Good morning on this dark, eerie-warm February morning. We're rounding the corner here on winter, so whatever cold you've been feeling, that is as bad as it's gonna to get. Meanwhile here in south New York, it hasn't snowed once (I don't consider flurries snow). It's bittersweet for me. Sweet because I'm good on winter and can do without snow and the sloshy mess that comes after. It's bitter when I think of the children and how they love it and the earth and how it's loosing it. If this is your first time reading this blog, know I'm concerned for our earth and how it's warming. It's not even just warming anymore, it's straight up burning. If you don't believe it is, maybe you'll believe NASA? If so, here's what they have to say about it: EASY to read Global Warming explanation from NASA. Our home is in need of attention and it's too precious to just gloss over. Thank you for understanding, as I'm sure you probably feel the same way ? 

Welcome to 2023 readers. How's it been for you so far? Did you make a new year resolution you know damn well you'll never keep? Mine was to go "dry" for January. It didn't last, in fact, I remembered I was supposed to go dry as I was drinking a glass of wine, oops. It's all good, I didn't need to go dry because I thought I had a problem with alcohol (this time), it was more because I wanted to focus on exercise and start the new year off "fresh." Since it didn't work, I guess I'm back to being rotten, ugh. Work has been rough lately. While I got promoted at the start of the new year, I also made a blunder at work, which was seen by a lot of people, so it really sucked. It's a long story but bottom line is, I was given wrong information (by accident on the other person's part) and I used it in a report. Myself and my boss understand this, but all the other people, they just see incompetence and I don't have the time nor the want to explain myself to everyone. It weighed heavy on me for a bit and then I remembered who I am and lifted my chin up and am back in the grind.

So that's how my 2023 started. Besides dry January, which was a complete failure, the other thing I want this year is to live life to its fullest offline and out of body. For anyone who remembers from past posts, I've been astral projecting as of late, but it hasn't happened since the last time I wrote about it. Technology can be helpful in life though, such as with digital music, we don't have to schlep cd's around or going back even further in time to when we were "inconvenienced" by music tapes. We used to have to search for them, lift them up, insert them into a slot and then hit play in order to enjoy the sound. So much "work"!? Trees are being saved with technology, as we don't have to to cut as many down in order to make paper, which we used to use print out EVERYTHING. I haven't had a printer in seven years and haven't missed it at all. Happiness is being created by technology, such as when I'm inside my home and start my car seat and steering wheel warmers, so when I get in it's all hot and cozy. The transition of pictures from hard copy to digital was a mess though. This is a case where tech make things harder, in my opinion.

While we have social media to share pictures, it's not like we're going to be relaxing at home with our family or friends and whip out our phone and say, "let's look at pictures!" (Yes, this is something I used to do). We used to be able to do that with photo albums and I had mastered the art of keeping them in life's order. Now it's more of a solo activity. I can't find my pictures from the year 2000 to about I don't know, 2007 or 2008? They're all in old computers and phones. Once the cloud came, I guess it made it easier to keep pictures. It's that dead zone for me where the photos are scattered around. They're forever stuck in those devices. It's way too inconvenient for me to have to turn them on, use some random cable that I don't have, in order to move them to who knows where and how and put them I don't know where. Someday, I'm going to have to figure that one out, for now, I'll keep those machines stored in my closet and junk drawers.

With the cloud, we finally had a permanent home for digital pictures, but that's where they stay. I would like a hard copy of the ones I like the best. As it is now, I have to look through all of my pictures on the cloud to find them or wait until I get the "remember this day" notification on my phone. Hard copy photos that we could touch and feel, taken and printed at that time, came with us to the future. It made life feel more real. I know there are sites now where we can upload our pics and they mail you the hard copies. So much work compared to when I could buy a camera ahead of an event or night out, take pictures, drop them off at the drug store and the day after have a lovely little set of hard pics to hold. Someone should "invent" this...again. I'll leave that for Gen Z, as they seem fascinated by "old" things. We always have instagram; I enjoy the picture sharing but the likes situation gives it a turn for the worst. Is it an app to share our favorite moments or is it an app to see how many likes we can get on our pictures? I've since turned off my notifications and check it when I have nothing else better to do. I do wonder how the younger generation is handling it, especially female teens.

According to Forbes, it's not going so well: Here's How Instagram Harms Young Women. All kinds of problems are coming from it, even though the young try to pretend it doesn't bother them. We all like to look nice in pictures, it's only natural. It is a spectrum however, there are pictures that are real and may not be the most "model-like," but someone's personality may shine through and that too is beautiful. Before social media, young women already had to try to live up to "society standards" by seeing women on television, magazines and on the big screen portraying beauty as the main attribute for women. The "super model" was born before social media after all. When social media entered the chat, pressure to look beautiful was amplified by hundreds. It's causing serious issues such as body dysmorphia, depression, eating disorders and suicide. There has been some interesting accidental back lash against it, with the rise and fame of women who are not rail thin, tall, model types and have found peace with themselves and comfort in their bodies, as they should be. The Queen bee Lizzo has been a leader here and she's so DAMN cute!

