I Love Men and I Cannot Lie

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Photo by Jasper Graetsch on Unsplash

Photo by Jasper Graetsch on Unsplash

There was an awards show on television recently. I didn’t watch it, but I did notice the commercials for the event, prior to airing. The two hosts (hostesses) were women, fairly well known in the entertainment industry.

I would prefer to see at least one man there instead. Why not one of each sex?

Have you noticed the commercials on television lately? (I am speaking here of North American TV)

The cosmetic ads feature mostly – all – women – frequently three or four of them, all close up and hugging. Where are the men? Do women really put makeup on so they and their friends can look at each other and take selfies?

Do none of these lovely ladies not have a boyfriend who admires them? Or is that not politically correct any more? Is there something wrong now with wanting to look nice for someone else?

The laundry detergent commercials! Men doing the laundry and often seen with a child or two.No woman in sight, usually. Poor men. Are they all alone? No spouse? No significant other?

It seems to me that two things are happening. Now, I realize that I am basing this on only a small sample of the advertising world, as well as movies and television shows recently, but this is what I think.

Women are now portrayed as tough, strong, and decisive. In control and powerful. I see these heroines have been cast in formerly male roles in many instances. Do I want to see a female portraying every male hero I once admired?

No.

I don’t mind one bit that women get paid for a job well done, and paid the same as a man would be paid. If a woman doesn’t want to marry, doesn’t want to have a kid, let her live her life as she wishes.

But give me back my men. I want my heroes back.

Women, since when does becoming equal with men mean you must lose your femininity and become more masculine? Because that is what I am seeing now.

It is as if vulnerability is now considered weakness. To show any signs of needing another, to have to admit to not being completely capable to doing a thing is wrong.

I have sons. They are grown adults, and not kids anymore (although parents tend to always think of their kids as kids, no matter their age!) All these years, I have seen a shift toward this: References to a child as “she” completely leaving out the boys.

Frequent messages to empower girls.

What about the boys? we mothers of sons ask? What about them?

I believe there is as much prejudice and discrimination towards the sexes as there ever was – but it has shifted.

It is now acceptable to insult the elderly, the overweight and men. Especially white men.

Well, I don’t expect everyone who reads this to agree with me, and that is okay.

I know what I have seen over the years. At my age, I do not like what is happening.

Equality and respect?

“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.” ~ Erik Erikson

“We in the West seem to have made a fetish out of complete individual self-sufficiency, of not needing help, of being completely private except in a very few selected relationships.” ~ Carl Rogers

“The striving for significance, this sense of yearning, always points out to us that all psychological phenomena contain a movement that starts from a feeling of inferiority and reach upward. The theory of Individual Psychology of psychological compensation states that the stronger the feeling of inferiority, the higher the goal for personal power.” ~ Alfred Adler

I admit that I have always found it difficult to make friends with other women. Why? Not sure. Some women can be “catty” and are very competitive with other women. Judgemental too. Maybe that’s the reason.

I do know that I have always got along better with guys. Did I mention that I love men?

The men who like sports, who play sports, who drink beer, who run, who bike, who watch TV when they get home from work, who don’t like to dance, who worry about their pot belly, who wish they weren’t losing their hair, who love to talk and make new friends, who can’t ever seem to find the right words, who are successful in a career, who are out of work and worry they may never find a job.

Working together instead of at odds over things – why not? Must women attack men at every opportunity, as is occurring in Canada at the moment, in the Armed Forces? A military man is accused of having fathered two children by a woman, also in the military. There are strict rules regarding this, which I admit I know nothing about – but she had TWO children with him apparently. And she blames him now.

Why would a woman not speak up before the children were born, or after the first one? Why wait?

I have been in a bad relationship, but at no time did I or would I consider doing that.

I have great reservations about the accusatory behaviors the last many months, of women who cry out as victims and then denounce men with claims of horrid behavior.  “Poor me! Poor me!”

I am sorry, but there are usually two sides to every story. With the media reports in the world today, we do not hear both sides.

Photo by Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho on Unsplash

Let’s not vilify all men, for the perceived errors and wickedness of a few. Women don’t want to all be thought the same do they? Of course not! We are all individuals.

Let’s support our boys and our men. Help them to be the best people they can be!

How Are You Doing?

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Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

Did you notice that in many parts of our world, it is time to move our clocks forward one hour on Saturday night?

It is a time to ”spring forward” both in time and mentally. Winter is over, at least according to the calendar. Spring – the time of new beginnings, a fresh start, a time of hope and renewal – it is time.

