As December has transitioned into January and 2016 has given way to 2017, we not only find ourselves in a new year but a new era. In this new era, a group of people have managed to position themselves in places of power, and the agenda they are forcing through in extremely dodgy, sneaky and downright unethical ways chills the heart of most liberal, moderate, and some conservative citizens in this country.
This is usually the time we bust out pieces of paper and jot up some New Year's Resolutions. The first on the list for most women usually is "lose x amount of weight." Well, bitches, we don't got time for that.
In point of fact, there are many things that we do not have time for. These are things that in order to fit into the ideal mold of feminity in this culture we have struggled with and also many of us have tried and tried to shed, recognizing the waste of energy. This waste of time has used up energy we could've been using to become our best and most powerful selves. And yet, we still fall back to not feeling "good enough" because we can't check the boxes of the Perfect Western Woman. There are also negative attitudes that flourish in our competitive patriarchy that do not foster the culture we need to fight the good fight.
Bitches, we are being called. I give you permission - nay, I ORDER you to let this shit go. As soldiers on the ground in this new era, the only thing that matters is what serves you and your fellow human beings. And it's not how your butt looks in jeans.
Here is the top 5 shit turds we don't got time for.
1. Losing Weight/Being "Pretty". Now is not the time for diminishing ourselves. We need to be LARGER, not SMALLER. The number on your scale is inconsequential. What matters is how strong you are. Can you run away while holding your breath, when they tear gas your march? Can you sit for long periods of time waiting for your local representative to acknowledge your presence and hear your concerns? Can you punch someone in the throat if they threaten you or your children? (Ok I can't do that one either but maybe I should sign up for some local boxing lessons....) Look for opportunities to strengthen your bod, and keep it clean, healthy and happy. That includes eating ice cream or cheese + bread. Also take care of your teeth and eyes. If you do these things, you can give no fucks to anything else: not how young you "should" look, how long and flowing your hair is, or how well you apply your make up. Also, please avoid clothing that constricts or inhibits your ability to breathe or move. Don't got time for that shit.
2. Being Nice. Now, I'm not suggesting you should become mean (remember: when they go low....). However, things like apologizing for your opinions, ending your sentences as a question, "softening" your vocabulary - bitch, we don't got time for this. Speak your truth: calmly, authentically, and as loud and often as you need to.
3. Judging and/or Engaging in Petty Disagreements with Your Fellow Bitches. We are on the same team, bitches. Comparing and competing ain't going to get us where we need to go. Take everyone at face value and for what they bring to the Resistance. Engage in debates on solutions only. And bitch, if you bring up the Bernie/DNC debacle or how your conscience is clear because you voted third party, I don't got time for you.
4. Playing the Martyr. Bitch, you are not that special. Just join your sisters and do your job. We don't got time to feel sorry for you. We have a Resistance to mount and evil to eradicate. Enough with the whining. If you are tired or overwhelmed, take the time or participate in the activities you need to recharge. Ask for help if you need it. We expect you to be fueled and ready to suit up. You trying to do everything alone and burning out, or seeking sympathy and not solutions for your woes, serves no one.
5. Questioning your Value. Are you good enough? Of course you are good enough! Don't use that as an excuse for not stepping up. You will never be ready. You will never know everything there is to know. But are you willing to learn, are you willing to work as a team, are you willing to be your best in each moment? If you are, well then. Bitch, let's get to work.
*Some of you may take exception to the term "bitch". I realize it has been used disparragingly as a term for a woman who is subordinate or submissive to someone else, or as a description of a mean and unpleasant woman. I prefer the definition "female dog" or even "female wolf". You really do not want to mess with the Alpha Female. And that bitch does not have time for no kinds of shit.
Behind my house is an amazing woodlands walk that takes about an hour round trip: perfect for thinking and dreaming and having weird conversations in my head. Today some random thoughts that have been tumbling around separately gelled up into a full blog post, as opposed to a Facebook fragment.
My whole life I have not been very nice to myself. It is in my nature/nurture to avoid confrontation or express anger, so my way to deal with growing up and the trials of that journey was to turn any "bad" feelings onto and into myself. Eventually this coalesced into a general hatred of my body and myself as a woman person, which expressed itself into believing I was fat, unlovable, weak. To battle these demons I dieted, starved, allowed myself to fall into unfortunate relationships, developed a wicked self deprecatory sense of humor.....blah blah blah. Let's just sum up and say I hated on myself, regardless of the loving people and friends around me who did not think badly of me. I had great loving parents who did not make me feel bad about myself, let's just get that out of the way: no blame game here. There were a confluence of details that added up to this but let's not go into a full psych report, it's the usual shite.
The usual shite that is not an uncommon ailment of the feminine psyche these days, unfortunately.
