14Nov

Cash, Guns and Food

Justice is a human construct and therefore only exists if humans make it so.  I often tell people, “do not expect justice, it doesn’t exist on its own.”

I know this and I preach this.  The wishes for karma, the wish for a vengeful God, the wish for the rich to be rejected from heaven, are all just that: wishful thinking.  Religion is a structure that gives the peasant, the working masses; reasons to keep going from day to day.

America gives a chance to live beyond a survival mode and an opportunity to actually experience life.  It is an epic growth opportunity, but it requires choice.  What I mean by this is that, you must be consciously willing to go past the ego’s survival to another consciousness that includes more than just the self.  It is a conscious choice and cannot be made by an unconscious ego that concerns itself with only self, and is in survival.  This living, which is a step up on Maslow’s hierarchy, requires the self to be concerned with others, to think of others and ultimately to have compassion for others.
maslow

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is all in the background of my mind and so affects how I view how the presidential election played itself out.  I am deeply ashamed by what we have done here in America (and of course, we have done worse).  I am embarrassed that people I love actually support Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.  I understand that justice does not exist, so I do not fight the idea that the electoral college “trumps” the popular vote.  The majority of America prefers Hillary Clinton, but…too bad, so sad.  Bruce and I each have a young nephew that supports Trump, one posting on Facebook “I’m not racist or bigoted, I just like Trump.”  The other posting on Snapchat “I am a deplorable.”  There is a thought by these young people that Trump will change Washington ~ and I am sure he will.  I don’t know if they noticed that the same old republican senators are following Trump around.  Capitalism will continue to reign supreme in this country.  It will not be beneficial to the working person, not at all.  Capitalism in America is just like Trump, concerned with self and with no other.

In the back of my mind is the thought that this is a white man’s war against anyone and everyone who challenges the authority of the white man.  It’s been a comfortable position for the white man here in America, and who would give that up willingly?  Capitalism has been the white man’s weapon and they have used it well to repress all others.  White men owned Madison Avenue and spun their own stories of reality.  It is almost unbelievable how many Americans keep falling for the fairy tales that Madison Avenue keeps spinning.  From the cigarette industry to the current mortgage catastrophe, advertising companies have sold Americans a bill of goods that Americans keep buying.

No wonder the uneducated working class white male voted for Trump, and their women, who voted the same!  The problem identification is so wrong.  Working people will not have their life improved by an emphasis on capitalism, witness the last 10 years, capitalism has almost wiped us out.  Capitalism has decreased the middle class by more than 15% – all of those people are now poor.  The loss of homes still proceeds at an epic rate.

I am more scared than I have ever been, even when Bush was president.  I believe that egos are in control and egos are always about survival and self.  This is bad news for each and every other person.  The person in power will always chose self when the ego is in control.

Cash, guns and food ~ Bruce and I have decided to launch a defensive campaign, just in case.  We are putting together a reserve of cash, guns and food.  But make no mistake; we are able to do this.  There are millions who cannot.  Twenty percent of Americans live below the poverty level.  For those in poverty, there is no such thing as a reserve.  We are looking towards some very bad times here in America, and I am scared, not just for me, but for everyone.

 

06Nov

Women, a New Day

One of those obvious things ~

It never crossed my mind that I would need to explain feminism to my daughters.  After all, I lived a strong and independent life and worked hard for my own accomplishments.

I never told them how lonely it is to fight for women.  I never told them about the personal prices that I had to pay to defend women who were being raped by the current culture.  I never explained to them the reality of how difficult it was for my mother to get a job as a bartender.  My mother was, literally, the first female bartender in a free standing bar in 1968.

The biggest prices that women pay are the economic ones.  After all, if you have money, everything else can be bought.  Women have always, systematically, been kept out of the most lucrative jobs available in America.  This is why it was so important for my mother to get that bartending job; it was the highest paying job in the industry.

