Do you know any women in your life who do not struggle with body image? In this nine minute video segment, Jacky O’Shaughnessy, a model for American Outfitters discusses how she came to be comfortable in her own skin. This is from “The What’s Underneath Project” by StyleLikeU.
This isn’t going to be my typical “Oh why can’t I just be a lesbian?” rant – mostly because I like independent motion during sex and the male genitalia is where it’s at for me. Also, women are also people. Possibly the preponderance of those rants are only written in my head – or written and posted for about 37 minutes until I realize that the person I am at-that-point bashing might be reading my blog. It’s not like I want my blog to be known as the post boyfriend trash site, although there is an undeniable allure to the power of “ink.” That given, I’m not a staunch fan of men right now.
Lately I’ve been finding that a lot of women in my demographic (intelligent, post 40, independent, strong, and funny) have been emotionally bludgeoned by men. Bludgeoned as in used, manipulated, lied to, led on, and discarded. What is most heart-breaking about this is that as a group, we don’t want to become bitter. We are in the phase of life where we want to explore vulnerability, partnership, and open-heartedness. We just can’t find partners who will be present, adult, and compelling, and this leads most of us to assume that we are too something or not quite something else enough.
In the interest of being progressively self-aware, I hereby insert a paragraph about some vague sense of taking responsibility for personal power and manifesting our true desires in relationship. Until the rest of me catches up with that, I offer a few thoughts to other women who are struggling with making sense out of the conflicting emotions that come when we care for people who are destructive to us. I got this from my paid for friend when I was trying to figure out if I had quit my marriage.
How do we let go of men we still feel for? We realize that there are different parts of our feelings, and here they are: 1) We love the man. 2) We understand why he is the way he is. 3) But we neither trust the man nor feel emotionally safe around him. 4) And we don’t want to keep being in relationship where we don’t feel safe no matter how well we understand the man. Sometimes we don’t know that we don’t feel safe around the man until the man leaves. Being left feels really unsafe. Sometimes we recognize a much higher wisdom in this – almost like a get out of jail free card, but that doesn’t subtract that we have feelings or that we understand why he is the way he is. And that he chose (an)other place(s) to get his itches scratched. The bottom line is to ask if we feel more safe, secure, tended OR more insecure, unsure, and tentative when we are with him.
I write this from my official role of opinionated woman and general experiencer of much emotional disappointment. When these feelings of tenderness and understanding get cojangled with hurt and rejection, it makes extricating and uncoupling difficult. I don’t like taking pleasure knowing that the next person in line will also be heartbroken when the guy gets bored / tired of her jealousy / wants more intellectual stimulation / thinks he deserves a broader audience of ego strokers – because it makes me feel small. It reminds me that I replaced someone else and scarcely batted an eye at that. I don’t like remembering the feeling of privileged recipient of attention for the brief moment I spent on the front burner. My willingness to settle for just-almost-but-not-quite-and-mostly-second-except-for-those-few-really-special-moments scares me a little bit. I want to think I believe in myself more than that.
Talking to these strong, gorgeous, intelligent, engaging, independent women who have been thrashed uncovers various levels of angst. We wonder if we will be alone. We wonder if the fractions of emotional connections we’ve experienced are the best LIFE has to offer. We (I – maybe there’s some projection in this paragraph) wonder that we are built to be social creatures, we work really hard to own our own piles of shit and be whole, and then there are no partners to play with. We wonder if there is room to be wholly us because it seems like the men we meet kind of need us to be wrapped around them. But if we are wrapped around them, then who is tending us? Do we have to choose between us and our creativity and us and love? Mix in kids and jobs, school and health… and just what the hell?
Some of us settle. Some of us self-medicate. Some of us distract ourselves with work and other creative pursuits, but one thing most of us seem to be getting really good at is figuring out that in the overall scheme of men who come and go, the one thing that remains constant is the support of our girlfriends and our families of choice.
It is 23 minutes until the final super moon of the year. I am going to go burn some sage, make a list of the dross I am ready to burn, and listen to some Annie Lennox to bring in the new.
I’ve been talking about the commune for a long time now, and it’s starting to take shape. I have found like-minded people I want to be around kind of. I’ve even got a charter of sorts. As reported on a fellow commune member’s Facebook profile, it looks like this:
The problem is that the more I talk about it (meaning I have a lot of people who also want to escape to a land of mellow), the more people want to burst into the party. Some of these I gladly embrace [Do you have a still? yes or no – circle one] and some are not. The whole point of having a commune is hand-selecting companions which means, in my case, keeping out the drama.
I was in the midst of another Facebook thread about the recent slate of Skype marriage proposals I’ve been getting when the commune thread came up. Someone who I am personally rooting for but don’t want to live in community with invited herself to the commune. As long as there is climate control and luxurious bedding she is in.
If you are wondering why the pause was awkward, reread the charter above where I make it pretty clear that high maintenance results in automatic disqualification. I consider someone else putting temperature control restrictions on my commune to be a key indicator of high maintenance. Build your own damn commune. I’m not responsible for your climate control or bedding.
This is a pretend-now-but-god-how-much-fun-would-that-be-to-actually-pull-it-off-somewhere-with-a-garden-and-cool-people plan right now. But I am feeling protective of this sacred space-in-my-head.
On my commune, we are going to have Ed in a hammock out front acting as gatekeeper and monitoring intruders. That’s what we have for guys right now. It’s not that we’re lesbians. It’s just that we’ve hit our quota of bullshit. Next to Ed will be a stack of cookies. He prefers cake, but I make cookies and until we draft for a maker of cakes, he’ll have to do with cookies. His cookie stack will be rivaled in height only by the stack of books beside it. Ed is an avid reader.
