Body Image Issues; It’s not Me – It’s You, Pig.

oglingAbout a month or so ago, I had a really interesting conversation with my Mumster. She’s a wonderful woman, and someone whom I admire for her insight and brilliant sense of humour.

We were having side-by-side pedi’s and talking about the men in our life. You know, the oblivious sex. Particularly the middle-aged, if not beyond that demographic.

We were talking about how our confidence is much higher when we’re on our own, either completely out of the relationship, or at least not in the same room with them. I talked about this with other women as well, just to get a feel for it, and it seems to be generally true; women are most confident when not with their partners.

We feel capable and sexy when we don’t have someone around passively suggesting that we need to fix something about ourselves.

My oblivious man  is famous for patting me on my ample ass and asking if I’m going to the gym, or oggling another woman while we’re out together. Yes, it’s that obvious, and no, we don’t have to ignore it. Have some respect. You know what I’m talking about ladies, the general disrespect that has been deemed socially acceptable forever. Just last night it was, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but have you ever thought of having a breast reduction?” To which I thought, why yes darling, just last month when I was ready to dump your ass you ignorant tit.

Here’s a shocking newsflash; we live in our bodies. We know them, and we are keenly aware of their beauty and how they don’t measure up to society’s standards. And you know what, we love our luscious bodies anyway, because they are amazing works of art.

If you have a woman in your life who is vibrant, sexual and intelligent, you should appreciate and respect her.  Crawling out of the cave is a good start, it’s the twenty-first century after all.

If a man wants to be considered a gentleman, all of the high-priced grooming products in the world will not disguise his behavior as a douche bag.

 

sexy old man

Do I appreciate the physique of an anatomically-extremely-correct man? Absofreakinglutely. Do I rub it in my partner’s face that he bears no resemblance whatsoever to Channing Tatum or Dwayne Johnson by giving him a not-so-subtle smack on his ass and the condescending, “Are you going to the gym today baby. It’ll make you feel better?” No, I do not, but I think it may be time to start.

As a mother, it’s the last thing I want my son to have to worry about; looking like the cover of a Men’s Health magazine.

As a death care worker, I’m struck by the awesome beauty of healthy bodies every day, and I think we need to rejoice in that simple joy every day.

When your daughters, sisters and partners  struggle with mental health issues spurred on by body image (as most women do) your having the Swimsuit edition floating around your house doesn’t really help her. What it might do is fuel your fantasies of being a better lover than you really are, and makes every woman think you’re a pig. Oh yah, and that they never, ever want to get naked in front of you.

So don’t expect us to cower in our chubby bodies and be anxious about spending our days punishing ourselves with diets. We’re confident on our own. We love our bodies and quite frankly, if you want to act like you’re living in the mysogynist 60’s all over again; have at it, and while you’re there stud, get used to masturbating, because there isn’t a woman around who’s going to put up with your shit.

There are gentlemen out there who do respect their partners, and we have figured that out.

Confidence is not the issue; respect is the issue.

When it comes to humour, the only thing that’s still acceptable is woman bashing by men. We’ve all agreed that gender identity and race are not a joke, but somehow, being a woman still is.

Confidence is not the issue, men acting like pigs is.

 

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Potential: The Alternative Reality

brick-wallDo you ever just get tired of trying to reach someone?

Seriously. There are only so many times  you can explain to someone, ask someone, or try. And then you give up.

Wise women recognize that  before it makes them a raving lunatic.  The problem is, if someone is important enough to try and reach (emotionally), you likely don’t want to give up. You convince yourself that they also want to be reached. You convince yourself of all the good that’s in them. You convince yourself that there’s potential.

Potential is a dangerous word, most often a desperate, unfulfilled hope, and a broken promise that was never really made in the first damn place. . In a word, potential is: dangerous and, quite frankly,  women over 40 don’t have the lifespan left, or the patience to deal with potential. Potential can rob you of a wonderful reality. 

I’m convinced that there are people out there (other fabulous pals and lovers) who won’t make you wait. Who won’t keep you guessing, and won’t leave you fantasizing about potential, because they are living it, in the present moment.

Let’s drop this potential crap and get back to reality shall we darlings?

 

Us vs. Them: A Dangerous Game During Dangerous Times

single-issues-struggleIt was super important to me to  able to take part in the Women’s March on Washington, here in my own country.

I have been sick like a dog for over a week, but felt the need to show up and be present.