At work in the 90s: when I spoke out against a male physician who was denigrating women in our treatment facility, I was marginalized and had to work in a hostile environment.  Ignorantly, I finally resigned and the women who came to the facility for treatment continued to be put down and insulted by the Latin physician who thought shaming was okay.

My daughters were with me when these things happened to me.  I didn’t explain any of it.  I realize that in retrospect, it only meant that mom didn’t like her job anymore.  I must have discussed it; I must have made some words for it.  I didn’t explain it enough.

Being independent was not about getting away from men, it was more about ensuring that I had choices in my life.  I thought I was demonstrating the right life, in spite of a male dominated culture.  It wasn’t that a man beat a woman: it was more that nothing would happen to that man when he beat that woman.  I was fighting the structure of a culture that allowed women to be beat; that kept those women in minimum wage jobs, that made child care impossibly expensive.  When I was young it was actually impossible to get child support.  Fathers of young children roamed free while the mothers were chained to child care and bare minimum wages.  That was my world reality at age 20.  Women stayed in hurtful marriages because the alternative was so much worse.  Add to that, the fact that many women were sexually blackmailed by men more powerful than they.  Landlords would demand sexual favors and no woman without money or family was safe in this environment.

Today, life is much better for women, but not nearly as good as it should be, not nearly equitable.  My daughters are not aware ~ perhaps~ of this long and dark road that women have had to go down in the last millennium (or so).   Trust me on this, it has been a dark road.  When European daughters were being raped by uncles, brothers and fathers, Freud called it penis envy and the whole world believed that hundreds of women were just having sexual fantasies.  Indeed, it has been a dark road for women of all classes.

Today, we are able to articulate so much of what was deprived of us before now.  Now I hear people talking about the “pink tax” and I am so thrilled that it is now “a thing”.  Yes, not only do women make less money than men, but then women must also pay more for everything that they need and purchase.  Dry cleaning a woman’s shirt is 4.99 and a man’s shirt is 1.49.  I am told by the dry cleaner that a woman’s shirt is more difficult to press.  Why?  No answer.

This culture is a structure that many men do not wish to be a part of.  My son is passionate about fairness and would not participate in any of these crimes against women.  But these crimes continue unabated.  Women are still being beaten and murdered by their spouses at an alarming rate.  Incest continues and perpetrators walk about freely with no one the wiser of the crimes.

We still don’t have enough female senators and certainly not enough female CEOs, and those women in power are often there as a function of being co-opted into the male world.

Why would any woman in her right mind, in America, vote for Donald Trump?

 

13Sep

Is Obesity the Latest Moral Failing?

We have treated addiction as a moral failing since drunks started drinking centuries ago.  “There must be something wrong with him, he wasn’t raised right…”

Those who could not or would not stop imbibing were thought to be degenerates, not deserving of social care and concern.  In recent years addiction medicine has been able to pull us away from this paradigm into a broader understanding of how people become addicts and lose control of their lives.  Science tells us that it is not a moral failing, but rather a complex combination of nature and nurture.  There is DNA involved in addiction, as well as brain chemistry which reacts to primal pleasure sensations, seeking rewards by repeating behavior.

Addiction is not an easy illness to understand and this challenge has made it into a medical “stepchild” no one really wants to claim ownership and the illness keeps worsening.  Addiction is now claiming lives in the thousands, daily, who overdose on opiates and heroin.  At least society now sees a glimmer of reality by calling out the profit hungry behavior of big pharma and physicians who over-prescribe.  We begin to see that addiction does not thrive in a vacuum, it thrives by virtue of hundreds of factors: social, medical, economic, individual and by the infinite possibilities in the strands of our DNA.  Blaming an addict for using substances, doesn’t produce any good results and yet our society has done it over and over again.

