad and I feel like I’m not good enough.