This Good Girl Needs to Get Lost.

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I guess you could consider this a book review, but that sounds fancier than I’m willing to stretch this. I honestly just feel like openly chatting about a book I recently finished (as in last night at 2AM). Not all books I read leave me yearning to become the authors best friend. Sometimes when I read the last page, I have larger questions in my head after being immersed in a fictitious life. But memoir is different. It’s a retelling of someones life experiences. Yes, it may be embellished, but you’re getting to know the author first hand. Which is why after finishing The Good Girls Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Freidman, I immediately Googled her, found her website and starting skimming more of her pieces of writing. I tend to have this problem when I read because I always want to become best friends with these unattainable people. Like hey, how’s it going, can we hang out and eat Oreos all night?

The Good Girls Guide to Getting Lost is a travel memoir about a young Rachel, who decides at the age of 20, to leave her American life and the expectations that come with that. Before her senior year of college, Rachel moves to Galway where she spends her summer working in a pub and drinking copious amounts of Guinness. Sounds great right? There Rachel meets Carly, a travel guru and major adventurer from Australia. Flash forward a year a half, and Rachel receives her college diploma, a piece of paper that weighs the amount of all of her fears and doubts for the future. Then she gets a call from Carly and decides to visit her in Australia. The rest is an account of Rachel’s life in Australia, her insecurities and contemplations about life post graduation, and a extremely treacherous but adventure filled trip to South America with Carly. 

Are you starting to see the connection here? If not, I’ll spell it out for you. Having recently graduated, moved back home, and started working as a part-time waitress and nanny, I jumped when I read this books description. A 20-something with a degree and no clue what to do next? HELLLLOOOO. sounds like me and about half the American population of 20-somethings that graduated in 2015, 2014, 2013…you get it. I hoped to find a little encouragement in this memoir. Maybe a little reassurance that I’m O.K. where I am right now. Deep down I know I am. I’m settled in my life right now and with other options on the horizon, I really, truly am not freaking out. At least not most days. And when I do, there’s always a friend to call and a bottle of Cabernet to drink. 

So rest assured, I was mostly intrigued by Rachel’s ballz to travel ALONE. There’s no safety net in traveling alone, no shoulder to cry on when your luggage gets lost, or your wallet stolen, or your flight cancelled, or your bowel movements go for a roller coaster ride (yes, these are the things I worry about, especially that last one). Anyway, what I loved about this book, was that Rachel let her fears hang out like laundry on the line. Every misstep, every curve ball, you got to read the panic, the thoughts in her head and the revelations when she came back down from it. What I loved was that through these experiences you got the sense that she was really trying to live in the moment. That’s something I’m always striving for in my life, and through travel, I can see the importance of it even more so. I’m itching for an adventure like Rachel’s. I have fears and inhibitions, but that’s the whole point right? Right. 


“What I found on the road was a tiny piece of myself, the one I kept unknowingly sheltered for so long in order to play the many roles I thought were mine.” -Rachel Friedman 


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“I want to say to all the young women out there, there are
going to people along the way that are going to try to undercut your success,
or take credit for your accomplishments, or your fame. But if you just focus on
the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get
where you’re going you’ll look around and you will know that it was you, and
the people that love you, that put you there and that will be the greatest
feeling in the world.”

-Taylor Swift, 2016 Grammy Acceptance Speech 

she slays. that is all. 

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Life in Plastic, it’s Fantastic!

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January 28th, 2016 was a
day that changed for American beauty ideals. Well, let’s be honest here. It
changed for Barbie. The popular doll that has been sold on toy-store shelves
since her debut in 1959 took a turn toward the 21st century. What
has changed? Her body. Over the years, people have grown tired of the figure
that Barbie possessed. Her tall-big-boobed-small-waist frame was not only
deceiving, but unrealistic. Researchers revealed that if Barbie were a human,
she’d be 5’10” and weigh 110 pounds. Her measurements would estimate a 39" bust, 18" waist and 33" hips.

Just last year, a new line of
Barbie’s were released offering dolls in eight different skin tones, 14 facial
structures, 22 hairstyles, 23 hair colors and 18 eye colors (Time Magazine). I
agree with this. Barbie’s blonde hair, blue-eyed features do not highlight the
reality of American women and girls today. It’s unrealistic to point to the original
Barbie and say: “That’s what an American girl looks like”. After 56 years it
was time for a change. But when does it go too far? When do we stop and let a
toy, be a toy?

Now, Barbie is offered in three
body types: curvy, tall, and petite. What would normally be a time to clap in
rejoice that body ideals are now being represented realistically, I couldn’t
help but scratch my head for a minute. It’s not that simple. Of course part of
me is wildly happy that Barbie is now being made into body types that represent
what real girls look like. We have to realize however, that Barbie is a fictitious
character. Does she have an impact on societal standards? Most certainly. Is she
who we want as a role model for the younger generation? I would hope not.  

