You’re so vain
I bet you think this poem is about you
You’re so vain
I bet you think this poem is about you
Did Carly Simon
see all those years ago that
vanity and happiness were incompatible?
Vulnerable Marilyn knew
that the lost child in her needed mass attention
and without it she felt invisible.
So she watched herself being looked at and dreamed…
Song bird Judy knew
when she was forced to diet as a child
to make physical self
reflect her gifted and projected self.
Naomi Wolf knew
as she debunked glamour in the beauty myth.
Is our skin in 2010 really more important than our soul?
When did surface over rule substance?
When did voluptuous turn to anorexia as a preferred look?
When did womanly change to adrogenous?
When did lumps and bumps change from sexy to skinny?
Some where between Marilyn and Kate the notion of glamour
was unpacked and broken apart and what is beautiful reinvented.
We just need to look at the mags, the media, the movies
with the smooth, air brushed perfect look of models and actresses to
see what is honoured and admired now.
A 21 year male model visiting my work place told me that
he started to use botox to delay the aging process.
I can delay the lines six months at a time
your face freezes and you stay younger he said.
What about the poison and the lost expression I said.
He looked blank. He could not express his emotion
as his face was dead of expression.
I could not have them airbrush me at 21. So I just froze it
It’s all over for us two 40 year old women cried.
How is it over? I said.
We don’t have that sexual pull that attention on mass like we use to they said.
When did what we look like become more important then who we are? I said.
The pressure to look good and be young is overwhelming
as 100’s of Hollywood movies stars demonstrate as they cut
their lines, their faces and their ages away each hour, each day.
We can take our own self portrait with our iPhones from every angle
We can post our best as we become our own muses and our own models
As artists some use no one else but self for their art.
When did Narcissism become the new religion of this Wired generation?
Narcissuss who fell in love with his own reflection as he stared at the pool
so long he died so in love with self he became someone else.
Has narcissism become the new mental illness of this ME generation?
Do we all fall victim to those blue, those brown, those green eyes
that stare back at us in the mirror?
Did the wicked Queen in Snow White
have it right when she said Mirror Mirror on the Wall
who is the fairest of them all?
Me. At first it was. Until another beauty rose up
and took her mantle of beauty in the land.
Instant online gratification, constant attention
the internet feeds us this Mirror Mirror on the Wall situation
We can take photos and photoshop soften the reality
posting the best we can set up an alluring fascade
to attract attention
to find fine compliments
to feed our ego
to feel an instant high
to feel constant hits
Always on our need to be seen shifts gear to overdrive.
Insatiably we are driven
to be noticed and fed in order to Feel!
We put on the perfume of performance
We become the look of glamour
After all we have the tools and desire to be glamorous
ah…But there is a rub?
Pop philosophy tells us there is a secret.
The laws of attraction becomes a best seller
My father before he died told me that positive thinking
manifests success when I was eight years old.
I wonder what Foucault, Derrida, Descartes would have to say
about this…Is it just one view of many?
Or is it suger coating for our self indulgent need to manifest
a partner that looks, breathes, inhales, thinks the same as
we do? What happened to opposites attracting?
Can we move beyond ourselves? Please.
Ego attracts ego…when did smile lines become a sin?
When did popularity on mass become more important than difference?
When did others opinions of us become more important than our inner voice?
When did the mirror reflect only our own image and prevent us looking out?
When did outside how we appear become more important then who we are?
Are we so choked by our insatiability for attention and blocked by this
notion of glamour that can no longer see?
When did we lose the courage to stand up and say this is me?
The real. The raw. The imperfect. The human. ME.
The fault line of my soul
The aging of my beauty
The corrosion of my character that shifts and flits and falls
away from me on all sides.
Looking always from the fringes
I got a clear view of the centre
Never being smooth and polished and
even as a youthful beauty my voice got stuck
in my throat infront of 300 peers. Mortified.
Always clumsy a fly flew in my mouth
when I was in the choir and I choked.
Undermined beyond recognition I learnt
to listen to that quiet still voice
within and seek my own counsel.
I learnt very young that reality is a lot
different to appearance.
Shakespeare, T.S. Elliot, George Orwell, Vincent taught me well.
Named by my X- Husband – The Essence Girl
You always look beneath the surface of things to the heart of the matter. He said.
Ah but that is where the beauty lies I said.
I love that about you He said.
He still left. But I remained that essence girl.
The quirky, the idiosyncratic, the individual, the fringe dweller.
I always chose the fringe over the mainstream
Empathising with Vincent the eternal fringe dweller
Even though I could have been popular in youth and beauty
I knew that to be popular I would have to sacrifice my inner core.
My mother said I was popular. I never noticed. After my dad
died I turned inward.
My truth to self and Shakespeare had already brainwashed me
Above all unto thine own self be true He said.
So I saw my blemish
Embraced my differencce
Acknowledged my imperfection
and looked out at others
I learnt that to be interesting
one needs to show interest in others
Asking questions is more important
then a one way monologue with self.
When did the superficiality of the outward become
more important then nuanced mystery of the inward journey?
Why do we box ourselves in?
Categorise, scrutinize, glamorise ourselves and leave
our inner life disconnected, unseen and misunderstood?
I say let’s remove the box
Let pandora open and reveal the real
beneath the sparkle and gloss
Let’s look out at each other and see
the beauty that resides beneath the surface
Let the raw be revealed
Let us dance and express the song of our heart
even if it is not glamorous.
Exposing our vulnerability to others is
perhaps the most courageous act of all.
Let us do a dance of character to its full potentional
Instead of trying to stuff ourselves with the poison
the toxic dumbing down of some preconceived notion
For goodness sake let us reach out from our mirror mirror mentality
Let us smash the mirror into 1000 pieces and be real with
ourselves and with others and maybe then we can truly connect
with intensity, with purity, with reality and with beauty, yes the beauty
of who we truly are.
And I believe that then and only then we will be able to move
beyond the Glamour trap and finally connect with others
and be free!
Ah yes vanity and happiness are incompatible.
I know which one I choose.
By Anthea Slade 25 January 2010
© Anthea Slade 2010
Glamour…Trap. featured in Speaking Out 7 Mar 10.
Glamour… and Glamour…Trap. is a collaboration between Reynaldo and Anthea that is separate to our Tribute to Womanhood Series.
Reynaldo’s beautiful painting was inspired by my poem Glamour…Trap.