We’ve got a bevy of freaking smart, intelligent, funny, snarky, stunning female humans, some of whom have an affinity for hammocks and edible comestibles. One of the few times I have tried them (comestibles), I felt the particular inclination to make a number of pictorial representations of what the alphabet should look like, drawn with my eyes closed. That was amusing. There will probably be more alphabet art at the commune. Obviously flip flops and yoga pants.
“This is a place of yurts, campfires, and hammocks,” I said by way of dissuading this wanna be commune member, “I don’t think you would be comfortable here, but you may certainly visit,” I offered. I meant all of that.
I don’t dislike her. I just don’t want to live with her, and I resent someone barging into my safespaceinmyhead. I was feeling all good about my commune, and now I am trying to figure out how to not hurt someone’s feelings. I have a theoretical non-drama-driven community to protect here, People! I am trying to be tactful.
When she argued the point, it probably wasn’t the best idea to tell her that I was basing her being high maintenance on her propensity toward hotel and restaurant snobbery, a point which she is currently arguing with me.
I’ve done some time in HR, and this would not be a good culture fit. I debated involving the witness of other friends who have reported this snobbery and then caught myself and thought, “I am acting like a seventh grader.” I don’t want to hurt her, rather I want to discourage her without her being rejected. How has this energy pierced the veil of my solidly positive commune mojo? I mean, Jesus, we picked up our cookie-eating gate-keeper this week! This is good stuff!
I guess it isn’t a good idea to broadcast something on Facebook that I’m not really quite so kidding about as I thought I was. The lesson might be that all good clubhouses need to be secret and sacred spaces protected. Or maybe Scorpio shouldn’t be the community manager. Or maybe Scorpio should be the community manager. I’ll ponder it in my hammock.
Father’s Day can be bittersweet for people who had shitty dads, who had no dads, who no longer have good dads. It can also be hard for single moms who carry the load of being both Mom and Dad. Here’s a little something for that group created by Marshall Davis Jones.
If the lawnmower had just started I wouldn’t be having this Paula Cole moment.
The locust tree took over my yard and threw up shoots. I broke one mower trying to bludgeon them to death. Friend Richard came and ground the stump into submission so now I can mow. This is great timing because the grass is about eight inches long and it’s spring. It’s also alternating hot and jungle rain, so it’s growing about three addition inches per day.
Another dear friend dropped off a mower, but I’m a girl goddammit and I can’t start the fucker. My sons held the handle together while I tried to pull it. After about three minutes and some of the most effective profanity heard in parenting, Matt finally laughed at me and said, “You really do need a guy.” (Turns out you have to push a little button to get it started.)
The kitchen sink leaks to the point that I have three buckets dispersed beneath it, scattered amidst the forest of mushrooms. I turn on the cold water only when I need it which means we get drinking water from the bathtub spout. The hot water scalds anyone who pushes it past the middle of the sink – or all the time now since the cold water is turned off generally. If I don’t empty the bucket daily, it oozes over onto the cupboard. Pretty sure I could push the pointy end of a toothbrush through the bottom of the cupboard – it’s so squishy.
To be accurate, it’s not three buckets. My plumbing solution is one small bucket, one small plastic bowl, and a towel because just yesterday when I was doing dishes I realized the water was leaking out of the cupboard door. “Well, that’s not good,” I said to myself. “I wonder what new excitement is happening underneath there?” I asked myself. “Oh, how interesting,” I said as I opened the door to see that not only are both lines dripping but the connector between the right and left sides of the sink just plain old detached. And water was basically just overflowing straight into the bucket. If I wash dishes quickly and hold the pipe up with my right foot, then it works pretty well.
My life is like camping but with a comfortable bed, flush toilets, wifi, and some really high crab grass.
Ants in the bathroom. And I’m pretty sure that the kids’ friends at school take off their smelly socks after recess and give them to my children who wake up in the middle of the night and litter them about the house. Because NO ONE can possibly have THIS MANY smelly socks in their house with three children who are only here every other week. It’s simple math.
On the plus side the rats seem to be finished shitting all over my garage and eating my TVP. I feel fairly confident about the TVP part because there is none left to eat. Bastards.
Drove the boys to school today. We were a little early but I was still stressed out because of 1) dirty socks and 2) Matt asked me to get him milk. “You are going to get eaten in the wild,” I told him by way of encouragement. “Get your own damn milk.” As I drove, I was considering what a stellar mother I am in all ways. A bus ahead of us decided it wanted to change lanes at a really shitty spot, slowing down traffic for a block and a half behind it, so even though I had time, it made me cranky.
Once the bus moved over, I saw why it was changing lanes. Just in front of it on the street was a woman stuffing a bunch of dirty clothes into a laundry basket. She’d been crossing the street – a really busy street just off of I-5 – with an overflowing green plastic laundry basket of clothes. Maybe her clothes were clean, maybe dirty. Maybe it was all she had – maybe she was going to the Laundromat. Maybe going home from one. But I felt like that lady. And it scared me and I wanted to cry.
I resented that I had to take my kids to school and couldn’t turn around to pick her up and drive her somewhere. Maybe we could both inhabit one body and share resources. At least I have a car and a washer.
When you are poor, there just isn’t enough.
I need to finish school and get a job. I don’t like it here right now. Someone come mow my damn lawn.