Tag Archives: Health

What’s love s’got to do, s’got to do with it?

Last weekend an article on my facebook feed caught my eye. ‘Happy in your own skin’ sounded like something I wanted to read: I love a bit of body positivity!  However this article wasn’t quite what I was expecting…

‘Happy in your own skin’ compares same-sex and mixed-sex relationships, and claims,

Personally, I think that the reason for success in many same-sex relationships is that we are a lot more comfortable with breaking certain barriers than those in heterosexual relationships.

And personally, I disagree on many levels. The writer comes across as struggling to justify how special women’s relationships are with other women. Now, I don’t know who she is trying to justify herself too, but I think that the Diva audience is probably already convinced. That aside…

Companionship

When my girlfriend came out to her mum, her mum replied:

We all need companionship.

And I feel like this is the territory that the writer has accidentally slipped into. It seems, although I’m sure unwittingly, to reduce the ‘special-ness’ of women’s relationships to our ability to squeeze one another’s spots, shave each other’s legs and use the toilet in front of our partners. Now, if that’s what makes you happy, that’s fine, but that does not represent my relationships and after doing similar ‘I asked my friends’ research, it doesn’t represent the queer women in my life’s relationships. This representation of women’s companionship harks back to the quaint image of village ‘sisters’: loyal companions who would never really know love, romance, or passionate lust.

Now my rainbow sisters, who hasn’t indulged in a bit of shower chat? Who hasn’t been caught short and nipped in for a quick wee? And who hasn’t let a partner pop their spot every once in a while… (I actually haven’t but you catch my drift). The thing is this simply isn’t what make your relationship special. It is not their reason for success.

Relationships are special because of the people involved in them. They’re special because those people enjoy spending time together doing the things that they love. They enjoy developing and growing as individuals within the parameters of that relationship. And sometimes they’re special because you have really good sex. Love, lust and anything in between is unique to the person feeling it. And if I’m honest, at the tiny age of 23, I have no idea what keeps people together in the long-term, but I’m on a mission to find out. For now I can almost definitely say it’s not spot popping. I can tell you about my personal experience as a self-confessed serial relationshiper and what I think that this writer should have focussed on.

Happy in your own skin

The older I get the more comfortable I am in my own skin. Aged eighteen I would have felt self-conscious to change in a public changing room, meticulously shaved my legs, and wouldn’t leave the house without make-up. These things have all changed.

I mean I still love make up, but just to Tesco? Too far. Photo by Miss Mareck: http://tinyurl.com/mjfmwrv

I mean I still love make up, but just to Tesco? Too far.

Photo by Miss Mareck: http://tinyurl.com/mjfmwrv

 

Not only this, but I’ve stopped valuing myself against my personal appearance. As a young(er) woman I am acutely aware that I was in relationships which did quite publically value me for what I looked like. Getting older (and only by five years, life is a sharp learning curve) I realised that my looks would only last so long and I was going to have to learn to love the person I was, no matter what it’s packaging was like. Learning to lose some of my insecurities, learning to love (or at least like) myself as an individual and learning that some people will never be pleased with you, taught me to be comfortable in my own skin. And with this comfort and confidence I learned to be comfortable in my relationships and I suspect that is far more key to a long-lasting relationship.

For the original article please see: http://www.divamag.co.uk/category/comment/opinion-happy-in-your-own-skin.aspx

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BEAUTY 101

The dreaded moving out season has finally begun and a recent peak at my girlfriend’s bathroom stash got me thinking about her take on all things beauty. A small snort exerted when I remembered that she is in fact the least interested woman that walks this earth when it concerns the cosmetics world. In fact she only looks confused whenever she hears the words ‘makeup’ and ‘Boots’ and she’s been known to turn around and walk the opposite direction when I mentioned ‘Space NK’. To be fair my purse wishes it could do the same thing.

Writer's girlfriend grimaces.

Did someone say Clinique?