Winter is past, at least in our northern hemisphere. The trees will soon be in leaf, and the geese – Canada geese! – have returned to my apartment complex pond – even though that pond is still frozen over! Now that is hope for the future, even in our Canada geese. Their instinct tells them that the ice will soon be gone and still and gentle waters are ahead.

Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com

I hear the geese as they return to the iced over pond. There are not many – a lot of the flock pass over, but the few that land! They have hope for the ice to melt and water to be there, for their mating and for the young ones. I will watch this year, as always, for the little ones to learn to swim and then to fly.

The red winged blackbirds will return as well, nesting in the reeds along the edges of the pond.

The sparrows! So many of them so plain and so brown and so loud! They too will return.

The flowering trees in the complex will bloom. Soft pink blossoms that scent the air for oh so short a time, as the winds waft through the branches, and slowly the blossoms fall to the ground.

This is life. This is the beginning of the next stage of our lives. We have the power to accept it, to acknowledge it and to use it for our enrichment.

Peace, the sounds and the fragrance of the spring air – this is what we have, the here and the now!

Use it! Appreciate it! Today! Love!

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

Anne Bradstreet (1612 – 1672), ‘Meditations Divine and Moral,’ 1655

I Am Too Old For This Crap

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I spent a little time this week helping my older sister upgrade to a new browser on her PC. She’s been using IE forever. She’s trying Firefox at the moment.

She’s 86 years old. I am so proud of her. Some people won’t ever try to learn anything new. Some people will make a half hearted attempt at a new thing, and then if it is too difficult, throw up their hands in despair and give up. Not her. Dare I say perhaps stubborness runs in our family?

Technology is evolving. It has been all along. It may be that it has made our lives easier. I question that part though. For those people to whom a plane flying in the sky was a wonder, in the 1930s and 1940s, it is ever a challenge to learn to cope with the requirements of the digital age.

I know of a fellow in his 80s who still likes to pay his bills with hand written checks. We know there are simpler ways to handle this now. Is it really simpler for him, though?

How much is too much? When all the banks change their physical locations to be only for meetings between employees and customers wishing to invest or borrow, and the actual daily banking is expected to be done online or by telephone – is there a benefit?

What about the hard of hearing? How do they cope, especially if they are not computer literate? How do they make a phone call to change a cable TV account subscription if they cannot hear well? If the offices are no longer open to assist them?

Too bad, you say. Get old, and get out of the system. Who cares about old people? So they have the greatest risk of dying from COVID? Who cares? They’ve lived their lives. ”I’m safe. So what if some old person dies? Big deal!”

Let’s get rid of old people. Let’s stop talking about them. Talk about me!

Never mind the children, grandchildren, great grand children of these ”old people”. Who cares?

I care. Until we can accept that every life has value, that every life is important on this planet, the future of our world is in dire jeopardy.

Is selfishness so prevalent? Sometimes I fear that it is.

When I read the hate filled posts about our government leaders, about our scientists, and about our health care workers, about the denial at every level that there is even a pandemic happening? What has happened to our minds?

Where did the acceptance of hate and vitriol toward the older generation come from? How is it that it is acceptable to call someone ”boomer” and mean it as a slur, when it is wrong to use the ”n” word and to say cruel things about other minorities and about women? Why is it that the western world still needs to hate on someone, whether it be smokers or the old? How can that be right? How can it be acceptable?

I fear that there is a world wide crisis. This crisis is in the mental health of the every day citizen.

Come back to us, Erich Fromm, Erik Erikson, and Rollo May! Viktor Frankl we need your theories and your wisdom now more than ever!

https://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/perscontents.html

The hippies had something right.

And all of those who listened and loved this song in 1965.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUaxVQPo

Have we gone so far astray? Have we lost the values that mattered in the 1960s? In the early 1970s when I hitch hiked with my American husband, across a large part of Canada and met so many people. Do we no longer care enough about others to accept a bit of discomfort now in order to help to keep all of us safe and healthy?

I believe that the media’s reporting of ”mental health issues” regarding the changes in our lives necessary to deal with COVID is greatly exaggerated. Are we truly so selfish and self centred that the postponement of kids playing hockey and adults allowed to go to a gym to workout is having an effect on mental health? Please!

There have been real disasters and truly horrific events in our world. Having to stay home, to wear a mask and to comply with health recommendations is not a part of that!

