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Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

The other day I ran into a photographic project by Dina Goldstein titled “Fallen Princesses”  while reading my daily blog fodder.  Goldstein decided to place our beloved Disney Princesses in the real world, dealing with modern day issues such as: illness, addiction, self-image issues and war.  I think the final product is a thought provoking look at our obsession with fairy tale endings. Below are some of the photos from the series:

Cinder 3

Snowy

Rapunzel  II

Belle

 What do you think of Goldstein’s interpretation? Do you relate to any of the “Fallen Princesses” in the series?

 

Click here to see the rest of the photographs in the  “Fallen Princesses” project.

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Oprah & Whitney

I was one of the many millions that tuned in earlier this week to watch the Oprah Winfrey & Whitney Houston interview. I’ve been a huge fan of Whitney Houston for as long as I can remember.  And like the rest of America, I was in shock as we witnessed her plummet into the dark world of drug addiction. It was nice seeing Whitney looking (and acting) sober , and as beautiful and radiant as ever.  But for me,  the most revealing thing about the interview was  to hear about her codependent/ coaddict  relationship with Bobbi Brown.

Here are some excerpts from her interview with Oprah:

Oprah: Was he jealous of you?
Whitney: He’s not going to like this, but yes.
Oprah: Then did you try to overcompensate?
Whitney: I tried to play down all the time. I did. I tried to play: “I’m Mrs. Brown, everybody. Don’t call me Ms. Houston.” 
Oprah: You started to dim your own light?
Whitney: Yep. Sure did.

….

Oprah: Were you happy?
Whitney: No. … I wasn’t happy with the marriage. … I was losing me into that by trying to be pleasing.
….

Oprah: So we were talking about how [you did] light drugs before The Bodyguard and then after Bodyguard
Whitney: Oh, got heavy. Because I knew then we were trying to hide pain.

Oprah: When did you know that the marriage was not gonna work?
Whitney: I just knew. I was like, “You don’t smell right. You don’t look right. Something’s going on.” And then all this other stuff started coming out about him being with this one or that one or being too promiscuous. Dragging dirt into my home.
Oprah: Did that hurt you? Were you offended by it?
Whitney: It disturbed me. I was disturbed.
Oprah: Did you believe it?
Whitney: Yeah. Because I checked. I didn’t look for it, but I checked.
 

….

Oprah: Did the drugs give you any sense of relief?
Whitney: At times. Don’t forget, there were some times we’d laugh our tails off. We had a ball. Sometimes you do have a good time. But when it gets to the point where you’re sitting in your home and you’re just trying to cover what you don’t want people to know. It’s painful. And then you want more just so that you don’t let anybody see you cry. Or anybody to see we’re not happy. …

….

Oprah: You said you realized that the marriage was going to be over. Did you then make a decision that “I’m gonna get myself out”?
Whitney: Yeah. I remember saying to God one day, I said, “Give me one day of strength.” Because I was weak. I was so weak to [Bobby]. I was so weak to the love. I was, like: “This is love? What is this? What am I into?”
Oprah: Were you weak to him or were you weak to the drugs? Because the world’s perception is you were weak to the drugs.
Whitney: He was my drug. I didn’t do anything without him. I wasn’t getting high by myself. It was me and him together. You know, we were partners. And that’s what my high was. Him. He and I being together. And whatever we did, we did together. No matter what, we did it together.

 

As the “S-Anon Problem” we read at the beginning of meetings states, “some of us minimized the importance of the sexaholic behavior or denied it until we felt emotionally numb. Others focused on the sexaholic to the point of obsession and tried every known method to control it. Some of us participated in sexual behavior that made us ashamed of ourselves or used sex to manipulate the sexaholic.  Some of us misused drugs, alcohol or food; and others kept so busy that we didn’t have time to feel our emotions. We often neglected our health, our jobs and our children.”  This reminded me so much Ms. Houston’s situation, but more importantly, it reminded me of my own.  I participated in many of the activities described in the “S-Anon Problem” and that’s why I am in the program myself.  Because like Whitney so powerfully stated, as a codependent, our addicts are our drugs. Some days, I need to remind myself that the reason I am in the program is not because of my addict, but because I, too, suffer from a terrible disease – an addiction to “people pleasing” and “people fixing”.  And for this realization, I am most grateful. Because now, I can actually take steps to fix it and break the vicious cycle.  I wish Ms. Houston the very best and I hope she continues to get the help that she needs.