People are downright cruel and hurl insults at her after she posts the exact type of sexy photo a rail thin woman will post. The skinny, model looking woman will get all kinds of praise and Lizzo, who has real talent, gets insults...and praise it should be noted, but a lot more insults. Judging women by their looks has been built into our society from way back in history. Men get judged too, but not like women. For men it's different, although it's starting to change too, just as Sam Smith. If you're wondering how it is different for women, first off, are you really wondering? If you are, ask a female or do some research on the #metoo movement. Here are a slew of articles on the subject that will get you right up to speed: metoo movement reads. Women used to be raised to be married off and keep house and if that didn't go well, they had little choices of how to support themselves and some turned to sex work. 

It's no wonder as there was plenty of money to be made. As the sex industry grew, women have been the stars in pornography and strip clubs, systematically keeping women as sex objects. I'm not shaming the female in the sex industry, as it's a way for women to make a lot of money, when faced with little options for a high paying job. I did it, I worked at a strip club when I was young and hot in my 20's, as a waitress, for a bit. I went from wearing a tie and apron and schlepping giant food trays to serving only drinks, wearing a cute outfit, listening to good music, laughing with my friends all night and making triple the money, men tip heavily when they're drunk. It's all about the Benjamin's. The men didn't give two craps about me, as there were half-naked, beautiful women on stage and in their laps shaking what their mama (and their plastic surgeons) gave them.

As an evolving species, we should be getting better and it has seemed to make progress with the #metoo movement, magazines focusing on the actual fashion and featuring women of all body types as models, more health and wellness magazines and apps are popping up and the straight up photo-shopped beauty magazines are slowly fading out. Not bad for just having won the right to vote in 1920! Social media takes all that a giant step back unfortunately. As professionals in fashion, beauty and wellness understand the societal pressures on women, amateurs run rapid on social media. 

There are apps where you can change the size of your eyes, nose and slim the face, it's called FaceTune and it's harmful to the mental health of those who use it and to those who are subject to seeing its fake as hell results. Check out this article by Women's Health Mag about this here: FaceTune is harmful. In this case, technology hasn't created happiness, it's created depression and anxiety. I wish I could stop here; however, I could go on with women having plastic surgery to look like fictional characters and to look like other people all together. According to Psychology Today, in 2018, 18 million people underwent a cosmetic procedure. I'm going to take a "wild" guess it was more women than men and young women at that, which is completely ironic, as wasn't it created for older women to begin with?

There is hope however, as for each teenage daughter there is a parental figure of some sort at the helm (that is the hope) who can give it to them straight

"You're beautiful just the way you are." 

"Wait until you're an older lady to even think about wrinkles."

"All shapes and sizes are beautiful, love your body and love yourself."

"Love every inch of yourself no matter what, always, as your body is beautiful."

"Only say nice things about yourself ever and always, never put yourself down."

"Focus on being healthy by eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise, meditating and gratitude."

"People who judge and say rude things about your appearance are not worth your time thinking about it."

"Love yourself always and always rise back up stronger when kicked down."

Talking to female teens about the subject and hearing these positive messages from their life source is powerful. Teaching them to love themselves as they are and that fake apps are cheesy as hell will help them learn. Being compassionate however, as understanding it's something they will probably want to do. Explaining the harmful effects it could have. If they're going to be on social media, follow people who focus on realness, intelligence and not only those obsessed with themselves and who only post sexy pictures. Unfollow shallow people or at least add in people who care and send messages about the earth, current events, creativity, music, heath, fitness, yoga even. Follow inspirational feeds such as those about spirituality, meditation, wellness, art even or those in the field of their future career. We teach our children about everything else in life and we need to teach them about social media too, because like it or not, it's part of this world for now it seems and something our children gravitate too. 

Teenagers are smart young humans. Not all are blind to what's happening and when a cup is too full, it over floweth. And so we're starting to see the overflow with GenZ rebelling against the monster that is social media. The young people or the "luddites" are saying it's not cool anymore. The movement started on some steps in Brooklyn. These trendsetters use flip phones and get together on Sundays to read books, talk about life, contemplate the universe, draw in sketchbooks and just be. They're rebelling against the constraints of being online and just want to be free. They're happy to be away from their phones, which they said took its toll during lock down. They feel sorry for their parents, who they say are addicted to their phones. Where did the name "luditte" come from? You'll have to read the article to find out and it's here: Luddite Teens article from the NYTimes. The future could be the olds on social media and the young living their best lives IRL. Maybe they'll create something new and better we'll all to flock to or maybe they'll teach us we had it good all along in the before.




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