Archive for the 'change' Category

08
Jan
15

Let’s get busy!

let's get busyMake any New Year’s resolutions?  I did.  Actually, I’ve been thinking of it for quite some time and began it with my last post made in December.  “What was it?” you may ask.  It was to get busy!

The book and motion picture “Wild,” has been getting a lot of attention.   Society’s response to a strong female and her journey through grief to self-discovery has been encouraging.  It’s also been an awakening to the media for the need for more pivotal female roles on the page, stage and screen.  During a radio interview with Reese Witherspoon, the star and producer of the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s book, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” Witherspoon referenced the lack of complex roles for women and responded by not only saying, but putting into action her comment:  “…nobody is doing this work.  I might as well get busy and do it myself.”

Obviously we don’t all have the resources like Witherspoon, but we do share the same perspective.  As a result, instead of expecting others to address the needs which have already been identified, I have decided to join Witherspoon and “get busy.”  What does this mean?  I believe that in each of our lives in our own way, we can make a difference to bring about change for gender equality.  From standing up for ourselves or others when confronted by sexism or working to make more opportunities for women available, we all contribute to society’s transformation.  No action is too small, so we must not minimize our efforts.  It’s changing our very way of thinking as a community; embracing our egalitarianism.

Awareness, education and recognition are vital.  However, without following that up with action in our daily lives, our society tends to find contentment with labeling gender discrimination as simply one of many issues which need addressing.  “Issues” tend not to have the same concern as crisis.  Why is it not a national crisis that women do not receive equal pay for equal work?  Why is it not a global crisis that women are surrounded and trapped by violence, rape and sex trafficking?  When perceived as an issue, it weakens the urgency of our condition.   This is nothing less than a crisis which demands action.

So let’s get busy!

Read interview with Reese Witherspoon

 

Support women artists by buying the book “Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed and see the movie.

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17
Nov
14

the right to be you

the right to be youI have been on a hiatus of sorts.  It’s not because I haven’t had any thoughts, concerns or opinions about life.  I guess I just found myself coming up against the same roadblocks, questioning the source, perhaps a common one, of these consistent struggles.

Just the other night I was out with a beautiful artist.  I have seen her work many times and she is a kind-hearted, loving individual.  Yet I hear her say the very words which plague my own heart: can I do it?  Do I have any talent?  Am I beautiful?  I know the answer to all of these questions, but when we are alone with ourselves, we tend to create a comparison which always leaves us feeling less than.  Our society, especially American society, thrives on doing and results.  The expectations placed on us, especially women, make it almost impossible to find satisfaction and pride in oneself.

Society tells women that they must achieve an idyllic beauty which requires youth.  Obviously, this is impossible as we all age, but because so many others strive to reach this imposed rule, we do everything in our power to fulfill it.  Countless, beautiful, brilliant women of all ages with whom I’ve had the pleasure to know, have shared their fear of aging and remaining physically attractive.  The constant fear of gaining even a few pounds or showing signs of a wrinkle plagues their existence.

Then there’s the expectation that women should have it all; if they don’t have both a successful career and children, they disappoint someone.  Many women work hard to obtain an education and use it to compete in an unequal marketplace which not only expects them to give as much, but for less compensation.  Simultaneously, society also places pressure on women to have children whilst making it virtually impossible to maintain the same level of job performance.  Meanwhile, if they do give attention to their work, they may feel guilt or anxiety over their parental role.

As a result, society continues to place women in positions which inevitably cause them to seemingly fall short of its expectations in one area or another.  Personally, I’m tired of never feeling like enough.  No matter how much personal fulfillment I may find apart from society, as soon as I step off my island, I am reminded of my failures.

So how do we break this pattern?  How do we defy these expectations and create ones which build us up rather than tear each other down?  It is hard to walk this path against the grain alone and I don’t believe we are meant to go it alone.  Life is short.  Can we come together and simply claim the right to be ourselves?

03
Aug
14

I’ve got you in my pocket!

i've got you in my pocketCan the pockets of our clothes reveal our self-perception and society?

