Vanity Rains Optimistic

Someone recently said to me, “you’re vain,” and I was shocked. I never, ever thought of myself in that way. When I wrote an essay, “You’re Skinny You Don’t Have Any Problems” with Feminine Collective which was taken out of context about how challenging and horrific my life would become, I was criticized and blasted for the title. Duh, did the troll read the piece?

I mulled it over in my head, and guess what I am vain, women need to be more vain. When I was younger I should’ve been proud and more confident with my skinny body and face instead of constantly apologizing for the way I looked. Just the other day, a woman (of course), made a snide comment when I joked about ‘getting older and fat.’ Fat was a poor choice of words, I work hard in the gym and always have. I eat healthy, don’t drink, and don’t smoke. I live clean and quiet.

So, fuck-off I’m done apologizing. And to my twenty-year-old self, I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate your privileged supermodel beauty and all the chaos to come. I wish I’d been happier and grateful with the woman I was trying to keep up with, a fantastical, unrealistic image I suppose.

Today, I’m shooting for vainglorious, and not apologizing for taking care of the fifty-year-old me, free from the critics, naysayers and judges. To be proud of sane mind and body.

Seeing Red

When activism is no longer a fad, fashion statement or whim that’s when I’ll say cautiously optimistic we’re winning. I love the conversation that is happening around the globe, at the forefront thanks to some fierce, brave Hollywood power women speaking out and banding together, Oprah, women in entertainment, and a few good men but we must be careful not to lose momentum, or become complacent. Bullies, poverty, LGTBQ rights, injustice, inequality, racism, sexual harassment, basic human needs, inhumanity and social imbalances are the all too prevalent reality. Perhaps the next big, fancy award show or event, or any social platform where women have to stand up we should all wear red. Even in auditoriums and schools across the nation.

“Red, is the color of blood and fire, associated with meanings of love, joy, strength, leadership, courage, vigor, willpower, vibrance, radiance, and determination.”

When our young girls no longer feel the need to cower, hide their bodies under layers of bulky protection but feel empowered enough to express themselves and not overexposed, or embarrassed we’ll be winning. To stand up for our sisters and brothers that is beautiful truth, and activism in the making. Be bold enough to stand up, be brave enough even when it hurts, and be kind enough to stick up for the less fortunate. Let’s face it Hollywood is setting the stage, but we the ‘common, everyday people’ need to be the A-listers. Because our freedom, our little girl’s and boy’s innocence and equality has absolutely nothing to do with fame, and everything to do with harsh REALity. We too are the dreamers, the born activists of a lifetime who stand for harmony, safety, peace, equality and positive change. 

Looking Glass and The Windowpane

Sooner or later, I’m going to want to play the parts. I’ll be mother, daughter, sister, friend, lover, and feminist right on time. I’ll want to write the appropriate words that answer the meaningful questions. I’ll get the joke. I’ll laugh out loud without bringing my hands up to cover my face. I am timeless, ageless and the perfect temperature. I will not grimace at the sight of a beautiful young woman. I will nod and offer her a secret, knowing smile and familiar glance. I will put away the minis, the boots, and the crazy forms of self-expression and store them deep in the back of my closet. I’ll hold onto them for a younger version of myself. I’ll walk the walk with conviction. I’ll talk the talk and hear the discussion. I will listen, with a mind that is open. I will wait ten seconds to answer. I’ll have a well-thought out appropriate response. I’ll take an interest in the world around me. I’ll be empowered, insightful, bright and impulsive in an instant. I will mellow out and leave fear, jealousy and rage behind. I’ll do all the things that a grown up does. I will act like a curvy, sophisticated, well groomed woman. – Jacqueline Cioffa

She and I were star stuff symbiotic… Jacqueline Cioffa

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She and I were star stuff symbiotic, dear, precious friends, old lovers who finished each other’s sentences. – Jacqueline Cioffa

“Her salt mine seas pacified the storms dwelling harmonious in one body. We’d spend a decade exploring, feeling the heat of the sun, flinching in the biting winter freeze, experiencing the mesmerizing, transitory alive moments in color and traversing the vast corners of the earth, boldly as one.