The mentality of ”I can do what I want and how dare you try to stop me!” What is that? Where does it come from? Society has had guidelines, rules of conduct and expectations of acceptable behaviour throughout history. Where does some person get the idea that he or she can flaunt the rules because he or she is special? No. You are neither special nor exceptional. As a citizen and a part of society you are expected to behave in a way that helps to keep everyone safe. It is not a question of your ”freedom” or of your ” rights”. Anyone unfamiliar with the story of Typhoid Mary is encouraged to ”do your research.”

Take care of yourself and take care of each other.

That is the way society works today.

Or…at the very least, that is the way society *should* work today.

Happy New Year 2021

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Photo by Jakson Martins from Pexels

At last we reach the final hours of 2020, a year filled with lifestyle changes, health risks, financial problems, and for many, learning what the rest of the shared household is really like.

For those of who have lost someone to Covid-19, for those of us with elderly family members or friends in senior’s lodges, our most vulnerable, I am truly sorry that you have had to deal with that along with all the other things the year has brought.

For the people who work in essential services, thank you.

The majority look at the dawn of a new year as a new beginning, although that is false, really, as everyday can be a new start.

The year, though, with all those days ahead – let us look forward to them all!

We have the promises of new and effective vaccines, and our health advisors everywhere, worldwide, learn more and more about this virus which means that we in turn have better ways to stay safe, providing we listen to the experts.

I have always been fascinated by the sea, by waves, and even on the shores of Lake Ontario, I learned to love the cry of the seagulls, the rhythm of the waves and the sound of them.

Video by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

It seems to me, that when the old year ends and the new begins, it is like the waves washing away the past, the losses, the gains, the successes and the sadness of the years before.

Every wave brings in new water, and the sand changes, as the water covers it and goes away again.

And then we have the new start – morning comes and the promise of days and months to come, all unknown, a mystery as yet – it waits for each one of us.

Photo by Bella White from Pexels

Resolutions? None here. It can be a good time to make a change for many, since that fresh calendar can offer a clean slate and an incentive.

Happy New Year.

May the best of 2020 be the worst that happens to you in 2021.

Let’s see what this new year brings us!

Happy Thoughts or Else!!

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Once upon a time, there was a little prince and a little princess. They lived in a cold stone castle that was built on a hill. From the hilltop, when Jakob and Jeserea went out to play, theycould see other hills, and trees and tiny houses far below.

There were servants in the castle, who looked after Jakob and Jeserea’s every need. Never did they go hungry, or feel cold or sleepy, for if either of the children spoke of these things, the servants quickly made them food, warmed them or tucked them into bed. They always knew just what to do, to keep the children happy all the time.

Boredom? No! If Jakob or Jeserea told a servant that he or she was bored, the servant could always summon a jester, or find a game, or interest them in something that would make them happy again.

No one ever frowned, or cried in front of the children. Oh no! The servants had learned, when Jakob and Jeserea were only tiny, that if either of them saw these negative things, that servant would be ”disappeared”. That was the children’s name for it, though the servants called it another thing, and often shook their heads when they thought the children weren’t looking.

”Disappeared” meant that the servant would simply vanish into thin air, and it would be as if they had never lived at all.

There is no ending to this story, for if Jakob or Jeserea should decide to read it, they will make me ”disappear”. You see, not only do they not like to see unhappiness and other negative things, they do not like to read about them either.

In many ways, Jakob and Jeserea are like some of the citizens in the country today.

There is a cult surrounding the belief in positivity that serves to deny genuine feelings, both in the self and in others, to deny reality and focus exclusively on the positive as though all negativity is wrong.

Here is an excerpt from The Psychology Group Fort Lauderdale, LLC

”when positivity is used to cover up or silence the human experience, it becomes toxic. By disallowing the existence of certain feelings, we fall into a state of denial and repressed emotions. The truth is, humans are flawed. We get jealous, angry, resentful, and greedy. Sometimes life can just flat out suck. By pretending that we are “positive vibes all day,” we deny the validity of a genuine human experience.”

2020 © Copyright of The Psychology Group Fort Lauderdale, LLC

https://thepsychologygroup.com/toxic-positivity/

I have seen this frequently on national news report sites, in the comments section, when someone posts, ”More bad news and negativity! Can’t you report something positive for a change!”

While the book, “Pollyanna” written by Eleanor H. Porter in 1913 is the origin of the word,

The Cambridge Dictionary defines ”Pollyanna” as ”a person who believes that good things are more likely to happen than bad things, even when this is very unlikely”.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/pollyanna?q=Pollyanna

The shunning and running away from negative things and negative people is acceptable in society it seems. When did negativity get such a bad reputation? And why?

