Posts Tagged self-portraiture

on being beautiful

It’s not that I don’t like being told I’m beautiful, but I am unnerved when the compliment comes too frequently. In too short a space of time. Particularly, from a single source.

There aren’t really guidelines for how frequently is too frequently. It’s just a feeling. And I’ve felt more unnerved more frequently.

I’ve been asking myself why. I am grateful to be beholden as beautiful by others – it is no trivial compliment – but why does hearing that they do unsettle me?

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#selfportrait January 4, 2013

It’s not that I don’t believe that I am beautiful. In fact, during my ponderances, I discovered that I do see myself as beautiful. Not pretty or cute or attractive. I. Am. Beautiful.

“Do you know how beautiful you are?”

I recently dated a man who asked me this. I’d heard the question before, but this man asked me almost every time we saw each other. And we saw each other at least two or three times a week.

“Do you know how beautiful you are?”

Each time, “Thank you.” And in time, when the intensity of his gaze made it evident that it wasn’t a rhetorical question, that “thank you” was not a satisfactory answer, and that he really wanted to know if I really knew, “There are a lot of beautiful women in the world.”

That wasn’t really a satisfactory answer, either. And so I keep coming back to why. Why does being told I am beautiful too frequently – however frequently that is – unnerve me?

Like for many things, there is likely many reasons. But there is also this one…

Our physical appearance is the first thing that people see – in the most literal meaning of the word – when they see us. Yet it physical beauty is among the least unique of qualities that any one person can possess.

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slackerific

image credit: slworking2 on Flickr

photo credit: slworking2

You know those posts where bloggers apologize for neglecting their blog, or only blogging sporadically, over a long period of time and subsequently promise to deliver more good content in the very near future? I’ve never understood these posts. It’s like having a meeting to talk about what hasn’t been done, thereby creating the need to have another meeting at some indefinite point in the future when something has actually been done. It’s a waste of time on something that has no point.

Yet bloggers still write, and publish, these “sorry I’ll be better” posts. And this is mine.

Thanks for reading. 😉




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update: a map of sorts

Back in January, I conceived a plan to document and visualize how I spent my time. The project has been tabled for many months, but I’ve recently begun to devote time to it once again.

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rumination: web presence addendums on a resumé?

I’m such a joiner, signing up for accounts across the spectrum of social media platforms, each time motivated by different objectives. I explore functionality, satiate curiosity, actively socialize, or simply squat my handle before someone else snags it. I had 28 profiles at last count, yet few of them see enough activity to be considered active.

Like brain crack, my best-laid plans would see these profiles folded into a larger (as of yet, undrafted) strategy for not only building my personal brand, but also for composing a virtual portfolio of my knowledge base, skill set, and interests. Sites like LinkedIn or Biznik already provide a template for users to network resumé-esqu profiles. But as more companies become wise to less business-centric social networking sites, from MySpace and Facebook to Twitter, they are including an investigation of prospective employees’ comprehensive web presence in their due diligence. This post by John R. Hopkins got me thinking … and has me still thinking … does it behoove the social media savvy job seeker to append their traditional resumé with a “reference list” of the sites where they maintain profiles?

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PostSecret

Just over two weeks ago, I discovered PostSecret.  In minutes.  I was curious … intrigued … fascinated … riveted.  I still am…

As I read PostSecret’s secrets … as I read these Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives … I am astounded by the “scared and angry and hurt and selfish” in the world.

And I hope … I hope to never forget that it is no small privilege to contribute to another’s joy.

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a map of sorts

tweet tweet “at a small crossroads in a larger choice: stability/sanity or the dream. the foreseen dangers of both commitment & abandonment weigh heavily.”

I find my psyche randomly skinny-dipping into tide pools of turmoil.

From career to personal ambitions(s) to private goals, from friendships to companionships to passions, many facets of my world have been swirling, each at their own pace. What began as occasional shifts of breeze 40 months ago, gained whirlwind momentum in February of last year, and seems to have become a vortex in the last two months. I embrace the notion that life is composed of joys and traumas, both of which are oft fleeting in nature when viewed through the larger spectrum of time. Yet, while still in the midst of uncertain chaos, to describe the journey as rocky seems too cavalier.

But there is a silver lining.

These dips into turmoil are oft followed by deep reflection on the path(s) and passion(s) I want to pursue. From investment in building the Experience Studio brand, to building my personal brand. From assessing my skills and their transferability to new opportunities to the skills I lack (and thus need to develop). From selling myself to selling myself short. From the sensibility and stability of full-time employment to the passion and uncertainty of dance. From networking and socializing to personal time spent in isolation. These continuums do no skew with either professional or personal bents, but are interweavings of a single individual bent: me. These are not questions of balance so much as they are questions about what I want to achieve, the best means of achieving them, and the present aspects of my life that I want to maintain. These are also questions for which I don’t have answers.

It may seem that I’m adrift in stress’s abyss, so where is the silver lining?

It is in my choosing to ask the questions.

I don’t know when, if ever, I’ll have the answers. Such a confession is not avoidance of issues at hand, merely recognition that while some answers I’ll formulate and achieve, others will serendipitously create themselves. And…

tweet tweet @jamesarcher “only 1 certainty, despite how perfectly we conceive our lifeplan, reality obliges little except to prove our plan ill-conceived”

So while I grapple with swirling facets, I am endeavoring to design and publish (here) a map of sorts that records how I spend each waking hour. Through conception (January 23rd), planning (ongoing), and execution (for one year or the remainder of 2008), this project is one I see as a tool for exploring my patterns of self.

Where is time spent? Where is it invested? What is the difference? What do I consider of import? How do the facets of my life divide? Or interweave? Am I comfortable in my modus operandi? Or actively seeking to develop my knowledge and skill set? To enrich my professional life? My personal life? The lives of others? Are my present pursuits aligned with the life I dream of living?

In a manner similar to Flickr’s 365 Days and Viddler’s MeToday, it is an exercise in self-portraiture. Yet the method is different. This map of sorts is a filmstrip series wherein each individual frame is a graphic representation of a use of time, a facet of my life. A single strip captures a single day, from waking to bedding.

The map below is of January 23-25, the first three days of this project. I realize there is not yet a key to assist interpretation. Please bear with me; it is coming.

[slideshow id=1297036692686502017&w=640&h=150]

[slideshow id=1297036692686503890&w=640&h=150]

[slideshow id=1297036692686504480&w=640&h=150]

 

No doubt various design issues will arise. Some, such as the categories I use to classify time spent and the basic unit of time (one hour, divisible into quarters), have already been addressed. Others, such as the level of detail illustrated, will be ongoing. And there be some that are yet unforeseen. I may, from time to time, seek input (primarily through Twitter) on how to tackle these issues.

If compelled to do so, please feel free to offer comment and critique. This map, like myself, is to be seen as a work in progress.

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