Thursday, June 30, 2016

Body Image

Before we start, let's take a page from the Positive Bunny notebook:

During the summer, it can be easy to get swept up in the wave of aesthetic pressures and expectations enforced by the media.  I'm noticing more and more now just how much of the media is driven by advertisements and the need to "sell" things, and while I do admittedly enjoy movies and magazines and even some television shows, I always have to make a point of it to remember that most of what is shown in the media is highly edited. Advertisements and photo shoots, etc., don't show us reality--they show us an artistic interpretation of it, and they often intend to sell us something.  I keep thinking of an episode of Mad Men when Don and Peggy are trying to develop an ad for a so-so product and someone realizes that the best way to market it is to make consumers feel like there's something "wrong" for them that the product can "fix."  By nature, we are generally unsatisfied with ourselves, and our insecurities enable media messages to swoop in and convince us that a) our flaws are unacceptable and b) they can be cured (for a price, of course).  I'm not trying to point fingers or be a hater (I enjoy finding the right shade of concealer just as much as the next person does), but it's really very sad when media messages and advertising get so stuck in our heads that we lose sight of what's really important and develop completely distorted perceptions of what's "normal" and "real." Our standards become skewed--all of a sudden, we think that anything other than a toned physique and unblemished skin is unacceptably imperfect, and sometimes we even become so obsessed with achieving the "ideal" that we let go of everything that used to be important to us, our physical and mental health included.  Happiness becomes less and less attainable the more addicted we become to "perfection," and what's really crazy is that the idealistic image we're striving for isn't even real. It's the result of a lot of editing and fine-tuning, and it's pretend, but we let it control our lives and make us feel guilty over normal little things like pores and wrinkles.  This needs to be the summer that we free our minds and free our lives so that we can actually enjoy them and do meaningful things with them. No, photo editing software, you are not in charge of what we think is beautiful, and we will appreciate our bodies and our lives no matter how much you want us to believe we need to look a certain way or buy a certain brand to be happy.  Image doesn't equal happiness.  Experience equals happiness.  Love equals happiness.  And a magazine ad is never going to love us. 

<3 Frances

Monday, June 27, 2016


I decided to title this post in Spanish because today's a big work day and one of the things I need to do this summer is read Introducci├│n a la literatura Latinoamericana (in addition to several other books).  As a book-lover, I don't think of reading as an assignment but rather as an opportunity, so I'm excited, but I also need to prep for other classes that are a bit more daunting (AP Bio, cough cough).  But that's okay! It's summer, right?  And we have good music:

Birdy: "Wings"
Vampire Weekend: "Hannah Hunt"

Jack Garratt: "Worry"
Something else that I've been thinking about a lot lately is purpose/all that stuff. I have a stack of cards on my desk from Doctors Without Borders, and I was reading the first-person anecdotes of some of the volunteers, which are so incredibly moving and inspiring (even when they're tragic).  One of the anecdotes was about the Ebola epidemic, and I wanted to share it here.  It got me thinking a lot about the meaning of love, etc., and how, in the end, all that really matters is that we showed love for those around us and were positive. The material stuff is just material stuff in the end, and it's memories and moments that count.  I know all this has been said before, but it helps to hear it again, I think...especially at the beginning of the week :). 
"Another time, a 15-year-old girl was inside the isolation ward for over a week, along with her seven-year-old sister and her mother, who was very unwell at first. But then they all started to get better When, finally, the girl's Ebola test came back negative, she had a shower in chlorine to disinfect herself, changed into new clothes, and was discharged.  That was a wonderful moment--to see that and to know her mother and sister would soon be well enough to join her." -MSF Doctor Hannah Spencer
Sending love for your Monday.

<3 Frances


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Strawberry Moon

I'm working at a camp all week and am completely exhausted after yesterday, but fatigue didn't stop me from getting excited about the Strawberry Moon.  The June full moon happened on the Summer Solstice this year (yesterday), and that hasn't happened since 1948, the year my grandmum was born.  It's truly amazing to have gotten to see a rare astronomical event like that (even if through a fog of clouds) because, for all I know, I may not even be here the next time it happens. And "Strawberry Moon" is an adorable name for an astrological occurrence, isn't it?  Native Americans used the moon cycles as a reference for farming, and the "Strawberry Moon" meant berries were ripe.  #funfact
I'm sending love for everyone's day today!

<3 Frances

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tuesday Playlist

These may have been out for a while now, but we've got them on replay this week. Sending the Force for everyone!

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness: "Cecilia and the Satellite"
Lukas Graham: "7 Years"
Hozier: "Take Me to Church"
<3 Frances

Sunday, June 12, 2016


I don't quite know how it is that I've managed to find it more difficult to post now that the academic year is over, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I've got summer work and am also now doing more organizing, etc.  I also keep coming up with ideas for posts and then thinking I've posted them, LOL, even though I actually haven't (writer's imagination problems).   
With all that said, I've been doing some more literary research lately, and I recently came across writing by Antoine de Saint-Exupery's wife Consuelo.  She wrote "La Rose du petit prince," an autobiography about her life and her times with Antoine.
I know I've posted about Frida before, but I also recently saw the film Frida, and I was very moved by the scene in which she climbs to the top of the temple with Trotsky despite all their physical pain.  A lot of people are in pain, but they don't show it.
Also...there's some very tragic news this morning, and I'm sending the Force for everyone who is struggling or suffering right now.
<3 Frances 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summertime Playlist

Happy Tuesday! 

Lana Del Rey: "Blue Jeans"
Modest Mouse: "Float On"
Shearwater: "Natural One"
The White Stripes: "The Hardest Button to Button"
<3 Frances

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Jill's Library: World War I Poets

I once got so excited talking to historical archaeologists and special collections librarians during a field trip to a career expo that I didn't even realize that my school had moved to a different exhibit until I looked around and didn't recognize anyone.  Needless to say, it was a bit scary, but hearing about historical gardens and Edgar Allan Poe's transcript made the momentary fear entirely worth it. If you're a bibliophile, too, I'm sure you understand where I'm coming from :).
I'm sharing this anecdote because this post is a more literature/history-focused one.  I recently rediscovered my mum's collection of World War I poems and poets, and I fell totally in love with it (again).  There is something so moving about reading a poem by someone and then reading their story, and it's particularly tragic to learn that they died shortly after said poem was written.  Reading the beautiful words of Wilfred Owen, for instance, it was difficult to imagine he was killed only a week before the armistice was signed in 1918.  Writing keeps people alive by preserving voices and thoughts and moments, and the fact that so many of the early 20th century's greatest writers had their lives cut short by the very subject they wrote about--war--is so incredibly horrible. Reading about the war also really helps to put into perspective all of the things going on in the present.  While it is crucial to think about the good in the world, it's also necessary to recognize the bad, and there is a lot of struggle and suffering right now.  I often wonder what poetry--be it written or merely felt (because, yes, you can just "feel" a poem)--will arise from all that is happening today.
(Siegfried Sassoon)
<3 Frances