Saturday, July 26, 2008

All the Girls Hate Her

One thing I absolutely love about coming to Margate, NJ is the ample opportunity to sit around and do nothing if I so choose. For instance, for most of the afternoon while the masses were roasting themselves in UV rays on the beach, I was passed out on a porch napping in the shade enjoying a salty breeze and listening to music. I work hard to keep my alabaster complexion folks! There is also ample time to read, to write or sit in a pensive manner whilst enjoying an ice cold beer or nice glass of wine.

Listening to my Ipod on shuffle this afternoon, watching people walk by en route to the beach, I came to a wholly instrumental song called All the Girls Hate Her as I witnessed two young girls gossiping loudly about some other girl. Why do we do this to each other ladies? Why as women do we need to judge or to tear down other women? Personally and especially after working at a mental health facility specializing in the treatment of eating disorders, I am very aware on how difficult it is to maintain a positive body image, to be comfortable regardless of the what the number on the scale is or what size clothing one wears. For both men and women, not an image goes by in a magazine or on the television that doesn't glorify beefy men or stick thin women as perfection. Pile on the war of animosity and judgment and gossip women wage on each other and it's amazing that anyone has a positive self-image or well-adjusted feelings of self-worth not tied to one's appearance.

I have all too often resided in the aftermath of an insecure woman's bad decisions. I have too frequently witnessed a judgmental look or whispered voices measuring another girl's body or articles of clothing. I do not declare innocence. It's so easy to get caught up, it's a feeling of belonging of accord of I am better than you are. I am guilty, but these are the moments I regret that I continually try to amend in how I live and act now. I am blessed to have a small, but strong circle of women friends who celebrate one another on our attributes and accomplishments. They are so quick to compliment and to encourage when needed, to provide support. I am hopeful for a day when women celebrate each other, when I walk into a room full of women and feel connected, linked as sisters and mothers and friends.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Room of One's Own

I am feeling a bit Virginia Woolf-esque today and will try to keep up with the thoughts as they seemingly skip out of my head like stones bouncing across water. I've been having really dark/strange dreams recently. Not every night, but more often than usual. I have this one recurring dream set up like a bad horror film; desolate and dark small town, it's night and I am running away from a hand that is sticking up through the dirt. A hand isn't exactly terrifying, but this hand has Wolverine style instruments extending from the fingers. After running for what seems like forever, I inevitably can't move, I am stuck and the scene usually ends in what reminds me of a high school bathroom; grimy floors, multiple stalls and a never pleasant stench. The hand breaks and chips its way through the tile floor as I curl and cover my head; the tiles crumpling and chipping shooting dust into the air. The hand shoots upward and sometimes I come face to face with my chaser, sometimes not, but if I do, I see my father's face. How f-ed up is that?

A new one I've experienced this week is very Alice in Wonderland. It consists of flashes of color; gold and silver and reds and me falling through darkness. I find myself in a dark room that feels as though it is underground, deep inside in the earth. I am walking, almost floating towards a round table. I see hideous things and intuitively I know each thing, each one represents Dante's vision of the the 7 circles of Hell. I am compelled to sit down and I turn to see my brain's manifestation of Ianna, generally speaking a Sumerian goddess, the earth mother and she places her hand on my shoulder. The touch is warm and safe and reassuring and like most scenes in a dream I instantly can understand and feel myself linked to women across history, across the universe. She kisses my forehead. I wake up smiling and as if just embraced.

I don't pretend to know or understand what any of that means. I believe the subconscious needs to work things out; whether that means unspoken desires, daily frustrations or just strange random things based on experiences or memories from the past. When I have vivid dreams as such I always wish I was more artistic and could capture a scene via some paint and a brush. Alas I am not.

Dreams are strange indeed. Can you a imagine if the whole "no rules" environments and scenarios that play out in dreams applied in reality? Could you imagine a world where people just said what was on their mind or acted out fantasies or desires? Good and bad mind you...chaos! I suppose that's why some dreams can be so scary and regardless of how good or bad a dream is, why it's necessary to wake up.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Enjoy the Silence

Silence. This can be a powerful thing indeed. It can demonstrate a deliberate moment of respect or remembrance or be used as a form of protest. As a recruiter, it can be used as a conversation tool to elicit more information from a candidate. Quiet moments oftentimes equate into a fleeting moment of relaxation or rest. It quite frequently will make some people very uncomfortable in a group setting. Moments of silence can feel like eternities and make the air heavy with words and feelings unspoken.

Silence is probably one of the, if not the greatest of all oxymorons. Environmentally or externally you might be engulfed in silence, but it can be described as thunderous. While enjoying the silence, internally it is quite often a different scene. Thoughts can race and shout in your head. Memories can dance vividly in your mind’s eye all while supposedly enjoying the silence. It takes much practice and effort to be able to seriously quiet your soul and mind and is typically achieved through meditation of sorts. Even now as I struggle to find words to convey what jumbled in my head the soft sounds of Depeche Mode’s song “Enjoy the Silence” is playing on a relentless loop in my head.

Words like violence, break the silence…

All I ever wanted, all I ever needed is here in my arms…

With a song stuck in my head I doubt I’ll ever achieve complete and total silence, but I am willing to try. Here’s to complete silence and peaceful moments!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hope is a Thing with Feathers...

So I am already not sticking to my personal pledge of a weekly posting and I’m sure I could conjure various rationalizations and excuses as to why this is as such, but I’ll move forward to the month of June, which I know seems contradictory since we are in July. Alas, June is an exciting month. It signals the end of the spring season here in Pennsylvania and various other Northeastern states and the start of summer. It also generally means hot, sticky weather, the longest day of the year, summer vacations, school’s out, but from a more adult perspective and where I am in my life it also signifies wedding season!

I attended a wedding two weekends ago and it was quite lovely. Since graduating college it seems my husband and I average around 5-10 weddings a year these days, celebrations for our friends and extended families. Weddings are notorious or famous depending on your perspective, for sparking romantic notions, for seeping into the skin serving as some sort of elixir resulting in that warm fuzzy feeling. I do have to admit, it’s wonderful to have someone in your life, especially at weddings because you feel even more engulfed in that warm embrace of romantic love, but all relationships, especially of marriage variety, require much work.

While most people simply enjoy the rose-colored glasses weddings often provide for our outlook on life, I can’t help but reflect on past relationships, whether they are family relationships, friendships or past romances. I’ve experienced heartbreak and pain, but also extreme jubilation and love. I’ve been hurt, really hurt by people who really knew me and knew which buttons to push or where exactly to throw their verbal daggers and I have to remind myself that the culmination of any pain or loss or sorrow I’ve experienced has exalted my happiness. I can move confidently ahead because I know the experiences I’ve felt, good or bad, make me the person I am today.

I’ve been thinking about what it takes to carry these people with me as my life continues to march forward and it of course depends on the person, but why do some friendships fade? Why do certain people come into your life and leave? Then of course there are those you know will be forever inexorably linked to your life, regardless how often you speak to or see them.

All of this rumination about the good, the bad and the ugly of relationships leaves me thinking of hope and specifically one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

I leave you today gently holding hope in the palm of my hand looking towards the sky ready to soar…