Monday, November 16, 2009

NYC's superficial bullshit—I'm over it.

In New York, if you're fashionable and skinny, you've got it made. If you are those two things, people will tell you all day, every day just how chic and fabulous and SKINNY you are. Seriously. Oh, and good hair helps, too. Honestly, it doesn't even matter if your mug is fug. 

I don't know, some Manhattanites might disagree with me, but this is the impression I get at every party or event I go to. The girl with the pretty face is not the one being told just how amaaazing she is. And I guess I'm mainly talking about the fashion crowd. My sister and some of my best friends in the city are in the fashion industry, so I kinda fell into this circle by default. (Well, I'm the girl on the outside of the circle peeking in). Going to cool parties can be a lot of fun, but honestly I'm starting to question if it is even worth it—it's certainly not doing good things for my self-esteem. 

Olivia Palermo from The City is stylish, skinny and gorgeous. And she has a beautiful mane. Bitch. I think she's incredibly insecure, though. I saw her at the charity party I wrote about in this post where I got my infamous red bag, and she didn't seem confident at all. She kept trying to join in on other people's conversations, but no one really wanted to talk to her—it was totally awkward. Hmm, I guess even the fashionably elite have their issues.

Sadly, all of this superficial bullshit has rubbed off on me. I'm never happy with my weight, my hair or what I'm wearing. I guess it doesn't help that I can't even afford a haircut and that my D.I.Y. manicure looks like a six year-old did it. I need to find a way to be the best version of myself I can be with the resources I've got right now. I can't keep waiting and waiting for things to get better because even when I do have the money to buy new clothes and go grocery shopping at Whole Foods, I'll have a new set of issues.

Does anyone else feel this way? Do your surroundings or the media have an impact on the way you feel about yourself?


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  2. DC is definitely a struggle too! It makes me miss the simple life of my small town in SC. Flip flops and a ponytail and you're totally fine!

  3. Come to Philly. You can't get less pretentious than Philly peeps :)

  4. Oh I looove, Philly! And yes, Becky, I totally miss my flip flop and ponytail days! ahhh

  5. i love this line: I need to find a way to be the best version of myself I can be with the resources I've got right now. LOVE IT.

    everyone feels this way at some point. at a lot of points in fact. there is always going to be someone skinnier, prettier, richer, with better clothes and hair and all that. but as long as you are being the very best YOU that you can be, you will have them all beat. because you will have the confidence that they lack. the best revenge is happiness right?

    obviously it is so much easier said than done, and it is definitely something i struggle with everyday. i find myself thinking "well once i am finished with this class..." or "well when i get a better apartment..." and i keep thinking about what COULD happen in the future rather than focusing on what IS happening now and being happy with that. i need to quit waiting for something, and just make it happen!

    but look at yourself ellen-you ARE doing that. you have taken a situation which would get a lot of people down and you are milking it and using it to your advantage. i am so impressed and proud of you!

  6. i do feel a bit self conscious and worried about the way i look, but then i strut my stuff in my big ass STRONG BRUIN shirt and guy shorts that go past my knees and still feel cool. i'm badass, world, and i don't care. =D

  7. Perhaps, that fact that she is labeled as being so beautiful, has done her a disservice the opposite of making her an insider. Because she is "beautiful" which is subjective, other women feel threatened and don't allow her in their conversations (groups, cliques), so she is left alone, and her security level drops, which if left in the wrong hands steps up her b.i.t ** factor, because she has to over compensate. Nothing in NYC is easy, especially beauty, these models need friends and conversation too, more than anyone else I think, their entire career is based on how they look, and one wrong word from someone semi-important like Perez Hilton, could tarnish them forever. Not a good idea to slip for these girls, some of them coming from war torn countries, poverty stricken areas, or dairy farms in middle america where they are THIS CLOSE to becoming a townie...and being a townie is my worst fear, you can spot one a mile away. Beauty is not everything, if it were I would have tried to use it a long time ago,and again it's subjective so everyone is on the same playing field really. (Sigh) such vanity is fashion, it's tiring.

  8. Love the confidence, Traynharder! I need your 'tude to rub off on me :)

    And thanks for the encouragement, MA—always needed, always appreciated. Yeah, I think if we all stopped living the "if I only had this..." line, we'd be better for it! It's definitely something I'm struggling with and will continue to work on.

  9. Audrey, yes, I totallly agree that beauty is subjective. I haven't found that to be as true in the fashion industry though. I'm not saying that super-skinny is beautiful to me personally, but when you constantly hear those girls getting the praise, it's hard not to feel that that is what's you should be, too. And yes, it IS tiring—I almost feel sorry for girls who try SO hard to keep up—it has to be exhausting. Oh and FYI, at the party, it was girls like Whitney Port that Olivia was trying to talk to. Whitney, who is equally as gorgeous, carried herself with so much confidence—it was amazing. So, I don't think it was Whitney pushing her out in this case, but I do agree that beautiful women are unfairly judged and excluded sometimes.

  10. This is a huge reason why I LOVE austin and don't want to move to a bigger city. Everything here is comfy, low-key and casual is accepted across the board.

