The cost of approval

I read a rather sad article today about a woman who died after attempting self surgery.  She injected Vaseline into her breasts to enlarge them.  As women we are under enormous pressure to look ‘right’.  Pressure is loaded onto us every day from magazines and TV ads that portray these so-called perfect women.  I read the comments under the article (as I always must!) and many of the comments referred to the pressure to feel wanted by men, with many men commenting that us women should stop feeling that pressure because they want natural women, etc etc.

Then I read one comment, which I think is the one I was actually hoping to find as it follows my point of view, which is that it is not really men who put pressure on us women.  No, it isn’t.  How many women will ask a man what he thinks of how she is dressed, how her hair is done, what her makeup looks like, etc, and then totally ignore whatever he said?  Or get angry and then totally ignore whatever he said!  The reason is because most men actually don’t have a clue when it comes to us and most of us know that (Okay, I am generalising a bit for the sake of MY argument.  I know there are women who constantly seek the approval of  men!).

So if most women don’t really seek a man’s approval, then why are we getting all flustered about external ‘beauty’?  Because of other women.  Women can be extraordinarily judgmental.  They judge each others clothing: not the latest fashion, not branded, too revealing, too closed, too tight, too loose, too frumpy, too young or too old.  They judge each other on hair: too thin, too wild, too short, too plain, wrong colour, unwashed, left to dry on its own (yes I actually overheard someone say that about a woman with wet hair who walked past her one morning).  They judge each other on makeup: too much, not enough, skin too yellow or too orange, so fake, makes her look old.

And where a man would make a throw away comment like ‘She looks fat in that’ or ‘god, could that skirt get any shorter?’, they are generalised (still hurtful if the person heard)comments but a woman would analyse every bit of another woman she noticed.  ‘Her legs are bumpy, gross’  or ‘shame, she is quite flat-chested, maybe her friend with the boobs falling out her top can help’ (yes, I have heard both those things being said).

What we women really need to be doing is standing up for each other instead of running each other down.  Maybe if we stopped being so judgmental about each other, the magazines and TV ads would stop Photoshopping the hell out of their models (Here is a short video about magazine retouching (thanks to HLN TV)).  And maybe we would actually start to grow in confidence and really become the fairer sex.

I know men do it to men too, with bigger muscles, more hair, larger other things.  Maybe a man can do a post about that one ;)

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Copyright © 260314 by Karen Payze

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A Universal truth

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.”
Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary

Copyright © 180314 by Karen Payze

My well-worn copy of Bridget Jones’s Diary
Copyright © 180314 by Karen Payze

I love Bridget Jones’s Diary.  So much of what she says and does, resonates with me as I am certain it does with you too.  One thing I really love about Bridget Jones is that, for all her faults, she is ALWAYS herself.

I also have a universal truth:

If you try to change who you are to suit what others think you should be, you will lose your inner happiness.

I think it must be hard when, really, you are a wonderful person but because you always want to please everyone, you find yourself constantly trying to change who you are to suit them.  And that can make you sad inside and angry on the outside. When you are who you are, you could probably be the happiest person alive!

Sound familiar?  I’ll bet you are either sitting there thinking, ‘That’s me!’ or ‘Hey, I know someone like that!’

So today’s lesson:  be who you are and anyone who doesn’t like it, well, they know what they can do…

And if you aren’t that type of person but know someone who is, especially if the person is still young, perhaps try to help them realise that it’s actually okay for them to be who they really are.  They may even thank you one day :)

Copyright © 180314 by Karen Payze

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Face drawing

Another quick drawing one.  I had to give the drawing a break for a while as I have a tendency to hold my pencil too tight anyway and with the graphics tablet pen, I hold on even tighter, resulting in one injured finger.  But I am back to doing it and have done another face sketch.  I am far happier with the nose on this one.  And actually all the features appear to be quite in the right place!

Here it is:

girl face1 Just got to work on the hair a bit more now :)

Copyright © 110314 by Karen Payze

Latest drawing


Copyright © 190214 by Karen Payze

This is my latest graphics tablet drawing.  Not brilliant but an improvement I think :) The eyes aren’t quite straight and I’m not thrilled with the mouth but the face shape seemed to come out rather well.  The shading was a bit much perhaps but the end result did give me an idea for a short story. 

You can read that on my other blog, 1000 words. The story is called Fortunate me.

Copyright © 190214 by Karen Payze

Learning to use a graphics tablet

So I recently received a lovely pressie, a Wacom Bamboo graphics tablet.

