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#whatchagonnadoaboutit

Cirle of women

Cottage country. Here we are surrounded by vast expanses of nature, spotted like a leper with cottages, out-buildings, and ice-cream shops. The noise of a chainsaw cuts across the lake drowning out the sound of the chirping toads, trilling birds, and quiet lake water kissing the shoreline.

What better place to come and reflect on life in general? What better environment to rest, reflect and focus on the issues that are most important to me at this stage in my life; where to live and what to do? Never before have I had so much freedom to choose.  Too much choice can be overwhelming.

The land, water and air here have been stamped with our nonsense. Even now, as I type out my thoughts on a laptop from the dock, I feed into the madness. My coffee cup rests on the Saturday edition of the Globe and Mail, the traditional ‘top of the fold’ importance given to a full colour photo of Tina Fontaine, “Not in vain” reads the white font against a black backdrop. Under my coffee cup, covering my coveted weekly read of the book section.

Not in vain. Genocide. As a CBC listener, I cringed at our Prime Minister solemnly declaring the atrocities that have been going on for hundreds of years.  Patronizing, distant,distain does nothing to effect change.

I do not identify as an indigenous woman, or a woman of colour, or a woman who comes from a culture where women are not considered to be persons in their own right. I’m afraid to say that I do share a border with one. I identify as a woman; sexually abused, raped, working in a culture which boasts of being a leader when it comes to gender equality, but is still entrenched in a society where misogyny has deep, strong, still thriving roots.

My mind flips like a picture book back to when I attended my first protest. I made a banner (not just a sign), and along with two school friends, we marched, chanted and made known our intolerance for violence against women. The overwhelming emotions were rage, injustice, and anger.

As I sit here, I realize how privileged I have become. I’m a long way from the village (yes, it was technically a village) I grew up in and the single-mother struggle that dominated my adult years. But here I am with all of that rich knowledge of experience, looking down at the headline of another young girl who has been murdered. And what the hell are we really doing about it other than assigning a hashtag?

Meaningful work is where my mind goes when I think about what’s next. I have always done work that has made a difference; reporting news, helping the bereaved, comforting the dying.

As a woman, I take it upon myself to help other women. My joy now comes from giving a hand to younger professionals, sharing my experience and building their confidence. I know that whatever comes next will involve sharing my opportunities, sharing my joy, and showing up for  more marches where my pain, rage and anger have naturally taken a backseat to building a community of resilient, strong, women.

 

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To Dye or Not to Dye; Is it Really a Question?

hair dyeIs it safe to dye my pubic hair?

Um, excuse me?

Pubic hair-dying has never been something I’ve lost sleep over, let alone even considered. If you’ve never dyed your hair, believe me when I tell you that hair dye is not something you want to sneak into your holiest of holies. Yowsa!

This little gem comes to you from a magazine targeting women .I confess to loving one such magazine. I love it for personal reasons, and that’s a blog post in itself, so let’s try to stay on topic and stick to the shade of your pubes, shall we?

This question was part of a column boasting health advice. This is not health advice, this is beauty advice. The hypocrisy of women’s beauty is often thinly veiled as ‘health’ to make it more palatable to our culture of grumpy-old-pervs.

I was shocked to find out that, ” Nowadays you can find products specifically made for use in this area. Seriously? The article went on to say, “If you’re still worried about dripping, you can shield the labia and lips of your vulva from wayward hair dye by applying a layer of petroleum jelly to the skin you want to protect.

Ok, so fair enough – interesting advice, and a direct answer to the question.

But this was the part that pushed  curiosity into the realm of the absurd; “Finally, consider doing a strand test.

It was the first belly laugh I’ve had in a week. Seriously, what are you growing down there, a mane?

I get it, at a certain age women do become invisible. This was wisdom that my mumster shared with me years ago.

At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. At thirty years old, I felt my most beautiful. It was lovely feeling pretty, sexy and best of all, confident (if not a little cocky). But that feeling faded into my late thirties.

Now that I’m in my forties, I feel confident, but never stand-out pretty, sexy or attractive. I don’t often think about it any more to be quite honest. I’m pretty damn comfortable in my own skin, so I’m often surprised by the vanity of women who, in the eyes of our conservative-in-the-closet-perv-patriarchy are ‘past their prime‘.

Let’s be honest here, no one wants to see the saggy testicles of anyone over 40, so women should just take back a bit of their natural goddess. Women, unlike men, are shamed for not making significant efforts at concealing their age, experience and power.

If coiffing your pubes puts a smile on your face, go for it. If burning your private bits with hair dye gets you off, hell, who I am to judge?

I just hope that the women out there who are clinging to their youth with invasive procedures find some peace, some way, some how.

 

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A Picture Worth A Thousand Words

I thought that this was important enough to share. Sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words. In this case, it speaks more loudly than words ever could. The article can be read at Post Internazionale.

sparire-dietro-un-velo-orig_main

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On Being a Weirdo

~Anne Taintor~
~Anne Taintor~

Despite being told by a number of men that they love strong, intelligent women, I have come to the conclusion that they have all been full of el-poopo, and that stinks.

During a recent conversation with a friend-of-the-same-vintage, I came to the conclusion, that I was the only common denominator among my failed dating adventures, and I think it’s because I’m a bit weird.

