Saturday, February 11, 2012

Demons and Destruction and Love

I'm not usually a big one for celebrity gossip, nor do I particularly feel like there's great social import in knowing the in's and out's of people's lives who I don't actually KNOW.  And I fully recognize that the world is filled with tragedy, horrific experiences, and challenges in life that go so far beyond what we, in our western mindset can even begin to fathom.  BUT, if we (in all of our privileged "glory") can't even get it together, then what does that say about us as a culture?

For whatever reason, some things have hit me this year, and have indicated that quite possibly, there is a larger issue here than being a "celebrity" that is causing some amazingly powerful and beautiful women to self-destruct.

And I'm thinking that we haven't "come a long way baby."  I am a forty-something woman.  My cohort was raised by some pretty traditional folks, for the most part.  Regardless of our parents' marital status or their marital happiness, I'm guessing that most of us grew up believing the narrative:  you meet a boy, you get married, you have children, and you're happy.  Even though few of us saw the data that supported the "happy" hypothesis, we bought it anyway.  And pop culture sold, and continues to sell it.  Whitney Houston, the woman who's brought me to my tipping point on this topic, sang, "I want to dance with somebody...with somebody who loves me..."  Well, for crying out loud.  Here's an amazingly gorgeous and talented woman...and she falls prey.  Amy Winehouse.  Demi Moore (not dead, but trying to be).

I spent the bulk of my life rejecting these narrow ideals, but, for some reason about 10 years ago, I decided to give it a go.  A friend of mine, who is very generous, says, "Well, you just had to try it out and make you know..."  And I realize, at this point in my life, that there is nothing that matters but love. But this love?  This love is for self, for friends, for family, for fellow humans who are on this same path of life.  There is no room for fear, for ego, for ignoring those in need.  What if we all just loved as big as we wanted to be loved?  What if we all were grown ups and respected each other?  Not a bad space.  And for those people who are going to run in fear from themselves or hardship?  I think we should create a small colony for them...and insulate them (though I think this might be a large segment of the population--those completely afraid of authenticity).

Put the baggage down. Put the ego down.  I'm tired of fear. I'm sad for people for whom aging is a negative thing.  I'm sad for people for whom the body is their definition.  And I'm sad for those of us who have, at one time or another, been affected by people who can't see true goodness and what is beautiful in humanity.  There's enough ugliness in the world.  I want to revel in my friends' authenticity.  I want to know that beauty goes beyond a size 6.  I want to know that what is inside of each of us is what makes us who we are.  And if you insist on judging yourself or others by their weight?  I remind you that most of us have been at our skinniest when we have 1) developed a drug problem; or 2) have been in the middle of a divorce.

And I am hoping beyond hope that we won't continue to sit back and tacitly accept bad behavior or lack of ethics as "okay."  Every single person on this planet has the capacity to grow, to deepen their understanding of themselves and others, but to sit back and excuse them when they can't behave gracefully?  Or when they do true harm to others?  That's being complicit in their stunted sense of self and the world.  I hope we will all call each other on our shit.  I know my truest friends, and the people I trust more than any one else in this world, will always, always (usually quite tactfully) let me know when I need to make an adjustment.  If only this honesty was extended to all. Our growth trajectories would be significantly more positive.

What's concerning me most at the moment, is that there isn't enough love.  Our one renewable resource, and we can't seem to generate enough of it to reach out to one another.

1 comment:

  1. I just read one of my middle school student's journals today. It had "skinny" written on one page over 100 times. I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness as I read it. Are we teaching young women that their bodies must be skinny in order to be loved? I have never seen more girls who are so obsessed with being thin. 110 pound girls call themselves "fat. " I agree with you, Lisa, most of us are at our thinnest when we are divorcing or battling addiction. Thanks for your thoughtful reflections.