Sitting in a movie theater watching the pre-show reel, my husband voiced his concerns for my cell phone.  All possible pockets on my person were bulging because I did not want to bring a purse for this event.  As a result, the only optional home for my cell phone was my back pocket.  This was quite worrisome for my husband who keeps his phone in his front pocket.  When he suggested that as an alternative in order to avoid crushing or breaking the phone (of course he assured me that this was in no way a reflection on the weight or size of my buttocks), I told him that it was impossible.

How is it possible that it should be impossible?  After all, he was able to put his phone in his front pocket.  When I revealed that the front pockets of my jeans were not equipped with large pockets like those on the back, he appeared shocked and confused.   In fact, he stuck his hand in my front pocket to see/feel for himself.  Scandalous, I know.  However, we were not thrown out of the movie theater and continued our discussion.

“Sexist pockets,” I said jokingly.  Can such a ridiculous thing exist?  But it got us thinking about why clothing is made the way it is made.  Everyone’s body is different; shape, size, age, function, etc.  However, designers have discovered a way to classify and label clothing according to a specific standard. The questions that follow are:  who chose the standard, how was it determined and why?  Throughout time the ideal form for the human body has changed.  Has the human body changed drastically over time?  If so, have bodies changed due to some form of adaptation to the environment or in order to accommodate or mimic the trends imposed by society?

Whatever the answers may be, the clothing of our present society reflects certain expectations of different kinds of bodies.  Why do some bodies need or deserve large front pockets and others do not?  Or one can take the opposing perspective and ask why are some bodies are burdened with large front pockets and others are not?  Why are some fabrics used for one body and not another?

Perhaps the most important question to ask is this:  are we allowing society to fit us into their predetermined pockets or are we choosing to fill whatever size pocket we want with who we are?

31
May
14

time for patience

time for patienceWhy is it so difficult to have patience?  Or is it just me?

I’m a strange one.  This is no new news I’m sure to you all.  But I guess I’m finding that I’m one of those people who likes to make plans and know what’s coming while also enjoying the mystery of the unknown adventures that lie ahead.  I don’t need security enough that I want to live in the same place all of my life, but I also need a safe, stable place to return to in order to re-energize and renew.   It’s a balancing act I suppose.  Part of me wants the extreme while the other detests it.  And then there’s the practical side of me that just says to be responsible.

So I’m in a transitioning period of my life.  In my head I know this should be a beautiful time; it is a gift really.  A time of anticipation, reflection, rejuvenation; but it can also be one of anxiety, doubt and grief.  If I allow myself to believe that the best or even the worst is behind me I surely deceive myself.  I merely need to be present.  Use the time not to pressure myself into doing for the sake of doing.  To give myself time and make wise investments and choices; understanding that things that are worth doing take time.

It sounds as though I’m going in circles in my head, and I probably am, but I think it’s that I’m just not accustom to doing things I actually like to do.  I’ve always equated work with something I don’t want to do but need to do for someone else.  Now I’ve been given an opportunity, a time to do with what I please.  I’m still working towards something, but because it’s what I am passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work.  Hence the guilt.  Strange to be wired in such a way, but it’s what I’ve known for most of my life.  Perhaps what most of us have known.

So how do we make a society in which more people can work without feeling like they’re working?  How can we make jobs that fit people instead of people fitting a job?  Isn’t that the kind of society we want to live in?   Perhaps there would be initial compromises which would cause some financial loss, but I would think that in the long run it would be an investment worth making; not only in humanity but for capitalism if that’s what we also want to preserve.  But how do we get there?  Maybe we make some plans while also leaving things open ended and flexible for change; forcing us to become better problem solvers and more compassionate human beings.  Maybe we need more patience.  With others.  And with ourselves.

01
May
14

go ahead, just give up on humanity!

go ahead, give up on humanityGo ahead, just give up!  It’s not worth it!

Is that how you feel when you try to change things?  It’s so much easier to follow along with the status quo, but when we suffer the effects of our flawed society, we rethink our position.  Take for example our restricted binary gender roles and systems.  Why do we accept only two definitions of what it means to be a male and female/masculine and feminine?  Why do we even have to categorize it at all?

