Photoshop and Filters: Evil or Blessing?

I love it when things go viral these days and it doesn’t involve peeing in a cup or blood test. Thanks to the internet, the term “going viral” has a whole new connotation from when I was in my college (fine, stripping) years.

There’s that one chick who burned her hair off while performing a video tutorial about how to use a curling iron (that landed her on Ellen), Toddler, Jessica’s Daily Affirmation video (with over 19 millions hits), that’s still making waves on the World Wide Web (she’s a teenager now). And who can resist (my all time FAVE) The Evolution of Dance? Not the 232,412,839 (to date) people who’ve seen it!

Those are just three examples of the countless viral goodness we have available at our fingertips (and WiFi connectivity). And thanks to a friend recently, I’ve been exposed to another gem – a video – that’s been spreading faster than herpes, circa Studio 54.

It’s not really funny, tragic or gross (but if you’re into gross, I dare you to check out this Tosh.O Extraction video (WARNING – it’s seriously gross).

No, the video I just learned about is different. I’d call this type of video – EYE OPENING. Literally.

It’s about something we’ve all seen – whether on the magazine racks standing in line at the grocery store, driving past a billboard, or even surfing the net while those ridiculously annoying pop-up ads try to take over the screen. It’s all about, in a word: Photoshop. These

Christine Macdonald

It gets better

Any time we’re faced with adversity, it’s a universal reminder just how fragile we really are. We can only take so much, until weighty challenges suffocate our spirit, and suddenly, we’re gasping for air. Happiness seems like a dream. Maybe even impossible for children who are bullied.
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The up-side, as I mentioned in a recent post, is that with every storm, the sunshine does break through. Eventually. But how do you even begin to see the light, when so much of your life is dim? Where does that type of blind faith come from? Knowing you’re not alone, is a start.
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Believing you’ll get through the hard times in life is so dependent on hearing stories of others; knowing the history of people who not only walked in your shoes, but can share stories of how they drugged knee-deep in the mud.
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Thanks to organizations like The Born This Way Foundation and the It Gets Better Project, countless people are feeling less alone.
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As an adult who spent her childhood being [verbally] abused at home and in school I know all too well, that feeling of wanting to end it all. Ending the pain of simply existing, and fear of never knowing a world where you’d feel normal. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, obese, tall, short or in my case, have a skin disease on your face – if you’re different, its all-consuming.
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But the darkness passed.
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I’m here now to share my story about how I weathered the storm, found my self-worth, and learned the real meaning of Beauty. Today’s radio interview was another step in the right direction in my self-evolving journey, and I knew I’d have a blast catching up with Sophie.
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What I didn’t know was that she’d receive an email from my childhood friend who knew me when:

I met Christine when we were in 5th grade. I was in a new school, a new neighborhood and she was my first new friend. She was nice, and just like any other girl our age in the late 1970’s.

We started high school in 1982. Christine was still just like any of us except that she had acne, really bad! People stared to call her all kinds of names, and I’m not talking behind her back! (although there were all kinds of rumors about her going around) Guys would yell from the 2nd floor over the railing”HEY PIZZA FACE! “or moon face, crater face, etc. They would yell things like this and much worse, as loud as they could at her…then people would start laughing. Or if they would be walking behind her or passing by her, people would make a comment about her or just say something mean. At first I didn’t really think about it but after a while noticed this would happen pretty much all day, everyday! Her sister didn’t seem to care about what some of her friends were doing to her little sister. Kinda looked to me like she was really mean to Christine too.

In the beginning I would see her just trying to get through the day and go to class, but after a while I didn’t see her much and figured it all got to her so she started cutting school.

It wasn’t until Facebook and re-connecting w/ my childhood friend, that I heard what had become of her after high school. I would have never imagined that would become a drug user and definitely not a stripper (of all things). Continuing to have hard times of a different degree in her 20’s.

Now when I see or hear the name Christine MacDonald I see STRENGTH and in my mind I kinda feel like a kid in school saying…”nah, nah, nah, nah! you guys didn’t beat her or keep her down! ”

TO CHRISTINE I SAY….

You must be so full of pride! ur doing what thousands only dream of, turning all the shit from the past into a positive ‘here & now & into the future! WAY TO GO!! the ‘buzz’ about Christine doesn’t have anything to do w/ rumors or drugs anymore but the strength and talent of a beautiful lady!! ♥ it!

I couldn’t stop reading it.
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She was there, she noticed, it was real.
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As I fought back tears of gratitude, I took a moment to celebrate how far I’ve come – and immediately knew I’d share this story.
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This post is a love letter to my childhood friend, and to anyone struggling, suffering, or gasping for air.
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Please know it gets better. We’ve got your back, and can’t wait for you to share your story for the next generation who needs you.

Christine Macdonald

In the eye of the beholder

 

Sometimes life throws us lessons so powerful we need to take a moment.

Last night Kevin and I were watching a documentary on the Discovery Health channel about man with facial tumors covering more than half his face. It was fascinating and heartbreaking to watch the interview. I’ve never seen anything like it: massive tumors taking over the landscape of someone’s face. One of his eyes looked like it was welded shut and his mouth was so distorted it looked like it was painful to speak.

As doctors worked on removing the tumors, I started to cry. It made me think of the countless surgeries I’ve had on my skin and how I felt each time the bandages came off. How my scars would never be completely removed. Watching this man’s face bandaged up as he looked in the mirror was moving on so many levels. The end result was less than perfect but he was so grateful and happy with the results.

The documentary continued as his wife and children were interviewed. My first thought was wow – he was able to accept his flaws and find love. His dynamic personality was also impressive. I was in awe.

If you’ve ever watched The Real Housewives’ of Beverly Hills or Orange County (where I live) and thought some of the women were a little over the top – you aren’t alone. It’s an amusing thing to live so close to people who think beauty equates to money, a certain dress size or how much Botox you have. Not everyone is caught in the Beauty-Trap here, but you will find women like that in these neighborhoods.

And then you have this man. This man who embraces his life and feels grateful for his family and health. He jokes with his daughter about being on a Top 100 Most Handsome Man list. He knows what real beauty is and through his interview, reminded me of it too.

After the show, I looked at Kevin and wiped tears from my cheeks.

“Wow. That really puts things in to perspective.”

We all must live with the cards we were dealt. Why not embrace our differences and learn to accept one another as unique beauties in our own right? Thanks to this documentary, I am learning to do that just a little more.

So tell me: what is your definition of beauty?

Christine Macdonald