Sometimes We All Need a Good Whack With the Empathy Stick

Leonardo DiCaprio

I was reading an article on a random website, as I so often do in search of internet awesomeness, and I came across a link to an article claiming to reveal what Leonardo DiCaprio was looking for in a woman.

I couldn’t resist.  I clicked.

I vaguely remembered that he was only a few years older than me, so I was curious.  I’m going through a divorce, after all, which sometimes leaves me with a strange voyeuristic curiosity about the love lives of others.

Leo told CBS This Morning that he was looking for a woman who had “humility, a sense of humor and not a lot of drama.”  The article also mentioned his reputation for only dating supermodels.

My incredulity showed itself with a sound somewhat similar to:  Pfffttt!


Supermodels with humility?  And a sense of humor?  And not a lot of drama???


You’re lookin’ in the wrong crowd, buddy…

But then I stopped laughing, as suddenly as I’d started.  Wait… was I just … judging?  That one thing that other people do that I hate more than anything else?


I’ve become so accustomed to looking to the internet for humor, that I sometimes forget that I’m reading about real people.  And I spend so much time reading about others putting people in boxes that I sometimes forget to stop myself from categorizing.

Why can’t models be humble and funny and drama-free?  Because they’re not portrayed that way in stereotypical roles on TV and in movies?  Because that’s not how their faces read on the runways or in magazine ads?

But that’s just a part they play.

Somewhere beneath the face they show the public is a real person.  A real woman.  And that’s been a hard concept for me to grasp and to come to peaceful terms with.  A concept I know many still struggle with.

And that’s totally understandable.

I grew up surrounded by pictures of models in magazines that established my guidelines for what beauty was supposed to be.  I remember the rage I felt when I was older and first understood what Photoshop could actually do.  How angry I was when I realized that all those movies I’d watched growing up utilized things like filters:  Doris Day had freckles?  Brad Pitt had acne?  I had no idea.  I thought everyone in Hollywood really had perfect, smooth, and flawless skin.

I came of age long before HD magnified the imperfections of the world.  The imperfections I’d been sure had only existed on people like me, people who weren’t beautiful and who never would be.  Those movies and magazines were the reason that I was so sure, even when I was young and 116 pounds, that I my ugly, fat, pimpled, and hairy self could never be accepted or admired or loved.

But, for probably the first time in my life, I’m happy.  I know I’m beautiful.  When did this massively oppressive negative self-image dissipate?  I’m not sure exactly.  It’s been a long road.  But somewhere after pushing out two kids and escaping from an abusive marriage, I’ve finally found myself.  And not just peace, but a true and deep joy.  Something my younger self never imagined.

Not that my life is some sparkly, giddy rendition of a Disney musical:  I have some truly terrible days… but underneath it all I have this glowing core of hope and happiness.  Yes, it’s been a very, very long road, but I’ve finally found a version of myself that actually feels right.  Free. Happy.

And I wish I could stand on a street corner and pass out little burning globes of happiness to passersby.  But I don’t think they sell those things at the local drugstore.  Unfortunately, I think we all have to find happiness on our own.  And I wish it wasn’t so hard.

I wish that things like photos of skinny supermodels in magazines weren’t the more readily available comparisons for ourselves.  Because real women have curves.  AND, real women do not have curves.  Real men are rugged and muscular, AND real men are skinny and metrosexual.  Skinny or fat, male or female (or a little bit of both) – we’re ALL beautiful.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses and special imperfections that make our uniqueness beautiful.

And we don’t need to make fun of other people to feel better.  But we DO need to practice empathy more often.

I wish I could shout this shit from the rooftops, because we all need the reminder occasionally.  But I don’t have a suitable rooftop for the job, so my blog will have to do.

So here goes:

You are beautiful.  You are passionate and exciting and talented.  You are a miracle.  You are a Child of God.  You are loved.  You are cherished.  You are powerful and gentle and smart and kind.  You are strong.  A survivor.  A fighter.  A lover and a protector.  You make this earth more beautiful with your existence.  You are precious.  You are sweet.  You are deep and full and desirable.  You are worthy.  You are worth fighting for.  You are worth waiting for.  You are strong enough to be on your own and powerful enough to give yourself to another.  You are independent and vulnerable and soft and radiant.  You are allowed to be happy.  You are beautiful and you are allowed to show it. 

Know that:  you are beautiful. 

Understand that:  you are beautiful. 

NEVER be doubtful of the fact that, above everything else: 

You are beautiful.  

And you may not feel like all of those things some days.  On your worst days you may not feel like any of them.  But never forget that you are, in fact, beautiful.  And know this:  I think you are beautiful.  And I passionately hope and pray that you will find your beauty and happiness for yourself.

And I truly hope Leo finds what he seeks, too.

You Are Beautiful

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(Read the article I referenced here: Leo: What I’m Looking For In a Woman)

Beautiful Words

beautiful words

I love words.

I love what they represent, but, more than that, I love them for what they are.

Words are beautiful.  Amazing.  Mismatched stings of letters that describe and determine everything that does or could exist, even if these things exist only within the words themselves.

It’s why I love books so much.  An entire world within my hands, within the pages, within the words.

And it’s not just fiction that has the potential to be beautiful.  Life itself is such a wonderful gift, but so many people use words to make it miserable and wrenching and  desolate.

It shouldn’t be that way.

Oh – I’m not perfect.  I’ve said my share of horrible things over the years.  We all have.  But we all have the gift of free will:  the potential to better ourselves.

Sometimes it’s hard, but we truly won’t see the blessings that surround us every day unless we look for them.  Unless we open our eyes and we smile.

Unless we make the choice to be happy.  And to share that happiness.

And words are there, waiting to help us share it.  Because every time you put words together you have the opportunity to make something beautiful.  Something happy.

You have the choice of bringing forth happiness into this world, or bringing forth despair.

What a powerful choice that is.

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More Beautiful for Having Been Broken

kintsukuroi to repair with gold

Saw this image on Facebook today.  Can’t get it out of my head.

The thing about this word is, I really do find the dish more beautiful then it would have been without the gold.  Still beautiful before, but even more so now.

Kind of reminds me of the Princess Bride, where, in the first chapter, Buttercup learns of Westley’s death and she suddenly becomes the most beautiful woman in a hundred years.  Because she was “a great deal wiser, an ocean sadder.  …understood the nature of pain, and beneath the glory of her features, there was a character, and a sure knowledge of suffering.”

Granted, the Princess Bride is one big, long satire, but it leads me to wonder how much wisdom there is in that thought.  In that concept of becoming more beautiful for having been broken.

More confident, for what I’ve been through, certainly.  More self-aware.  Saddened by my current circumstances, but continually gladdened by my blessings…

But more beautiful?

I suppose that depends on your definition of beauty.  If that definition includes confidence and happiness, well, then I guess I’ve been through the kintsukuroi process, too.  :)