Tuesday, 6 July 2010


I've always had a thing about image. - Well, not a thing about it. - Fascinated by it really.

I experimented with it a bit in my video 'Who Are You?'

The words of the song are about discovering who you are, your acceptance of that person, and acceptance from others. And as well as urging the listener to do the same, I was sort of pushing the boundaries a bit...wanting to know if they'd still accept me if I messed around with my hair/face.

And the comments were really interesting. I think I got one comment that said "creepy"...and there were a lot of really nice positive comments about the message of the song. The "creepy" comment was interesting. - Sometimes when we come across things which are very 'different' to us, we kind of block them out or label them as 'a bit weird' because it makes us feel uncomfortable. But people change, and I think as we grow older, we become more accepting. New ideas are refreshing and anything which challenges us to think differently is good.

I've never really gone through the whole - I'm going to experiment with my image - stage. And I want to desperately. When I was seven or eight I had really long blonde hair down to my waist. Then I wanted to have it cut. So I had it cut all short. Bit like a boy really. And when you're a young child, you don't wear make up or anything, so I got called 'mate' and 'nip' quite a lot. Then I grew it again and about seven years later I had it cut short again, and really didn't like it. It's like the seven year itch, but with hair. Lol. And if that rule applies, I'm due to get fed up and cut it again soon. I was planning on doing it just before I go to Uni, because then people wouldn't have seen me with long hair. But I don't know...

I'm not a very confident person and I think you've got to be a really brave, strong person to do experiment with how you look. I'm getting better as I get older, but I still have this annoying little worry inside me about what other people think...and I'm writing songs about it not mattering!

The other day I got an email from someone telling me that I should eat less and get back to the weight I was before. At first I was really upset and angry, but I don't really feel that now. I've had it before...and 'hurting don't come easy to the scarred'. ;) And if I did get back to the weight I was 'before' - whenever that was - I'd have to put on weight. I'm quite tall (5'10") and for the past few years I've been hovering around the 11 stone mark. My BMI came right in the middle of the 'healthy weight' category, but I made it my new year's resolution to lose weight by exercising more. I don't eat a great deal, but singing and making videos doesn't burn many calories. So, now I do more exercise. And I currently weigh 9 stone 11 pounds. I've probably just broken all of the womanly rules by stating my weight, but it doesn't really bother me. It's about how you feel, rather than the number, and I feel OK. I'd like to tone up a bit, but I'm working on it.

Anyway, this wasn't meant to be about my hair and weight. It was meant to be about image and how people are portrayed.

I'll just leave you with this video. I'm now embarrassed of this video, as I am with all my old ones, but never mind...the message is still valid I think...



Larry said...

Isn't life such an amazing journey? :)

TV said...

A great image is for people without personality.
People like you, because you're showing that kind of person, you are. So changing your appearance doesn't change you at all, which means, that your "image" won't change, too. You will have to go extreme for a long time, if you want it to be different :D

I might say "just be yourself and don't care", but you are with worrying so much... I keep saying: Not a single person, who doesn't like me because of my appearance, deserves to like me in person. And there are always people, who don't like you, so there's no need to attract 2 or 3 more.

Maybe you should read The Satanic Bible :D

wolfgang said...

I love 'Who are you'. One reason is (and not the only one) is, that there are a lot of key words in it: 'Words to set me free', 'inhibitions', 'undermine sense'.
This song seems to me, not only a song about image, but about (self) acceptance.

My friend Klaus and I recently made a 'discovery': Our whole consciousness is traversed by mostly inhibiting elements, that could be called anxiety-guilt-shame-complexes(AGS). Everybody who wants to get control of our minds, has to implant (I think 'implant' is the right word, because these AGS-complexes are gaining an independent life right after the seed is sown) AGS-complexes. We are permanently confronted with them in every day life and we were massively confronted with them in our childhood and youth. The guy who wanted you to loose weight, isn't truly interested in your weight. He only tried to start an AGS-attack, to implant a little grain of an AGS-complex in your mind:'Words to set you limited'.
These AGS-complexes behave like little navigators in our mind, by allowing or amplifying certain feelings and thoughts and disallowing and inhibiting others. The proportional distribution of the three components anxiety, guilt and shame could vary in certain cultures and families. There are more shame oriented cultures, like the Muslim cultures and more guilt oriented ones, like western cultures.
'Words to set someone free' --- Seems to me a very interesting problem. Normal positive feedback often doesn't work. There is a kind of immunity of AGS-complexes against praise and support, because there is a stable barrier of highly automated thoughts devaluating the positive feedback. It's like the duck's feather and water (Xeno listen!). Deep rooted AGS-complexes are really strong stuff.
Offering different perspectives could be a way to circumvent these lines.
That's all for now. Any comments?