I think we often take for granted what is accepted in the general population, without ever asking ourselves, why is this and does it make sense?

I don’t condone sinking into depressive and negativity at all. I am just saying that maybe there is a time and a place for the not-so-happy and not-so-positive things.

We can’t live in a childlike world, all sweetness and light where everyone is always joyful and nothing bad happens. There is no such place.

I suggest we need to accept the negative and deal with it, not hide from it.

Bad things do happen. Horrible things happen. This is life. To embrace the negative as well as the positive is to embrace life and all that it has to offer.

Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

Denial, Acceptance, Reality

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Photo by William Warby on Unsplash

I have been reading a book written by a doctor who worked with the notorious Dr. Mengele during the Holocaust, in Auschwitz.

Auschwitz – A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account by Miklos Nyiszle and Richard Seaver

Information about the Holocaust:

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-holocaust

In the forward to the book, Bruno Bettelheim presents a suggestion, that the idea of the death camps was so horrendous that no one, either those victims, Jewish, gypsies, physically or mentally handicapped, aged or ill, gays, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or those on the ”outside” – those who lived in close proximity to the crematorium within the country, consciously recognized what would be their fate/the fate of the prisoners confined there.

No one could accept the horrors of the reality.

And since the Holocaust, since World War Two ended, there have been the denialists. They claim that ”six million didn’t die” as though numbers are what matter, when it is the loss of lives and the horrible way they were allowed to die that matters.

There have been claims that it never happened.

When I was eleven, in Alberta, Canada, an old man showed me the tattoo on his arm – and told me that he was in a camp.

That memory stayed with me through the years.

I know that our new way of life – of Covid – 19 – has affected all of us, some more than others.

The denialists frighten me. Despite the most knowledgeable experts in the medical and scientific communities around the world telling us what must be done to curb this disaster and loss of life, there are people who refuse to accept the reality.

Their death wish is strong, and they no longer seek life.

”According to Freud, the death-drive manifests in the psyche as a tendency toward self-destruction, or more precisely the elimination of tension, which can also be turned outwards, whereby it becomes aggression.”

https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095704767

And so we have, on social media, in the group protests, and the violence towards store clerks who try to enforce the store policies of mask wearing, self destructive behaviour on the part of those who refuse to accept the reality – the threat to our lives – that Covid 19 represents.

Instead, it is easy to deny the reality.

”Covid is just a flu”

”Nobody has died except for a few old people”

”It’s the government (pick your country). They’re trying to take away our rights and freedoms”

”It’s my right to not wear a mask”

Misplaced anger, aggression and fear.

Let’s face the reality.

A child died just today, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Under the age of ten.

Do we still want to deny that Covid is dangerous?

That we – all of us – are vulnerable?

The Covid denialists remind me of those who have denied the Holocaust all these years.

The same refusal to accept the reality that horrible things can happen. That we can all be vulnerable to sickness and to death.

That’s right. It isn’t just the ”old” that die from Covid. Not to mention that the medical community now has identified a long term and lingering effect on the health of those who do survive. We still don’t know what will happen to those people. What will be their condition in a few months, or years?

Let’s live – not in fear, as some of the anti-masker denialists say – but in hope – let us wear our masks, to protect others – let us wash our hands, because we know basic science – and let us care even more about others, not just about ourselves.

Maybe, just maybe, that is something we can all take away from this time.

Let us begin to see ourselves as part of the community, part of our locality, part of our state or province, part of our country! Part of the world.

Maybe this is the one time in history that we can all make a difference and save someone else.

Let’s try.

Give Until You Can’t

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When I was six, my mother and I lived in a lovely little town on the shores of Lake Ontario, Canada. Port Hope is known for having the best preserved main street in the province of Ontario.

https://www.visitporthope.ca/en/index.aspx

We had come from the northern reaches of British Columbia, and it was a change for me – I had spent two years in the wilds, learning about trapping and tracking animals from the man my mother worked for as a housekeeper, and then I was in a town, with streets and traffic and it was a true culture shock.

The school was okay as I loved to learn. The teacher was nice. No matter that I got lost when leaving the school the first day or so to go home, as I was used to marking my way by following the signs in nature, not streets and buildings.

Our first home in Port Hope was above a bakery on Walton Street. The delicious aromas of baked goods floated up to us early in the morning. At Christmas, the town decorated the streets with lights and beautiful holiday themed ornaments.

But…there was music – Christmas music – for hours throughout the days.

It was quite unbearable after a while.