So now that I am officially middle aged (!!!!!), I am happy to report I am MUCH better than I was in my youth. BUT....the hater, she still there, ready to slam me, cut me, shame me. The feeling of not being good enough daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, artist, person, woman (add role here); of judging myself on my weight and appearance; of making fun of myself; bad habits that are a well worn groove in the ole noggin'.
And Lord/Lady, how bored I am with this recording. How tired I am. How sad I am that this has taken up so much airspace in my head for so long. What a waste, all that time and thought energy towards self loathing! What I could have DONE with that energy!
So all we can do, us flawed persons, is continue to start where we are. And start again. And start again. Hopefully every time coming back to a healthier starting place.
So here's my current starting place. Gained some weight over the past year. Not too uncommon. Time for a Cleanse! This is the current trend in "Healthy Land". It's still a diet hidden in a cleanse (clean food GOOD! Unsustainable strictitude.....no worky), which means deprivation. I wasn't depriving myself of necessary nutrients, but there was deprivation of pleasure. And any time I feel deprived, a stubborn part of myself completely sabotages. She stomps in and says, I DESERVE to eat what I want! Don't you tell me what I "should" do! Fuck you! munch munch munch (bag of salty or sweet crunchy things).
Ok. So. Time to get deeper on the analysis about things this time around. WHAT do I want to eat? WHEN do I want to eat? WHY do I want to eat? (WHERE do I want to eat? WHO do I want to eat? hahahhahahhahahah). So now what do I do with this data?
I'll tell you right now: willpower has not been effective.
So let's look at this a leetle differently. Why is any of this....bad?
*Weight gain = hate myself
*Unhealthy eating = bad health/low energy
*Unhealthy eating habits modeling to my daughter
So the only thing that really seems to be important in those three is the last two. Yes, weight gain is "bad" if it is excessive and if you do the whole gain/lose cycle which is hard on your system. But if it's like 10-20 lbs, maybe who gives a fart?
Now recently I’ve been reading some books. And you know what books do: they give you some IDEAS. Dangerous ideas. Ideas that go against the cultural norm kind of ideas.
Here’s what’s penetrated my thick skull:
“Fat” is a word that is associated with weakness, laziness, gluttony, lack of willpower, stupidity, and general worthlessness. It is just about the worst thing you can call a woman in Western Society.
However. This is what I know about the weight I carry: I work as hard (if not harder) when attempting to lose it. And.it.does.not.work. Maybe temporarily, but not for long. My body has set point, and godsdamnit, she is gonna stay there.
I am not weak, lazy, gluttoness, stupid, or worthless.
So. The word “fat”. Maybe I don’t give a shit. Maybe…it doesn’t even look that bad. As an artist, I see beauty EVERYWHERE, including other women of all shapes sizes and ages. There are women I know of who would be considered clinically obese who are absolutely completely heroines of mine, and they are stunning for who they are as a complete package, fat bodies and all. Why can’t I see myself that way?
‘Member how I said I’m super tired of wasting brain energy on how I look? Recently I read a radical essay by Kelly Diels, where she asked - why do I have to hate my body and….(get this!) why do I have to spend time LOVING my body as well? Radical, right?! Her point is, she doesn’t spend time “loving” her mind. She just uses it. Is thankful for it. So how about we take away any directive to do anything about our body that this current patriarchal culture TELLS US TO DO?
Do you need a moment to think about that? I did. Because not only did I swallow whole the message that I was worthless unless I was skinny, but conversely that I was damaged if I didn’t love my body!!! Damned if you do damned if you don’t, right? Sheesh it’s no wonder I am soooooo gooooood and putting myself down, because that sure is the message women are getting NON STOP. It’s RELENTLESS.
I think it’s time for a cultural cock block. I’m done you guys. I don’t want to diet. I don’t want to hate/love my body. You know what I want? A strong body. I want a body that can carry me through the journey of my life, as I raise my daughter, follow my dreams, work hard on my art, play with my friends. I want a healthy body that’s going to give me another 40 years of this glorious life I have. AND I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING because it crossed my brainwashed brain too: if you are overweight, you are unhealthy. Well I’m not going to go into it but there have been some great studies that “overweight” is not really “over” and that is actually healthier than being TOO skinny minny.
So how to eat like a Goddess. What would a Goddess eat? The best damned thing that she wanted. If she wants chocolate cake, she is going to eat the best fucking cake there is. Because she’s a Goddess. She’s going to eat the best fruits/veg/meats/grains/DESSERTS there are. Because she’s a Goddess. And then she’s going to stride around with her big strong Goddess Body and rule stuff, all benevolent and maybe sometimes with some wrath, I don’t know. So THAT’S what I’m modeling on. Not this weird twisted story of woman that we’re being force fed. I’m not eating that shit. A Goddess wouldn’t.