Trevor said...

Hello Wolfgang,I suspect that you're not surprised that I've taken up the challenge :) In large part I agree with much of what you have said,but,as in a previous correspondence,there are areas where I have doubts.I think it possible that AGS was a necessary part of socialisation reaching back to the days we all lived in caves.This is not to say that it was right or wrong just an evolutionary necessity.And ,although I suffer from it as much as the next person,is it always a bad thing in itself or is a matter of degree ? When I have had to tell a colleague that I have concerns about their competence,I expect that they will experience AGS -- they will feel anxiety because they are being challenged;guilt because they feel they have let me,others and themselves down; shame because they feel that their shortcomings have been exposed...there are obviously variations on these themes AND I hasten to add I have been on both sides of the table.I would argue that these feelings are actually helpful in that they are decent and honourable and provide the platform for change --- with,of course,a good deal of help and assistance.

Additionally,I would ask you to consider percentages : is AGS bad when it's 33.3% anxiety,33.3% guilt and 33.3% shame ? What about other variations,for example, 20% anxiety,20% guilt and 60% shame ? You see how this argument proceeds.

Finally,did the cruel,insensitive and emotionally immature guy really try to start an AGS -attack or is he just a rather sad figure ?
Any comments ?

wolfgang said...

Hello Trevor, I want to begin with your last argument: 'Did the cruel...or is he a rather sad figure!' There is no contradiction: From a moral point of view, he is a sad figure. But from a standpoint of AGS it's interesting, whether there is a vulnerability on the target side or not. If one is vulnerable it doesn't matter whether the attacker is a moron or not.
The percentage question. I discussed this problem several times with my friend.
Anxiety is in many cases a helpful companion, and it depends on the level and the selectivity or non-selectivity of anxiety.
Guilt is a more ambiguous candidate. Sometimes it could make sense in a social context, for instance, when someone wants to wipe out his guilt by compensating.
Often the induced feeling isn't senseful in a broader social context, but only used to govern other people in a lower hierarchical position (children, subordinates, sometimes women,...)This kind of guilt implanting is daily life, with not seldom devestating results.I would say, inducing feelings of guilt is one of the most common manipulation techniques.
It's hard to say much pro shame. Shame is a very strong feeling and one can use it perfectly to neutralize other people. The heaviest attacks in social life will always be made by inducing the feeling of shame.
This answers the question: the 60%
shame type must be the more evil one. Shame for instance is very common in borderline syndrome and addiction and a huge obstacle in therapy.
But for me AGS is mainly an immunological issue. Making anxious, making feeling guilty, making feeling ashamed versus not getting anxious, being able to repel feelings of guilt and learning to overcome shame. This a very dynamic world of mutual interaction, a kind of AGS-ecosystem, very fascinating to dive into. What makes me vulnerable for induced anxiety, guilt and shame? And returning to "Who are You?":
Does AGS block my abilities and even my consciousness and vice versa: Could minimizing of AGS lead to a release of personal abilities and broader consciousness.
You see Trevor, I avoided the issue of evolutionary necessity. It's like any other evolutionary psychology issue: There is no sensible to find out.
Any comments?

Larry said...

"Don't worry, be happy". The Bible says, 'The wisdom of man is as foolishness to God'. :) A sincere spiritual life eliminates all these things.

wolfgang said...


Trevor said...

Hello Wolfgang, thank you for your patience:I am genuinely trying to understand this but I still can't find the most productive way in. I really like the exploration of AGS in terms of it's capacity to inhibit or block our abilities and/or consciousness but isn't there a real danger of anarchic behaviour then taking over -- and surely no one benefits from anarchy and it's good friend,chaos .
Chaos or control and repression -- which to choose ? Would a
reduction in individual and societal AGS help us to be more loving and caring as well creative?
Please don't try to answer these questions ;as you will gather they are essentially rhetorical.
But I do think it's worth looking at the anthropomorphic dimension : it's true that nothing can be proven,but it may help to develop useful working hypotheses. Thank you,Wolfgang --- fascinating stuff.