We were poor. My mother was lame – one leg shorter than the other, and I came to her late in life. By then, she could no longer support us by working, and we lived on the small income provided by welfare.

Christmas would have been a very sad time for us except that the local organizations provided food hampers and Christmas gifts for those in need.

Can I tell you how this mattered to a six year old child?

It made our Christmas shine and the memories I have, of the knock on the door and those volunteers bringing in a box of food and some colourful wrapped presents is something that I still treasure, sixty years later.

So – my thoughts are these. If you can, give. It doesn’t have to be a lot and it doesn’t necessarily have to be dollars. You can give of your time and your good thoughts.

Because, I can tell you, that as a child on welfare, I sensed even then, the stigma of my not being ”deserving” or ”good enough” of being ”a freeloader” of being ”lazy”.

Not true. Children do not choose to be poor. Mothers do not choose to live in poverty, afraid that an abusive partner will somehow find them. They do not choose to be physically unfit to work.

Give then, of your means or of your understanding, for the next poor or homeless person you see. Please know that these situations are not by choice.

As we enter this Christmas season may you and yours have enough – enough food, enough warmth and shelter, enough love and caring – to get you through this time, when things are so uncertain.

We need each other.

That is what makes us human. What makes us able to carry on, no matter what.

And – thank you to that fraternal organization in Port Hope, in 1959, that gave my mother and me a wonderful Christmas and a special memory.

I wanted to find illustrations for this post, but I couldn’t. I searched for ”poverty” and ”childhood” and so on, but nothing seemed right. I guess there isn’t a ”just right” graphic that I can share to show the life I knew.

Success, Failure, and Aging

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I learned something new a while back.

It is entirely possible to take on a task that is too difficult and when doing so, it is important to recognize that the outcome may not be ideal.


Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

In fact, sometimes it is wise to give up!

Quitters…

How often have we heard, ”No one likes a quitter!” or “Keep trying! You can do it!”

You know what? It is not always true.

In my latest experience, I decided to move some very heavy furniture. Not a good plan. Turned out to be far more challenging than I expected. I did get it done – but the toll it took on me wasn’t pleasant.

I suffered with neck pain for several days. Over the counter pain relievers helped a bit, but I regretted my actions.

It is time to accept that aging can mean some things that I could do once are no longer wise.

In the case of a marriage gone bad, years ago, I stubbornly tried to stay in the relationship, but it was at the expense of my mental well being.

I had to quit.

I was a smoker. In that instance, it was a good thing to be a Quitter. I did succeed.

Rewarded for Existence?

When I hear that all the participants in some competition are handed a trophy, ”because they took part, even though they didn’t win” – well, that just seems wrong.

The idea that children, or anyone, for that matter, should be rewarded for just ”existing” – how did that become a thing?

I think that learning to cope with failure, with not being ”first”, with not be ”equal” to everyone else in a peer group is a fundamental part of becoming and of being a person.

Limitations – We All Have Them

As I age, I am learning to cope with the changes that come.

When parents tell their offspring that ”you can be anything you want to be in life!” – is that not a lie and a great disservice to a child?

To be realistic, no child is going to be smart enough, or tall enough, or strong enough, or talented enough, to become ”anything” that child might want to become.

Let’s applaud those who know when to quit, when to give up and when to change direction, if it needs to be done.

There is no shame in being honest, with others or with yourself.

Further reading –

How To Accept, Process, And Learn From Failure
by Chris Meyers Former Forbes Contributor

Featured photograph at top of page is by Leora Dowling on Unsplash

New Beginnings

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Photo by Dennis Buchner on Unsplash

 

When I was a teen, I got spring fever every year. As the snow melted, and the sun warmed, I had an urge to just run – somewhere, anywhere that was new, that was not ”here”.

I think that traditionally, we tend to think of newness, the fresh growing green grass, the flowers bursting through the soil, as a beginning.

But, really, any season can mean a new start. Not even a season, but the dawning of a new day.

In fall, as the leaves change color, the sun rises later and sets earlier, as the temperatures cool,  we may look towards the long and cold winter ahead – depending on where you live of course!

But that time can be a fresh start too. While there isn’t any new growth in nature, there is change. Changes to all of our surroundings.

And change should be what moves us forward, into the future, the next day, the next month, the next season.

Squirrels gather acorns for winter, and we can too!

Save up your happiest memories of spring and suummer, and make more good memories today and everyday!

Every season, like every person, has something to offer.

Be open to what can be.

Photo by Prahalad Sanjeev Varma on Unsplash