Obesity is our latest moral failing in America, and like addiction it does not earn the appropriate attention for resolution.  I read a billboard yesterday that was advertising liposuction, the billboard said “Get Your Sexy Back!”  The assumption is: Of course you can’t be sexy if you are fat and of course, if you are a woman, you must be sexy.  All through my youth there was a part of me that admired the woman who was not sexy and therefore did not have to glamorize her self.  This woman was not being watched or looked at and had long since decided on a lifestyle with different demands.  I deeply admired this kind of woman.

But the point is, that people are being denigrated and disparaged because they are overweight.  Many will righteously criticize the obese making statements like: “fatty, stop feeding your face and you are a tub of lard.”  Public Health appears to be much more concerned for the overweight than the addicted, which has been helpful for the overweight.  Public Health brings a validity to this condition.  All forms of healthy recognition can be appreciated, as long as the public understands that attacking those who suffer from addiction or obesity does not make for better public health.

What really needs to be said is this: People are not bad because they are obese, just as they are not bad because of addiction.  It doesn’t help anyone to denigrate those who struggle with their behavior.  There are no easy prescriptions for recovery and our culture does not support the discipline of sobriety, nor the task of healthy eating.  Just the opposite, our society is concerned with selling booze and hamburgers to anyone with a dollar.

While our society spins relentlessly to the music of a dollar bill, in the meantime, our part of change is to be kind, kind to everyone, everywhere and at all times.  

This means that we don’t blame, denigrate and demoralize anyone for any reason.  Obesity is not a moral failing and neither is addiction.

23Apr

No High Heels for Me, Not Ever

I know they are beautiful and sexy.  If you check out National Geographic you will see that most societies put their young women on display via the high heel.  Arched back, Breast thrust forward, and you have the true makings of the young in pursuit of mating.

The high heel is uncomfortable and discourages walking.  For many, many years I wore them anyway.  My legs are gorgeous and always have been, but boy, with a hi heel, they are magnificent.  It wasn’t the best choice.  First, I did not need to mate.  I had a great husband and more kids than I could handle.  I received so much positive attention, I thought it was worth while. In retrospect, not so much.

Walking on high heels damages your body and leads you to a sedentary lifestyle.  Both of these facts are not good for you as a person.  I have been reflecting on why women do these things and I think it has something to do with advertising and emulating the rich.  Advertising tells us to emulate the rich and unfortunately, we do it.  What is nail polish but a way to prove that we don’t engage in manual labor?  What are hi heels, past mating, they are but a way to prove that we live in leisure and elegance. Unfortunately, advertising has a powerful effect on human behavior.

I am very proud of my second cousin – www.Whitneydolo.com, as she explores body mythology and body identity.  Whitney was born missing an arm and a leg.  She is committed to finding herself and being a woman. She is doing a great job.

She encourages me to speak out.  I have long believed that the female culture is a farce.  I say so now because it is time.  Thank you Whitney.  😍😝

30Aug

The Ideal of Beauty

Our culture has decided that youth = beauty. We have ourselves to blame as we have idealized the concept of youth for many years. We attach all kinds of concepts to youth, including sexuality and all forms of success.
We have made these associations from our own volition. It is us who make youth the star of every show and every movie of life. It is us who decide to worship youth.

I think that we forget this. We forget that we made the decision to worship youth. We forget that this is a construct, not reality. We have to be careful about thinking that our construct is reality. Youth does not equal beauty. Youth is NOT equal to sexuality and it certainly has no relationship to success. Youth is a lot of things, but has no perpetual meaning. Youth is simply a time of life like any other, it has no magic other than the magic that we may individually choose to imbue it with.

Don’t forget these simple realities. Don’t think that because you are thirty, you are no longer young, don’t think that if you are forty you have lost your youth. Don’t imagine that being fifty – with all of the changes that the age brings to the body – is a bad thing. We are still wholly the person that we are, made all the better with age and experience. Youth is not what makes us beautiful, sexy or successful. The width, breadth and depth of our lives is what makes us beautiful, sexy and successful.
Rainbows

28Jun

I Don’t Know When It Happened

Girl Shopping is the Best.

Girl Shopping is the Best.