It has to be said this is all irrelevant when it comes to face masks. Oh she loves face masks! She’ll happily throws on 2 or 3 after another during a face mask sesh… She has a particular fondness for those Montagne Jeunesse gems that come in just about every scent in the world. But her day to day routine consists of a dab of whatever body or face moisturiser she has on hand being slathered onto her face, along with a splash of whatever freebie sized perfume is kicking about and she’s out the door, leaving me shaking my head in bemusement and swapping said questionable moisturiser for an appropriate replacement in her absence.

Since moving in together –don’t gasp just yet it’s just for the summer!- she’s been exposed to all sorts, the ‘triple-threat-Sunday-night facials’, the 30 minutes evening skincare routine and bedtime beauty ritual and even the unsightly facial hair removal (and she’s yet to pack up and leave –score). The accumulation of these events plus the endless pottering around John Lewis, Boots and the rest has made for some seriously entertaining one-liners from her part. Watch out for those gems later on, but for now I’ll let you in on some beauty basics. Think of it as a “beauty for beginners” lesson, and with skincare being my favorite topic of all, grab a coffee and get comfy!

It’s been a long while since I’ve been trying to perfect some kind of routine which works for me –but suffice to say that some basics apply to all, regardless of skin type, texture, colour etc. I’ve mixed things up A LOT since my addiction began, it’s the same but different with a few well-placed newer addictions in there. So if your skin is still battling it’s way to ‘normal’, with the odd spot of dryness around the eyes and oiliness on the T-zone, this current combo of products (which I might add take approx. 6 minutes to throw on without any snack breaks in between) might just help keep everything in check. My mantra is hydration, no grease pools! Niiiiiice!

The Basics:

Cleanse:

Cleansing balm. I use the Emma Hardie one and I’m in love with the stuff. I’m on the 2nd tub in about as many months and let me tell you it’s not going anywhere! Any decent cleansing balm would do the job just as well to be fair, but this one happens to smell and feel amazing on the skin and when you flannel it off your skin feels nourished but clean: the winning combination in my books! Take a pea-sized amount, rub in between hands and really go to town with it! Work it in! When that’s done, run a flannel under some warm water, massage it off and voila.

Tone:

Spray toners are so much less faffy to use than liquid bottled toners, no cotton pads required, just spray on your skin, inhale the goodness and boom, the end. The one I’m currently loving at the moment is the La Roche Posay Serozinc spray, it’s a zinc-sulphate solution  (check me out going all chemical on you) which is known for its mattifying and purifying properties. If you’re more of an oily gal like myself def don’t skip this step out, think of it as the VIP step. The blurb on the back even says you can use it for nappy rash… Read into that what you will :s

Serum:

Serum is an absolute must if you’ve got even the teeny tiniest bit of dehydration. And let me tell you, unless you’re somehow necking down 3L of water daily (and if you are tell me how!) then chances are you will be. A good readily available option is Hydraluron, it contains a shed-load of hydraluronic acid molecules –the key to skin hydration. That dewy glow is only 1 Hydraluron tube away.

Moisturise:

The grand finale. This is the step where you can really mix it up a bit depending on your exact skin type, if you’re having a no makeup day etc. For oilier skins I’d recommend straying far far away from anything with the words ‘rich/nourish/deeply penetrating’ on the box. Keep it simple and aim for an oil-free matifying counterpart, something like Garnier Moisture Match ‘Shine be Gone’. Cute name too. If you’ve got more ‘normal’ skin then this category is your playground! And if your poor skin is starting to dry up then search high and low for something with natural oils and essences. Origins make fab ones with millions of plant extracts and then some.

PS: If you’ve managed to read this far, congrats! You deserve this final piece of knowledge… SPF. Whether you’re staying, going out, shaking it all about, apply that SPF!!! There are different textures out there to suit every skin type, as a rule of thumb I’d stick to spray ones for oily skins, light textured creams or gels for the in-betweeners and whatever takes your fancy for you drier skinned girls. And whatever you do, pleeease don’t buy into that SPF 8 ridiculousness. SPF 50 on your face only! Check out my cool rhyme: sun is your skin’s archenemy, so use fifty!

