Monday, August 10, 2009

Presenting Presentation

I can't believe it is mid August! We have been so busy in our groups having fun that we almost let go of some of the purpose behind what we do here! Almost let go... but not quite.

As we gear up to getting back to school, we shop for clothes, supplies, and even give ourselves new mini makeovers to become who we want to be for the upcoming year. We feel armed with things that smell new and look crisp. This external arsenal is all in place to help project the full image of who we want to be and all that we are capable of. Yet it is all external. If we do not take time to prepare ourselves internally with an arsenal of skills, we will fall short when things begin to wrinkle and wear.

We need to learn the skills of presentation. By definition the word presentation is:
1. The act of presenting. or b. The state of being presented.
2. A performance as in a formal introduction or a social debut

We present in differing modalities in order to elicit a response. When we want someone to commiserate with us, we are a victim; when we feel like a victim we become dramatic. In an exercise and discussion around the topic, the teen group found it amazing to realize the relationship of how they portrayed themselves to how their peers perceived them.

Our society seems to have experienced a shift. The fifities and early sixties were all about presentation. To quote from MadMen "We are the portrait and it is our responsibility not to let anyone see the brushstrokes". The cost for this type of presentation was high and when the later 60's and 70's hit we were giving up all presentation in order to "be". Somewhere in the mix between then and now, our permissiveness in expression has left children vulnerable to become prey of materialism and consumerism who begin to appeal to a girl's sex appeal as young as 5!Read this article from the UK on the decision to pull playboy themed clothing for 7 year olds!

We have heard that everything is permissable but not everything is beneficial. I believe that the time has come to blend the extremes and learn to present with authentic grace, learn poise, and take responsibility for how we want to be seen. We do not have to become Martha Stewart, to take responsibilty for what we put into the world. We have the opportunity, a long hard earned one, to express ourselves in a loving authentic self that brings joy and tolerance to the world in everything from our speech to our dress.

The girls who attend our classes, groups, and events, have the opportunity to practice and learn skills to take them this direction. From handling embarassments to handling stressful conversations they learn to be poised and open. We know that those nice crisp fashions and extras don't hurt either! We love to feel good on the outside. Let's make sure our girls know how to do it on the inside also.