But instead of making the effort to expand our minds about humanity, we remain limited.  It’s too much work.  And why change it?  That’s the easy out attitude.  But what if you were transgender or someone who doesn’t fit into the either or system?  You’d feel rejected by society as even our language has nothing to communicate or identify oneself.  Even if your identity does happen to accommodate the current departmentalizing system, it still continues to force you to define yourself in a very confining way.

Will we ever redefine our society, our culture, our language to include everyone?  Many believe we’ve come so far but when I have friends who do not identify with the he or she pronoun, how can we say we’ve arrived?  We’re not even close.  People fear what they cannot classify.  But I believe that that only prevents us from growing and becoming so much more as human beings; not caught up in putting each other in a box but celebrating and exploring more and more of who we are and can become.

So is humanity worth it?  We must be the change.  Let’s keep fighting for it together.

21
Apr
14

joy ride

joy rideHow do you live your life?  Do you allow your goals to determine your efforts or your efforts to lead you to a goal?

I’ve always been a planner.  I like to have everything organized and all the details in place.  There’s something satisfying about finding freedom in structure as well as anticipating something certain.  Most would say this makes me a bit of a control freak which is probably partly true, but the rest is probably a combination of a being overly responsible and needing stability.

However, I’ve recently discovered that when I set a plan, it tends to make me feel boxed in.  Instead of feeling secure and comfortable, I see the jail bars surrounding me.  So my goals in a sense close doors to other possibilities; ones that may be even better than my original plans.  Setting goals is healthy, but sometimes if we don’t allow anything to veer us off our course we miss out on the beautiful detours of life that can cause one to discover a new and perhaps more exciting path.

So what I’m learning about myself is that I would rather live my life allowing my efforts to lead me to a goal.  Perhaps that sounds a bit like letting life happen to me and not being proactive, but from my perspective it is quite the opposite.  I find that when I love making the effort, the goals or end point of those efforts become less important; the goal is more like a sign in the distance that is just out of sight that you can’t read what it says, but you know you’re headed in the right direction.  Then as you travel you’re not so focus on taking one course to get to your destination; instead the road becomes wider and full of amazing side streets full of possibilities along the way.

There’s something scary and liberating about not knowing the next step in the journey.  For me, I have found that it enables me to take more joy in the ride.

14
Apr
14

an amazing ride

an amazing rideHow did I get here?

Here I am, waiting in LAX airport to fly to Washington, D.C. for an arts festival at the Kennedy Center.  Did I mention I’m waiting, alone?  Ten years ago I would never have imagined I would be here.  Not only here, here at LAX airport which seemed like a million miles and a lifetime away, but living a life in California.  And on top of that, traveling alone.  I know for many this is not a big deal; in fact it is an everyday occurrence.  But for me, it’s miles and years away from who and where I used to be.

It’s not that I was necessarily discouraged to be independent, but it was much easier as a woman in the small town I grew up in to be dependent.  So I easily fell into this pattern once I got married right out of high school.  Though I looked at the world outside my tiny circle and existence with longing, it never seemed to be a possible reality.  Places like L.A., San Diego and even D.C. seemed like places in stories I’d only heard or seen on TV.  For someone who, at the time, feared driving 65 mph on a three lane highway, those big cities weren’t even close to being on my horizon because I literally couldn’t get past my own city limits.

Then something happened.  Thankfully, yet painfully, my longing for another life grew stronger than my fears and I started pushing past them.  My life literally and figuratively expanded from a three lane to an eight lane freeway (ironic that they’re called freeways).  The thrill of the ride far outweighed the fears that I continued to face and conquer one at a time.  However, through much of it, I had my partner at my side.  This still gave me that added security and at times, I fell back into my dependent ways.

But here I am now.  Alone.  Not really alone.  I don’t believe anyone is ever really alone.  I mean I’m at an airport surrounded by people and all I need to do is reach out.  We isolate ourselves; when really we can take a step in any direction we want and run into someone.  And my steps have led me here…

It’s been an amazing ride.  And soon I’ll be taking another one!




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