a broken heart….?

For my Bulletproof Babes

Coco J. Ginger Says

….brilliant really,  and beautiful.  In fact she was most beautiful, most alive when she opened herself up, when she allowed vulnerabilites, breakabilites, didn’t force control and demand the power. When she allowed the option of pain, of rejection, when she let loose, when she stopped focusing on her pride, her reputaion, and just totally fell. Yes it was a brilliant and beautiful feeling. There was a bit of pain, a tad of excruciating, unpredictable swings of sadness….but overall, it was pure luxury, pure excitement knowing one could feel so overwhelming, so captivated,  flipped inside-out, a childhood entranced sort of enchantment. You silly little people who stay all wrapped up in your non-heart breaks, so proud of your ability to hold control and not fall. THe falling is the best part. So you fall and you fall and you fall, and you refuse to become numb, and one…

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Bulletproof Babes

We were taught to be independent, strong, self-sufficient, poised and in-charge.  We were told by our mothers, themselves the daughters of bra-burning times, to suck up our fears, manage our emotions, never let the bastards see us cry and never ask for help as long as we can help ourselves.  Lessons were passed on that high-maintenance is for bimbos and dignity and class cannot co-exist with it.  Being demanding is as bad as promiscuity in the estimation of our lady-teachers.  We are to serve with strength and selflessness without thought to our needs and in return we will be respected and loved.  We are a wellspring of power, woman hear us roar, and we can supply the whole world with what it needs.  The ironies that were passed down from grandmothers, aunties, teachers, family friends and mothers abound.

We associate being honest about our needs with images of weak, victimized, or morally bankrupt women.  And so, to not be seen as a doormat, a loose woman or a gold digger we put on a persona of needlessness that then results in us becoming more… NEEDY.  Think about it.  If we deprive ourselves of food telling ourselves that we don’t need it don’t we become more and more… hungry?

But there comes a time when a Bulletproof Babe says “So what if I have needs?  Of course I do!  I’m human!”  We come around to the question of how are we to expect ourselves to provide selflessly for the needs of others when our needs are not met?  Even in the airplane instructions before take off we are instructed to put on our own mask first before helping the person next to us, child or no child.

I am learning through my own experience as a woman that low maintenance women, like strong buildings and towers, without support and care suffer in structure, appearance and strength from neglect.  Without support and TLC they crumble, crack under pressure and become inhabited by bitterness.  They lose their value – how they value themselves diminishes and is then projected out to what value others see.  Others react to what they see, convincing her further of the lie that started her shrinking view of herself in the first place.

But it starts with her.  What does a guy have to offer a girl who refuses to acknowledge she has needs and flaws and vulnerability and needs someone to lean on once in a while?  How many times do we Bulletproof Babes find ourselves lonely and disappointed because a friend wasn’t able to read our minds and be there for us because we didn’t know how to tell them how to support us and that we needed support in the first place?  How many times have we let a slight pass and pass again and pass again until we blow, totally surprising all around us?  Why does it have to fall apart and be blatantly obvious and beyond the point of deniability for us to accept a helping hand?

We don’t have to be bulletproof to be beautiful, rigid to be respected, nor do we have to be low-maintenance in order to capture the attention of someone who could love us.  These are the ways we trick ourselves into being someone who attracts human leeches, persons who seek to take without giving, because that is what we put ourselves forward as willing to accept.  Think about it… “Oh she doesn’t need this from me.  She just wants someone to give and give and give to.  She doesn’t expect anything back, bless her little cotton socks.  Goody!  Free ride!  Why would I EVER leave?”  Except, of course, we don’t want that type around either, do we?

To the beautiful Bulletproof Babes out there, let us support eachother and drop the act.  Being strong doesn’t mean having no needs.  You deserve to have your needs met, not ignored.  But the first step to making that happen is to not ignore them yourself.

