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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Julia: All Credits to Dove

I think everyone needs to see this clip.  It's really fantastic and reflective of the monster that our society has become.
Dove's tag-line: No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.

And another...


Friday, July 11, 2008

Julia: Meet Jane and Montgomery

Hi everyone.

When do you know that it’s time to let go?

There is always that resounding truth in the front of your mind telling you that there is still a chance [of whatever the matter is], be it .0000.....1%, and that this “thing” is still out there somewhere in the universe. It tethers your hopes to life and gives you some false sense of optimism. I know, I know... you’re lost right now, just bare with me for a moment.

You see, this is the way I think of it: Usually your conscience is portrayed as two miniature versions of you sitting on either shoulder. In entertainment and cinema, one you usually adorns some sort of wings and halo set giving the audience a sense that this you is your pure, angelic form (what Sigmund Freud would probably refer to as one’s “superego.”) It is also routine for your other shoulder to play host to your devil self. This is provided aesthetically via red horns, a tail, and a forked staff. This is essentially Sigmund Freud’s personified vision of one’s “id.” (Leaving the central you to act as Freud's "ego," of course.)

In compliance with classic theatrical portrayals of such a scene, the two exaggerated versions of you proceed to bicker over potential courses of action (occupying opposite spectral platforms as they occupy opposite shoulders), in turn leaving the original, mundane you just as, if not more, confused and undecided as before.

This, my friends, is called cinematic cliché. I’d go on a rant divulging my utter distaste for use of clichés, but in the interest of arriving at some sort of apex in my youth, I’ll simply said that this can, at best, provide comedic relief. Because, really, that’s just not how it happens. We’ll save my ironically trite rant of clichés for a rainy day. I digress.

Anyway, I see the whole “conscience” thing quite differently in my head. I still see a me on either shoulder, however they are not wearing any sort of festive costume that can be found at Party City for candy begging (and Julia-birthday-like) holidays. No, they just look like me, adorning my regular old get-up; it’s really very simple.

I talk to them, which is to say that I talk to myself. Quite often, really… but we already knew this.
This is all relevant to the topic of letting go, I promise. I’m just laying down the bricks.

So these people on my shoulders differ from the trademark picture of conscience in yet another most significant fashion. While the theory of miniature versions of you on either shoulder offering both advice at the opposite ends of the spectrum as well as an exchange of witty and almost friendly banter is both cute and creepy, it was originally invented as a simplified manifestation of personal moral discretion that can be most easily understood by an audience in which one must assume that it isn’t altogether bright enough to figure these sorts of things on its own. It’s like Hermione Granger or Dumbledore; JK Rowling once said that if any new theories need to be introduced in the Harry Potter books concerning the wizarding world, she would use either Hermione or my good pal Albus as a device with which to present the information to her readers as it makes sense due to their slightly ominous presences throughout the book.

Do you go with the Devil, whose advice is consistently most appealing but almost always selfish, indulgent, immoral, and/or illegal? OR do you side with your right shoulder-dwelling Angel, who's advice is reliable though often more selfless and rational than instantaneously gratifying? The Devil does an excellent job of promoting the irrational and impulsive option that most likely pays off immediately but is not, however, always beneficial to you/others/society from a long term perspective.
But you get what you want!
And you get it now!
But at what price?

The answer seems clear: it's usually somewhere in the middle. It’s rational and sane, which means it’s a good thing that so many on this earth are just that. That’s why we don’t have economic problems; that's why we all agree across the nation on every little thing. My God, if you couldn’t hint the sarcasm in that statement, then there’s just nothing that I can possibly do for you! Nevertheless, the reasonable enough, well-adjusted individual would, if only given the choices of the two extremes, ideally choose to be the angel.

Here’s where our (as in, reader vs. Julia) situations part ways. I have a Julia on each shoulder, appearing to be neither demonic nor angelic. All the better with which to fool me, my dear! The truth: they are both devils, using their silver tongues and quick wits to influence every decision I make. They tell me what I want to hear, but not what I should hear. They lead me to my own doom, one that I arrive at expecting cookies. They own me and prevent me from ever letting go of any matter that they can coax me into believing possible, the little Tykes. And, even though I know this, I continue to fall into their traps time and time again. They don’t like me, which is fucked up due to the fact that they are me.

Jane, on the right, and Montgomery, on the left, are 100% pure evil. They exist entirely; I would never call them imaginary friends. I only have room for one imaginary friend, and his name is Shiloh. My boobs are Jumanji and King Kong and I have a whole lot of body parts named Martha… but none of these are as damn manipulative as the three inch versions of myself whom won’t even like me via familial (if you can call yourself family) obligation. Some [well balanced] individuals have a visual manifestation of a conscience of moral discretion (as was mentioned), whereas I have only a visual manifestation of my own poor, convoluted judgment… as if I needed additional reminders of how insane I am.

Anyway, the little devils don’t let me forget anything and they completely own my soul… but, ehh, what can ya’ do?

Tell me I'm crazy. 
Now tell me you love me, anyway.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Julia: My first, albeit short, book review.

Book: Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Rating: aMust Reada

Okay, so this book I just started and finished yesterday, Prozac Nation, has changed my life.

Not really. It just gave me insight to truths I knew yet couldn’t possibly articulate for myself. Not only was it incredibly moving and not only did it hit all too close to home, but reading it was like reading pure poetry. And if anyone can appreciate poetry, I assure you, it is me (having read Leaves of Grass thirty times, at minimum. It looks like it’s
been through World War II, which, of course, it has.) It is absolutely beautiful rhetoric and prose; the articulation could hold your attention all on its own; the story is ground-breaking, in addition.

