Monthly Archives: December 2015

Body Impolitic’s 2015 Guide to Sane Holidays

Laurie and Debbie say:

This annual list is (mostly) for folks who celebrate the upcoming holidays, and are fortunate enough to have people and resources to celebrate with; if you don’t fit that group, skip to the bottom. If you do fit, then even if your family are your favorite people and you look forward all year to the holidays, you still may find useful hints here.

1 – You have a right to enjoy things in your own way. To the extent possible, do as much or as little holiday stuff as you want; it’s supposed to be a celebration, not an obligation.

2 – Spend time with people who know you’re awesome. If you must spend time with people who are toxic, remind yourself three times (out loud) in your last alone moments before seeing them that they are toxic. Then do something really nice for yourself the minute you are out of their presence. (If they are not just toxic but abusive, here’s some excellent advice.)

3 – Eat what you enjoy and don’t eat what you don’t enjoy. Desserts are not sinful, they’re just desserts, and relatives who push you to eat (or not to eat) are not in charge of your choices. If you have a history of eating disorders, or currently struggle with them, this may help.

4 – Wear what you think you look terrific in; accept compliments and ignore digs about your clothes.

5 – Plan your responses to inevitable comments beforehand. Try not to spend energy on the digs, because they probably aren’t going to stop. For example, if you know that your sister is going to tell you, “for your own good,” how unbecoming your hairstyle is, be prepared to say, “I appreciate your concern. Excuse me, I really want to catch up with Uncle Harry.”

6 – If you think kids are fun, they can be a great escape from the adult follies. If kids drive you crazy, keep your distance when you can, and try to keep your patience otherwise: they didn’t overstimulate themselves with sugar and toys.

7 – If you have enough to give to someone who has less, do it. If you know someone who is having a crappy holiday, even if you are too, taking a moment to do something for them that they will enjoy might make you feel better, if it feels right to you.

8 – If you hate the holidays, or they make you sad, you’re not alone. Participate as little as possible. They’ll be over soon. If you’re wishing you had someone (someone particular or folks in general) to spend the holidays with, treat yourself with special care. If you’re a volunteering type, that can work, but so can staying at home and taking a bubble bath.

9 – Be effusive about every gift you get; then be discreetly rude about the awful ones later to your friends. If they’re really awful, throw them off a bridge in the middle of the night.

If you are looking for interesting reading, here’s the 2015 version of the Best Culture Writing list we linked to last year, with lots of chewy, thoughtful essays on progressive topics. And here’s Longread’s best of 2015, another great resource.

If these aren’t your holidays, have a great Chinese meal and enjoy the movie!

We’ll be back in the beginning of the New Year.

Portrait: Woman in Shadows

Laurie says:

I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend (who does not want to be identified) and I was watching her as we talked. I was fascinated by the aesthetic of the intricate way the shadows played through the window and on her face and clothing.

I told her about it, but obviously she couldn’t see it. I realized that, of course, I could take an iPhone photo and show it to her. So I took a black and white photo of her and her surroundings. I’m not the kind of photographer who carries her camera looking for opportunities. My work has always been planned in some way. The landscape work I’ve done has always been on specific photography trips.

When I got home and looked at the image again I saw that there was potentially good art. The iPhone camera is making a difference in terms of spontaneity but this is still, so far, the only one I would consider good art. So when I realized that I did the appropriate work to make it happen. The work made some subtle and significant changes in the background but neither the woman nor the shadows were touched. There is an authenticity that is always important to me.

It’s the first fine art portrait I’ve done in a long time.

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Interestingly the more expansive version is my preference in the photographic print. But on the web I prefer the closer portrait. The shadow details work better on the web in the closer image. In the photograph they work beautifully in the larger image. The medium matters.