Feminism (Motivationalpostersonline.blogspot.com)

Elevation

Over the past year there has been some revolutionary movement.  The earth has shifted and the world I live in will never be the same again.  There is something about the steps that one takes through the passage of time that leaves something that cannot be erased, corrected, reviewed, edited and makes every second unique and different from the last.  It has been a step by step climb up a steep mountain.

Have you ever done one of those hikes that are marked as “amateur” routes on some tourist map but make you question the sanity of the map-makers half-way up?  I did one a few years back with my parents up Stickle Ghyll in England’s gorgeous Lake District.  My mom and I focused on our feet and hands, step by mountain-stone step, handhold by craggy handhold, looking only to the next step.  About an hour in we stopped to catch our breath, share twiglets and suck down a swig of water from my pack.  It was shocking to turn around and see the world sprawled below!  How far had we come looking just one step at a time!

That is how the month of July has been for me – near physical collapse from pushing too hard past challenge after challenge I’ve come across a small ledge, a respite.  It’s to small for me to get comfortable here, I am permitted a short break only, and then it’s time to climb again.  But MAN OH MAN what a view!

This weekend I’ve been knocked out with the flu and some deep reflection on how far I’ve come in one year.  There will be much writing done in this quiet moment and some of my recent findings will be flipped through and dissected, perhaps even making it on to this blog.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  And embrace the growth that each step has for you!

One step at a time up Stickle Ghyll, these “walkers” will be shocked at how far they have come when they stop to rest ~From Geograph

Two Values Where Love Blossoms

I have always been astounded by the power friends have to bring hurt.  Friends are people you trust to have access to your feelings, your thoughts, your information, on good faith and with love.  They are people you share yourself with, that you let yourself be known to, vulnerable to, and they have an amazing power in their hands.  And failing their consciousness around their own power, with some careless handling, this power can truly destroy.

Friendship has been a very strong theme on this blog.  There have been many hurts, many vents, many priceless moments, and many lessons learned over the course of the past (almost) year.  I have described the dangers of weak girls as friends, the impossibility of friendship with the man whore, the power of girlfriends, the need to be touched and comforted that is experienced by single women,  the honoured place of the platonic husband, the desire for someone to be nice to in every one of us.  This blog has been dedicated to everything BUT romance, but even in this dedication the need for togetherness is recognized as absolutely vital.

In recent days I had a challenging experience with more than one friend.  I use the term friend still because I am not sure yet what to do about any of it.  Forgiveness is in order… I acknowledge it makes no sense to hold on to hurt.  But is reconciliation?  Does it make any sense to hold on to people who hurt?  I realize that in each case my friend and I see friendship from very different vantage points.  I realize that we have two different sets of values.  And I realize that values in friendship are important.

In chewing on my environment I have learned a few things about friendship.  Two main values in particular jump out that are absolutely key.

1. The Values of the Friend

What is a friend?  In thinking this through and determining whether my friend is truly a friend I have come to understand that what is inside a person is what the person is.  I know this sounds simple.  And I know it sounds airy fairy as well.  But hear me out.  What is inside the person is what the person is.  A person’s actions, words, language, mannerisms all come out of their character.  Their character comes from the actions that they have practiced into habit and second nature.  The actions they have practiced into second nature and habit have come from decisions they have made to do this instead of that, go here instead of there, say this at this time and not say that at the next moment.  These decisions have been made from their values.  In what the person decides to be the thing they should do, “SHOULD” itself is defined by their values.

A person’s character is a dynamic thing yes.  But it is complete.  In this moment they are exactly what they are.  No more no less.  Their past is not here anymore.  Their potential hasn’t yet come into being.  Only what they are today is present with you.  What they value today is all that is.  Sure, they may have the necessary raw material to grow in a certain direction… but will they choose to?  Yes, they may have all the potential in the world… but what is potential other than a belief of what could be?  It certainly is not what is.  Sure, I accept that they could grow.  But they have not yet grown, not at this moment, anywhere beyond where they are.  And waiting for a person to grow and come around to a place of being where you feel you can have a relationship with them that is mutually fulfilling can turn into throwing years of time away, gambling with your most precious possession of life itself, and casting your pearls before swine.

