Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Since I am here . . .

I just want to take a moment to thank you all who commented on my last post with your words of encouragement.  It means a lot to me.  

A few weeks ago, I ran across this article.  Basically, a female college student was being bullied online because of the fact that she has facial hair that she does not shave, wax or bleach.  The first time I looked at the picture, and not having read anything on it, I did think Balpreet Kaur was a young man.  She does, in fact, have a lot of facial hair.  When I realized that she was a woman, and took a second look, I could see that she was a woman: the style of the turban, the eyeglasses, the yoga pants and the flip flops are giveaways.  

Anyway, it seems that other folks who saw the picture took the opportunity to be terribly mean and hurl taunts and insults about Ms. Kaur.  What touched me about the whole story, though, was her response:
 "My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body… by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can." 

She did not run and hide:  she stood up for herself and she did it in a way that was strong and that commanded respect.  She could because of her the strength of her convictions. Convictions with which, by the way, I heartily agree.  Oh, I seriously respect this young lady.  It is not easy to stand up like that--when who you are is like the polar opposite of what society expects and even demands.  

I thought it was interesting too, this bullying of women online because of their physical traits because a short time later, I ran across this story of Jennifer Livingston, the news reporter who stood up to bullies who were talking about her weight.  

I mean, it's obvious that women in our society are still valued primarily because of how we look.  At least in mainstream media, that is certainly the case.  I know that I myself have bought into some of these ideals.  Bought in far more than I would have liked to.  And I am sure some of that buy in is because I was mercilessly bullied about my looks as a child.   So now the work is undoing that buy in.  As such, I appreciate these women standing up proud to say, "Hey, it is not all about how you look."  

At the same time . . . this past year that I have been eating a paleo diet, I have also been learning as much as I can about what it means to be truly healthy.  I mean, at this point, I can answer even some technical questions about how the body functions and how the body dysfunctions.  And the fact of the matter is that women with a lot of facial hair and women who are obese have some kind of dysfunction going on.  Does that sound harsh? I guess but there it is.  (The fact that I have such severe allergies is also a dysfunction.  I mean, you're just not supposed to be gripped with serial sneezes just because you go outside.)  Typically, women shouldn't grow that much facial hair.  If it's happening, there's an imbalance somewhere, probably hormonal.  And for many if not all folks who are obese (not just carrying a little extra here and there), the hormones are also out of whack and metabolism, i.e. the way the body uses and handles energy is not balanced.  To me, this makes the fact that they were bullied even more awful because so much of the time, the things folks are taunted for are not always things they can control.   

So what does that mean?  It just engenders a serious sort of compassion and admiration, I think.  These women may or may not know that something is wrong inside but I suspect they do.  But there is such an acceptance and encompassing self-love that they embody that makes me admire them.  And really motivates me to keep on working on self-love.  No matter what my post-partum belly looks like.  

I've spoken about santosha before and this concept just seems to keep on coming back around for me.  I mean, it doesn't mean you stop trying to be better.  I doesn't mean you stop trying to bring things into balance.  I don't think acceptance means throwing in the towel.  Like, I wouldn't begrudge Ms. Kaur looking into ways to get her body to stop producing facial hair or Ms. Livingston any efforts to lose weight.  Acceptance doesn't mean throwing in the towel.  It just means saying, "Okay, I'm here right now and that is okay.  It doesn't mean I will be here forever but since I am here right now, let me be the best I can be right now."  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Keeping Things Going

Yesterday I was listening The 4 Keys to Magnetic Influence an episode of one of my  favorite podcasts (Underground Wellness). While I don't know if I agree with all four keys, Key #2 struck me: connection, i.e. what makes people feel connected to you.  One very important connector is your story.  People feel connected to you when you honestly and openly share your story.  Even the parts that don't make you look good.  It makes you realer.  It makes you human.  But it also sets you apart.  

Another important lesson I took away from that podcast, something I knew but needed to be reminded of is that I have something to say and something to offer.  

Lately, I've been neglecting this blog.  My life is pretty hectic right now and it's often difficult for me to find time to write or to get into the frame of mind to write cohesively. That's a practical reason.  But there's another reason too, a bigger reason.  The fact is, I have been feeling that I don't have anything worthwhile to talk about here.  I have been feeling incredibly inadequate.  

Just a quick look on Facebook and you will quickly realize that folks aren't all too keen about sharing the ugly parts of their lives.  From the looks of things on there, you'd think that folks were their dazzling higher selves 24/7/365.  At this juncture in my life, Facebook is probably the last place I need to be.  I have been very disciplined about curtailing my time on there and I'm very pleased with how much it's been helping me to counteract feelings of inadequacy and cultivate feelings of compassion for myself.  

I have a lot of my plate.  A few challenges.  There's Z3 who is only 8 weeks old and who's sleep schedule is still quite erratic.  She's got some minor issues that I have to deal with soon too.  It's autumn and my allergies pretty much make even basic things take serious effort.  (I'm dealing with an allergy attack even as I write this.)  I'm wondering if there are more tweaks to my diet I need to make and I'm coming to terms with the fact that I am worn down and don't have the motivation to do change anything else.  I'm homeschooling my 7 year old Z1 and re-considering that decision almost daily.  I'm wondering whether I should go back to my Saturday job and if not, what to do instead.  I'm wondering what to do after the kids are grown and don't need me anymore and don't I need to start setting something up now?  

My life isn't glamourous by any stretch of the imagination and I'm dealing with issues that aren't pretty all the time.  I'd love to showcase the wonderful homeschool projects I'm doing and the fabulous things I'm making and coming up with but these days, the reality is that I'm just really trying to keep afloat.  Just trying to stay somewhere close to my standard (and managing to do so only two-thirds of the time).  And hoping that I haven't previously given the impression on this blog that everything in my life is rosy.  I believe I've kept it real.  

What I realized the other day while listening to that UW podcast is that instead of taking down this blog like I had originally wanted to do, I really want to continue sharing here in the hopes that my unique situation and story will maybe connect to someone, encourage someone, or at least make it so that someone out there will not feel so alone in their own situation.  

Who knows if anyone still reads this blog. It's not like I had a huge following at some point.  But writing is cathartic for me and so I'm hoping that with all my newly found Facebook free time, I will find the time to write more regularly.  
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