As we gathered at Queen’s Park in Toronto, I initially felt a little disappointed with the crowd, but estimates are that approximately 60,000 people attended. How they come up with these numbers, I will never know.

Standing on the muddy ground of our provincial legislature, I was humbled. How could I express my gratitude to be able to gather like this on public lands to advocate for human rights, when so many times in (relatively) recent history, people have been tortured, killed and imprisoned for doing the same thing?

I was also a bit cynical . I’d never seen so many pairs of pricey Blundstones and Doc Martin’s in one place in my life, and from where I stood, the crowd looked pretty darn, middle-class-privileged-and-very-white. Let’s face it, the folks working for minimum wage were working their minimum wage jobs while I was out there in my down-filled coat and Canadian made hat, looking forward to a warm pub and a hearty beer after all was said and done.

But that’s the point really. If people with some affluence and power do not advocate, the marginalized may never have a voice big enough to be heard.

singleissueslives

 

This all lingers under the shadow of the recent inauguration of a man who espouses so many vile qualities and completely lacks empathy. As a bit of an economic conservative and extremely social liberal, I fear the future. Even though I favour the left, this election wasn’t about Conservative vs. Liberal or Republican vs. Democrat. It was about how deeply disturbing it is that a man who is so cruel could be looked to as a leader by so many.

Kindness, above all else, matters. I’m not talking about  naivete or handouts.What I’m talking about is ensuring the basic needs of everyone are met; meaningful work that affords food on the table and a safe place to live. I know what it’s like to worry about both, and that kind of worry isn’t healthy.

What I’m trying to get at is that yesterday during the Womens’ March, I was very aware of how quickly my rights can be taken away. How easily it becomes an us against them game; I’m more of a victim than you because of my gender, my skin colour, my profession….in other words, how easy it is to fracture our basic bond as human beings, and how easily our political world can turn to horror.

We need to let the different freedoms we’re fighting for bring us together rather than divide us.

It was empowering to see so many of us care enough to get out of our comfort zones to gather together this weekend. I just hope that we can keep the momentum going instead of letting our privileged, North American apathy carry us back to relive a very dark time in our recent history. More than ever we need action. More than ever we need to be present.

 

 

What the Women’s March on Washington Means to a White Chick

goddess

” A house divided against itself cannot stand.” ~Abraham Lincoln~

I’m as white as they come. I’m a woman. I will never be and have never been anything other than I am. I will never know what it’s like to be Black, Arab, Muslim, Jewish, financially affluent or well-connected, and the folks who identify as all of those things and many more will never know what it’s like to identify as me.

Farah Stockman’s article on the front page of the New York Times brings up a lot of really great questions about race, class, privilege and other social issues. I suggest you read it.

The Women’s March on Washington is an opportunity to come together as a community to protest the ass-hat who was elected (and yes, by a number of ‘white women’) as the next President of the United States. I believe that everyone who voted for Ms. Clinton should be in the streets to protest the twisted fuck up that is known as the Electoral College. I believe in the power of numbers and the power of kindness.

To the groups who have made the March a divisive issue, thank you for falling into the eons old trap of dividing women to diminish our power. It happens in families, in the workplace, and now, under the spotlight of a grand social scale.

For once in our history of gender, let us come together without any other motive than to access the full potential of our political clout; the marginalized power of the sacred feminine.

What spiritual, political and ethical living come down to for me is; how would you treat me if I needed your help on the street?  I like to think that we would all, when we’re eye to eye, regardless of race, creed, class, gender or anything else, reach out and help. If you don’t feel the same way because I am white ( thanks for assuming), perhaps your place is not at an inclusive March?

You’re preaching to the converted. We’re there because we support equality, and we’re not afraid to learn more.

Bring your signs. Show the world what you stand for; is it gender equality, racial equality, equal pay…??? Bring it and come in droves. But don’t hate the next person for being different, appreciate them because they are there, standing side by side with you, supporting you even though they carry a different message. What matters is the message of unity against evil.

I will stand happily with my white friends, my black friends, my Muslim and Buddhist friends; male, female, trans and anyone else who simply wants to make the world a more loving place to live. I don’t care how you identify, as long as it’s from a place of inclusiveness and love.

This is what the Women’s March means to me.

 

Ladies Night

dull-housewifeSometimes women are their worst enemies.

I have a reputation for rallying the troops for bi-annual lunches and events. But I’m pretty discouraged. In a recent attempt to bring some women together for a march to support women’s rights and a lunch afterward (yah, first world), I had one response from 25 women. One. Talk about privileged apathy.