Love Blossoms

2.  Alignment of Values is the definition of trust

Another thing I learned came out of a conversation with one of my brothers.  He said something that has resounded within me for hours, bouncing and echoing through the hallways and channels of my brain and my veins.  It came from something he had read recently on Trust.  The author of whatever it was put it to their readers that trust is what is present when values are the same.

Think about it before I go any further.  Chew on the phrase a little while.  Trust is what is present when values are the same. 

It isn’t some special ingredient or result at the end of a formula.  It isn’t something manufactured, packaged in plastic, and sold from the shelves to supermarket shoppers.  It doesn’t come from listening to self-help gurus and conjuring spells from witch doctors.  It isn’t the immediate result of an “I Do” or an “I swear”.  It only shows up where values are shared.

Let’s go back to number 1.  If it is true that “What is inside the person is what the person is.” And if  “A person’s actions, words, language, mannerisms all come out of their character,”  which is at the very foundation “determined by their values.”  Then the alignment of values, the sameness of foundation, is where trust exists.

Taking an example, there are two people who meet for the first time.  They are put in the same place to work on the same project together as a team.  The people are very different – one is tall the other short, one is a man the other a woman, one is from Africa the other from Asia.  But let us say that both have at the core of their being a value system based on honesty, directness, diligence and pride in their work.  How likely is it that they will be honest with eachother, appreciating the honesty in the other?  How likely is it that they will not be offended by eachother’s directness?  How likely is it that they will trust eachother more and more as they learn that they both take pride in their work and are dedicated to working diligently for it to happen?  At the end of this project how do you see their trust relationship looking?

Take another pair.  They are both men, both American, same height, same home town, speak the same language, and they shop at the same store.  But say one has a value system based on honesty, directness, diligence and pride in his work.  And the other has a value system based on creative diplomacy, expedience, politeness, and pride in his paycheck.  How likely is it that directness will butt heads with politeness?  How about expedience and diligence?  Honesty and creative diplomacy?  How well will pride in ones work fit in with pride in ones paycheck?  Can you see how this might be a recipe for disaster?

Out of the values of a person springs the seed of who they are and what they do.  Out of shared values sprouts trust.  Out of trust grows friendship.  And out of friendship blossoms love.

TEST: How Responsible Are You?

So… with my pet peeve on responsibility out there, I went in search of ways to test yourself.  Click here to try it out for yourself!

My result was 41.5 out of 44 and was explained as follows:

“Your score puts you in the highest category of social reasoning. You will see ethical and moral values as important to the needs of society and will appeal to basic rights or values. You might say “Honesty is a standard which everyone should accept” or “Life is sacred.”

Conformity to ethical norms is important to you, in terms of a responsibility, obligation or commitment for all individuals, although you may be willing to consider exceptions in some particular circumstances. You are likely to suggest that with entitlement or privilege comes responsibility.

You will appeal to considerations of responsible character or integrity in others, preferring a consistent or standard practice of behaviour in order to avoid damage to social institutions such as the legal system.

However, you will want to see an adjusted case-by-case application of standards for the sake of fairness to all people. Lastly, you are very likely to appeal to standards of individual or personal conscience, as well as of honour, dignity or integrity.”

 

The Age of Irresponsibility

I regret to announce to those who have missed the calls of the harbingers, the omens written in their day-to-day lives, and the signs in every newspaper in the known world – The Age of Irresponsibility is upon us.

Don’t get me wrong – there have been irresponsible people in every era of human existence.  They have been called by many labels – lazy, entitled, promiscuous, spoiled, dead-beat, and many other names that separate them from the norm of responsibility.  But in the subjective age in which we now live, we have been invited to consider and have heartily accepted and gone overboard with the consideration for the “other side”.  Psychology has pointed to reasons in nature and nurture that lead to characters developing along irresponsible lines.  Because we now have reasons we find ourselves excusing the behaviours.  And with the words “lazy”, “dead-beat”, “irresponsible” and “promiscuous” being classified under the headling “judgmental”, the responsible among us avoid calling it like it is.  What follows is that those with latent tendencies toward – yup I’m calling it – laziness and disrespect see the stigma removed and sign up to the growing list of the irresponsible at a rate of thousands per minute.

