Is The Me Too Movement Over?

Is the Me Too Movement over?  Is it too late, or is there a place where I can sign on.  I recently entered his name on Google and learned he died six months ago.  No, he wasn’t the one who did it to me but he was the one who changed his mind and finished destroying my self-esteem.  His obituary said he was 86 years old and had a full life.  Well, bully for him.  Although I’m not quite 80 I’ve had a full life too.  I had no choice but to go on.  What else do you do?  You pick up the pieces scattered about, grin and bear it.  Roll with the punches.

We had met and he’d romanced me, making me feel so loved!  Treating me like a lady. But we double-dated one night with his friend.  His friend told him.  Later I noticed a change, asked what was wrong.  He told me.  The friend had recognized me.  He had arrived at an alumni party of fraternity brothers and their dates.  I was passed out and they were searching for my panties.

Humiliated?  You bet.  All I remembered was arriving with my date, having one drink and waking up the next morning, sleeping bodies scattered about.  I woke one and asked him to take me home.  What else could I do?  It never occurred to me something had been in that drink.  I’d never heard of such things.  I assumed I’d had too much to drink.  As usual I blamed myself.  I’d learned early in life that anything that happened to me was my own fault.

I’d like to blame him, even though he’s dead.  Kick him in the gut for assuming I was trash, not the “nice girl” he had believed me to be.  But instead I hope he had a miserable life, married a girl who was actually a hooker, found out on their wedding night (since she wouldn’t let him before) that she was not a virgin.  I wish all kinds of evils on him for the time I suffered, licking my wounds until, on the surface I healed yet went on to make a few more bad choices.

But you know what?  I wouldn’t change the results of those later choices.  Because I’m a survivor.  I learned to love that innocent, naïve girl that I was.  Welcomed her into my life.  Along with the one who at age fifteen successfully fought off an attempted rape. I hit him over the head with my shoe and threatened him with my brothers.  “By God,” the asshat said.  “I never thought I could get a virgin!” and begged me to marry him.  The answer of course was ‘Hell no.”

Make Room for Joy

A positive attitude can improve the quality of our life, often leading us to heights of joy. However, in finding our way as human beings, we are also vulnerable to emotional pain; even on the road to joy we become derailed by times of sorrow. One day when I asked my elderly mother a question about the past, she said, “I don’t want to remember the past, honey. It hurts too much.”

Now that I’ve reached my own twilight years and more fully understand my mother’s pain, I’ve also discovered something else. The things that hurt the most to remember now are the pains I numbed myself to when they were fresh. Even though I had this terrible ache inside, I refused to grieve. I told myself that, like Scarlett, I would deal with it tomorrow.

Some hurts I even denied, burying them so deep I’m shocked when they release fresh arrows of pain from the past into my heart. Others I rationalized by telling myself how lucky I was, that the hurt could’ve been far worse. That I had no right to feel pain because other people had it so much worse than I did. Counting my blessings.

I do believe in counting my blessings. Not by denying or ignoring my pain but doing so while also acknowledging that I have a right to grieve for my loss even while I feel grateful for my blessings.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalms 30:5
So, when your heart is heavy it is better to allow yourself to experience and express the grief until it has wrung itself out. The tears of grief are cleansing your soul, making it ready to once again receive joy.

Find Your Own Truth

To be a person of truth, be swayed neither by approval nor disapproval. Work at not needing approval from anyone and you will be free to be who you really are. — Rebbe Nachman

It sounds simple. To be a person of truth, be who you really are. But what if, one day, you realize what you’re reflecting is other people’s truth, not your own?. First it was your parents truth; you were thrilled by the light of approval in their eyes. Well, of course! What are parents for, after all, but to teach us their own truth. We have to start somewhere.

But deep inside us is our own truth. Which may conflict with our parents truth. You are not your parents; you are growing into your own person. Only you can know the truth of who you are. And the only way you can know your truth is by examining your beliefs. Where did they come from? Do they have the ring of authenticity or are they things you were told and accepted without question?

If you find some shreds of old beliefs that don’t have the “ring of truth” do you dare to explore the possibility they are wrong? Are you willing to modify them into what does ring as true to you? And then are you willing to resist being influenced by other opinions?

Rebbe Nachman says “Work at not needing approval from anyone and you will be free to be who you really are.” The key word is “work” because finding our truth is not easy for most of us. We have to dig for it, defend it, even suffer for it.

But in the end, to know your truth is to know pure happiness.

WHO Are YOU?

“And WHO are YOU?” the older man in the black tux and argyle socks said as he shook my hand. I was being greeted by the father of the groom after the wedding ceremony.
“My name is….” I said, not feeling quite as ridiculous as I might’ve if he hadn’t been wearing the purple and pink socks.

He raised his eyebrows at me, Groucho Marx style, and I moved on. I figured he wanted to disconcert people with the socks because he was a psychiatrist, and liked to do unexpected things to see how people would react, but I was disconcerted because I had no ready answer to his unexpected question.

The thing was I was nobody. I’d been invited to the wedding through a friend of the bride, whom I didn’t even know. My friend had arranged the invitation for me, including my pre-school daughters, believing they should get their first look at a true-to-life fairy-tale bride. I’d set aside my discomfort to appease her but had felt completely foreign in such exalted company. My friend had been disappointed when Terry and Tammy, instead of being excited, watched the elaborate ceremony with a detached air.