David Ruben said...

Holly, don't expect to necessarily "lose weight by exercising more". Sure you'll tone & define more, and it is toned muscles that even at rest help burn off more calories than fat tissue does at rest (1 marathon race looses only about 1 mars bar of fat - exercise improves metabolism rather than directly reduces weight). However as muscle is denser than adipose, if you exercise and tone yourself, yes your waist size may drop, but you will have more compact mass, and the weight on the scales may not be that different. Really what people mean by losing weight is shedding excessive rolls of fat (not that you'll have any if your BMI is normal), i.e. drop a dress size. According to Wikipedia, Arnold Schwarzenegger when competing: 113kg, 1.88m, giving BMI 32. Whilst BMI>30 is the definition of obesity, I dare anyone to suggest he had an ounce of fat to be lost - scales mean almost nothing if someone trains regularly :-)

Holly, you do long performance sets, and stamina is part of an artist's professionalism in always giving of their best. Being fit helps with breath control, and playing instruments with good posture prevents sprains & injuries. So exercise because you want to, not for the opinion of others. People look at your videos for the quality of your vocal delivery and your song writing prowess, plus the video imagery of putting an enhancing emotional display to a song, and most of all that you look as if you enjoy performing (some on YouTube look most dower).

You mused in a previous blog post about what "growing up" means and when does one feel an adult. The short answer is 'never', but really I think it's about gaining in inner confidence... trying things out, seeing what works for oneself, seeing what opinion of others one wishes to consider or holdfast to one's own choices.

wolfgang said...

Isn't a image a layer? A layer between me and the others, or even a layer between me and me? What's the difference between an image and a masque or even a shield? What would happen, when losing the image? Is an image a living thing or a dead object? Is a fitting image a second nature? Could a masque protect myself? What are the advantages and disadvantages of an image? Where is the borderline between image and self delusion? When in our history do we aquire an image? Should we be the poets of our lives? Isn't an image something for a certain distance, not working in a strong bind?. Is an identity an artificial prothesis for the self-evident? Why?
Fragen über Fragen!

H said...

Wow! What thought-provoking comments! It seems that the questions are endless.

There's a lot to ponder on here...maybe another song is needed! Lol. Hmmm...I'll get thinking.

Speaking of image I think that my blog could do with a little makeover. Blogger now has a new design tool, so if things appear to be a bit different when you next visit, don't worry - you're in the right place! Lol.xxxxx

Trevor said...

Phew ! Thanks for stopping us, Holly.I was getting dizzy !
A new song and a refreshed website. WOW !! As experienced Festival Goers would say : the excitement is in-tents !

Kestrel said...

I say....

to the weight loss suggestion... someone needs to a get a life. :) You are fine and right on target. As I see it, it is just changing from a girl into a woman, so of course you aren't staying the same!

as to the hair change.. hey, change away, the nice thing about hairdos is that they can always be changed again.. unlike say a tattoo in the middle of the forehead, which I wouldn't suggest. :)

wolfgang said...

Trevor, no fear! Germany is paralyzed, because of the lost match and it's soooo hot. ;-)

Trevor said...

This blog should sell cold drinks !!
Perhaps that's part of the makeover:P

wolfgang said...

Trevor, did you ever hear of a two chamber system. Heating up and cooling, that's it.

Trevor said...

No I haven't, wolfgang -- I'm afraid I'm not very practical or technologically minded. Would such a device on the blog enable us to have both cold drinks and, my favourite, a nice cup of tea ?

wolfgang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wolfgang said...

So hatten Sie einen gemeinsamen Raum, dessen Grenzen nicht genau markiert waren. In dem es an Nichts zu fehlen schien und die Luft ruhig und ungestört zirkulierte.

wolfgang said...

No, Trevor, it would only help us to be excited and then cool down, being excited.... Tea and Ice Tea...

wolfgang said...

The sentence in German is a quote from the Novel "The Solitude of Prime Numbers", written by the young Italian writer Paolo Giordano. This sentence, although ripped out of the context, is of extraordinary beauty and able to stand alone. In a certain way it's even music without notes.

Back to the idea of the two chamber system. Friedrich Nietzsche developed the idea, that every culture must have a heating system (e.g. music) and a cooling system (e.g. science). The heating system triggers strong emotions, the cooling system calms down and sells cold drinks. If there is only a cooling system, we would starve in boredom. In the opposite case we would overheat and plunge into our own imaginations.
The concept of the two chamber system is strong enough to be applied to the questions of image and identity or even to the ongoing discussion.