 

To read the rest of the Oprah & Whitney interview, please click here.

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One of my guilty pleasures is Gwenyth Paltrow’s weekly lifestyle newsletter, GOOP.  Hey!  A girl needs reading materials for the long work week, no? Plus, there’s always great recipes, reviews and how-to’s. It’s also given me great ideas in my quest for self -care. This week the newsletter was about relationships, but most importantly, about how to sustain a happy and successful marriage.  Several professionals shared their insights, but I found this particular response by psychologist Dr. Karen Binder-Byrnes most intriguing since I’ve been actively exploring what it is that I want out of my relationships – now or in the future. Check out an excerpt from the newsletter below:

If any of us had the true answer to the exact and “true” ingredients that make for a happy and healthy long-term relationship/marriage, we would probably win a Nobel Prize for helping humanity. However, since this is an age-old question with no one definitive answer, we can only use our past experiences in the helping professions, as well as drawing on the wisdom of seers and sages from a variety of disciplines, to attempt to address this issue. Kahlil Gibran in his essay on marriage states, “Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping; For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together; For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

Over the years, I have worked with many couples before, during and even after their relationships have ended. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned from my work and my own relationships is that “what you see is what you get.” People often fall in love and continue relationships into marriage believing that they will be able to change the other. This is interesting because we are often drawn to our mates initially because they are different from us, only to find that once we are embedded, we want the other to change to be more like us. Respect for who your partner is in the beginning of your connection is essential. A professor of mine in college once stated, “there is no such thing as potential.” I agree in terms of picking partners.

Once in a relationship or marriage, respect, empathy and giving to the other is paramount. If each partner in a relationship is dedicated to helping their mate grow, evolve and flourish without trying to control, limit or damper the other’s spirit, the couple will thrive and expand in their love.

Trust is essential. I don’t just mean physical fidelity, but rather trust in all realms of life. One should feel that they can fall backwards and have loving, nonjudgmental arms to catch them. This also includes dependability, responsibility and accountability to each other.

The sexual connection in a relationship is a beautiful gift, which should never be taken for granted. Although the sexuality in a long relationship may ebb and flow throughout the lifespan of the connection, a couple should work on the dance of their physicality in whatever form it takes at each stage.

Wherever possible, finding mutual experiences to share and enjoy is essential. Finding time to nurture and water the relationship will always cause the garden of love to flourish.

A relationship or marriage should be a safe harbor in life’s ocean, a place to find one’s bliss. Joseph Campbell, in discussing marriage states, “That is the sense of the marriage vow – I take you in health and sickness, in wealth or poverty; going up and going down. But I take you as my center, and you are my bliss, not the wealth you may bring me, not the social prestige, but you. That is following your bliss.”

Thank you.
Dr. Karen Binder-Brynes

You can continue reading the remainder of the newsletter here.

To sign up for the GOOP newsletter, click here.

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I had an exhausting weekend running around with friends.  I have a couple things I want to post about, but I find myself with limited time and internet access.  I also want to apologize if I’m a little behind in touching base with you all.  I’ve just been keeping myself busy and away from the house, especially with ML gone and all.  I hope everyone has a wonderful week and a great  4th of July weekend (by the way, there goes my diet – out the window!). 

In the meantime to commemorate the AWESOME “No Doubt” concert I had the pleasure of attending this weekend, here’s one of my favorite songs from the band. 

 Gwen – you’re a woman after my own heart.  I am completely with you on this one. 

 

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As a proud woman of color (Latina to be exact), I am disturbed by the lack of representation of Latinos in the SA/S-Anon programs. This is not because as a group we are not afflicted with sex addiction. To the contrary, I believe that sexuality has been woven into the fabric of our culture. Our music is laced with sexual innuendos. Our dancing oozes “sexiness”.  Latina women, in general, are portrayed in the media as promiscuous and erotic. While the Latino male is portrayed as the ultimate “latin lover”. At the height of the Latin Invasion in America, the tabloids and TV were splattered with images of Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin, whose images revolved around their sex appeal.  It is safe to say that by society stereotyping Latinos, they have also granted us “permission” to be sexually deviant. 