So – who was I? Should I have said “I’m a friend of a friend of the bride?” or “I have an invitation but actually I’m a party crasher because I don’t even know your son or new daughter-in-law?” It’s bewildering to be asked “WHO are YOU?” and trying to think of an answer.

Perhaps, I thought later, I should make an appointment with him. Tell him he got me to thinking “WHO am I” as if I’d never thought to ask it before, and that I’d been searching for an answer ever since. I was lost. I didn’t know who I was. Wasn’t that what psychiatrists were for, to help us discover who we are? But psychiatrists cost money, and besides I kept seeing those wild argyle socks with the expensive black tux. How could I trust him?

So I decided to find myself, myself. Still looking.

Women Who Stand by Their Men

My daughter said my list of the things I hate was too short. Since I find I’m still steaming, here’s another one that just boiled over.

I hate women who stand by their men. Who stoically pose on some public platform and share his shame. Pretending to believe his apology when everyone knows he’d still be doing what it often is, if he’d never been found out. He’s just sorry he got caught.

Maybe with some wives it’s self-preservation, so they can maintain the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. Now take Kobe Bryant’s wife (remember the nineteen-year-old maid eight years ago who claimed it wasn’t consensual, in other words that it was rape?—which he denied but later admitted to what he called a consensual act?).

Well, there you have it. Eight years later, hmmmm. I wonder what the eight years did to her self-esteem. Every time she walked down the street, somebody pointing and saying “There’s the woman who stood by her man…..” while laughing hysterically.

So, naturally, the next thing I hate is that song Tammy Wynette likes to sing “Stand by Your Man”. What drivel!

“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman” So? We knew that from the day Eve was tempted by the snake. And of course Adam told God it was all Eve’s fault. He was one of those kinds of men.

Eve was not only the first woman, she was also the first feminist. She passed down those good genes not only to any woman with self-respect but also to some good men who respect their wives.

BLACK SUITS AND RED TIES

I’m boiling over, so please excuse me while I vent.

I’ve been teetering off-kilter for awhile but am finally forced to face the truth; the positive crap I’ve projected onto my environment for most of my adult life is just that, pure unholy crap.

Blame it on all those self-help books I absorbed like nectar from the gods. Using them as bricks to build a stupid wall of right thinking Drowning out the negative! Ha! A word of warning. If you keep burying the negative, one day it will jump out and bite you, like it did me and every time you turn on your television you’ll start seeing men in black suits and red ties.

So, here’s a remedy. Find out what you hate, from that pile of crap I just mentioned. Grab a shovel and dig for your life. I mean literally, your life. No more pablum, nicey-nice bullshit. Jump up and down, scream, whatever you feel, just get it out. Make a list. Here’s mine:

I hate elitists, who think they know what’s best for the rest of us. They’re everywhere: in politics, in the media, in academia. Extolling their virtues and our ignorance (we who cling to our guns and religion).

I hate phonies (including elitists) who masquerade as authentic, caring human beings; my dog could teach them a few lessons on integrity.

Most of all I hate the mock gladiators, displaying their weapons of deception and lies, as they parade past me in their black suits and red ties.

Study Astrology: Become a Contender

In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.   –C. G. Jung

Finding your place is not an easy thing to do.  First you’re born into a family, a place, a time.  You have to learn to walk, talk, and gradually learn the mores of your tribe.   If you wind up feeling like an odd duck in a family of geese you have to figure that out too.  

You know there is meaning – somewhere–but do not yet realize the meaning waits inside you to be discovered.   First you have to fit in and put on the proper clothes – you can’t wear sixteenth century clothes in the twenty-first century, although you may want to.  You can’t use the long words you’ve come to love in mere table-talk or folks will think you’re pretentious, or more likely, plain nutty.  You have to take up the proper slang.  Fit in.

And all the time you’re learning these things, what to do and not to do (and embarrassing yourself no end with all your goofs) you glimpse a light just over the hill in the far distance, beckoning to you.   You think if you can just reach it, you might understand what it’s all about, why you’re here instead of someplace else.  Why you’re even alive.

When you’re still a child, you may think adults know all the answers but they just aren’t telling.  That when you’re an adult you will magically know the answers too.  Later you may believe that since you’re an adult and still don’t know the answers, which everyone else seem to know, perhaps you’re mentally challenged.   You keep quiet while you look for clues in other people’s behavior, because when you verbalize a new discovery your friends seems to know it already.

Then one day, after many false turns and serendipities that appear and divert you from some dastardly path you were on, you discover Astrology.

Believe me when I tell you it does helps–a lot.  First you learn about the natal chart and realize—yes, that is so—and often you are surprised to learn certain aspects between the planets indicate talents that you’d had an inkling of but never trusted (trained to be modest, we often discount any positive trait we may think we possess like “who am I to think I might be able to do these things” – all the while blushing at our presumptuousness).

Some of the things you’ve learned you have to unlearn—truthfully, many of them.  I read somewhere that we spend the second half of our lives unlearning what we learned during the first half.   But the first half gives us a foundation to work with, so don’t discount it.  You don’t want to throw it out, merely modify what you’ve already learned by incorporating the new knowledge you’ve ingested.   Knowledge feeds the human soul.  Act on that knowledge and you are no longer a spectator of life, but a contender.