Did I Just Land The Colbert Bump?

This morning whilst taking my chai and catching up on The Daily Show, Rachel Maddow and The Colbert Report, I noticed something quite awesome. While doing a bit about sponsoring Wheat Thins, I may have been given the coveted Colbert Bump for my yet-to-be-published-or-even-picked-up-by-an-agent book, Technical Difficulties. In the tags at the bottom of the video clip I saw the title of my book! Don't believe me? Here's a screencap of my computer at that blessed moment.

So yes, dear readers. Thus begins my path to stardom and a corporate gig with Wheat Thins. Stephen, call me any time and we can talk about books, Lord of the Rings, politics or the awesomeness of Maurice Sendak.

*Stephen Colbert, ViaCom, the Colbert Report, Wheat Thins, Nabisco and any of their affiliates have not sponsored this material nor have their employees ever heard of me or my book. The picture is real, but had nothing to do with me. Just laugh with me, okay? 

Draft Zero

Four weeks ago I started writing the rough draft of my new book. It's the first in a 6-book arc that I'm calling Etudes in C#. Well, today I finished draft zero of "Technical Difficulties". It came in short on words (just under 60k), but the basic story is there. And that's what matters.Everything I write teaches me something. There have been several lessons with this one, but the biggest, most prominent truth I've learned on this one? TELL THE DAMN STORY! I usually have a horrible time getting a rough draft out into the world because it's hard to give up editorial control in the name of telling a story. I have a hard time allowing myself to suck. Right now, though, the zero draft is done. It's not pretty. It's got a few thin places, it's got some glitches and kinks...but it's done. I told the story.

Story is king.

And now, I'm going to enjoy some Dr. Who and dark chocolate to celebrate.

Unilever: The TSA for your T&A

So, it's no secret that I adore Stephen Colbert. Taking my morning chai with last night's episode...yeah, that's a good start to a day. It's also no secret that I've struggled with self-esteem issues for a lot of my life. I grew up the fat kid. Being taller than most of my classmates for all of elementary school and shopping in the plus size section didn't exactly help when the pretty kids made fun of me. Even after I grew into myself and lost and gained weight (rinse, repeat ad infinitum) I constantly fight with the voice in my head telling me I'm too fat, too hairy, too pale etc. So, you can probably guess that I was thrilled to see my beloved Colbert tackle female insecurity. Take a look.

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Buy and Cellulite
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Seriously, Dove? Are you kidding me? The same people who are doing the "Love The Skin You're In" ad campaign, the same people who are saying that little girls shouldn't be ashamed of their freckles... you're going to start giving us new ways to criticize our own reflections? You're brandishing insecurity and using your brand status as authority. You're no better than other made up regulatory groups out there. You say you know what beauty is and think you know what's best for us. This, though, this is the last straw. This is bullshit.

Look, the irony that I was plucking my eyebrows whilst listening to the Report this morning is not lost on me. I'm a woman and I've grown up with these ideals (however ridiculous and unattainable they may be) thrust upon me from all angles of media. While I like to say I'm enlightened and that I don't need to lift-and-separate; have calves that pop with the perfect strappy sandals; have smooth, poreless skin; have lustrous, full-bodied hair without a tinge of grey...but only on my head, no errant eyebrows, chin whiskers, armpit or leg hair.... *deep breath* that voice in my head still tells me that my reflection isn't good enough. That I need to lose a quarter of my body weight before I reach "pretty" because beauty and fat do not coexist.

I have a daughter. She is 5. She tells me I'm beautiful because she doesn't have these societal inhibitions. She doesn't "know better". She goes to school wearing green and orange paisley print pants and a pink shirt and sparkling pink shoes because that is what she wants to wear. That's what makes her comfortable and that's her style. She isn't embarrassed about it, she doesn't care. She doesn't worry that she's too thin, tall, short, fat, thin...she just wants to be herself. Hell, on Halloween it's hard to get her to dress up because she is so damn comfortable with who she is she doesn't feel the need to pretend to be anything else.

I am jealous of that.

She doesn't know any better? She knows best.

Why do we do this to one another? Why do we give one another new things to be insecure about? I'm a writer, I'm insecure enough as it is. Why do we have infomercials about laser hair removal, back fat, crow's feet, full-grey-coverage? And really Dove? The same people who tell us to LOVE THE SKIN YOU'RE IN are just going to give us something new and completely stupid to worry about?

Fuck you, Dove.

You had me when you started that campaign. I loved you for it. The idea of turning the tide...telling fashion magazines to go fuck themselves because beauty is in every woman, not just Size 0 airbrushed, photoshopped blondes. Why do we do this to each other?! There's got to be a woman working at Dove or Unilever or Vogue or whatever who can just say, "This is demeaning." There's got to be a way that we as consumers, women and men, can say "FUCKING STOP!" This is not okay. Fueling insecurities, making new ones, giving power to that most critical voice in a girl's head... it's not okay. It's psychological abuse at our own hands. It's self-esteem suicide. Don't buy into it.

I know, it's easier said than done and I know that this is coming from someone who uses Biore pore strips on my too-large beak of a nose and constantly laments the 60 pounds I've gained since I had my daughter. I'm not perfect (but then, the ad companies are banking on that), but that doesn't mean I should be made to feel even worse about bullshit problems that don't exist. When I went home from school crying because the other kids called me a beached whale or fat ass or whatever the particular epithet was that day... my parents told me that it would change. That people wouldn't always be that way. Seeing this latest in frippery...I think my parents may have been wrong through no fault of their own. We're still picking on one another. We're still doing our damnedest to feel better about ourselves by belittling each other. Stop. Just stop.  I've said it before and I'll say it again. You are stunning. You are the stuff of stars and you are meant to shine. The hardest part is believing it, isn't it?