Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Balancing On My Soapbox

This one's for Christy, because I don't want to overflow her comment box.

Okay, I'm not even going to read the other comments on your blog before I jump into my diatribe.

First off: If you say at 36 yrs. old you're OH SO close to 40!... Well, I'm just gonna have to smack you spam-mail style. I'm 43 going on 44 and if 36 makes you ALMOST 40 then I must surely be looking at the dark side of my 40's and might as well invest in a cane and loafers.

Secondly: If that picture of you on your blog looks anything like you do today... Well, you my dear are a lovely woman who should not be fearing decrepitude.

Thirdly: DO NOT! I repeat DO NOT buy into all that the media feeds us. Movies, Books, Magazines, Commercials, Advertisers, Music, Videos... All of these things are telling us we can't be either too young, too rich, too thin or too loved. And when they say loved, they say it purely in the superficial sense.

So let's take a moment to dissect that, shall we? Hmmmm, You can never be too young. Well, if I remember back to my youth I can honestly say I have no wish to be that naive or unsure of myself again. All I need do is walk down the concourse of the nearest mall to see how awkward and downright difficult it is to be a teenager. So why does the media wish to force on us the idea that this should be what we're trying so hard to attain?

You can never be to rich. Oh c'mon, this one is SO easy! Have you glanced at the tabloids? Should we really be working towards patterning ourselves after the Britney Spears & Paris Hilton's of the world? Sure they've got money but what else? Self-esteem, Strong ethics, Moral fiber? Talent?... Yeah, I had to add the last one.

You can never be too thin. Hellooooo, Karen Carpenter? Truth is the percentage of 'healthy' model-like people in the world is very small, something like 8%... How do I know? I don't. I'm making this up! Surely you're aware that 97% of statistics are made up on the spot? One thing I do know, I don't measure the quality of the people in my life by what their scale reads. I sure hope they don't measure my qualifications as a friend by what mine does. When you think about the worlds greatest minds, poets, artists... People who have really made a positive impact, can you call to mind whether they were 'good looking' or not? Were they too heavy? Mother Theresa didn't look like a super model, that's for sure. Does that make her any less wonderful?

The media likes to tell us LOVE is important. Images of being lusted after, longed for, adored are everywhere you look. It's how products are sold. If I buy that perfume, every guy will want me! If I drive that car, everyone will think I'm HOT, SEXY, COOL! Christy, every human that ever lived has the very basic desire to be loved... And dear Christy, for those of us who've been through a (for lack of a better word) miserable upbringing, we long desperately for proof that we're worthy to be loved. I think, from the way you write, that you've found it. I think I found it too. It's just those ghosts from the past are always whispering in our ear, telling us we're not good enough, we're not smart enough, we're not beautiful enough. Because back when we were kids the people who were supposed to help cement our worth, we're too busy trying to deal with their own feelings of coming up short.

Christy, you said, "I wanted to have accomplished big things, like: to have figured myself out; to have found my passion and be living it." I too have been struggling with the idea of 'Making My Mark in the World'... However, I'm beginning to understand that the people who really make a difference don't necessarily set out to do so. The difference is made by those who really attend to their lives. To be the best one can be, for themselves, for their family, for their community. In so doing perhaps that's how one 'Makes their Mark'.

I'm stepping down from my soapbox now. I can be such a blow-hard at times and I've really got to spend more time to practice what I preach. Christy, I hope you find solace, pride and sense of celebration on your 36th birthday and every one thereafter. Happy Birthday!



Anonymous Christy said...

Wow, I warranted my own post...all about me. I'm honored...and frankly, a little scared (you're very passionate aren't you!) Funny! :)

I know you're right about ALL of it. There's a lot of inappropriate messages out there for women, and when you couple that with a dysfunctional childhood, it's like, lack of self worth to the 100th power or something (I don't really know what that means b/c math was never my thing, but it sounds good.) I don't want my daughters to inherit this way of thinking so I don't allow magazines in the house or let them watch regular tv.

As for figuring out the big stuff, I know a lot of people struggle with that, and honestly I'm grateful that I have the wherewithall to care!

Thanks for the pep talk--I needed it. I'm pretty blah, blah, blah, poor me sometimes & just need my ass kicked a little.

BTW--that picture is recent--the only thing that's different is I got my hair cut a little shorter since then, BUT I have to tell you I made my daughter take about 127 pictures to get 1 that I could live with...and I wish I was exaggerating about that!

8:22 PM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger lime said...

well, without having gone over to see the post that sparked this i have to say i agree with everything you've said. none of the external trappings really matter.

7:46 AM, May 28, 2008  
Blogger Whiskeymarie said...

After turning 37 this year (and not being very happy about it at the time either), I really have finally gotten over it. I don't think I feel my age, but then again I'm not really sure what 37 is supposed to FEEL like.
We can look at the skinny, rich, vapid 20-somethings of the world and feel bad, or we can look around and see all of the hot 30, 40 and 50-somethings out there. I firmly believe that women are aging better now- we have better moisturizers, I guess. But really- I feel more attractive now than I ever did in my severely insecure 20's. I feel sexier, smarter and a bit more put together. I've got a few more pounds on me, but whatever. I like how I look.

Life-wise, I still haven't figured it all out- and to be honest I pity the person that does. Where's the fun in that? Once I figure one thing out, something else confusing/frustrating/challenging presents itself and I'm two steps back. But really, for me the joy is figuring out the small things bit by bit, then moving on to the big things...
then starting all over.
Strangely enough, I find this comforting.

6:19 PM, May 29, 2008  
Blogger Stacie said...

This was a great post to read..not just a kick in the pants for Christy (Happy Birthday Christy) but for me as well. I though I was the only one struggling with these issues, but as I take a gander around blogland I see so many women my age-ish (and I really AM pushing 40!) struggling with the same things. Weird...

9:38 AM, May 30, 2008  
Blogger EmBee said...

Thanks Stacie, I hope it helped. It does help to know we're not alone when it comes to our hopes and dreams and concerns. There's a misconception that we're all very unique, but I'm coming to the understanding that we're all very much alike... We all just want to know we belong and are important to our fellow man. We all really want to be assured our lives have relevance. I guess the older we all get the more we begin to wonder if that's true.

10:04 AM, May 30, 2008  
Blogger EmBee said...

That's some awesome insight WM! Isn't it all about finding the JOY in living? If we knew all the answers what fun would that be?

For instance, I REALLY enjoy doing crossword puzzles (geek-a-rama, I know) and the ones I find the most enjoyable are the type that I can't complete right away (those are boring!) I like to put the paper down, think for awhile and then come back with a new perspective. When I do, I can sometimes figure it out, sometimes not, but it's all in the trying.

Weird analogy I know but, it's what popped into my head.

10:54 AM, May 30, 2008  
Anonymous Christy said...

Nice comments...I guess others have put some thought into these issues as well and are on the right path. And I know I'm slow, but I'm getting there.

1:17 PM, May 30, 2008  

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