    I hardly ever wear make-up unless I'm at an event. Hmmm could be a reason why I'm single..

    oh well:)

  11. Ellen, I couldn't have survived in NYC. I'm going to send you a pic of my friend Stephanie, who used to live in the city, and me, taken recently. She's an artist and now lives in New Canaan, CT & Sag Harbor. Just to demonstrate how I can so relate to what you've written.

    Stephanie, of course, isn't a bitch, she's one of my BFF's. She grew up with me, lived in the same rural area, and just melted right into the NY skyline. She went to Parsons, and designed some for Banana Republic then moved out of the city after she had her kids. We get together now when we can for art events, both there and here, because she is an artist and I love art, creativity, etc. Plus our spiritual connection has grown stronger and stronger and it excites both of us so much because we feel like Spirit has everything to do with art and creativity.

    Last night I went to a reception, I think I told you, and felt so insecure before I went, but it was fine. I think I referred to it as a crisis of confidence before I went. I met a lot of nice people, but also a lot of my insecurities came up because these people have been in the Richmond art scene forever. I don't care, though. That is one nice thing that comes with being in your 40's. A lot of that shallow stuff doesn't matter anymore. I'm really overweight, and I get insecure about it, but I can jazz myself up okay, and if I enjoy finding connections with people. Maybe I should call my blog -- "46 n' Fabulous", not!

    It never leaves us, but it gets so much better. I just wish I could have felt okay with myself when I was your age and weighed 60lbs less than I weigh now! I think about all that time I wasted worrying.

    Re: confrontation. I hate it, but I also like to get things resolved quickly so sometimes I'll force myself to confront. I'll twitter that pic to you. Julie

  12. Just FYI, everyone knows that I use the term "bitch" loosely and don't usually mean it in the real sense of the word, right? I mean, I call a lot of my friends bitches—it's all in good fun :)

    Low-key and comfy—that sounds GREAT to me right now, Barbara! And I looove being able to get away with wearing minimal makeup. It feels nice when my face gets a chance to breathe!

    I'm so glad you had fun last night, Julie! I've heard that as you get older, the superficial stuff becomes less important and you become more comfortable in your own skin—I'm REALLY looking forward to that day to come! And you're right, I know I'm wasting time worrying about unimportant things, too—I need to stop!

    Regarding this subject, I will give New York a little credit. Being a small fish in a huuuge pond makes me always strive to be my best in every area. I just need to figure out how to do that without being too hard on myself!

  13. regarding the word bitch-i love it. has anyone ever read that book "why men love bitches"? it sounds like one of those cheesy 'these are the rules, stick to them and you will have men begging to impregnate you' books-and it is in some respects. the author (a comedian) definitely outlines some loose rules and makes a lot of jokes about dating. the majority of it is tongue-in-cheek, but underneath all that is really something.

    my friend gave it to me as a sort of confidence booster after a break-up, but like to apply it to all aspects of my life. it basically just tells you to be yourself and stick to that. you can't go wrong owning who you are, standing up for yourself, and not taking any shiz from anyone. being a "bitch" in this instance is being self-assured, self-empowered, and living your life for YOU. not being too nice and letting a guy walk all over you.

    sounds reasonable (and obvious really) but how often do we NOT act like bitches? not just in dating, but in life. anyway, whenever i am having a blue moment i try to ask myself "what would a bitch do right now?" silly i know, but it really works-most of the time.

  14. i definitely think the city does that to girls... i know exactly what youre talking about. ive been following your blog for a bit now and i love your writing style.

  15. MA, you are so funny! Can I borrow that book? You could NEVER be a bitch though--I can't even imagine it!!

    Hi Silverspork! Thanks sooo much, you made my day! Do you live in NYC??

  16. of course!! definitely worth a quick scan to pick up some "how to not be a doormat" pointers. and it gives me a good giggle when i am in public and think to myself "i am totally being a 'bitch' right now!"

  17. I'm actively working on getting clients outside of women's/fashion magazines for exactly this reason. I'm already predisposed to overly focusing on my body, and it's not like our culture outside of the fashion world is all "yay!" about accepting all types of bodies. I really don't need to add to it by going in to work every day and reading about diet tips and seeing a ridiculously narrow definition of beauty upheld.

    I think that there are people in the fashion industry who just love fabrics and textures and beauty. They look at it as play; they're having fun; they're using clothing as their artistic medium. And then there are the others: the ones who use fashion as a way of attempting to define beauty for all; who are so into Dos and Don'ts that they ignore what makes any one individual look amazing; who are nervous and anxious and who show it by being that sort of high-strung fashion person we've all seen. THAT is the kind of fashion world I hate. And unfortunately, that's the mind-set that prevails over a lot of the day-to-day workings of fashion--it's a louder, more insistent voice than someone who just wants fashion **for pleasure and beauty and joy**, and so that voice tends to win out in the culture at large.

  18. SO TRUE, WOACA--great points. I definitely need to stop worrying so much about "Dos and Don'ts." I think my personal style has potential, but it's almost like I'm scared to really try!