I would love to recommend Prozac Nation to all, but in the interest of being honest, it just isn’t a book that I feel would appeal to all audiences, though I desperately wish it did, that it could. I don’t think everybody would be able to sympathize, let alone empathize, as I did; especially not if the topic at hand is particularly foreign to the reader. But, definitely give it a shot. With the right candidate, it could truly be life-altering. Or enlightening, at the very least.

Needless to say, I loved it.

There were numerous quotes that made me stop reading and reflect immediately. I’ll share one such quote:

“…to drag your feet here, there, and everywhere, nowhere at all… I must move, must get farther and farther from this fire that’s going to burn all of me down. It is cold outside, but I’m crazy from the heat.”
Page 208, Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

My next book: Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan

Bare with me, here.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Julia: Cultivating a Balance

What is beauty?

According to mass media, feminine beauty is defined by:

Thin torso
Large breasts
Unhindered complexion
Impeccable bone structure
Smooth, equally pigmented epidermis
Straight nose
Perfectly aligned and whitened teeth
(Typically) Light eyes
Long eye lashes
Full lips
High cheek bones
Lavish hair

That’s quite a lot to ask of any individual. One of the flaws of society is this demanding standard. We all struggle trying to amount to the airbrushed goddesses that appear on the front covers of magazines. We complain that ‘that’s not what real people look like.’ Yet, truly, we have set these unapproachable heights that we so openly rebel. We put the money in the pockets of “perfection.” We have set the ideal so far above our heads. And, honestly, we want to see attractive people on our TV screens. Admit it; soap romances wouldn’t be nearly as heated within the audiences if participating parties were uncomely. We want to see this… because we want to be this. It’s like crack.

Why? What’s the obsession with the “Size Two” look? I know, I know… this is an exhausted topic. “The true beauty is within… blah, blah, blah…” So you’ve heard it before? Of course you have. I’m not going to rant about the terrible demon that the Hollywood Vortex presents to society; I am the worst offender. I want to be beautiful with the rest of ‘em, truth be told.

Sure, our shallow society does get me down. But I can’t entirely part with it. Reasons being: 1) In the epic battle of the social repulsion vs. morbid isolation dilemma, I bathe with the monsters; 2) I’m not trying to tell you that I’m not a monster, myself. I am a monster. Perhaps less so, granted. And perhaps I’m a different brand of monster. But I am not without my flaws… though I never claimed to be.

Nevertheless, I’d like to break the tension by telling you all that I think I’m beautiful. There are, of course, those moments in which I slip beneath the surface and all of my suppressed insecurities float to the forefront. But I fight these moments and just try to be the best version of myself possible. And that includes physically.

So, right on to beauty; just don’t let it be everything. There’s this miraculous thing that I’m trying to cultivate: a healthy balance. Socially, academically, physically, mentally/emotionally, etc. In this way, it’s hard not to be pulled in several different directions and slip beneath the surface once again. But I’m guaranteed to screw up at least 37 more times this month in all different sort of variations. The only hope that I have is that when I do, as it’s entirely unavoidable, I can pull myself together quickly and learn from each misstep. There’s not much else I can do. It’s apart of letting go but holding on at the same time. Balance.

And I know this fact more than most: it's easier said than done.

So, what I mean to say is that we all mess up and get caught up in our worldly trivialities... but when that happens, I know that I'm not a bad person and that my friends will be there for me. We need people there for us or we just won't make it. I'll always be there for you, ready to catch you when you fall.

Why? Because I love all of you, and those who mess up need my love even more.

Love (always),

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Julia: I ask THE question.

There’s this word that we often toss around: love. She loves him; he loves her. I love you; you love me. I hear it all of the time...

But, when speaking in terms of romanticism, does this ambiguous and nearly indefinable word have one tangible meaning that can be manifested in a people? I’m sure it does. However, the even more perplexing riddle is: what is that meaning? Is it only present when fireworks go off at a kiss? When your stomach does a flip-flop at the sight of your object of affections? When you don’t mind the otherwise insufferably irritating sound of his/her cow-like gum chewing? True, this could be love… but must it be love? Is love something that develops? Is the love-at-first-sight to happily-married-couples ratio one to one million?

The greatest mystery of our time on earth is the ultimate and persistently inexplicit nature of love. Sometimes the love in one’s heart can be contained inside a [metaphoric] box, while at other times it is as large as the sun.

Is there such thing as young love? We often hear of high school sweethearts who married, grew old together, and never tired of each other. Is this luck, perhaps? Perhaps the person that they thought they loved as a teenager turned out to be the person that they were madly in love with as adults. Coincidence? It could be. It also could be a great and spectacular illusion.

Or it might be this concept of ‘Soul Mates’. I truly do believe in it, as cheesy as that is. I believe that there is one person in this world, only one, that we can fully give our hearts to. One person that we ought to be with; a person defined at our birth and theirs. Sure, there are illusions. But that’s all they are: illusions of something real. I see it as though there is a magnet inside me and a corresponding magnet within another and the universe is pulling us together because we are supposed to find each other. I think this comforts me because I can leave the tasking responsibility of finding my counterpart up to fate and I can quit trying so hard… and quit worrying, to boot.

However, I worry anyway. Come on now, we all knew I would.
This post has served no recognizable modicum of practicality as I initially intended to write it in order to reconcile my demons and achieve a peace of mind. Nevertheless, I enjoyed writing it immensely. I always enjoy sharing my thoughts with those who care enough to read them. In writing this, I sought some sort of solution for the vast range of feelings that have harbored within me lately; a cure for my plague… but I think I’m even more confused now.

So, tell me… what is love?


PS. I'm not through with this topic yet. You'll hear more of love from me.