I’m tired of hearing women complain about fatigue, feeling unfulfilled and burnt out when 99% of us don’t do a damn thing about it.This included rallying in the streets to protest our continued oppression. And I’m tired of being the only woman in my circle who swings wide the door so women have a place to come and bond. Ladies night? Whatever, I hear you bitching, but I don’t see you getting your goddess on and doing something about it.

Women are  caregivers, the healers and the peacemakers. We do a damn good job of sabotaging our own happiness by making sure everyone else’s needs are taken care of first.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m queen of cooking and mothering. I love to love, and I show it by being generous with my time and affection. I’m also human with my own needs, creativity and intellect.

It is apparent that men damn well do as they please with the absolute expectation that we’ll pack them a lunch on their way;We’re having a boys night, I’m going for a drink, we’re going to the game. Good. Go. Pul-eaze.

I believe that women absolutely need other women. We often get lost in this good-housekeeping-Maytag-1940’s-couture-ideal of being a partner, and when our relationships decay and our kids fly the coop, what’s left? I’ll tell you – a woman with no confidence,identity or fun stuff in her closet.

Having been single for most of my adult life, I feel blessed to have been so independent, I feel proud of my hard-won confidence and courage. I respect other women who haven’t won their financial freedom by spending years  in a marriage with no real relationship to their partner or themselves, only to the status quo.

Women need women. I aspire to inspire, and I also need to be around other women who make our goddess-power a priority. Applications now being accepted; bring fabulousness.

 

 

 

 

Pussy Grabbers & A Feminist Who Sends Christmas Cards

holiday-partyIf you’re offended by the headline, you might want to buckle up. If a disgusting greed-pig like Donald Trump can say the word on a global stage, any woman can use it to express herself. Suck it up.

I run a single-income, single family home, and I do it with chutzpah and pride. Until yesterday, I had forgotten about creating our annual dysfunctional-family-Christmas-card. Christmas here consists of a lot of visiting, a lot of food, lots of love, and a liberal sprinkling of wine. Self-described as a feminist-Buddhist-quasi-libertine, Christmas is another excuse to enjoy life. Don’t judge.

So this morning, job one (after making coffee and putting in a butternut squash to roast for a pot of soup) was to create our card.

Flipping through an old issue of the Shambala Sun (now The Lion’s Roar), I was reading an article about how a lady used to do the same thing, and how the card adapted to life’s changes; children, pets, grandchildren, her spouse…very sweet. But then one year when she placed her order and the question of quantity came up, there was no one left to send the card to. All of her contemporaries had passed away. Very sad.

So this is life. This passing of time. Just yesterday I was explaining to a colleague that I view ‘spending’ my time, much like a miser considers ‘spending’ their money. Time is the most precious thing that we have, and in the wake of the election results in the United States, I think that it’s important to take some of your precious time to consider exactly why and how the good ole’ U-S-of-A (and quite frankly, the rest of the modern western world), got where it is today.

And please, don’t misunderstand this as a jaded feminist perspective. It’s a justified, feminist perspective.

The most powerful ‘leader’ in the world, elected to office via a ‘democratic’ system, routinely and openly flaunted his disrespect for women, going so far as to comment that he would date his own daughter because she’s ‘hot’ (there’s a word for that  you incestuous slob), and how about his ‘grabbing them by the pussy’ moments? I’m sure a heterosexual man would be pleased if his fearless leader ok’d homosexual rape in the same nonchalant way.

When I think about how I spend my time, I can’t help but consider how much of the values of men (and women) like this steal my life, moment by moment.

I do not hate men. I happen to love men. But I will not abide this male-value-system, slut-shaming bullshit any longer. My life is too precious.

This year, I ordered my Christmas cards and remembered the story of the old lady who no longer had anyone to send them to. I will not live in anger as the majority of the world runs around chasing a commodity that will exist long after our last breath.

I will live freely. I will enjoy the finer things in life; friendship, creativity, meaningful work, making love with whomever the hell I like. You know, the things in life that don’t require a ticket, and  don’t require the approval of men who grab pussies.

 

 

Blowing Out the Candles

candlesOn the eve of my 4o-plus-somethingish birthday, I cannot help but reflect upon the lessons I have learned this year. In theory I’m an expert.  In practice, however, that’s another story.

I do believe that the difference between theory and practice is the key to successful living though darlings, because bridging that gap is the difference between annoying should-sayers, and the people who shine brightly and inspire the rest of us.