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 130214 by Karen Payze

I set off eagerly on my new-style drawing journey, using a wonderful program, Serif Draw Plus x6, only to discover I was totally crap at using a graphics tablet.  What makes it really difficult is that you have to get used to drawing on a tablet on your lap or table in front of you whilst looking straight at the computer or (in my case) the laptop screen.  It’s kind of like typing without looking at your fingers.  It’s possible, it takes time to learn and get used to and your brain is constantly fighting this unnatural thing you’re forcing it to do.  Well, I am not one for giving up – ever - so I persevered until I really had the hang of it so now it’s okay.

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A little bit of rock with a lot of balls

WARNING:  Contains some spoilers and possibly some offensive material (mainly if you are not a fan of Tom Cruise or Russell Brand!  Or musicals or having a sense of humour)

So I don’t usually post reviews on here – well I don’t ever do reviews.  But I thought I would make an exception in this case.  I watched a movie on sky the other night, one I have been putting off for ages because I thought it was going to be crap.  I should know better – after all the old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover is relevant in all aspects of life, including films.  I have watched plenty of movies that have appeared to be brilliant in trailers, that have received rave reviews in IMDB and on Rotten Tomatoes and they have turned out to be rubbish.  And on the opposite end of the pole is this movie.  I am talking about Rock of Ages.  Yes it is a little old (well I watched it on Sky after all ;) ), yes it has Tom Cruise in it (and BTW I am a fan – hard as that is for some to accept haha) and yes it has singing in it.  Not just The Blues Brothers type singing.  No I’m talking Grease, The Sound of Music, Les Miserables kind of singing.  If you have seen it, you know what I mean.  If you haven’t, well, you still should know what I mean.

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WP tags and content suggestions missing?

This is really just a quickie.  If you’re anything like me, when writing a blog post, you would enjoy being able to tag certain words to relate to other content or add pictures you  know aren’t going to get you into copyright trouble AND you certainly would enjoy the benefits of having those wonderful tag suggestions which make your life as a blogger that little bit easier.

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Being grateful

Well, it’s that time of year again, where New Years’ Resolutions abound.  Blog after Blog, Facebook page after Facebook page, spatterings on Pinterest, etc, etc…Always the same old stuff:  lose weight, drink less, be nicer…

I am not doing New Years Resolutions this year because I do them every year and they never work out.  But I do want to do something that reminds me of a year gone by and a new year to come.  It seems a lot of people had a rather cruddy 2013 with varying gripes and groans.  I had a few of my own:

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Festive Frenzy

This time of year is always a mad rush – rush to get to school because its hard to wake up when you had a busy day before and its cold and dark, rush to get the home sorted because we are having Christmas here this year, rush to get pressies because every year I leave it too late despite promising myself that I will start earlier, rushing around doing school type stuff because for some reason the school thinks its fun to cram everything they possibly can into one and a half months, rush to get the Christmas dinner sorted (another thing I always leave until the last minute) and of course the rush to sort out the teacher’s gifts which I like to do myself.  Why would I want to put myself under that extra strain, you might ask? Well, because I was a teacher once upon a time and I always felt extra special when I received a gift that was home-made.  It’s more personal.

I did promise to share some more of my home-made ideas so here are the goodie baskets I did for the teachers.

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 181213 by Karen Payze

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Veggie Might – oh what a pickle!

As you may have read before, I recently acquired an allotment and planted some veggies – what I could, considering the lateness of my acquisition(check that out here: And Sow It Begins).  You will be delighted (I am sure) to know that some of those veggies have managed to push themselves out through the soggy clay soil that is so prominent here in the South East of England.

First ones to come out and get pulled up were my radishes.

Copyright © 141113 by Karen Payze

Copyright © 141113 by Karen Payze

I was so proud of them!   But then I wondered what I would actually do with them.  I have never liked sliced radishes in salad.  They suddenly seemed so boring.  Then I thought that they would probably just sit in my fridge until I threw them out but I couldn’t possibly allow that!  So I looked up various radish recipes and discovered there are actually a variety of things you can do with radishes but the one that appealed to me the most was to slice and pickle them because then you can do so much more with them afterwards.  The recipe I decided on had garlic too but I didn’t have any garlic at that time so thought I would leave the radishes and turned my attention to my other blossoming veg(?) – well I don’t actually know what to class chillies as but I had a little plant filled with gorgeous looking red ones.  No, I do not know the names of chillies.  I don’t even like chillies.  But I love my husband and he loves chillies so…well you see where this is heading.

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