I don’t know when it happened. It happened recently, perhaps after I read Nora Ephron’s book “I Feel Bad About My Neck”.
It may have been watching the Dove commercials…
Here is what happened: I decided that my body is okay. I will not concern myself with fixing what is truly appropriate and okay. I’m 56 and it’s okay, I am not reed slender, my breasts do not stand up. My breasts laid down a very long time ago, probably along the time I was breastfeeding my third child. So what set me free from an obsession with a young body?
I think it was none other than me deciding that I did not want to chase me. I think I decided that I am secure, my place is decided and I cannot chase the dreams of materialism. I look somewhat the same with or without 10 pounds, my neck droops, my eyelids droop and it’s fine. I am who I am.
In a broader sense, women are beautiful as they are. We offer life and love, we give, we receive, we do what it takes to take care of our families. What matter what shape our bodies take?

08Jun

Hey Dry Cleaning Lady!

I would never expect you to risk your job, just to be fair. It is incredibly unfair the way the dry cleaning industry charges for women’s shirts. Almost always the dry cleaner wants 4.99 per woman’s shirt while charging 1.99 for my husband’s shirt. Why is that? I have been told many things, for example: women’s shirts are smaller and have to be ironed by hand, without a shadow of a doubt, this is a lie! I have been told that ironing ruins rayon…do I look ignorant to you? Or the famous victim stance, which is, “we don’t have any control”. I get it, maybe you don’t have control.
Here is my problem: you – dry cleaning lady – Why are you so zealous in this chore of overcharging women? I see that it is a chore and someone must do it, but why are you so happy and so self righteous about overcharging women for pressing their shirts? You are a woman, so surely you understand the state of the world, surely you must realize that the downtrodden should liaison with each other. Women can be your chore, rather than making someone else rich on the backs of working women, be part of the women of the world.

15Mar

Sigma Alpha Epsilon

The serious and immediate repercussions of the national chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon  on the racist chanters at University of Oklahoma are so rare that, they must be remarked upon.

Since Gerald Ford pardoned President Nixon, we have been a nation of “excusers”.  We only excuse people who are famous and wealthy.  Excuses have not been used for everyone in this great nation.

You can always tell when excuses will be required again.  After some great crime, or perhaps even a crime that is obscure; there will be platitudes and long speeches with pregnant pauses.  No one can believe that yet another criminal will be set free.  This has been the norm in America, for at least the last 40 years.  The speeches all begin in the same way: “We will complete a full investigation, we will punish those responsible…”  You know when you are listening that nothing will come to pass for those who break laws.

That is why it is shocking to see wealthy young white men held responsible for their actions.  I think Americans of every color and size have been asking for this kind of justice for many years.  I think women on campuses speaking out about date rape, and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri are all asking that we hold people accountable for ALL of their actions.  It is almost unbelievable that justice would occur with such swift action after racial chanting was recorded and published.  The national chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon were purposeful in meting out repercussions for the bad behavior of chapter members.  In America we have seen too many speeches about excusing and ignoring bad behavior.

I don’t think all bad behavior nor do I believe that all crimes are equal in severity.  I do think that the reaction to all bad behavior and criminal behavior should be the same.  Swift, immediate and harsh repercussions to demonstrate to the innocent and good people of America, that it matters to be good.  We should all be reassured that our own personal contribution to what is good and right is worthwhile, that if not rewarded, is at least recognized.

22Feb

I’m Not Mad at Oprah… But

I’m looking at the latest Oprah mag and as usual I’m disgusted (why do I keep buying this mag!).  In my liberal arts classes in college, we often discussed how women undermined themselves by co-opting to the white man’s definition of the professional world.  It was a concept we were all too familiar with.  A woman would make it to the top of her organization and immediately begin criticizing her female peers.  As undergraduates we all promised each other to not be “like that”.

