Gratitude Sunday: The Dignity Of Being

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” Norman Vincent Peale

Sunday Haiku
Pleasant afternoon
for dizzy bees to help eat
my sandwich. Be gone!

Sunday Musings
I’m supposed to hate myself. It’s in all the media, TV shows and commercials, movies, the news. It’s in the print media as well, magazines and books. It’s in doctor’s offices and group gatherings when people subtly or not so subtly say disparaging things about others. It’s a societal thing called imposed shame and it’s a technique to manipulate and control people and their thinking. It’s about capitalism, advertising, marketing, politics, and power.

I can’t do it. I didn’t learn how to play the game. I know what’s in me and nobody else does. My treasures are hidden deep inside, both physically and intellectually, in the dignity of being.

I am a woman. I am told I am lesser than because I don’t have a penis, that appendage that sticks out and can get in the way of so many things. I can’t impregnate anybody. I don’t have strength or physical power. I’m assumed to be less intelligent because my brain is smaller than a man’s. I spent 40 years of my life grossly bleeding every month. I spent five of those years with an embarrassing fattening pregnancy, a messy bloody delivery, naked breasts feeding an infant, and dealing with the bodily issues of a toddler and pre-schooler.

Yet, because I am a woman, I am fierce. I can create humans with my body (whether I choose to or not is my business, and my business only); it’s the price I pay for bleeding every month. I might not be strong physically, but I can bring forth life in a burst of energy and water and blood. I’m smarter than the next ten men put together; my smaller brain is simply more efficient. I can deal with years of sleep deprivation and stress and not kill anybody. Sadly, per my training as an American female, my default response is to blame myself even when I am not at fault. While it happens that I am occasionally at fault, as often as not I am not, but I’m supposed to be.

I am fat. I’m supposed to hate my body. It does not look like what other people think it should look. Operatives: “other people” and “should”. Fashion magazines, news and entertainment medias, the beauty and diet industry, even the medical industry thinks they have the right to dictate how bodies should look. Bodies are bodies. People cannot control how they look; one cannot control how the body looks any more than one can control how the body works. If you think you are in control of how your body looks, you are only kidding yourself. If you think other people can control how their bodies look, you need to mind your own business.

I’m poor. In the capitalistic consumer society, I am lesser than because I have less in the way of cash, capital, and assets. I own very few status symbols: my home is modest and in need of maintenance, my car is 20 years old, I am not coiffed, painted, polished, or the owner of designer clothing. This point might have merit if we had equal opportunities and advantages. There are different kinds of poor and different kinds of wealth. I was able to work most of my adult years, I’m buying a home and have the privilege of a property tax bill which I pay by not going out, anywhere, ever; the money I earned supported a disabled hubster who never qualified for any Social Security assistance; I raised a young man who is a voting and contributing citizen. I don’t own cash, and the small savings I had for retirement is almost entirely diminished because of some untoward circumstances and because I like to pay my bills in a timely manner. Then there’s this silly thing about food, I don’t like to do it but it must be done.

I’m older now. I’m no longer as able or willing. I’m no longer as productive as I once was. I am suddenly worthless, worth less, de-valued, invisible. My words mean little because I’m not “in touch” with the changes in the world around me. My experience and knowledge of history are past news.

I don’t think as well as I used to. I’m as smart as some, smarter than others, and not as smart as even more. But I know how to learn, and I read, and I write, and fight to keep my wit about me.

How society wants me to hate myself is bunk. They want me to hate myself so they can sell me cosmetics and beauty aids; diet aids, exercise equipment, diet programs, and gym memberships; medicines and doctor visits and health insurance policies; cars and bigger cars and more cars; houses and remodels and maintenance; furniture and gardens and pools; TVs, iPhones, iPads, laptops, and other electronic equipment; work clothes, sleep clothes, exercise clothes, swim clothes, night clothes, casual clothes, going-out clothes, baby clothes, kid’s clothes, and new styles every season, not just once a year; breakfast, lunch, and dinner out; sell me stuff, stuff, and more stuff. If I don’t have this stuff I am not cool, with-it, in touch. I’m not as good as people who have this stuff.