Growing up, the men in my life were all sexually dysfunctional. My uncles, brothers, and cousins all had affairs and cheated on their wives on a continuous basis.  To a certain extent, those behaviors are considered acceptable.  The old saying “boys will be boys” was the most noted excuse. Though some women would complain, rage, or deny, it was a known fact that this type of behavior is to be expected.  This is not just exclusive to my family. I have also seen this trend in other Latin homes.  As a society/culture/people, how do we determine what is sexually “deviant” behavior? If society sets the “norm”, then how do we (as a sexualized society) set the norm for healthy sexuality?  Is it possible to have a healthy view of our sexuality when  it has played an exaggerated role in our lives?  

When my husband (also a Latino) admitted to leering at women, he questioned: Isn’t this normal male behavior? The truth is that in some ways it IS normal behavior, at least in our culture. It’s a male bonding experience. Fathers, sons, brothers, friends, cousins can all participate in the “fun”. However, the consequences are ultimately disastrous.  As a people, we have been plagued with teen pregnancies, single parent homes, and a perpetual state of poverty due to rampant sexual dysfunction. Understanding the roles society and culture play in establishing these standards, I fear for my husband’s recovery.  His family and peers may not comprehend why pornography, masturbation, and leering at women can pose a problem, since this has also been a part of their cultural “norm”.  I hope that in the years to come, we see an increase in SA/S-Anon membership in our Latino communities . I believe that as a whole, we are in desperate need of healing from the effects sex addiction/dysfunction has inflicted in many of our lives.

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I have a bad habit of building many things up in head. I have high expectations for people and situations to only become terribly disappointed with the reality.  The latest debacle was the Britney Spears concert I attended last night. I was looking forward to a fun night with my friends. One of my girlfriends decide to bail out at the very last minute, so we decided to sell her ticket to a friend of a friend  for a set price. Upon arriving to the concert, he decided to pay me less than the price we had originally agreed upon.  What was most upsetting was that my close friend that brought him to the show decided not confront his dishonest friend.  He said it was not his problem. Why would he allow this guy to screw me over?  I had to confront this guy I barely knew and it made the whole evening awkward. At the end of the day, he never did give me the full amount. I must say, I was extremely disappointed in my friend. I’m starting to feel like there is a negative pattern developing in all the relationships in my life, including the relationships with my friends.  It’s like everyone thinks they can treat me any which way because they know I’ll take them back with open arms.  I need to reevaluate some of these friendships that seem to be one-sided. 

As far as the concert itself, talk about disappointment!  Even though at my age Britney Spears is supposed to be a guilty pleasure, I was really looking forward to her performance.  I wasn’t expecting much (definitely not quality vocals or sharp dance skills), just that she put on  a good show and charm the audience.  She was like the crush who’s appeal faded once you got to know them a little better.  She didn’t sing, barely danced, and said all of two lines the entire show. She had no more enthusiasm for her craft than a cashier at the local drive-thru. The audience definitely picked up on the negative energy too.  After awhile, the crowd was barely dancing and singing along to the songs.  I’ve been to more exciting and lively  classical concerts in my time!  Her show was the ultimate disappointment. My fun night out was a total bust. 

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Patience

I was watching the “True Hollywood Story: Rock Star Wives” the other day. I know, I know…not the classiest choice for entertainment, but fun nonetheless. One of the women they featured was Perla Hudson, who happens to be married to my Rock Star crush of  all time, Slash.  Something about the top hat, curly hair, and the way he dangled cigarettes from his lips while rockin‘ out on the guitar did it for me.  *swoon* Well enough about my teenage dreams of running off with Slash!  After watching the show, I was feeling a bit nostalgic and decided to listen to my Guns N’ Roses CD.  The oldie (but goodie) track titled “Patience” came on.  It was exactly what I needed to hear. All we need is just a little patience…

Below is a video of my future husband Guns N’ Roses performing “Patience” live. Enjoy!

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