It’s important for fictitious
characters in movies, TV shows, and toys to represent a healthy standard for
young girls in America. This means diversity all across the board: body type,
skin color, hair color, etc. But at what point are we going to stop and say: “It’s
just a toy. Barbie isn’t a real role
model.” Personally, I’d much rather teach my future daughters to look up to
real women in American society that represent healthy ideals: Oprah Winfrey,
Sophia Bush, Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, Lena Dunham, Lisa Ling…the list
goes on and on and those are just some of the women I look up to personally. By
changing the figures of Barbie, the company is pushing for mothers of young
girls to base their standards of beauty off of a doll.

What’s infuriating for me is that
this idea came to the company during a time with Barbie’s sale were
significantly dropping. Barbie sales dropped 16% in 2014, a huge jump from the
3% drop in 2012, and the 6% drop in 2013 (Time Magazine). Mattel is competing
with other outlets, including Hasbro’s rights on the Elsa doll from the wildly
popular movie Frozen. The company knew
they needed to make a change or Barbie was going to fall off the market. Was
this change for the benefit of young girls or the company? I’m not naïve enough
to know capital gain controls much of our societies decisions. It’s a dog-eat-dog
world, or in this case, a doll-eat-doll world.
Has Elsa from Frozen made a
HUGE impact on society the last few years? Yes. Has Barbie made a large impact
on the last 50+ years? Yes. Are these real women we can look to for advice,
guidance, and understanding of the world? Not exactly.  

What’s also baffling is that these
three body types do not even come close to the reality of a woman’s physique.
Where is the Barbie with large hips, a small waist, flat chest and muscular
arms? Where’s the Barbie with short legs, a long torso, a large chest and round
legs and butt? I’ll stop because you get my point. Tall, petite and curvy don’t
come close to the diversity of women’s bodies. It opens a can of worms to
expect dolls to really emanate female figures. In a conversation recently with
a friend, she mentioned that comparison in school isn’t going to change because
Barbie is now curvier, taller, or shorter. Unfortunately, we can’t control that
young girls are going to see differences in their bodies. Will the new Barbie’s
help young girls views on the differences in themselves and their peers? Maybe.
I’m not disregarding that this is a step forward in order to help bullying
problems. However, the issue is far more complicated than what it is being
reduced to in this case.

This is a hard piece to write for
me. As someone that is open about my opinion about society and body image
issues, I thought I would be thrilled when I started seeing articles announcing
the change. But something didn’t sit right with me from the beginning. I had a
gut feeling that something was off. Then I started to feel guilty. I can complain
about societal standards, than when something is done, I’m still not happy?
Talk about feeling ungrateful, hypocritical, and hard to please. But the more I
thought about it, the more I realized my gut was telling me something for a reason. Some may disagree with me, while
others may realize that there is more to it than changing Barbie’s figure, and
if you’re the former, that’s OK. I embrace healthy discussion. For now, I’d like to consider Barbie’s retirement party. Imagine all the pink! 

until next time, 

xo Caroline

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749 Words on Why Corsets Suck.

Source: zoehalephotography


During
one of my Instagram scrolling binges the other week, I came across a picture of
a beautiful woman- very well known, very famous, very wealthy- posing in the
mirror wearing a waist training corset. As a celebrity that I have always
looked to as a strong, independent, and smart young woman, I was disappointed.
I was disappointed in her decision to promote a product that is inherently
damaging to the female physique. Amidst my disappointment in her choice to
shape, what I believe to already be a beautifully curvy body, into an even more
dramatic hourglass, I thought: “What’s happening to body image these days?” As
a young 22-year-old woman that has always been aware of the flaws of her own
body, I am always looking toward strong females in today’s society that promote
healthy ideals in young girls.

It’s
2015, by now, most of you have heard something, anything, from Lena Dunham. Or
have caught bits and pieces of Emma Watson’s speech for United Nations,
promoting her campaign HeForShe. It’s an inspiring time to be a woman of my
age, it is. Which is why waist-training corsets are not only physically
damaging to women’s bodies but are a cultural backpedal.

Waist
training corsets for those who are picturing an 1800’s style silk and ribbon
cut version, are exactly that. They are found everywhere these days. When I
typed it into my search engine, over 500,000 results came up. I had options of
spending anywhere from $20 to $130 on a
structured piece of fabric meant to hold in my stomach fat. No, thank you.