We’d chase big dreams, and conquer cracked filled pavements. I was happy. I was almost always happy, and happier than I’d been before. I smiled tears of sadness, and cried tidal pool oceans of joy. I was a beautiful contained palate of emotion, no longer insane, paranoid, turned-out, hallucinating, running, or screaming mad. I was okay. I was fine. I was in love. I was more me with her, than without. I never, ever, ever wanted to say good-bye.

Like a jilted, jealous lover quietly, methodically, slowly over time and all at once, growing spiteful and angry, Lithium began poisoning my exploding cells destroying my insides. Belly swollen, eye sockets burning, jaws clenched, muscles pinched, bones ached, feverish and ill. I was tail spinning, spiraling and insane. Even the holy, pure sacred womanly parts ignited.

The element lithium burns vivid crimson red.

Lithium crimson red flames imploding, screaming and demanding the quickest exit strategy. How could she break my vulnerable, trembling shattered heart, and peace of mind?

Did she grow tired of me, or did I?” – Jacqueline Cioffa

 *****************************

– #excerpt from   

Lithium, My Toxic Love Affair by Jacqueline Cioffa

Courtesy of Feminine Collective on Bleeding Ink with Jacqueline Cioffa

SUBLIME FRAMEABLE ARTWORK: By the Haiku Queen, Witticisms Master, and pensive, and poignant writer, Ms. Dori Owen aka Diary of an Arizona Girl with Feminine Collective

– @jacquelinecioffa on Instagram

***DISCLAIMER: I AM ABSOLUTELY NOT encouraging ANYONE to go off of their prescribed psychiatric medicine. This is my story, my journey and trust me it was hell. Please remember that while enjoying these creative words.

 

The Body Beautiful

The Body Beautiful

By Jacqueline Cioffa

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As a former model and makeup artist who worked with Ashley Graham I can assure you she is not ‘fat,’ she is perfectly portioned. The average dress size for a woman in U.S. is 12 – 14. The modeling industry, fashion, and celebrity promote unhealthy and unrealistic skinny body standards for all women. This disturbs me on so many levels having witnessed firsthand the detriment to low self-esteem, eating disorders and unattainable weight issues has on young models that starved themselves to fit into a size zero.

Please don’t ever body shame anyone. I blame our culture hungry for gossip, entertainment television, the media, and fashion magazines for feeding the beast and creating a world where negativity and bullying of every kind are acceptable behavior. Social media bombards unrealistic images of skinny models, actresses and actors because Hollywood glam sells magazines and fuels the vicious, negative news cycle for girls, and boys who grow up with unrealistic and unhealthy body ideals.

As for Ms. Cheryl Tiegs I’m certain she is a victim of the media spins, twisting her comments into negative comments for a profit. Her words misconstrued, chewed up and spit out to make a dollar.

Don’t believe everything you read in a magazine or see on the tube I promise you the pictures have been trimmed, tucked and photoshopped.

Let’s celebrate and lift women up, be positive role models for young persons of every size.

Size should be measured by moral character, self-confidence, support, authenticity and kindness.

They are beautiful traits in women. Malala is beautiful, Ashley Graham is beautiful, Cheryl Tiegs is beautiful.

So is every non-famous, nameless woman who wakes at 5:00 AM, applies gloss, hops on a bus, goes to work, fights for a cause with a smile, and returns home to fix dinner. The every woman who tucks her kids if she chooses to have them, or perhaps decides to run for President.

To the woman who stands tall and puts her best, prettiest, healthiest face forward every day and wakes up to do it all over again, for me she is most beautiful.

I’m older and wiser today with a few more pounds on my frame, life experience and measure my weight by a new and more accurate scale.

I’m human. I’m a girl. I’m healthy, and I’m doing my best to fit in the skin I live in.

Same as you, and same as me.

 

 

THE BOOK: RAW & UNFILTERED Vol 1 by Feminine Collective

To find like-minded women, (and men) who encourage, support and uplift by sharing the most difficult conversations with no judgement or shame is a rarity and a gift. Writing my column “Bleeding Ink” with Feminine Collective, and being applauded for telling my deepest, dark and not always pretty truths has been an honor and privilege. 

