Crucial Minutia
it's the little things...
Courtney E. Martin
Composing a Life: To Love Oneself
5 Comments | posted May 01st, 2007 at 07:42 am by Courtney E. Martin

Speaking about my book has had me thinking a lot about the most fundamental and seemingly natural of human challenges: to love oneself. It is both fascinating and horrifying that it is so difficult–as if we are each born with a seed of self hate that flourishes in an insecurity-inducing culture.

I’ve been mulling this over and then Sunday I saw Beauty on the Vine, an amazing new play by Zak Berkman. It explores the disturbing manifestations of self-hate in an extreme makeover culture–shows like I Want a Famous Face on MTV, where people literally try to alter their own forms so they can look more like celebrities. We live in a time where the challenge to love oneself is often avoided–at least temporarily–by distraction, addiction, and cosmetic surgery. There are just so many damn ways to escape the hard work of accepting your divine nature.

I’ve also been reading Charles Taylor, who just won the Templeton Foundation Prize. In one of his amazing books, The Ethics of Authenticity, he writes: “The notion that each of us has an original way of being human entails that each of us has to discover what it is to be ourselves. But the discovery can’t be made by consulting pre-existing models, by hypothesis. So it can be made only by articulating it afresh. We discover what we have in us to be by becoming that mode of life, by giving expression in our speech and action to what is original in us.”

In a world of cookie cutter houses and fake highlights, the insidious creep of fashion trends that seems to blanket this city of girls (Uggs…uggh), Ikea, and vaginoplasty (yes, I’m serious), I wonder how many of us are really taking the time and space to discover our “original way of being human.” I wonder how many of us can even have the emotional fortitude or communal support to truly embrace that original way if and when we find it.

I still haven’t managed to develop the patience to meditate, but most mornings I say a few mantras to myself. One of them is: may I know the beauty of my own true nature. Sometimes, I feel like I know. A lot of the time, I feel like I may never, truly, know. And maybe that’s the most beautiful human challenge of all.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 at 7:42 am and is filed under Career/Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There are currently 5 responses

  1. Sophie

    About Beauty on the Vine, not to be annoying, but how was Olivia Wilde in it?

    May 1st, 2007 | 8:36 pm
  2. She was amazing!

    May 2nd, 2007 | 7:27 am
  3. Jere Martin

    How do you know Olivia Wilde and what else has she been in and more importantly where can we see more of her?? She was extraordinary as was so much of this wonderful and reasonably priced play.

    May 2nd, 2007 | 3:55 pm
  4. has anyone take some pictures from the play? if so please visit my site and send me an email with the photos…thanks

    May 4th, 2007 | 12:01 pm
  5. Sophie

    Jere, Olivia was in The OC (TV), The Black Donnellys (TV), Alpha Dog (Film), The Death and Life of Bobby Z (Film), LA Suite (Short Film), Bickford Shmeckler’s Cool Ideas (Film), Conversations with Other Women (Film) and some other things. Check at IMDB.

    May 10th, 2007 | 12:15 pm

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