Grace has been a concept I’ve wanted to put into practice  throughout the past few years. There are  times I have failed miserably; my birthday breakdown at a bar while trying to sort out my mother issues; my insecurity as a partner, my ability to maintain a positive attitude in light of the every day demands of living. Yah, I’ve failed a few times.

But I have learned a few things from all of that bluster, and I’m old enough to take the liberty of sharing them with you;

  1. I have spent way too much time on my hair.
  2. We allow ourselves to be led by a false economy and fabricated news. Does it feel right? Do it. Does it feel wrong? Don’t. The world would be a better place if we all followed the golden rule.
  3.  If you love your body, it will love back. At a certain point you realize your body feels better when you eat this and not that; when you do this and not that.  It loves water and apples and decadent butter cream chocolate from your favourite Chocolaterie. It does not like to listen to people incessantly rambling about fad diets or extreme routines. Love your body, let it gently communicate to you, and it will love you back.
  4. Kindred spirits aren’t terribly hard to find, but it’s terribly hard to be vulnerable enough to get to know one.
  5. Create things. Anything. Creativity is your human spirit making itself present in the world. Let it sing, paint, write, carve, stitch, bake….whatever! Let your mind wander and your spirit reveal itself.
  6. Do not let bitchy people ruin your day. Attitude is contagious – be sure to protect yourself.
  7. Nobody’s watching. Seriously. Just relax.
  8. Change is scary, but constant. If you can be excited through the fear, you have life licked.
  9. You need friends of all ages; older ones and younger ones, and people who transcend age. You need nurturing and affection and the awesome healing power of human touch.
  10. Flannel jammies, hot tea and a good hobby to keep you occupied are three simple things that are highly under-rated.
  11. Always, always, always buy the shoes.

PMS? No, Just Ranting about a Greedy Corporation

kinopoisk.ru

There’s nothing like appalling customer service to get a gal looking lively.

I’d like to share a rant with you about my very own experience with Fed-Ex.

I’d like to send this post out to the wonderfully frustrating and totally incompetent folks at Fed-Ex.

First of all, let me say thank you for the multitude of voicemail messages that were left (from an international phone number to my mobile phone – morons) after you attempted to deliver a package to the wrong door.

Thank you.

Thank you for not attempting to deliver the parcel to the office, “…because [you] didn’t think they would accept it”. I’m so glad you indiscriminately used your own logic despite a detailed delivery instruction to do just that. How refreshing – independent thinkers.

I’m sure Fed-Ex is not the only inept delivery service, although this is the second time they’ve screwed up in the past few months. Previously they did not deliver a parcel to my place of business because it didn’t look like the address, despite having the street and number clearly marked on a sign by the road.

I have a feeling that what is likely happening here, and I could be wrong, is that the driver’s get paid by delivery rather than a salary or hourly rate. Why take a chance that where the customer requested the package be dropped off will actually accept said package when it would take more time? I can make a guess as to why not; they’re over-worked, underpaid, and time literally is money.

There’s so much of this ludicrously medieval hiring practice happening, that it’s ruining our social well-being, and only serving to satisfy the wealthy. Just look at the rise of luxury good sales. Which, incidentally targets a paltry percentage of the population. I’m sure the delivery lady who left a cryptic message with such a strong foreign accent that it was undecipherable, won’t be shopping for a three-thousand dollar purse this weekend.

Just a word to companies a la Fed-Ex who offer shitty customer service; treat your employees better and you’ll have more satisfied customers. Word of mouth is powerful.

Oh yah, I’ve already made arrangements to go and pick up the package myself (God forbid we ever lose door-to-door with Canada Post). So stop calling me, you incompetent morons.

When You’ve Had Enough: Dealing with Wretchedness

thingsthatshine***ADULT LANGUAGE WARNING***

Let all of those things bubble to the surface and let them heal you.

~The Mumster~

She was talking about things that pissed me off. You know, the things that camouflage themselves when viewed through rose-coloured glasses.

These are the things you want so badly that you project your lovliness onto them, despite them being absolute rubbage. Stinky, ugly, screwed up beyond all recognition; trash.

These are the people and things that make you cry, doubt yourself, clutter your mind with slow-motion-replays of every single freaking clue you should have picked up on, until you finally decide that you’ve had enough.

E-freakingnough…

Darlings, I’m too old to replay my past. At this stage, I want to move forward, build healthy relationships, both professionally and personally, and I most certainly do not want to tolerate someone else’s bullshit. I want to laugh, love and laugh some more.