Trevor said...

You're right, Wolfgang, it is applicable in many instances-- very useful. I had not come across it before . Thank you.

xenonrush said...

Wow! Been ferrying visitors round for the last week and missed all this. The only AGS I have ever had is Another Glass Syndrome which was very prevalent in the City of London in the 70's 80's. Now it's almost impossible to drag people down the pub for a quick glass of lunch.
I've never been into the image thing (I guess I was so good looking that I didn't need to. I could always pull.) so it's always been a bit of a puzzle. Clothes and hair is one thing that enables people to be different (or the same) but doing all the strange tats and pins thing has always struck me as really weird, especially in the face where the wearer can't even see it unless they look in a mirror. But I guess they think it makes them more interesting, and that is probably true in many cases, otherwise they wouldn't bother.
H ~ You look great in your various outfits that I see on FB and a performer generally has to make a bit of an effort, although some don’t appear to bother. As for the hair, try different things. It always grows. So if you don’t like it you’ll only have to put up with it for a while. I went into M&S the other day and one of the girls on the cash desk had a sort of bright red/pink hair colour. I said “Like the hairdo”. From the way her face lit up I knew I had made her day. As for weight. That’s a bit more difficult. Very personal thing. CC#1’s girlfriend was moaning to me that she is the heaviest she has ever been, 10st. Then she said that CC#1 had said “But I still love you”. How sweet was that? Anyway she thinks she needs to loose some weight and I guess it would probably not be a bad thing since she is about 5’6”, but that’s her decision.
As Dave Ruben pointed out exercise isn’t really a weight control mechanism but it’s still a really good thing to get into the habit of doing and something I have always done. It’s a good life thing. The friends I was showing around this week are in their mid 50’s and could hardly walk up to the top of Windsor Castle when I took them there.
To sum up. Play with the hair and clothes, keep away from the pins and tats and try to keep fit. OMG! I bet I sound just like Mum.

wolfgang said...

Another Glass Syndrome! LOL! Xeno, I will from now on never be able to think seriously about it!

Would it be wrong to say, an image reduces complexity in social contact by influencing what other people think about me(up to a certain degree)? A counterpart for expectations? But it seems to be impossible to fit in everybodies expectations and who wishes?

An interesting and not well known aspect seems to be the individual time orientation (eg. hedonistic presence oriented, future success oriented or fatalistic past oriented). Astonishingly it has a great impact on the way I want to present myself.

xenonrush said...

WG ~ I've never worried about how I present myself. It does drive my wife wild when we are about to go out to the theatre or similar and I am still in jeans and a T-shirt. Quite why I have to dress up to sit in the dark and watch a show escapes me but I always do what I am told (secret of a lasting marriage). That hedonistic present mode sounds more interesting than the past or future options.

Sis said...

When I told Brooke that someone suggested that Holly should lose weight she said "WHAT? She's skinny like a stick!". We all know that children of her age speak only the truth. :-)

I think you look gorgeous sis and are very slim. Although.... thinking about it... if you could shrink a couple of inches in height perhaps you wouldn't make me feel short?

I'd love to see you experiment with a few rebellious hairstyles. Why not try on some wigs and then post the pics on here for us to look at? Or use one of those online software hairstyle-trying programs?



wolfgang said...

Xeno~ here is a very short prescription by Philip Zimbardo about the time perspective issue: http://www.ted.com/talks/philip_zimbardo_prescribes_a_healthy_take_on_time.html
Interesting job to apply it to the image thing.

Michael said...

You can't know who you are if you don't consider the question. Your personal self image is important because that's where your confidence grows from. Life is for experimenting, so do that. In time you'll find what you perceive to be 'yourself'. It might be something completely different or you might even go full circle, but how will you know about any of it unless you try some of the ideas you have floating around in you? You will know what you definitely don't want to be and the things that you might want to be or try out, you should do. What ever image you try out, in the end, the people who know who you really will always love and accept you and everyone else will have to either get used to it or should question themselves about why they need to judge you so much. Anyway, those people are usually the ones who create youtube channels just to let out their life's frustrations anonymously on others lol.

Michael said...

By the way, I really like that video, I think it was a good idea to compliment the song :o)