Christmas is promoted for four months of the year. That’s one third of the year (I know, math). Christmas is not four months worth of important. Providing the “perfect Christmas” is even less important. We are supposed to hate ourselves if we fail at the perfect Christmas or perfect life.

I don’t believe any of it. I don’t have to. I don’t need stuff to prove my worth. I don’t need to prove my worth at all. Neither do you.

Despite the blood, it’s been an interesting experience being female, and creating life with my body. It’s interesting being round and soft and squishy; I’ve also experienced toned and taut and firm muscles, that was interesting too. I’ve been able and unable and found ways within both capabilities to be a contributing member of society. I’m older now and I’m a library of experience and my particular history, if anybody would bother to listen. (I can imagine being a man, and slender – though I’ve done that already, and smarter, and younger – and I’ve done that as well, and having more cash flow are interesting, too).

I don’t buy the hate, that I’m supposed to think less of myself. Life is not about comparison, or keeping up with the Jones, though our society wants us to think it is. Life is about living life, about experiencing the body and brain you have. We don’t have value because of what we do, we have value because of who we are. Of course, good works and good deeds are worthy and worthwhile, but this is what you do with yourself, perhaps a reflection of who you are, but not who you are. Just being has value too. I am what I am.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Yellow rose bud still strong in late summer. I love this fluffy pink whatever-it-is. Can you see the busy bee loving it as well? I spy with my little eyes the beginning of fall color changes with yellow tucked in between the green. Pink mallow capturing a few sprinkled raindrops. Twin bright yellow sunny sunflower faces.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} I’m ending my summer viewing with the 5th and final season of Dr Kildare (1961-1966, TV series not rated). It’s a bit disconcerting: we’ve changed colors and formats. The stories are two or three hour stories divided into half hour segments, which just end (not in a logical place), and then pick up again in the next episode, and fortunately only the occasional recap. And we have switched from black and white to color. Interesting how the increase of production and sales of color TV sets from 1961 to 1965 meant so many more TV shows were filmed in color. At the beginning you can tell the producers were still experimenting with lighting and make-up (pancake make-up designed for live theater fails on the TV screen especially with hot stage lights). Somehow these changes seem to predict the demise of the show, Kildare seems somehow more and less “real” in color. The black and white seemed to give more weight to the drama of the stories. Perhaps the producers thought the half hour episodes would keep viewers tuning in for the next chapter of the story but, the half hour format leaves one disconnected from the full drama of the episode having to wait for the next segment.

Currently ReadingThe Little Stranger (2009, fiction) by Sarah Waters. ‘Tis the season for a haunted house book. Late 1940s postwar England when the old class structures were being questioned and torn apart, a family tries to hold on to its old way of life in the country manor house. I haven’t met the ghost yet, but the suspense is ramping up. This is the first novel I’ve read by Ms Waters. * Trying to finish The Spirit Level: Why Great Equality Makes Stronger Societies (2011, sociology) by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Much information between the dry, droll statistics. Inequality affects teen pregnancy rates, infant death rates, mental health and physical health rates, obesity, violence and crime rates, number of prisons and people incarcerated, and of course, poverty in general. The more surprising thing is inequality affects people at all levels of the society, not just the poor, i.e., even the wealthier classes benefit when wealth is more evenly distributed in a society.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Getting to spend an afternoon with my sister, sitting by the creek, being buzzed by bees while we ate our sandwiches, and talked without interruptions.
  • A warm, mild day to sit creekside.
  • Finding a purple tank top at Goodwill, and though a smaller size than I usually get, it fit well.
  • Spending an hour in my favorite local junk store, and finding lots of cool stuff, but not finding any cool stuff I absolutely needed to add to my collection of cool stuff.
  • Money not burning holes in my pockets anymore.
  • Valuing non-consumerism.
  • Always looking to buy used first when I think I desire something or have that unwarranted desire to spend money.
  • Being able to resist the urge to spend just because it’s there.
  • Understanding the effects of marketing and advertising.
  • Getting back to the farmers market.
  • A bag of fat juicy green beans.
  • Sweet corn, dripping with real butter and sea salt.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Medicine, Nature, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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