Let’s Get This Straight

It is NOBODY’S BUSINESS but your own, let me repeat NOBODY’S BUSINESS but your own, what you choose to do with your body.  Before anyone states the obvious, I’m not talking about using your body to commit a crime or to inflict pain on another person.  I’m talking about the skin, bones, blood, muscles, etc. that you claim as yours.  That’s right.  It is yours. It’s what people see when they look at you.  It’s almost always a canvas to be used to express who you are in one way or another.  It can reveal a lot about you or it might not.  You might not think a lot about your body, but I hope that you think enough of it to take care of it. If you don’t, well, that is unfortunate, but it’s not my place to tell you what I think of it.

At the old age of 52, my body has certainly been through a lot with three pregnancies, two childbirths, my rough and tumble childhood (and adulthood, lol), sexual pleasure, bruises, sprains, high blood pressure, and far too much abuse. I never set out to abuse my body, but I never loved it. I never loved the skin I’m in. What about the legs that have carried me so well for all of these years?  I’ve never had a broken bone. I really have never had a serious illness.  My breasts have fed a child.  My body has nurtured the growth of two children. Isn’t it funny how we, as mothers, seem to practice body love only when the life of another is at stake?  Why did I give up certain foods and drinks when I was pregnant?  Wasn’t MY health just as important as the health of the life inside of me?  I daresay many of us don’t love our bodies. We scrutinize and torture ourselves with thoughts of hatred and desires to be look like someone else.  How fucking insane is that??  Men generally don’t do that.

I’m writing this because of a conversation I had recently with one of my parents.  Rather than bore you with a long, woe is me post about my own body issues, I will tell you what was said and you can draw your own conclusions about my past and how those past issues continue to haunt me and affect me to this day.  At the age of 52!!!  Ok, here goes some snippets from the aforementioned conversation:

Me: “How was your dinner with J and his friend? What did you think of R?”

Parent: “He seemed nice enough.  Overweight, though, just like J.”

Me: “Heh, aren’t so many young people these days?”

—————————————————————–

Parent: “I looked up S’s fiance’ on on Facebook. Do you know what her last name is?”

Me: “Yes, we are friends on Facebook.  It’s **** .” (her last name is a synonym for fat)

Parent: “Kind of appropriate.”


S just recently got engaged.  His fiance’ is a young woman who is overweight.  S has exclusively dated larger women. I don’t know if he has a preference or not, but that’s his business.  Since S started dating, this parent (S’s grandparent) has made remarks about S’s girlfriends being fat. One time, a comment about one girlfriend was made in earshot of her parents.  Not cool.  J’s friend R is also overweight. I knew that, but of course, it had to be pointed out to me in a critical manner.

From a very young age, I was taught that it was not OK to be overweight. Of course, I inherited my curvaceous body type from my Italian grandmother and I have had to work hard to keep weight off.  I don’t want to be overweight, but I still am. No matter how I choose to “keep” my body, it’s not up to anyone else to pass judgements on it, but that has not been the story of my life.

I have been envious my whole life of girls who grew up feeling good about themselves.

Nowadays it’s called “body shaming.”  I just call it hate.  Hate your body, hate yourself, treat yourself poorly.  Let’s end this.

Judge Not, etc.

As I noted in my last blog post, I have been in and out of churches for a very long time. I have longed for the community of a good church.  I have joined my local Secular Humanist group and attended my first meeting this past Sunday.  The topic of discussion piqued my interest.  A local church group, along with the local police department (in conjunction with the police department? I really don’t know…) held a prayer walk and vigil on the streets where the local prostitutes work. The humanists were appalled by this for a number of reasons, which I’ll get to later.  The last line of the information that was provided for the group meeting was, “Humanists have a better plan.”  Well, OK!  As a woman, I am concerned about this topic.  Too many women are using their bodies to pay for drug habits. Admittedly, I don’t know much about the profession, but I have a heart for the women who feel that this is their only option, for whatever reason.

The group meeting began with introductions and then the facilitator passed out copies of the church’s flyer advertising the prayer walk and vigil, which took place on a recent Saturday morning.  Next, the facilitator read us a personal anecdote about his own experience as a young military man who was approached, along with his buddies, by ladies looking for a “good time”, or has he called it, a “date.”  The only reason he did not partake was that he couldn’t afford it.  I listened and tried to understand where he was coming from.  He preached about the “victim-less” crime and how it should be legalized, blah, blah.  Fortunately, many of the group participants spoke up and took him to task for condoning the exploitation of women (and men).  The talk then turned to how we, as Humanists, could do better.  More on that later.

The group was starting to sound pretty judgy.  The judged the supposed white, middle-class women at the church preaching to mostly women of color.  I shook my head in agreement, but still wondered how we could do better.  Unfortunately, I spent the 60 minutes in the group attempting to explain to these people that church groups do offer a lot to those who are in the midst of crisis.  They want you in church, they invite you to their groups and they can be very hospitable and caring.  I have seen this in my own life with people I have known and not every Christian is judgmental.  Still no good answers to how Humanists could do a better job.  No one really wanted to meet the prostitutes where they were and offer them comfort, a meal or some coffee.  With all the bitching that atheists do about Christians being judgmental, these people were just as bad, if not worse.  At least the Christians they complain about actually do try to help others.  I’m sure there are good Humanist and Atheist groups that help, but this was not it.

I decided to do further research into this church and their ministry and found that the leader is a recovering addict herself, who was welcomed into the church while she was in jail.  The people from the church came to visit her while she was in jail and cared about her in a way that she had never known before.  I also viewed pictures of the event on their Facebook page and saw much diversity in the participants.

No answers or solutions were given during the group time, except that drugs and prostitution should be legalized, thus subjecting them to regulation. I suppose that is one way to look at the problem, but these are people with real issues and they need a lot more than governmental interference.

The Feminist Double Standard

Lately I have been noticing a trend that seems to have its roots in social media.  I belong to a closed group on Facebook called 50 and Fabulous.  This is the place where we menopausal ladies can gripe, talk about our saggy boobs and lament our empty nests.

It’s also a place where married women can openly drool over the supposed perfect man for the menopausal set, Sam Elliott.  selliott  I have seen an openness among married women on social media to drool over men other than their husbands and to celebrate our liberation by ogling  any man we find hot.   The point is that we have absolutely no qualms about drooling over half naked men and taking the time to post and share whatever hottie we think our friends might fancy.  Most of us are secure in our marriages, but I know for a fact that many, if not all, of these women would not find it nearly as amusing to see their husbands posting and sharing half naked pics of whomever they find attractive.  If said women were thinner, younger, and prettier, the wound would hurt even more.  Is it ever ok to openly gawk at a good looking stranger in front of your spouse?  I say no.  It’s disrespectful.

Most wives and husbands play a game where they name one celebrity crush that they would cheat on the other spouse with if the chance ever arose.  It’s all fun and games, because you know it’s never going to happen.  I have many married male friends on Facebook and I have never once seen any of them post and share pics of beautiful women other than their own wives.

I choose not to hurt my husband’s sense of self-worth by making him feel any less about himself.  We are not perfect people.  I love him and find him immensely attractive.  I like to show him that he is the only one for me by not comparing him to guys half his age and I know he feels the same about me.