Feminine Collective, and founders, Julie Anderson and Marla Carlton are making magic and changing the literary landscape with real, raw and brave humanistic essays and poems. – Jacqueline Cioffa

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” ― Rebecca West, Young Rebecca: Writings, 1911-1917

I am thrilled to announce: RAW & UNFILTERED Vol 1: Selected Essays and Poems on Relationships with Self and Others.

Raw and Unfiltered

 


 

For Immediate Release

December 15, 2015

Los Angeles, CA – December 15, 2015: In their first bold venture into publishing, the masthead of Feminine Collective has pulled together an edgy, raw collection of essays and poems by women (and a few men) in Feminine Collective: RAW & UNFILTERED Vol 1: Selected Essays and Poems on Relationships with Self and Others. These unfiltered essays from the best of FeminineCollective.com are touchpoints on popular culture, and span topics from self-awareness to bold revelations, from stories of empowerment to witty perspectives on working life and culture today.

RAW & UNFILTERED Vol 1 is the passion project of Feminine Collective founders, international supermodel Julie Anderson, and art director Marla J. Carlton, as a celebration of women’s achievements. The collection gives readers intimate insight into the brilliant minds of top emerging writers.

Agapi Stassinopoulos, author of Unbinding the Heart, said, “In the pages of this book you will hear your deeper voice and touch the raw places of yourself where angels fear to tread and as you read them watch out because you might you just might become fearless and unbound.”

Actor and musician John Stamos said this about Feminine Collective, “When I need to tap into my feminine side, I run to FeminineCollective.com and now this book. It’s really smart.”

This astonishing book is divided into four sections, each highlighting both masculine and feminine perspectives that give us a glimpse into the often insane world of others. A collection of 44 writers in 376 pages—some published for the first time—converge to paint a portrait of the journey of the female mind in a dazzling spectrum that is an unrivaled compendium on raw, unfiltered voices including a poem by street artist Jules Muck. Famous for her green goddesses, as well as her green version of Gloria Steinem, Muck’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions including the Bronx Museum of Art and can be seen on the book’s cover.

The foreword by Rachel Hunter, supermodel, actor and creator of DocuSeries Tour of Beauty describes Feminine Collective’s book as an experience “Where men and women can glimpse into the world of others … understanding the vulnerable, exquisite, powerful place of being a woman.”

Released December 11, 2015, Feminine Collective: RAW & Unfiltered: Vol 1 is available to purchase on Amazon.com. For the launch of this book, Feminine Collective has partnered with Women’s Center of LA. Now through March 31, 2016, Feminine Collective will donate 50% of the net proceeds from the book sales to Women’s Center of Los Angeles (WCLA). WCLA is a community of dedicated women with the shared goal of guiding, educating and supporting women and girls to attain the knowledge, confidence and courage for a life of personal success. On January 28, 2016, Feminine Collective will host a book launch party and fundraiser for WCLA in Los Angeles, open to the press.

About Feminine Collective

Feminine Collective is a platform devoted to raw, unfiltered stories and poems of emerging writers. They focus on nonfiction stories of interpersonal relationships, published four to six times per week, including essays, poems, and short fiction. While they avoid breaking news, they have been known to publish opinion pieces on current events. The provocative voices on Feminine Collective are unlike any found in mainstream media today—storytellers who openly share raw accounts of abuse, emotional and mental health issues, parenting, love, and self-image that empower, elevate, enlighten, and entertain. Each writer expresses a vulnerability yet unseen that impacts the lives of Feminine Collective’s rapidly growing readership. Feminine Collective was launched in January 2014 by creator Julie Anderson and co-founder Marla J. Carlton. Julie Anderson has enjoyed a two-decade long career as a supermodel—where she has been the face of influential luxury brands and cover girl on international editions of Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. Marla J. Carlton, a former international model, founded the award-winning Los Angeles based design firm, Specto Design in 2002, where she works as an art director and writer.

About Feminine Collective Foundation
Feminine Collective formed Feminine Collective Foundation in December 2015 with the sole mission to raise money to donate to charities that are dedicated to helping women and children in need, including victims of domestic violence, child abuse, drug abuse, rape, human trafficking, at-risk teens and women who suffer from mental health issues.