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Fat: a lesbian issue?

Recently I have read three separate articles about the similarities between the oppression of fat people and the oppression of queer people. The most articulate being  ‘Fat liberation is totally queer’ from one of my favourite blogs Autostraddle. I think that these comparisons are interesting, but as far as I’m concerned,  miss the point, well actually the three points.

The Point (Part 1).

As far as I’m concerned a big bit of this problem is that we all base a number of our day to day choices, actions and decisions on physical appearance. Marked against some kind of fantasy sexy-scale stored in each individual’s mind.

Number one of these decisions is our choice of partner. In fact we become so obsessed with our partner’s physical appearance, that the word ‘attractiveness’ are often used as synonymous with our judgements on the sexy-scale. As the author of this article points out that,

Yes, fat people can get married, but many thin people would not consider dating, let alone loving and marrying, someone who is fat.

Now this is ridiculous. Our appearance changes hugely over the span of our lives, your tiny, thin girlfriend may become your fat girlfriend, or vice versa. So we might as well go wild and pick someone you actually get on with. This is bad judgement, foolish maybe, but not really oppression.

The Point (Part 2).

What is oppression is the view the author discusses that women are, in their everyday lives, discriminated against. Forced to take verbal and physical abuse. Told they have less of a right to be happy than other women. Made to feel less worthwhile or valuable because of their body shape, size or appearance.

But let me tell you.

This is not just a fat issue, it’s a body issue.

Now for those of you reading this that know me, you will know that I am teeny. A size four (Miss. Selfridge sizes), 5″2 and weighing in at less than 8 stone. And this I will tell you is not as a result of extensive dieting or obsessive exercising, in fact I eat tons. I am made this way. I have always been small, and I probably always will be. And as a thin lesbian I face a pretty similar problem.

Going about my daily business I have frequently had people accuse me of having an eating disorder. Almost strangers (often friends of friends) quiz me on what I eat, how much, and how regularly. Frequently refusing to believe me when I tell the truth. People close to me blame my disastrous immune system on my weak physical frame. And one particularly delightful individual in a pub once grabbed my collar bone and exclaimed they could,

“snap me like a chicken!”

Me: “I’d rather you didn’t”

The problem is that as a society we place strange values on people’s physical appearances.

Other people: We treat people differently according to their appearance. No genuinely, I notice it. I can nearly never reach the top shelves in supermarkets. Now, if I’m in Tesco, hopping about trying to reach down my museli with my make-up on I can guarantee given about two hops and someone will step in and help out. But in a hoodie, hair up and no make up and I’d hop forever and go home museli-less (fortunately I have gotten good at shelf mountaineering, fear not, I have my breakfast)

Ourselves: I go to the gym three or four times a week (when I’m being good) and I will tell you some of the most destructive conversations I’ve ever over-heard have been in the changing room as women talk about themselves. About the parts of themselves they hate. The exercises they are going to do to change themselves. And the happiness they look forward when this change has been made.

The Point (Part 3)

We value physical appearance above health. Namely, I imagine, this is because judging people’s appearance is far easier than having a constructive conversation about health. But also because we’re all buying into the sexy scale to some extent or another. In fact, our judgements of ourselves against the sexy scale are often the only thing that will motivate us to do some exercise or reach for a salad. Not because we care about the state of our hearts. Because we want a smaller bum / legs / arms / tummy / whatever.

Being healthy (with our food, our exercises and our minds) is not a solo effort. And it’s not easy. I have to admit for most elements of health I haven’t a clue what to do to make myself healthier. I usually go with what makes me feel better and assume that’s right. Health is often about the food we can afford to eat, the exercise we can afford the time to devote to and the supportive (or not so supportive) communities that we live in. And it starts with education and a community responsibility to help one another to be healthy.

Fat liberation is not a queer issue, in as much as body image and health are people’s issues.

 

So let’s talk health.

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