You see, I was weird before nerdy was cool. Way before it was cool.

As a little girl, my older, much into-material frou-frou sister used to turn up her nose and say, “You’re a weirdo.”

It was intended as an insult of course, but coming from someone whose personal ethic never really did it for me, I could have cared less.

As the years have passed, I realize that despite academic and career achievement  I am, indeed still that weirdo. I’m interested in process and theory as it relates to real world applications. I am fascinated by physics and karmic energy. War strategy and architecture make me lose track of time, and good writing, I mean really good, authentic journalism makes me sigh.

When Indigo designed their marketing-to-men menagerie’s, I was a bit taken aback. It seemed like anything interesting, thought-provoking, or requiring an IQ above village-idiot-level was considered man-territory. Pish posh!

I too enjoy a nice single-malt, swig of lager and adventure autobiography. In fact, unless I had a personal shopper who called me when the new seasonal suits were in at my fashion atelier of choice, I’d go to work looking like a homeless person.  I am a hard-working, professional woman, and my personal philosophy is that I should not be giving the majority of my mental effort to matching trinkets while my male counterparts get away with less education, lack of experience and are considered extraordinary dressers if their shirts are pressed.

Granted I’m motherly and like girl stuff like kittens, embroidery, romance novels, baking and jewelry. I love wearing frilly things and having my nails done when I spend time with the man of the hour and I’m a very strong, intelligent, independent woman who often likes to kick back with a beer on Friday night. I like baseball games and musical theatre. I love to camp, fish, canoe, and can also relax in a jacuzzi with vintage champagne. I enjoy it all equally. I enjoy sex for the sake of it, and reserve my heart for someone worthy.

If all of that makes me a weirdo in the eyes of the majority, then so be it.  I’ve decided that the majority of age-appropriate single men don’t have a clue what to do with a woman who can be a friend of equal or superior intellect and a lover.

To the other female weirdos out there – don’t change a thing. To the men who don’t know what to do with us – grow a pair.

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Fitting Room Therapist

prettyI hate shopping.

Unless it’s for Christmas decorations, special baking ingredients, or helping my kiddo pick out something he really wants, I’d rather be a zillion other places.

The stop at the shop was a fly-by on my way home from day twenty-something in a row at work.

In the harsh direct lighting of the fitting-room cubicle, I was left alone with my naked self, and worn out panties.

There’s something about being naked with myself that shakes me down.  All of a sudden, I am face to full-length face with a three-quarter, panoramic view of my bare tushie. It makes me sweaty and anxious. Not ideal.

I wear suits to work, and jeans at home. Rarely do I do anything any more that doesn’t involve work, sports-mothering, or getting cozy with my keyboard, and literary obsession.  When it comes to love-making, unless I’m in a relationship, sex-o-the-day seems like a waste of wardrobe. Light candles and answer the door naked is my philosophy.

But I’m getting off-track darlings. Let’s go back to the stale air of the fitting room cubicle. I have to travel next week. For work. It’s a casual environment, but not so casual I can wear my yoga pants and Parrothead t-shirts.

In the harsh light, with one knee high rolled half-way down my calf, and my spare tire glowing in the fluorescent lighting, I let myself admit just how tired out I am.  “I’m dehydrated, tired, and coming down with a cold“. Immediately my internal therapist gave me permission to go home and rest.

Years ago, it would have been a very different internal voice.  years ago, I would have berated myself for not living up to the physical ideal that we know all ‘worthy’ women hold themselves too.

Years ago, I made a quick stop into the mall between work and going home. I had the rare, single-parent luxury of working late  (please don’t miss the irony in that statement). So depressed about my own body image, I made myself stop for a glass of wine.

I was so tired out, the wine made me tipsy, and when I get tipsy, I get happy and giggly. Suddenly all was right with the world, and the shopping mall I was in. I was feeling so good that I meandered into Godiva and treated myself to one of my favourite things in the world; a milk-chocolate covered marshmallow.

I then made my way to A favourite store. When the unsuspecting saleswoman asked if she could help tipsy ol’ me, I took her on a tour of the shop, pointed to everything I liked and instructed her to bring it to me.  All in XL.

I sat my naked body down in the fitting room and savoured every bite of my milk-chocolate covered marshmallow. When the saleswoman timidly asked how madam was doing, I managed a slurred and sticky, “Splendid”, between licking the last of the melted chocolate off my fingers.

I’ve become a whole lot more comfortable in my own skin since then. That drunken evening of not-giving-a-rat’s-petunia in the fitting room was a turning point for me.

If you’re a happy drunk, I highly recommend tipsy-toodles shopping as step one in your quest for fitting-room-freedom. It’s a whole heck of a lot better than berating and hating yourself.

Today I happily  made my purchase (sober), and then drove home with the windows rolled down and the dulcet tones of Willie Nelson blaring full-blast. I’ve come a long way since that day I felt so sad and unworthy that I needed some hooch to get me through the whole fitting-room ordeal.

Who is that blonde-haired, well-turned out woman with the awesome taste in music,” I could hear the man in the jeep next to me thinking as he eye-balled  the Willie-Nelson-mobile while we were stopped at red light.

She’s a woman who’s come a long, long way“, I thought to myself as I stepped on the gas. It was time to go home and rest. This old bod has been good to me, and it’s time to love it back.