Snapchat Dysmorphia

If you follow the news, like I do, there’s been some recent coverage on a rising problem in the age of social media, and it’s called “Snapchat Dysmorphia”. Basically, it is when people are going for cosmetic surgery so they can resemble the filters on Snapchat and other social media apps. In other words, people want to look good on their selfies so badly they are willing to go under the knife for it.

Yikes. It’s really sad that social media and its fun – just for fun! – filters are contributing to people’s insecurities. I think social media is meant to be fun, and to share ideas with, and be social with people in every corner of the globe. Maybe that is just me. But I do find it sad that social media is driving people to spend thousands to look like filters.

I mentioned before that it takes a lot of guts to do a lifestyle blog and Instagram account. It puts you out there for criticism and even ridicule if you are not perfect. I am not thin; I have some weight on me. I know it is only a matter of time before someone calls that out in a mean-spirited manner. Who know how I’ll react to that. But I hope it won’t lead me to totally hate my appearance.

But what is perfect? Does perfection exist? Isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder, and even the beheld? What is beautiful to one person is not to the other. Beauty is subjective. All these people getting surgery just to resemble their filters may not be so beautiful to someone at all. They are spending so much money and energy toward perfection when in the end, perfection does not exist.

And really, true beauty is found within. I confess it has taken me over 30 years to figure that out. When I was a teenager, I thought I was the ugliest thing alive. When I got contact lenses for the first time at age 18, I wanted cosmetic surgery because I felt awful after seeing my face sans glasses. For much of my early 20s, I was upset my parents wouldn’t get me a nose job.

But eventually, I outgrew all these worries and insecurities. Why? Well, part of it is because I found other things to worry about. They include: work, paying bills, making enough money, having good health and a good set of friends that have the same values as I do. Really, when real-life problems come along, I mean real problems, the way your face looks takes a back seat.

Another reason why I outgrew my insecurities is because I began to gain self-esteem and self-confidence in my 30s. With that, I began to feel better about myself and that also means what I saw in the mirror. Granted, I feel self-conscious about my face sometimes, especially as I edge closer to age 40. I am self-conscious about my puffy eyes, the wrinkles beginning to form on my forehead and so on. But what saves me is that I realize that I have more to offer the world than just my face. I have a good personality, good values, a good sense of humor, and so on. To be short, there’s more to me besides my face.

And that is why I find Snapchat Dysmorphia so sad. It’s true our society puts a heavy emphasis on what we look like on the outside rather than on the inside. But no one is in charge of your life but you. You are the most important person in your life; you’re your own boss. Don’t let the words of others get under your skin. OK, OK, easier said than done, I know. I may be talking out of my a** now, but I am just sharing what I’ve learned. Hopefully, it help someone out.

But trust me on life’s real problems. They do make you forget your physical insecurities. Believe me.

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Loving The Skin I’m In

I have to admit doing a lifestyle blog takes a lot of courage. Not only are you putting yourself out there to random strangers worldwide, you also are showing what your body looks like, even if it is not supermodel beautiful. It makes body issues arise, especially if they are there to begin with.The-Dark-Pearl-Blog7.8.18

I measure 5’8″ and weigh somewhere around 185 pounds, which is a lot. I’m not thin; I have a bit of a belly along with heavy thighs. Somedays I do not care, other days I accept my body, and other days I feel upset about the way my body looks. It is especially not easy to fully accept my body as it is because I used to be thinner. Only two years ago, I was wearing a size 6 and weighed about 165 pounds. But a combination of side effects from lifelong medication and overeating due to stress, I am a bit pudgy now. Sigh.

I used to compare my body to that of the lovely Kate Upton. Like her, I have large breasts, love handles and a nonexistent butt. But since my weight gain, I wonder if we really do have similar bodies. Because if she’s still hot, then so am I !

Some say love the skin you’re in. Others say embrace body postivity. I follow some lifestyle bloggers like Noelle Downing who speak about having a positive attitude towards your body, no matter what it looks like. Her posts give me strength to post photos of myself, despite not being slim.