But what, I hear you wonder, is irresponsibility?  What does it mean?  What does it look like?

Bushy’s definition is that irresponsibility is a failure to fulfill one’s obligations and to keep one’s word.  It comes from a selfish, unnecessary and reckless disregard for the needs and the feelings of others.

I hate to draw a sexist example, but guys you make it so damn easy.  Ladies.  When was the last time a guy in your life said to you “I’ll be there at 8” and showed up at 8:30 without a phone call?  Or how about the last time a guy in your life said “I’ll be there at 8” and didn’t show up at all?  If you say nothing, isn’t it remarkable how your next conversation (and there are questions in my mind as to whether or not there SHOULD be a next conversation) goes without any apology for your lost 30 minutes or your ruined evening?  That, my love, is irresponsibility.

Let’s take another example.  We all have at least one ditzy woman in our lives who consistently does stupid things.  For example, sleep around.  Yes… I could have used a guy example here as well but some things are just TOO easy.  She lets herself intervene over and over and over as the rebound (“But he said he was over it!”) or she may have a tendency to go for the ones who are already quite married to someone else (“But his wife is SUCH a b****).  What refrain do you hear from her as a reason (**cough-EXCUSE-cough***) for her behaviour?  “But Busy you don’t understand.  I LOVE him!”, “I can’t help it if his wife is a bitter old woman”, and most common and bloody irritating “You can’t control who you fall in love with.”

Well I’ma call it.  That is BULLSHIT.

Everyone has choices to make every single day of our lives.  We choose what we eat.  We choose how much we exercise.  We choose when to go to the bathroom.  We choose whether or not to pick up the phone and cancel an appointment we cannot make.  We choose whether or not we spread our legs to this man or that.  We choose whether we will go out and find a job.  We choose whether or not we complete our studies.  We choose what behaviours and what people we expose ourselves to and what feelings we allow ourselves to dwell on.  We choose where we are every minute of every day.

If I were to make a practice of irresponsibility my world would fall apart.  My staff would suffer, my family would suffer, I would lose the roof over my head and be dependent on someone else for the food on my plate.  How is it that others escape this fate?  Have I signed up for that much more responsibility?  Is there something wrong with me?  Maybe I should try this out and see if life is easier that way.

This is the thinking that has led to irresponsibility being the new normal.

I worry for the next generation.  Irresponsibility doesn’t travel like an STD, passing on from mother to child and with exchange of body fluids.  This bad boy catches like the flu.

Have you been immunized?

Classic irresponsible statements:

“She told me she was ok with just sex.”  She’s a woman dumbass.  And you knew this.

“I can’t help it!”  Then who the hell can?

“You don’t understand!  Marriage is very complicated.”  I didn’t tell you to sign up for it.  But you did.  So deal.

“I fell asleep.”  Don’t wake up next time.

“Ohhh… you were waiting?”  Oh yeah… but never again.

“But his wife treats him so badly!”  I’m sure she knows why.

“She’s just a friend.”  Uh huh…

“You just want to control me.”  Actually no… I don’t trust you to control yourself.

“You just don’t understand what I’m going through.”  You mean what you’re PUTTING YOURSELF through?  No.  You’re right.  I do not understand.

And my favourite.  One line that, if said too many times for the same offense makes the hearer want to carve the words in stone and shove them down an irresponsible throat.

“I’m sorry.”

So am I, luv.  So am I.

What to Expect – Unconventional Review

It was a dog’s day at work that had me praying Psalms 35 and dreaming murder.  To calm down the inner battleship I took the afternoon off and went to the movies – only because Happy Hour hadn’t started yet.  Wasn’t my first choice.  But obviously someone out there had a plan.  My student cousin joined me and we bought tickets for What To Expect When You’re Expecting.

