What do Lady Gaga, the start of spring and your bodies have in common?  So much.

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If you were like so many of us who witnessed Lady Gaga’s amazing Oscar performance of “Til It Happens to You,” you were moved.  The song is amazing, but it’s her passion and power that make it so riveting.

I later learned one of the reasons this song affected her so much was that she, like the people she sings about, was sexually abused.  In an article about her story, she explains how the trauma of the abuse lasted for years and manifested itself in her body.  She was in chronic pain for years.

The idea that feelings and memories can bury themselves in our bodies may sound a little “hocus pocus” for some of us.  And I get it.  Aren’t feelings all manufactured in our brain?  Where do our bodies fit into this?

Well they do.  And I, myself, have spent that past year starting to explore my own feelings via my body.  I’m fortunate enough to have an executive coach who employs some techniques of Somatic Experiencing.  What is S.E.?  Wikipedia defines it this way:

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a form of therapy aimed at relieving and resolving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client’s perceived body sensations (or somatic experiences).

Psychology Today further explains: “When any part of this normal cycle (cycling between alertness and stress) is interrupted, the charge of energy gets ‘stuck’ in our bodies. We can then fail to fluctuate easily between states of different intensity. And the charge stuck in our systems will likely be triggered when in the future we encounter events, people, or things that remind us of the earlier experience that was never completed.”

Fortunately I am not suffering from major stress like that of Lady Gaga.  But my coach and I still feel the techniques could help me be more aware of how my body is holding emotions that are preventing me from experiencing happiness and progress.

I’m not writing this story to compel you all to try out Somatic Experiencing.  Rather, I’m continually struck by the strong connection between our emotions and our bodies.  Our bodies are not just vessels or shells.  They shouldn’t be ignored unless we’re hungry or cold, nor should they be turned into the only reflection of we are.  

Are bodies are ARE us.  We are intimately connected to them. And so we must nourish, care for and connect with our bodies as much as possible.  And certainly when we experience trauma — both physical and emotional, we can’t will away the pain, we have to face it in mind and body.

Spring has sprung and it’s a time for new beginnings.  It’s also a time when we are more physical again.  Let’s celebrate this time by re-connecting with, listening to and caring for our whole selves — mind, soul AND body.  


Weekend Observations: The Beauty of Personal Reinvention

Recently I’ve heard many comparisons made between Lady Gaga and Madonna.  Both are singers (of course), bottled blondes, provocative and, more importantly, constantly reinventing themselves.  I would argue Madonna reinvents her whole self (her appearance, music style, and talents), while Lady Gaga seems to just reinvent her looks.  In all fairness to Lady Gaga, Madonna’s had decades to this while Lady Gaga hasn’t “been around” long enough to make any dramatic changes to herself.
OK, why am I launching into a discussion about Madonna and Lady Gaga today of all days, i.e. New Year’s day?  Because their amazing power to reinvent is inherent in all of us.  And, as Americans, the ability to reinvent is especially valued and encouraged.
And, over the course of this past year, I’ve experienced reinvention first hand.
On this very day a year ago, Jan 1, 2011, I was sitting in this exact spot at my friends’ lovely vacation house writing a post about how miserable I was feeling.  I was in the midst of working on two horrible pitches at my old company and I was complaining about getting so fat because of all the junk I was eating.
But today, not only is my body healthier, but I have a new lease on life as well.  I just started an awesome job in a totally new industry.  Moreover, my husband who, until recently, was part stay-at-home dad and part-time lawyer, is now working out of the house (suit and all) in an exciting financial company.  My daughter had to transition from pre-school where she was BLOC (Big Lady On Campus) to a much larger kindergarten class in a new school; and my oldest son, who never liked to read, has become an avid reader and tremendous student!  While these major changes came with their host of challenges, they were well worth it.
Wow, what a difference a year makes.
I’m proud of all of the reinvention my family and I have experienced, and I look forward even more changes in the year to come.
So let’s all raise our champagne glasses to a year of exciting reinvention, even if it means just a new hair cut!

Week in Review 8/14-8/20

Soooooo, what did we discuss around this week?

Take the psychological issues out of shopping.  Go consignment! Weekend Observations: Get Glam Minus the Tradeoffs

Why we love that glam artists are looking weirder and weirder Pic of the Week: Go Ahead, Look Outlandish.  It’s Awesome!

Tom Ford understands the nuances of luxury advertising Tom Ford, You Get Advertising

The gross ethnic disparity between the fashion runways and the real folks on the streets Why Don’t Fashion Runways Mirror Actual Demographics?

Feast your eyes on some more beauty news More to Love: Additions to the Reading List

Going on vaca to Cape Cod, whoopie!

But don’t worry, Beautyskew will continue to be sharing our views on beauty so keep on reading and participating



Pic of the Week: Go Ahead Look Outlandish, It’s Awesome!



Lady Gaga and Katy Perry are such inspirations to me.  It’s not their music (which, I admit, is not amazing).  I love them because they try so damn hard NOT to look like everyone else. Lady Gaga always has on some crazy wig, even blue colored armpit hair!  And who but Katy Perry would do pin-up girl meets clown?

In an era where everyone can primp, reconstruct and dye themselves to look “prefect,” we start looking like everyone else.  Just watch the Miss USA pageant for proof.  Everyone is beautifully boring! (See the post, Pic of the Week: Beautiful or Boring)

Thankfully there are those out there who say, “The hell with looking perfect, let’s look as weird, as different as possible!”

You could argue, though, that both Lady Gaga and Katy Perry still subscribe to many beauty norms, like thin bodies, perfect skin and perky boobs.  But like any social shifts, changing beauty norms can’t happen all at once.  That’s becomes too much for us to handle.  So, despite their few typical beauty rituals, I still applaud these women for encouraging us to push the boundaries and create our own sense of beauty.

Are you ready to sport some hot pink leg hair now?