I have lived intentionally for a long time, choosing (yes, CHOOSING) to be a kind, open-hearted and loving person in spite of selfish and mean-spirited people trying to take advantage of that.

What it  boils down to is this; if you are an asshole of the dirtiest kind, only you have to suffer that. We don’t. I choose to eliminate (no pun intended) those folks from my life, with as little energy expended as possible. You should too. Ignore those assholes so hard that they start to believe they don’t exist.

Sadness and heartbreak are inevitable, but so are the wonderful new experiences which await us if we continue to choose to be kind, loving and embrace life.

Without having had to question certain relationships this year, I would not be looking forward to a more stable income. I would not have reconnected with a hunky old school chum.

I would not have reached out to my friends as much as I have for support (therefore we’ve formed stronger bonds). I would not have been so inspired to tackle a writing project, and other hobbies that make me come alive.

prettywreckI also would not have been laid out in tears, heartbroken and sad. Sounds awful! But no. It gave my body and mind a chance to process things, and rest. Rest is highly under-rated these days. Napping is the new black.

In other words, if framed properly, dealing with bad relationships can work, but only if you adopt the right attitude, get off your lazy buns and do something to make YOU more vibrant.

Life is for living, and if nothing else, dealing with bullshit and assholes should be a firm reminder that life is precious, time passes too quickly, and people who are lovely, well, they’re worth more than their weight in fine chocolate.

Be fabulous darlings.redhearts

Boomer Etiquette

"Let me help you while you pollute everyone else's space with your annoying phone etiquette." ~Anonymous~

“Let me help you with your phone.”
~Anonymous~

I have a lot of respect for my friends and colleagues when it comes to wisdom gained through experience. They’ve been there and done that, way before I even drew a breath.

What I don’t respect are mindless boobs who assume manners and common courtesies are something owed to them, but no deserved by those who share the world with them.

Let me break it down for you;

Rules of the road. If there are three lanes and you are anywhere but in the far left lane and being passed by other vehicles, move over. Traffic sucks for all of us, please play kindly.

Movie theatres. Yes, I used to think that teenagers were the most rude, but it’s no, it’s the silver haired set. It’s allllllll you. Teenagers may be attached to their devices, but they aren’t invading our space with noise.

Yes, you are the only people who let your phone ring in waiting rooms, restaurants, theatres and other public places and then go ahead and answer it.  Even in appointments with professionals.  Nothing is as important as the present moment. Love yourself enough to be in that moment.

Turn off your ringer, and if you don’t know how to do that, please, for the love of everyone’s blood pressure, leave your damn phone in the car. You are THE ONLY generation who answers your phone while in the theatre. I think this may be because you don’t know how to text.  Ask for a lesson. That’s not sarcasm, it’s a sincere plea. I promise you, once you get the hang of it, you’ll love it.

Also, sit the hell down!  My son timed some grey-haired-piece-of-annoying-as-hell-skin who stood in front of us at the theatre while the previews played. A full minute he stood and talked to the people he came to the theatre with. The only reason I didn’t lose it was that I would have mortified my teenager. Sit down, shut the hell up, and let everyone enjoy the movie.

This morning I went out for breakfast. I found a nice quiet table and was enjoying my coffee and reading the Sunday paper when a couple sat down right next to me. As in, less than 30cm away. They continued to talk about their bedtime playtime last night, and then Mr. Viagralovin proceeded to cough and snot and make calls. Seriously, it’s like finding a secluded spot on a beach and then having the only other person on the planet plant their pasty white ass down right next to you.

It took three phone calls before I picked up my jacket, purse, plate of food, newspaper and coffee and moved tables. His wife looked at me like I was crazy.  I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my breakfast in peace. I hope they on the other hand,  both get the shits.

What this all really boils down to is two things; first, I’m bitchy. I’ve been under the weather and had to be out to take the kiddo to practice, so I found the quietest, closest place I could and nestled in.  Second, people really need to learn how to respect one another’s space, especially as our population booms.

I try to keep to myself when I need quiet, like this morning. I try to be friendly when I meet someone on the street, hold a door, or push my cart through the store.

We are doing a lot of mindless living, multi-tasking not only tasks, but personal relationships.  We all deserve better.

Do the world a favour, when you see someone being rude, quietly address them, and if that doesn’t work, use your outside voice. Trust me, the rest of the world will thank you for policing the subtle things that make civilization civilized.