Dear Reader, I add all of this personal background to this unconventional movie review to attempt to explain my uncharacteristic behaviour and protect my badass rep.  Just for the record, Bushlings doesn’t cry.  Not in the movies.  Especially not in a comedy.  Not in public.  And as far as about 99.9% of the people in my life will tell you, NOT AT ALL.

The movie began with such hope – the story of five women who found themselves expecting.  Each of them was a different lady – a young (but absolutely DELIGHTFUL) bimbo married to an old legend, their (“their”) daughter-in-law expert in breast-feeding without ever having done it, a witty young woman working in the dog-eat-(hot)dog world of Food Trucks, a beautiful photographer unable to have children of her own, and a celebrity fitness trainer knocked up by her dance partner on a celebrity dance show.  It was HILARIOUS!  There were fits of laughter to be found in the beginning, the middle, the end, every minute.  From the way in which they found out they were pregnant, to the craziness of their pregnancies, to the delivery room, to Ethiopia this movie was fully engaging.

I am not going to be a spoiler but I will touch on four moments that were planted in my memory forever.

  1. The Dudes.  This movie was not just about women and not just for women.  It was for and about humanity.  The Dudes, headed by Chris Rock, operate in accordance with an unbreakable code that is so absolutely, authentically, terrifyingly and irritatingly masculine it made me cringe, laugh and embrace them all at the same time.  I can see my brothers in these Dudes, my friends, and my Man in Iraq.  If there is ever a man who fears fatherhood (all of ’em), they should watch this movie.  Women, sit them on the couch.  Tie them down if you have to.  Put the thing in front of them.  It shows regular and authentic dudes doing fatherhood in their regular authentic dude way.  All manhood and all powerful and all scary.
  2. The Miscarriage.  It hit me right in the chest.  I’ve never had one but have had the same fears.  Her cruelty, her blame, her crushing disappointment came at me as words that could have come from my own mouth and tears (I admit) that could have welled up in my own eyes.
  3. The Meltdown.  Yes, I laughed with everyone else.  It was hilarious!  At the same time I imagined WOW, that’s probably what pregnancy would do to me.  Big as a house, fighting my own body, farting and peeing and effing and blinding.  Perhaps crying?  Maybe not.  I wanted to reach into the screen and hug her whale of a mummy-tummy and tell her I was rooting for her.
  4. The Adoption.  Here I need to pause before I write.  …………  OK.  I’m ready.  Her ENTIRE story gripped me.  Her insecurity at not being able to do what every woman is built to do and give her husband a child, her fear of not being good enough and undeserving, her love at first sight for the ugly (yup – I said it) little kid in the photograph who turned out to be absolutely gorgeous in person – it consumed me.  Will this be my story?  Will it be my pain and my battle?  Is that the happy ending I will find?  Women who have never been pregnant sometimes (often) wonder.  It may be turn out there was never anything wrong with our ability to have kids, just that we’ve been smart with our protection, but seeing the worst case scenario play out so beautifully really gave me a sense of peace.  Bushlings would never admit that she wept through the ceremony.  She would adamantly deny there being any possibility that she could cry rivers down two of her cheeks in the theater, in PUBLIC.  She wouldn’t tell you that she could weep while writing about it.  Never would you get her to admit to feeling rips at her heart while remembering the beautiful, alone, unparented, forgotten, unloved, unnamed, unrecognized Ethiopian child desperately in need of the motherhood of a woman whose eggs wouldn’t perform even after she had decimated her 401k on IVF treatments.  It would never do to react like that.

As soon as this thing opens up in a theater near you, drag everyone you know and go see that movie.

What to Expect was not what I expected.  It wasn’t a story for women or for men or for children or for adults.  It wasn’t geared to any population in particular.  It was a story about all of us – the one thing we have in common throughout all of humanity.  We each were born to a woman, carried for up to nine months.  Each of us is a combination of either having children, wanting them, and/or fearing them.  This is about every one of us who has been a child.

This is our story.