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"Lifecycle musings"

With friends like these....

Tuesday, 26 June 2012 04:18 by Sharon

As a newbie blogger, it occurs to me that I am putting myself out there, coming out of the shadows, as it were. Not that my opinion can ever be construed as truth; just the musings of a person who has inhabited on the planet for a spell, a blip in time. With a loop of many thousands of the same thoughts each day, gyrating like a hoolahoop, I can express what feels real to me or I can share what others have expressed. I can analyze, process, lament, celebrate, joke, muse.

One subject that angers me, a bugaboo of sorts, is jealousy. I have it, you have it, we all at some point have to process the feelings of someone having while you don't. I suppose it's natural to assess where you are and what you have in relation to someone else, especially comparing oneself to someone within similar parameters (same gender, same demographic, same career, same family, same community, etc.). Compare and despair.

Jealousy and envy, here goes:

1.jealous  resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another's success or advantage itself. 

1.a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc. 

In my years as a jeweler, I used to be wary when a customer would walk in with a "friend," to supposedly help them choose a bauble. I never studied the percentages, nor do I want to make a blanket statement about female envy. Suffice it to say, I have always wondered the motivation of a friend whose "puss" can ruin the purchase of something special that makes another woman look and feel fabulous. I have seen this type of sabotage over and over. And while I wanted to make a sale, no doubt about that, I never wanted to sell anything that didn't completely enhance a woman's appearance or make them feel special. A jeweler knows the importance placed on a luxury item. It is an identifier, a symbol of how they value themselves. It is highly psychological. Plus, now that women buy their own jewelry, no longer relying on men to determine their worth and taste, jewelry can be a symbol of self image and worldly position. So, the question is why do other women, friends want to influence that? Are they offering their opinion in your best interest? 

Sometimes they are, but other times, I am skeptical. Jealousy, envy all in the guise of caring for what they say are protecting you and your dollars. Hmmmm. Maybe. A few months ago, I was asked to go with a friend to Vera Wang to look at dresses for her destination wedding (which, shameless plug, I will be officiating). I sat on the plush sofas while the salesperson brought out the dresses my friend chose and a couple of others that were similar that the salesperson thought she might like. My friend is beautiful and her body is flawless. "A Vera Wang bride" the saleperson called her. It was a happy occasion and I brought my discerning eye to the event. Luckily. My friend looked lovely in most, but looked exceptional in two of them. Two different looks which brought out different sides to her personality; one was sexy and womanly, the other demure and feminine. Both parts are an integral part of her and she had to figure out who was getting married that day in a pronouncement while the other hovered in the sidelines, no less important. 

At one point, the salesperson thanked me for being such a good friend as it was a positive experience all around. I had no agenda. I laughed imagining what a relief it was for her to have someone so acutely aware of what the salesperson goes through. I explained that I was a former jeweler and experienced more judgement from women towards other women, I am sensitive to how to be productive and supportive in these situations. The salesperson lamented that some appointments border on cruel, the future bride is vulnerable, smiling in her dress, only to look at a field of frowns. With friends like these......

That said, I would be remiss if I didn't say that friends think they are being helpful and sometimes they are. I love a discerning eye, but it's the spirit in which the opinion is given. I have had friends who rescued me from questionable purchases, the grounding voices of reason and I can't possibly forget that it was actually two girlfriends with their toddlers in tow in conjunction with my mother who knew immediately (before I did) when I put on what was to become "my wedding dress." That, and a strange guy who spontaneously knocked against the store window on Madison Avenue to shoot me a thumbs up while I looked stunned.

 It is constructive criticism which fosters dialogue. It can be fun and joyous. We can laugh at the things that look ridiculous and gape when they take our breath away. Or, we can be assholes. And the difference is: jealousy.

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You Go Girl

Monday, 11 June 2012 04:52 by Sharon

A friend of mine the other day mentioned that she ran into a mutual friend who she told me lost a ton of weight, as she put it. My response was, "Oh, she's getting married. That's why." What brides do to prepare for the special day is daunting. The self-imposed pressures; facials, Botox, cellulite removal, teeth whitening, Brazilian Keratin, the list goes on and on! "It's all about the photos," one of my brides confessed to me when she was stressing about a beauty treatment.  I understand the importance we place on the "snapshot," the photos that eternally portray us. I suspect that if I had a nickel for every bride who needed their dress refitted before their wedding day, I'd be able to upgrade to a larger apartment on the tony Upper West Side of Manhattan. That, by the way would include my first marriage where I coincidentally went on a cleanse for a health ailment and lost over 20 pounds. It was the fitting from hell. Was it a precursor for the marriage from hell? 

People still tell me, after 13 years how good I looked on my wedding day, my second and hopefully final marriage. My typical response is that the planets aligned and the gods conspired that day. Or, I say that it was the last time I looked decent. Nobody ever denies it that vociferously. And yes, it was immortalized in photos, my best looking day ever. Suffice it to say, yes, we have an album, high up in some remote closet. There are no framed portraits of that day aside from a 4X6 that my uncle gave me. We are snapshot deficient. But, I am happy to say, my pre wedding dress fitting went by smoothly as my weight was unchanged. I celebrated well leading up to the day even though I couldn't get much food in my system THAT day. 

All this, to talk about curves. Back in the '70s, when I was a mere lass, the androgynous look was in vogue. It sported the fashion magazine covers. Breasts were flat, hips non existent. I hated myself for having both. If someone had told me that one day my curvy body would serve me well, I didn't or couldn't hear it. Although, I do remember an older yenta with a NY accent at a swimsuit and lingerie store in Ft. Lauderdale referring to my figure with my pre-offspring C-cups as my problems. Problems, really? My friend corrected her and told her that they were my assets. I would like to say that she lost the sale, but I actually bought some skimpy bikinis that ended up defining my look for years. I now have the benefit of hindsight, but if I only knew how potentially desirable I looked! You never know when things are good. If only girls were taught positive messages back then. I wasn't. Oh, did I add that my own mother was one of those "asset free" speedy metabolism skinny types? She wasn't at all helpful.

Flash forward to the now: yesterday, my daughter ran in a 5k race as part of a program aptly called Girls on the Run. It is a nationwide non-profit organization which created a 12 week program for young school-aged girls to empower themselves through fitness, specifically working up to the goal of a race. 450 girls attended it citywide. The organization celebrates girls and enables them to promote self-esteem. I confess to having been teary-eyed as I watched. I was touched and overjoyed. My gorgeous, curvy daughter is learning valuable lessons about image and self love that were absent to me at her age.  In a world where education is failing us, technology is dividing us, and profits are ruling us, it is nice to see where life can actually improve. Incidentally, my daughter ran the race with her dad. My knees have been compromised by Aikido, a martial art where I have been throwing people twice my size for 24 years. I found empowerment my own way. What does all this have to do with getting married? I get the whole photo thing and I concur. We want to remember our wedding day at our best, a true milestone, knowing how much we weighed at the time, what fit, etc. But, please know that you're already beautiful because you are you and you found love that is worthy of exploration. As the photos are relegated to the closet, you are what's left. 


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