This is on my mind – LOTS. It is a glorious September day in Paris! I woke up!! After being sick all week AND tested, I am happy to report that I passed the test. I had taken two steps forward. This week I took four steps back. People were bowling – at least four that I know of. And each one yelled, “Strike!!!!” several times. I will admit that I got knocked down. I was wounded. But I still chose to get back up.
Damaged but not broken. I fell once. Oops. But I got myself back up, and I am still up. And, that fall did not break anything. And, I began healing, rediscovering myself, and starting over.
AND after much thought and consideration, these are some thoughts that I want to share with you. Get a coffee!! This may take a while as I strive to move forward. .
Two decisions: sell the piano; move back to Nice. I don’t know how yet.
I am basically a small-town Southern girl. I love cities. I love Atlanta. I love New York City. I love Chicago. I love Los Angeles. I love San Francisco. I love London. I love Paris most of all.
But I KNOW how to maneuver in a small town. (Three Sisters dreaming of going to Moscow – Chekhov) And, now in my golden years, I don’t have the money or skills to go where I want to go in this city. I waited too long. I wish I had come sooner. My friends here are having so much fun and I cannot do any of it. But again I digress…
Anyway, My Rule Book applies to small-town Southern girls in small towns where I was taught to “be a lady”. Don’t be tacky. This takes me to a wonderful post I am using with my own edits from Facebook, because I was told ALL of those things by my mother. She was a Victim begetting (my sisters and me) victims begetting (our children) victims and on and on in its petty pace through to the last syllable of recorded time.
Another important thing to think about in your copious free time (sigh) –
A writer named Camille Rainfield wrote this priceless piece, and I had ALL these things told to me: “Be a lady they said. Your skirt is too short. Don’t show so much skin. Don’t show your thighs. Don’t show your breasts. Don’t show your midriff. Don’t show your cleavage. Don’t show your underwear. Don’t show your shoulders. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination. Dress modestly. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves.
Men have needs. You look frumpy. Loosen up. Show some skin. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it. Wear black. Wear heels. You’re too dressed up. You’re too dressed down. Don’t wear those sweatpants; you look like you’ve let yourself go. Your hemline is too short. Your hemline is too long. Too high. Too low.
Be a lady they said. Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too thin. Don’t be too large. Don’t be too small. Eat up. Slim down. Stop eating so much. Don’t eat too fast. Order a salad. Don’t eat carbs. Skip dessert. You need to lose weight. Fit into that dress. Go on a diet. Watch what you eat. Eat celery. Chew gum. Drink lots of water. You have to fit into those jeans. God, you look like a skeleton. Why don’t you just eat? You look emaciated. You look sick. Eat a burger. Men like women with some meat on their bones. Be small. Be light. Be little. Be petite. Be feminine. Be a size zero. Be a double zero. Be nothing. Be less than nothing.
Be a lady they said. Remove your body hair. Tan your skin. Lift your face. Tuck your tummy. Thin your thighs. Tone your calves. Perk up your boobs. Look natural. Be yourself. Be genuine. Be confident. You’re trying too hard. You look overdone. Men don’t like girls who try too hard.
Be a lady they said. Wear makeup. Prime your face. Conceal your blemishes. Contour your nose. Highlight your cheekbones. Line your lids. Fill in your brows. Lengthen your lashes. Color your lips. Powder, blush, bronze, highlight. Your hair is too short. Your hair is too long. Your ends are split. Highlight your hair. Your roots are showing. Dye your hair. Not blue, that looks unnatural. Look young. Look youthful. Look ageless. Don’t get old. Women don’t get old. Old is ugly. Men don’t like ugly.
Be a lady they said. Save yourself. Be pure. Be virginal. Don’t talk about sex. Don’t flirt. Don’t be a whore. Don’t sleep around. Don’t lose your dignity. Don’t have sex. Don’t give yourself away. Men don’t like sluts. Don’t be a prude. Don’t be so up tight. Have a little fun. Smile more. Pleasure men. Be experienced. Be sexual. Be innocent. Be dirty. Be virginal. Be sexy. Be the cool girl. Don’t be like the other girls.
Be a lady they said. Don’t talk too loud. Don’t talk too much. Don’t take up space. Don’t sit like that. Don’t stand like that. Don’t be intimidating. Why are you so miserable? Don’t be a bitch. Don’t be so bossy. Don’t be assertive. Don’t overact. Don’t be so emotional. Don’t cry. Don’t yell. Don’t swear. Be passive. Be obedient. Endure the pain. Be pleasing. Don’t complain. Let him down easy. Boost his ego. Make him fall for you. Men want what they can’t have. Don’t give yourself away. Make him work for it. Men love the chase. Fold his clothes. Cook his dinner. Keep him happy. That’s a woman’s job. You’ll make a good wife some day. Take his last name. You hyphenated your name? Crazy feminist. Give him children. You don’t want children? You will some day. You’ll change your mind.
