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.

‘Penelope’ film review

Penelope is a wonderful movie; you should watch it immediately. Here’s why.

  • The heroine narrates her own story, from a place of power, ownership, and strength.
  • The plot-line elicits compassion, and while it is fantasy-based, it is highly symbolic and meaningful to any of us who have ever struggled to love ourselves as we are.
  • It is not your typical romantic comedy… to say the least.
  • Christina Ricci is awesome, and she carries off the lead role incomparably well.
  • If you want to be cheered-up about leading men. Typically I find them pathetically immoral, asinine, rude, unkind, dishonest, selfish… and just generally unworthy. You might understand more fully my meaning as you get to know the leading male character of Penelope, and see how he is an appropriate foil to most leading men in modern films.

Please enjoy it. And if you fancy, submit it to the Bechdel test. Penelope is available to stream from Amazon Prime and Netflix.

Fairytale Analysis: The Goose Girl

Grimms’ fairy tales include one called ‘The Goose-Girl‘. I always liked this one and recently I decided to figure out what is so psychologically-rooted and numinously-appealing about it. The analysis will make more sense to you if you read the story at the above link, first. I do some dream-analysis, and have written this interpretation in a way that mimics the vague language of dreams.

My analysis:

The story indicates that the queen mother’s love for her daughter gives the young princess her strength and power. When the girl allows herself to be mistreated (despite the fact that she knows better) she gives up her power.

First to leave her is her strength, followed by her status, and finally, her freedom to speak her truth.

From there, she begins to work at something which does not suit her, which she was not meant for nor brought up to do. Some of her qualities are recognized by those who are on the same footing as she used to be, though she is a mere shade of her true self.

She is clever enough not to be completely parted with her strength, her knowledge of herself- and this consoles her.

Lower beings wish to clutch at her secret gifts, but she keeps her gifts close. Those jealous lower beings ultimately lead to her help, because they make it obvious who she truly is. Though she has lost her power to speak, those of much experience can hear and see what others cannot. This is how she finds her way back to herself.

Tricksters who would steal power from others bury themselves in trouble, and cast their own harsh sentence.~

What does the trickster signify, who steals the princess’s place from her? This thief of life steals what rightfully belongs to the young woman, who is journeying out in the world for the first time. Anyone who denies a woman power, status, and freedom to speak takes on this role of ‘thief of life’.

Unwillingness also steals strength, status, and speech. Unwilling to… speak up, on the part of the princess, and to work, on the part of her servant.

So, to be a Goose-girl means to allow oneself to be mistreated, to be compliant to the point of self-denial. Losing oneself, there is so much more to lose than it originally seems, and the way back is found through the wisdom of those who have life experience, and who are listening.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief foray into my mind, and those of the Brothers Grimm. I’m feeling good about learning life lessons from fairy-tales.

Love Yourself

FGAF’s take on it: While reading this I felt So Much Love.
“When we treat ourselves with love and respect, we are sending a strong message to the Universe ‚Äď what we give out is what we attract back into our life. By respecting and loving ourselves, we attract respectful and loving relationships.”
I need this affirmation Every day, and I believe you do, too. Love yourself and be grateful for who you are. No conditions on it, none of that. It is no longer cool and desirable to put yourself down. I make it a point today, when I see someone posting on facebook or otherwise about how much they dislike themself, to tell myself “that person is on a journey, and needs to love themself as no one else can. I would only be enabling their insecurity if I try to encourage them to change their mind.” And I make it a point to work on forgiving myself and being kind to myself, being who I believe I’m meant to be and loving the person I am, in order to lead by example. If enough people move forward, those left behind will run to catch up.

Bless you and all you do. I am grateful for me. I hope you are grateful for you, too.

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

‚ÄúWe are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.‚ÄĚ ~ Mary Dunbar

If there is one thing I have learned in this lifetime, it is this: When I love myself, when I am kind to myself and encouraging of myself, healing happens, doors open and life falls into place.

One of the singular most powerful acts you can perform that will transform your life is to have gratitude for YOURSELF.

Appreciate your own efforts, acknowledge your work and your growth, be gentle with yourself when you fail, and praise yourself when you pick yourself back up.