So, again, being a fashion/lifestyle blogger takes bravery. I guess that is why I took time off from this blog. Besides being busy with life, I also felt insecure about how I looked in my photos. Making sure I took the right angles and positioned my body well took the fun away. But I am hoping with this time around, I will be more confident and courageous enough to show my body as it is. Hey, perhaps I can talk about how to dress when you have a few extra pounds!

We shall see…

 

 

Well, Hello There!

I know it has been a long time since I’ve blogged here. But I am ready and committed to doing this blog, especially since it is the new year, and a new me! IMG_4198

I took some time off from blogging because life had gotten too busy. I moved from Staten Island and returned to Brooklyn after a nine-month hiatus. I then was super busy with work, and job hunting. These days, I am still doing pretty much the same, but I am focused on doing this blog in order to keep my sanity as I work and search for a new job. I’m sure many of you are aware that looking for a new a job is not easy, so anything to reduce the stress – in a healthy matter, of course! – is necessary.

Plus, I want to do this blog because I have a whole new attitude these days. Before, I was kind of glum and unfocused. But now I am more upbeat and focused, and I want to share that with others what I have learned.

Another thing that is new is how I am viewing fashion and beauty. I’m really coming out of the dark, so to speak. But that doesn’t mean I’ll be changing the name of this blog. I still am The Dark Pearl. I still like dark colored-clothes, even though I have been leaning a little bit more towards more color in my wardrobe. Yes, my experimental semi-goth days are done. However, I still love gothic jewelry, and the color black, so that remains. So, maybe I am not really done after all!

I also plan to discuss my love of coffee shops. I’m in Brooklyn after all! I’ll be sharing my thoughts and reviews of coffee shops around this borough. I’ll also give my reviews on fashion while I share my own fashion loves. Meaning, I may just review fashion shows and red carpet events. It is award season after all.

Anyway, I am back and here to stay!

  • Megan

Letting Go of Grudges

As 2017 gets underway, I am aiming to do better than I did last year, and this time, I am determined to do so. There’s a lot that I do want to repeat from 2016. Among these are bearing grudges against those who harmed me.

Last year, I carried a lot of weight from previous years around, and it took a toll on me. I ended up suffering from deep depression, angry outbursts, and cynicism. While I knew I was better off letting go of what was done to me, rather than holding on to it so tightly, I simply couldn’t let go of the grudges. I felt it was justified. After all, I had been slandered, bullied and harassed. I was scorned for things I did not do. I suffered a severe mental breakdown as a result.

So why not carry around a grudge? I had every right to be angry at those who hurt me.

But as the clock struck midnight this Sunday, I was beginning to realize that if I wanted a better year and better me for 2017, I needed to let go. I needed to let go of all the anger I had. That anger was not doing me any good, and it certainly was not hurting those who had hurt me. They went on with their lives, unharmed and unaffected by what they did to me. It sucks, but that’s reality. Karma is supposed to be a bitch, but sometimes it is unreliable.

As for me, I was turning into a moody, angry and/or depressed person. You know the saying, “refusing to forgive is like swallowing poison and hoping the other guy gets sick”? Yep, that was what I was going through. And if those who had hurt me were to know I was still suffering, I’m sure they would’ve laughed.

So, I am taking steps to let the hurt and anger go. It is not doing me any good. It is not making me healthier. It is not making me happier, more confident, or more nicer. It is making me unstable, unreliable and unhappy. I’m still letting those who hurt me have power over me.

It is good to know that forgiveness is not about trusting someone or willing to be friends with them again. I think Lauryn Hill said it best with this song:

It is not easy to let go of grudge, but I think the key is to soften up one’s pride and ego, and stop playing the victim. Of course, we were all victims once of someone’s malicious ways, and we have a right to be angry. But after a while, that anger turns into victimhood and it doesn’t turn you into the best of human beings. And honestly, do you want to be as bad as those who had hurt you?

Sometimes Jesus Christ’s teachings about forgiveness sounds absurd, even to this Christ follower, but in the end, holding grudges no longer makes sense.

One day at a time, I’ll be letting go. I want this year to be so much better than last year. And I can’t have that if I carry my grudges.

I’ve learned that carrying grudges ruins your self-respect because you’re allowing those you don’t even like to have control over you. I remember one church sign that read: “He who angers you controls you.” If you don’t like someone, why give them control over you? And turn you into a mess?

Let it go…