Caught Sleeping?

From the perspective of relaxed and interested audience, I liked While You Were Sleeping. However, from the perspective of ‘Woman who cares what I think about myself and what other women think about themselves’, there were a few things about it that bothered me.

Do you realize how good your life is? Just take a moment and think about it. You have a place to live? Clothes? Food? Job? Luxury of owning a pet?

Me and my adorable luxury pet

Me and my adorable luxury pet

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of those, you are at least as blessed as the main character (Sandra Bullock’s character, to be exact) and really, you can probably relax! Nothing’s that bad! ūüôā Good news, eh?

So the lead in ‘Sleeping’ is unhappy because she’s un-partnered and she develops this fantasy that she’s going to marry one of the patrons of the subway system where she works. The whole film has to do with marriage and the search for the right marriage, because ‘that’s what she’s missing; a family’. I completely understand. I, too, pine and yearn for partnership. I also recognize that if I’m not happy on my own, partnership won’t fix that. I can be happy on my own without a husband, and not be any ‘less’ of a woman.

She also allows people¬†to believe a lie about her, which is based on a misunderstanding, but would be easily corrected all the same. Her explanation of this is that she didn’t want to hurt them, but also that she so desperately wanted a family. So here we have a heroine who bravely saved a man’s life but doesn’t have the courage to continue to live as a single woman when she’s given the opportunity to have a deceptive relationship instead. Not exactly role-model material, though I will admit it’s a change from the deceptive role in films¬†always being played by men. It’s sort of like the male lead in Penelope; he has some decent motives for his not-great behavior. Despite the faulty archetype being the same (liar gets to win in the end) I almost like that Sandra¬†gets to play a character whose behavior is more traditionally masculine, at least from a filmmaker’s perspective.

Another conundrum the film does not satisfactorily resolve is that¬†she accepts a marriage proposal from a guy who is not necessarily nice to her… he kind of harasses her repeatedly. I wish I could say I didn’t buy it, but the problem here is that I’ve seen it repeatedly, and not just in movie-land. When a person is starved for attention, it can be a real challenge to deny negative attention any berth in your life. It can be hard to say ‘no’ to an offer that you know isn’t quite good enough.¬†There is even a¬†scene where his character points out that he hasn’t treated her that well, and she proceeds to ignore this acknowledgment. There’s forgiveness and then there’s denial; I see her stance in this film as more of the latter, which reflects a certain desperation that plays off the ‘lack of husband’ issue.

So while this film was easy to watch, I could also see where it would be so easy to be ‘caught sleeping,’ and fail to notice the dangerous messages provided in the subtext of the film. In balance, I’d like to encourage women to keep your standards high and accept only treatment that is worthy of you. If other people can’t seem to treat you well, that is THEIR problem and NOT yours. Leave them in your dust. Love yourself. You are worthy.

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Wherever you run, there you are: Runaway Bride

So I’ve decided maybe a Julia Roberts marathon is in order. Tonight might be …. Pretty Woman? Mystic Pizza? Erin Brokovich? I really resonate with¬†Julia’s¬†works of art/film.

The take home message for me from ‘Runaway Bride‘ (I will do my best to minimize ‘spoilers’) is that you HAVE TO LOVE YOURSELF BEFORE YOU LOVE SOMEONE ELSE, AND BEFORE THEY CAN KNOW AND LOVE YOU.

This is something I’ve been learning in my own life for a while now. It’s difficult initially. I think many of us feel this¬†void and we want to fill it… so we think ‘what do I need? a relationship!’ It may feel like the magical answer, but what about your relationship with yourself? How about working on that for a while?

Personally I’m reaping great benefits from nurturing my relationship with myself. With increasing frequency I’ll see something kind I did for myself (my bed is made and the sheets look smooth and comfortable and pretty…. or I concocted a really delicious smoothie…. or a note I wrote for myself complete with ‘Love, Me’ as the signature) and when I see these things, I feel this powerful and beautiful¬†sense of ‘aww, someone loves me! Oh,¬†I love me!’ It’s a great feeling. It’s really worth it.

I used to identify with the scene with the eggs. Watch the movie. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

Any fear we experience is internal; it’s about Self. The only remedy for that is to fully accept and love yourself Exactly the way you are now, dark and light and all. Face the dark, rejoice in the light, and you’ll eventually be just who you imagine and wish that you could¬†be.

Setting my Standards

I’ve been wondering…. who sets the standard of “beauty”?

Who says it’s shaved legs?

  1. the photos in fashion magazines?
  2. the pornographers?
  3. the women who don’t dare miss a day of shaving their legs?
  4. the men who require their girlfriend or wife to shave her legs?

Who says it’s high heels?

  1. the corporations who sell high heels, but could sell something else if they chose to?
  2. the pornographers?
  3. the women who wear high heels because they ‘want to look sexy’ and don’t think they do in flats?
  4. the men who give lots of attention to women wearing heels?

What do you actually want to wear on your feet? For comfort’s sake? For safety’s sake?

Have you ever actually tried growing out your leg hair? Have you tried loving yourself despite long hair on your legs? Have you? Because I promise you it is possible.

Here’s my proof.

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I’m heterosexual, and brush my teeth every day, and love myself completely. It’s totally possible- in fact, it’s true. And I spent 6 months without shaving.

Agreeing with Hubby

I’d like to propose a tweet:¬† A¬†#strong¬†married¬†#woman¬†agrees with her husband because she chose a husband who has similar¬†#values¬†to her own.¬†#feelinggoodfeminism

Make it go viral.

I recently have read some things stating that women ought to agree with their husbands out of respect for their marriage, and ought to cede to her husband’s decisions because he has the final word. Aside from suddenly needing to vomit, I feel that there is something inherently dangerous about this idea of unconditional support based on convention rather than based on intelligent agreement and trust.