What’s
the point you ask? The point is to achieve a full hourglass figure, a small
waist leading to larger hips and a curvaceous butt. Picture Marilyn Monroe, but
go bigger, more dramatic. Here’s where the conversation get’s sticky. Monroe’s
figure during that time was sexy, and beautiful, and I still believe it to be
just that. I am in no way, putting down or shaming curvy bodies. Hell, you’re
looking at a woman that has always been curvier than her friends, taller, and
just generally larger. I have learned to love certain aspects of that. Am I
100% confident and sure of my body? Hell no. We all have struggles, whether we
are thin or curvy. I’m not putting down any body type. I’m simply putting down
the idea of using a corset to alter the body from its natural form.

Using
a corset to curb appetite or shape your waist has side effects that woman need
to be aware of. Consider what is happening on the inside when putting on a
corset. The lungs are being constricted, organs are being pushed and shoved,
and the ribcage is receiving added pressure. According to Health.com, wearing
waist training corsets can actually decrease core strength, which is inherently
the opposite of the flat, tight stomach woman are wishing to achieve by using
these products. Research has also found that cinching the waist tightly won’t
make it permanently smaller. Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of
ob-gyn at Yale School of Medicine says: “Once you take the garment off, your
body will return it its usual shape. It’s also uncomfortable, restricts your movements, and if you wear it really
tight, it can even make it difficult to breathe and theoretically could cause
rib damage” (Women’s Health Magazine).

Women
have busy lives, they are raising children, starting businesses, traveling,
tending to love ones, and kicking ass in general. So it’s natural to resort to
an easy, fast approach to shaping their bodies. Maybe they are self-conscious
of post-baby stomach giggle, or they just really enjoy Reese’s PB cups (raises
hand). Either way, learning to live a healthy and natural life is difficult, but
waist training corsets are not the best approach. Accepting your body for its beautiful flaws, now THAT is fearless.


I
always hesitate in writing pieces like this and posting them publically. There
will undoubtedly be other opinions, facts that I missed, audiences I didn’t consider
and not to mention, my own bias based on perceptions of my own body. But by not
speaking, by not writing about something I am passionate about, I am disserving
myself from free expression, and potentially losing 1 person (crossing my
fingers it’s more than that) that may read this and learn something and pass it
along to a friend or sister. Even if it is just one person, it’s worth it to
me.  

Keep on ladies, keep on.

xo, Caroline


Websites for more
information:

http://www.columbiachronicle.com/opinion/article_318e57fa-c9ed-11e4-be8e-5b8fcf3f31b6.html

http://news.health.com/2015/03/10/what-is-waist-training/

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/waist-training

Other fun stuff I’ve been
loving lately:

http://www.lennyletter.com

http://bust.com

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If We Had Met Another Time

Thought Catalog

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If I had met you when I was 14, it would have been in the pages of my diary.
Your jawline would be page 4.
A dedicated paragraph to the amber flecks in your eyes,
Page 6
How I was absolutely sure your hand lingered just a teeny tiny bit when you handed me my test in class:
Page 10.
The devastation of being so young and so sure I had fallen in love with you would be page 20.

Page 32.
Page 54.

You would be the first chapter that I rewrote and rewrote until there was a plot line that ended with you kissing me.

If I had met you when I was 16, we would have been a set of illegal fireworks.
You would have been that summer night that never ended.
We would watch the moon swap with the sun
And touch our stars.
On the…

View original post 309 more words

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Vent sesh on a rainy monday with Dunkin coffee.

We are all tired, busy, distracted, and fighting something. Maybe not all at once or every day but life is hard on all of us. Some peoples worries may be smaller than others, but again, life is hard on all of us. I’m tired. I’m busy. I’m stressed. And I wish our culture accepted this more. We are “on” all the time, tightly bound and expected to present ourselves a certain way. God forbid I don’t get out of bed until noon because I just can’t or I shut my door to the world for a few hours because I can’t bare the thought of interacting with a human that’s not behind a Netflix screen. We’re all tired, we’re all busy, distracted, and fighting something. And I just wish we were all kinder because of this. Does it not simply make sense to just be kind, gentle, forgiving? it’s certainly a lot easier than the effort of being harsh, demanding and insensitive. 

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because we won’t ever have a coffee date…like ever.

Honey Bees

Like bees buzzing in my head

it brings me back

to honey dipped kisses

under star scattered skys 

and rhythms of your breath

with closed eyes

cream colored skin and

feather lashes curled to the sun.

Years of deadening silence

may quiet the resonant ring

 slowly fading like the distant hum

of a passing yellow jacket a breath

from my ear.

But recent sting is just so,

to forget the sweet

and to see the smashed

 jars of gold

dripping in syrup globs

on wood. 

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