Saturday, May 4, 2013

Video Evasion

"Video killed the radio star, 
video killed the radio star...
pictures came and broke your heart...
we can't rewind, we've gone too far..." 
~ The Buggles

Be careful when you put something out to the Universe - it may come back to you in a way you didn't quite expect.

From my perfectly pixelated video in L.A...

I'll be honest.  I have been in video evasion mode for quite a while.  I could have started putting out videos of at least portions of my conference talks from at least 2010, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  I had all kinds of excuses, some of them actually true - you can't hear that one at all, this one was filmed at an absolutely horrible angle, oh yes, and that one too, and that one - and then there's the one where a friend and I artfully set it up in Los Angeles to be as flattering as possible, right after a New York image consultant had astonished me with how she did my makeup and hair, and I was wearing a rather expensive, quite honestly awesome dress - even so, I asked my friend to zoom in to make it as forgiving as possible - the zoom didn't work right on my "on sale at Kmart for 70% off" camera (before I had an iPhone), and it's so pixelated, you can barely make me out at all, plus there is hardly any sound.

Ok women out there, you know it, many of us are intensely uncomfortable on video.  And it's true, video is unforgiving - it's unforgiving because we are bombarded with images of Size 2 women on video, and so that's how we think we are supposed to look.  We simply can't forgive ourselves for not even coming close to fitting the illusion.  And ironically we actually perpetuate the illusion within our society by not participating in video at all.

I'll be honest.  This surfaces some real issues I'm working through.  I used to be one of those Size 6-8 women who could eat anything, anything at all.  I remember going out to lunch in my late 20's with a friend who was watching her weight, mystified as she explained counting fat grams to me - I had never heard of doing that.  I had not just whole milk in my refrigerator at home at that age, but the extra creamy whole milk (not even sure they make that anymore), and I could drink a lot of it with virtually no impact on my weight whatsoever, even with relatively limited exercise.  I could basically eat anything I wanted (though I tended not to eat many desserts) in whatever quantity I chose.

Then a day came when that changed drastically during a time of health challenges.  One of the medications apparently changed my metabolism (or it was just a coincidence of entering middle age or having Dairy Queen next door during a divorce ;-) - and that was the end of that.  The weight came on, to an uncomfortable degree anyway...and it wasn't "me" at all.

Not having done diet plans my entire life like many women do - in fact, I had never even thought of doing one - I had absolutely no idea whatsoever how to deal with the issue.  Thankfully I halted the ramp-up by, yes, shifting my diet (and walking the hills around my home), though that's still a work in progress.  Plus my health is much better now, thankfully, and I can't even remember the last time I picked up a prescription at the pharmacy.

Perceived miracle day.

It's always something though, isn't it, these flaws which torment us so.  I actually had a different problem when I was young - not my weight, but issues with my skin (one wonders if all that heavy dairy had something to do with it!)- and I did all sorts of things to hide it.  I prayed, prayed, prayed my skin would be perfect on my Wedding Day, and miraculously, it was - and eventually, the entire problem mostly went away.

My sister warned me a while back "You know, it comes back in your late 40's."  Great!  Wonderful!  And yes, now I'm dealing with that too, to a degree, though not quite like in the past.

So fast forward to today...and back to unexpected responses from the Universe...and yes, this is a blatantly honest, "I just can't take caring about this anymore, so I'm putting it all out now" kind of free flowing post.   I actually told a friend just last week I was going to start doing videos.  My plan was to artfully do the videos of course in as flattering a way as possible.  The Universe had other ideas, thank you very much.

I just got home from a fundraiser for the local medieval festival I'm a part of.  There is only one costume they have given me to use, and quite honestly, some of the styles are not particularly flattering for most women, and this one is not the best - I really could use a different size or style. And to top it off, my skin is breaking out a little, and that always makes me a little uncomfortable.

"Can I take a picture of you?" the festival Facebook community guy asked.  "Sure, I said, but be sure it's flattering." (I sensed he really wouldn't know, as he gave me a rather puzzled look.)  And then I realized he didn't want to take a picture - he wanted to take a VIDEO, and indeed he did...I wasn't at all prepared for it, rather stumbled over my words.  Then I was asked later to do the presentation representing our group, very spontaneously - and I saw him filming that too.  What is so ironic about this is that I really have no significant issues with going up and talking in front of people.  I don't think about my perceived shortcomings all the time.  And I can generally look in the mirror and smile, even today.

But video.  It just "kills" me, quite honestly, I can't take it. 

I have no choice now.  It's done.  We can't rewind.  I will be on video quite soon on the internet (almost certainly) in one of the last dresses I would choose to wear...and imperfect in more ways than one.

And so the real work begins.  If I really don't feel so self conscious when talking to people in day to day life, if I really can look in the mirror daily without cringing, then what's the problem?

It's perception.  It's what I have allowed the unspoken "norms" of our society to do to my own feelings of how I'm "supposed" to look to be accepted.  I may not be a "radio star" exactly (though I'm doing quite well in the minor leagues), but I have allowed my evasion of video to "kill" a great many things.  It's my choice to change that.  It will take a bit of courage.  Did I mention I have some videos going all the way back to 2010?

P.S.  The answer to last night's riddle?  I'm sure you probably got it.  A table.

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