This became part of a broader perspective which was to have women redefine the working world.  We wanted to show the dominant male, that humans needed flexibility and purpose in their work and that productivity could increase as a result of these values.  What is so right about working without personal interruption from 8 to 5?  It’s not only unrealistic, but harsh as well.

Anyway, the key issue for women was co-opting, which meant to adopt the white man’s belief systems and begin judging others based on this belief structure.  This was always deletorious to women.  White men rarely saw the sensibility to being a sensitive and caring individual in the work place.

Ack, and that’s why I am angry with Oprah.  The economic tyranny of her magazine is offensive.  I was born to a very poor and large southern family.  I grew up with a fervent desire to gain traction in the economic community of the United States.  I went to college and then to graduate school and then, when that was not enough I became certified in addictions therapy so that I could help others.

At no time ever, have I had enough money to spend $268.00 on a skirt or a shirt or a pair of shoes.  It’s just not done.  Oh sure, you can say that since I had several children and certainly am in love with several grandchildren, that is the reason for not spending such obscene quantities of money on myself.

For a dress that costs $500.00 there should be ‘2 men and a small boy’ sewing exactly to my specifications.  But there is not.  And in fact, I am finding that more and more money is worthless.  If I spend $80.00 on a dress my money is worthless…  it was a ‘cheap’ purchase.  The fact is that with a graduate degree $80.00 is still three hours of a working day and when you figure in taxes, etc., it is more like 5 hours of a working day.

I also belong to a little known organization that concerns itself with how and what Americans are paid in wages.  For the last several years the battle has been on – to raise the minimum wage in America.  Do you know how many people make less than $10.00 an hour in America?  Just think of this: every fast food restaurant, all convenience stores and every single Walmart in the country.  $8.00 X 40 hours X 52 weeks = $16,640.00 per year.  You know that it is an impossible wage?  So if buying a $268.00 shirt won’t happen for me…then you know that fully half of the rest of the country cannot even imagine a $268.00 shirt.

What I call this is Oprah using her influence to an unfair advantage with economically compromised women.  We love Oprah so much that we want to buy her “favorite things” yet when we do, we lower our credit score because we cannot possibly pay for Oprah’s favorite things with cash.  Who can?  Apparently enough women to keep the mega advertising machine of Oprah rolling along, but only for the very well off.

I guess I wanted Oprah to care about the economically disadvantaged. She does not seem to care, she has her billions and just like every other white male with a billion dollars she uses her influence and name to make some more money for herself.  Of course.

22Dec

My Dearest Daughter and All Daughters, Sisters, Mothers, Wives and Girl-Friends

Please, stop and make yourself a lunch.  Do not scurry on to the next chore and skip attention to yourself.  Please be thoughtful; make yourself a tasty and nutritious lunch that will not make you feel guilty, nor leave you hungry.

If you are drinking a diet soda for lunch, then you have missed caring for a very important person who matters.

Please, daughter, stop and take a break.  Give yourself the gift of a deep breath.  Do what smokers do and stop everything for 10 whole minutes (just don’t have the cigarette).  The world will not suffer irretrievably if you are taking a break.  But, do know this, your body and your mind will suffer if you do not take breaks.

If you are rushing between appointments, then you have missed taking care of you.

Please, make your day, a day that ends reasonably.  Never, ever do laundry at midnight, or bake cookies at three a.m.  Find a way to make your life work within the confines of your life.  Healthy living can’t continue without rest.  Trust me on this; perfection is unattainable and store bought cookies really do taste good.

If you are not resting, then you are not healing and healing is the way into tomorrow.  Please don’t risk your future on an overwhelming today.

Please daughter, move your body.  Move around and feel all of the parts of your body.  Give your muscles and your bones and your mind, movement, it improves everything about your life, everything.

Don’t squander a tasty meal, by not savoring it, don’t squander a deep breath by not taking it, don’t squander a moment of peace by not feeling it, don’t squander an opportunity for rest by ignoring it and don’t squander the chance to move.  Move to the music, move to the light, move and be moved, life is calling.