When we treat ourselves with love and respect, we are sending a strong message to the Universe ‚Äď what we give out is what we attract back into our life. By respecting and loving ourselves, we attract respectful and loving‚Ķ

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The Hills Are Alive!

The Sound of Music is one of my favorite films because it lovingly portrays a strong woman, independent for her time, on a journey of self-discovery. It is a musical, and I have included some quotes of lyrics that inspire me and remind me it’s ok to be a bit different and spirited, to be terrified and confident all at once, and to accept life as the grand adventure it truly is.

Julie Andrews portrays a spunky, unapologetic young woman named Maria who has decided to become a nun, but is a bit animated for the abbey. In the words of the other sisters, “She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee, her dress has got a tear. She waltzes on the way to mass, and whistles on the stair.”

She is sent to work as a governess for the large family of a widower. Because it is outside the abbey and somewhat removed from the town she has known her whole life, she is apprehensive about the change. Yet she bolsters her confidence, reflecting and singing;

“What will this day be like? I wonder.
What will my future be? I wonder.
It could be so exciting to be out in the world, to be free
My heart should be wildly rejoicing
Oh, what’s the matter with me?

I’ve always longed for adventure
To do the things I’ve never dared
And here I’m facing adventure
Then why am I so scared

A captain with seven children
What’s so fearsome about that?

Oh, I must stop these doubts, all these worries
If I don’t I just know I’ll turn back
I must dream of the things I am seeking
I am seeking the courage I lack

The courage to serve them with reliance
Face my mistakes without defiance
Show them I’m worthy
And while I show them 
I’ll show me

So, let them bring on all their problems
I’ll do better than my best
I have confidence they’ll put me to the test
But I’ll make them see I have confidence in me

Somehow I will impress them
I will be firm but kind
And all those children (Heaven bless them!)
They will look up to me

And mind me with each step I am more certain
Everything will turn out fine
I have confidence the world can all be mine
They’ll have to agree I have confidence in me

I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again
Besides which you see I have confidence in me

Strength doesn’t lie in numbers
Strength doesn’t lie in wealth
Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumbers
When you wake up — Wake Up!

It tells me all I trust I lead my heart to
All I trust becomes my own
I have confidence in confidence alone
(Oh help!)

I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!”

Maria’s intention throughout the film is to follow the will of her Creator, rather than to find a husband, which is the theme of an unfortunately large number of other films. Through her search for belonging, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to motherhood and to a man who appreciates her personality and her direct and honest approach when relating to others. As well, she proves to be a talented music teacher and seamstress.

Through a particular turn of events, Maria is in search of guidance. Mother Abbess (the ‘head nun’ at the convent) advises Maria to leave fear behind and face life for the adventure that it is;

“Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, ’til you find your dream!”

I find this movie comforting and inspiring every time I watch it. I hope it can do the same for you. I’m feeling good about sharing in life’s adventures.

Love & Marriage (& Responsibility)

So, sometimes people think feminists are against marriage. I am not. I am against “marriage-for-the-wrong-reasons“.

What is this? Marriage for the… what?

Do you want to have sex? Do you want someone else to take care of you and buy you jewelry and houses and dogs and clothes and expensive, etc, etc, etc? Do you want to raise children?

The above are all insufficient reasons to get married.

Marriage is a good idea in this current financially-unstable society when two people who can¬†independently¬†financially support themselves know one another well-enough (does zie have a criminal record? does zie bathe every day? does zie take out the trash or wait for maggots and roaches to materialize and then blame the landlord?) to conclude that their mutual enjoyment of each other’s company will not be destroyed by harmful behavior or destitute poverty.

Because harmful behavior causes harm and stress (no kidding?), and destitute poverty can be just a credit-card swipe away. Financial stress is often quoted as the primary factor which causes divorce, and certain behaviors like unclean-living can cause such destruction to a home as to require thousands of dollars worth of repair. Think before you launch into an a-cappella rendition of ‘Fools Rush In’. Your sanity (and hir’s) is worth it.

This link is a pretty sweet corroboration to my post, but In List Form (I love lists!).

Mazel tov, my loving and responsible friends!

I’m feeling good about Marriage for the Right Reasons.