Be a lady they said. Don’t get raped. Protect yourself. Don’t drink too much. Don’t walk alone. Don’t go out too late. Don’t dress like that. Don’t show too much. Don’t get drunk. Have a buddy. Walk where it is well lit. Stay in the safe neighborhoods. Tell someone where you’re going. Bring pepper spray. Buy a rape whistle. Hold your keys like a weapon. Check your trunk. Lock your doors. Don’t go out alone. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t bat your eyelashes. Don’t look easy. Don’t attract attention. Don’t crack dirty jokes. Don’t smile at strangers. Don’t go out at night. Don’t trust anyone. Don’t say yes. Don’t say no. Just “be a lady” they said. -Camille Rainville (my edits)
As a result, I had four marriages in which I was a “lady” throughout! My mother did not say all of that but she said a lot. You get the point. But, I digress……
So, after being knocked down, I did what all good Southern girls do, I immediately took offense and looked around at whom I could blame – according to the Rule Book. BUT, after a lot of thought and reading, I came to these conclusions with an unknown author’s help and my customized edits:
What does “take offence” really mean? According to the Collins dictionary it means: “If someone takes offence at something you say or do, they feel upset, often unnecessarily, because they think you are being rude to them.
So it means the person feels the other person is being mean or betrayed them … but what if they weren’t? What if there was no malicious intent at all and the perception of betrayal or insult was entirely in the receiving person’s mind? Is it still offensive? What if a group of people felt that person was being betrayed? Does that make it offensive? Is it a democratic majority rules type of situation, even though other people do not take offense at it? What about the super-sensitive Southern girls who feel offended by everything? Even gossip? Does that make everything offensive? Who is right? The person who said or did something who had no intent of malice or the person who received it and took offence? Probably both are right in their own mind because perception is reality as they say, according to the Rule Book. But can we be expected to be aware of everyone’s sensitivities and personal perception? No we can’t in reality as we cannot read their mind.
So who is responsible for your taking offence?
I AM! It’s actually MY choice to take offence. Just like it is a choice to get up after being knocked down. And the most emotionally intelligent response to that is to question MYself and why it upset ME? Did it trigger something for me that I am very conscious of or sensitive about?
When I have and behave with emotional intelligence, I step away from my ego and ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY for my own feelings and responses. That means that rather than taking offence at something I will question my response to it to better understand myself. I might also look a bit deeper at the person it came from and question his/her intention in saying or doing what he/she did. What might be going on for him/her so I can understand them better too. I don’t want to leave myself open to being manipulated by others and take four steps backwards with fuzzy thinking. And the Small-Town Southern Girl’s Rule Book is being updated to 2021. First update – BREAK THE RULES.
Maybe we were not meant to be lifted up by our family, maybe that was all part of the plan. We were supposed to be abused, emotionally traumatized, and hurt. Life is Duality, it’s good and bad, and right and wrong, and black and white, light, and dark, so as we try to forge forth into a new day and a better way, we become conscious of the fact that our future is truly in our hands, our actions, and our belief of a better tomorrow. As adults, we can change, heal, and unlearn.We have the power right now to understand, to understand that what we went through was necessary for our awakening; For our realization that I’m not gonna take this anymore, I deserve happiness, and I deserve to do what’s right for me and not be defined by something that was not my fault, or that I had no control over. Victims begetting victims begetting victims ……..to the last syllable of recorded time.
In conclusion, as I struggle to regain my forward momentum.
Hopi Indian Chief White Eagle commented a few days ago on the current situation: ′′ This moment humanity is experiencing can be seen as a door or a hole. The decision to fall in the hole or walk through the door is up to you. If you consume the news 24 hours a day, with negative energy, constantly nervous, with pessimism, you will fall into this hole.
But if you take the opportunity to look at yourself, to rethink life and death, to take care of yourself and others, then you will walk through the portal. Take care of your home, take care of your body. Connect with your spiritual home. When you take care of yourself, you take care of everyone at the same time. Do not underestimate the spiritual dimension of this crisis. Take the perspective of an eagle that sees everything from above with a broader view. There is a social question in this crisis, but also a spiritual question. The two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension we fall into fanaticism. Without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and futility. Are you ready to face this crisis. Grab your toolbox and use all the tools at your disposal.
Learn resistance from the example of Indian and African peoples: we have been and are exterminated. But we never stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire and rejoicing. Don’t feel guilty for feeling blessed in these troubled times. Being sad or angry doesn’t help at all. Resistance is resistance through joy!
You have the right to be strong and positive. And there’s no other way to do it than to maintain a beautiful, happy, bright posture. Has nothing to do with alienation (ignorance of the world). It’s a resistance strategy. When we cross the threshold, we have a new worldview because we faced our fears and difficulties. This is all you can do now:
– Serenity in the storm
– Keep calm, pray everyday
– Make a habit of meeting the sacred everyday.
Show resistance through art, joy, trust and love.
- Hopi Indian Chief White Eagle
BREAKING NEWS!!!!!! This week, I threw away 8 of my personal Journals. I am letting go!! So, producers who want to buy my life rights to write my interesting life story, I am open to negotiations. My memories are still sharp as a tack.
You name it, I need help with it. Thanks in advance.