I would choose to marry someone who upholds the same values I do, both in words and actions. I hope that my fellow women feel the same about choosing a partner; that partnership is based on similar values, trust, respect, and intellectual interest in one another’s ideas and projects.¬†I believe in equal cooperation.

I would hope that men can do the same, seeking a partner who is similar to you intellectually and morally, so that you trust in her decisions. Choose the path of strength; be honest with your partner, tell her how you really feel about things so that you both make informed decisions about your continued partnership.

I can say these things all day long, and the most important portion remains that I must continue to practice making good intelligent decisions for myself, learning who I am and expressing my personality in everything I do, and speaking my story to those whom I come to trust will treasure it.

How to Survive Valentines Day

I used to be the first to assert that ‘holiday pressure’ didn’t get to me, and yet, it has been doing so lately. I’ve decided that for Valentines day, which can be one of the most pressured of the year for many people, I am going to be my own Valentine.

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I have always been one to go a little overboard for a holiday which is all hearts and flowers! Once I designed a lovely bouquet at a florist’s shop, and gave a ring and several mix CDs to a beau. Another time I made a youtube playlist, gave an artistic and highly-personalized handmade card, baked something sweet, and spent a sweet evening watching a favorite movie together. For a third and non-romantic example, I made three watercolored hearts and added glitter and kind messages of thanks and friendly adoration. All I want is for someone to show the same devoted attention to me! So I am.

  • Baking a banana bread for myself
  • And a cupcake, with frosting of course, and totally allergen-free
  • Making a lovely handmade and glitter-full card for myself, which says sweet things
  • Watching a favorite movie or show (Downton Abbey? Stardust? haven’t decided yet)
  • I considered buying myself a red rose, and then nixed the idea for now.
  • Letting myself off the hook. I am not obligated to do any of this for anyone. I’m doing it for myself to show myself how worthy and loved I am.

I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do for years; show myself the same love and consideration I show to other people, and doing so because of me. Simple as that. I always used to develop a reason related to someone else if I were to do something kind for myself, and now the reason is me. I deserve kindness, simply because I am.

Love you, THEN reproduce

Unfortunately in some situations¬†abortion might¬†be the most loving choice. What is absolutely 100% better, however, is just not to have sex in the first place if you don’t want to give birth.¬†‘Sexual freedom’ and sexual wantonness are totally different things. Women have the freedom to have sex with men outside of marriage. We also have the freedom to choose to not use that freedom.

Whether or not you agree with me doesn’t matter, but have an open mind for a minute.

I’ve known several people who told me they knew their births were accidental because of things their parents had said, who had been treated terribly by their parents, or who were adopted and had never forgiven their birth parents for having a child and being unable to take care of it. These people have suffered so greatly. I have such compassion for them. I would absolutely NEVER say that these people should have been aborted, because I don’t feel that at all. I believe these people deserve all the love in the world. I am glad to have known them. I do feel that it’s cruel to bring someone into a life that you aren’t ready to provide them, or aren’t emotionally capable of providing. A person needs to love their self before they can teach a child how to love itself.

Are you wondering if maybe you don’t love yourself that well?

do you smoke? drink for oblivion? use drugs at all? use sex to block out emotions? neglect to eat/sleep/bathe/brush your teeth? (You can’t love yourself if you’re destroying yourself.)

Or perhaps you do have a healthy love of yourself?

do you care more about being true to yourself than about what other people think of you?

do you make your needs priority ahead of your desires?

can you give up something that’s harming you?

do you seek positive healthy situations?

can you set boundaries and hold to them?

can you sit with and truly feel strong emotions until they pass?

I would like to gift you the quest for love that I have been taking… I am seeking to love myself in the kindest ways, to have self-compassion and to take great care of my well-being. I am passing it on to you.

Deconstructing Selective Blindness

I read an article today titled ‘The Kissing Sailor, or “The Selective Blindness of Rape Culture“‘ and I am satisfied that the truth is coming to light. The voice of Greta is getting heard.

Let’s analyze the image discussed:

Is it about the kissing, the being kissed, or neither? or both?

Look for a few signs that she does not want to be kissed:

  • Her chin position shows that her mouth is being forced open
  • Her body is stiff and awkward, rather than relaxed
  • Her fist is clenched
  • His left arm is braced around her head, as if to block her from pulling away. How many couples do you know who kiss like that?

A few things to think about if you were to see this scene, even on a crowded street… attend to your first instinct- does this look a little off to you? To me, it always has, especially BEFORE anyone explained or captioned that this was when World War Two was officially over in Japan. To me, it never looked quite right.

The evidence is in the words of Greta, captioned within the article at the above link, that it was not her choice to be kissed, he surprised her and grabbed her in a vise grip (which is certainly what it looks like), and that she was not kissing him- he was kissing her.

What strikes me even more is that the article by cbs news states that the man claiming to be the sailor is trying to prove it’s him in the photo. He seems particularly proud of it. Personally, I’d be quite embarrassed that I’d grabbed a strange woman without her consent. Then again, Greta has attempted to prove that it’s her in the photo, as well. Does that make it ok for a man to force himself on a woman? Not at all, and I’d take the clenched fist in the photo as a warning. Because nothing resulted from this particular grab (other than fame and generally good wishes surrounding this photo) the two don’t seem to mind being recognized for it. This is a rare and strange case, unlike most sexual assault which often harbors consequences of trauma and more.

If you see a couple like this, and something does not look right to you, interrupt and ask for directions. Seriously. You might end up saving someone’s life just by figuring out what is going on.

I’m feeling good about reality rather than romanticizing.