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White Swan or Black Swan? I say both.

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We all have a good side and a bad side and it’s best that we accept and honor both, you know? In the movie Black Swan, Natalie Portman’s character embodies the White Swan perfectly. But, in order to do the performance, she must also tap into her dark side to become the Black Swan. On one hand, her perfection and grace and extreme discipline is the reason she has been chosen as the Swan, but it is also the reason she is so repressed and uptight, making her transition to the Black Swan extremely difficult to endure and watch. I watched this movie over the weekend and so many thoughts are spinning in my head about how impossible it is to be perfect and to let ourselves be free at the same time. We can’t be free and perfect, so which one’s gotta give? I say perfect.  Speaking of movies, I also watched Silver Linings Playbook recently, and I love that movie, especially the way Jennifer Lawrence’s character speaks and how she reaches such a deep level in knowing herself.  One of my favorite scenes is when she argues with Bradley Cooper’s character after he calls her a big slut and responds by saying “I was a big slut, but I’m not anymore. There’s always going to be a part of me that’s dirty and sloppy, but I like that. Along with all of the other parts of myself. Can you forgive yourself fucker? Are you any good at that?” HOLY WOW!  I feel this. A woman who knows herself and likes herself, even the dark parts? CRAZY right? What she is saying is that we have so many different sides to ourselves and we go through many stages in life, and some are ugly and low. She is also calling out Bradley Cooper for being completely in denial about his flaws and mistakes, making him a hypocritical douche bag at times.  At one point, he begs her to tell him about a sexual experience she had at work, and he loves it. Then 5 minutes later, he uses it against her and makes her feel guilty about it. He loved hearing about her sex life, but ultimately chose to judge her for it because he is too scared to KNOW himself and really take a look inside like she has. But Jennifer Lawrence’s sometimes slutty and crazy character is the most likable. Why? Because she doesn’t give an eff. Isn’t making mistakes what makes us human and shouldn’t we learn to forgive ourselves? So what if we had a stage where we slept with a ton of guys and didn’t give an eff? So what if we experimented? So what if we effed up at work and made a fool of ourselves? So what if we drunk dialed a guy 22 times (yes, I did that once, but it was more like 44…he never called me back!) We shouldn’t feel guilty about our past, we should look at it as a growing moment and something we had to do in order to move on and get out of our system.  Especially for women, there is so much slut shaming and it is so wrong and unfair that women are sluts when they sleep or date around, and when men do it, they are just being…men. I remember when I was in my freshman year at Clemson, there was a website called college ABC, which was basically a site where students could shame girls and gossip about them. Yes, my 18 year old little self  made it on this site, and I was called some pretty horrible things. I remember thinking, I’ve barely been here 6 months, and I’m already a slut? I wasn’t even having sex (not that it matters), but yes, I kissed other boys, but it was fun and that’s what you are supposed to be doing at 18! Not one of the boys I kissed made it on the site of course. This double standard is definitely getting better, but goodness…other countries are centuries behind us. It’s amazing to be a woman in America today, and yes, there are some things going on in politics and of course the system is not perfect, but take a plane ride across the ocean to another country and tell me how you feel being a woman over there. We are so lucky ladies!! And I encourage you to to take advantage of this freedom as a modern day woman and for goodness sakes.. FORGIVE YOURSELF.  The less perfect you try to be, the more beautiful inside and out you will be because a woman who knows and accepts herself is by far the most beautiful woman in the room. I am by no means saying this is easy, I struggle with it daily. I think we have to make some hard decisions to be happy you know? Sometimes we have to cut people out and move on because they don’t want us to grow too much. But honey, we are growing with or without their support!

I used to feel guilty about my black swan days,  beat myself up about it a little too much. I remember my therapist saying, “you really are too hard on yourself.” what is it with us women and being so cruel to ourselves! The self critical thing has got to end! But now I am so thankful for that phase, because I learned so much. I learned about what kind of people I want to surround myself with and what I wanted to prioritize in my life because  of that wild streak. Health > parties, sleep>parties, work > parties,   quality friends >quantity of friends, good & nice, smart guys >”hot” douche bags that never even cared about me.

And speaking of swans…if you know me, you know how much I love the ballet and really any kind of dancing, and movies with women in leading roles. Natalie Portman is exquisite in this and I love the way Daren Aronofsky shoots behind the head and all of the eerie shots he does in the mirror, playing with reflections, angles and lighting.

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