Sunday, February 10, 2013

The only one who believes him is him

                                         If it were only that simple

"But I love him"  and "You just don't understand"

Today, as I un-friended someone dear to me on Facebook, these prophetic words rang in my ear.  I deleted this person's friendship on the social network because I just could no longer watch her defend a person who absolutely does not deserve defending, her boyfriend.  

Have I ever said those words?  Yes, to my mother when I was young and inexperienced.  Have I heard those words spoken to me?  Yes, from my own immediate family members.  Why is it we didn't listen, why is it you didn't listen and why our daughters, sisters and friends never listen?  Because if a woman has low self-esteem, she will only get in life what she feels she deserves.  Harsh words?  Maybe, but true.  If we truly take a deep look at ourselves, we have to admit this is fact.  Do we like to admit it?  Hell no!  Some women reading this blog will be in a relationship that's bad for her and will still refuse to admit it.  That's just a fact of life.

"She came from such a good family, I just don't get why."

Heard those words before?  Yes most of us have.  Do women have to come from majorly dysfunctional families to have low self-esteem?  Nope.  Parents all wish they were the only influence on their kids.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?  Unfortunately there are a whole host of influences working on our kids.  Kids who bully others into thinking they are strange, ugly or just not normal.  An unthinking adult's stinging words that a kid will take to heart, an adult like a teacher, a coach or a close relative.  Kids, especially growing kids, are impressionable.  Teens look at pictures of the perfect, airbrushed model in the media, they may compare themselves to that unrealistic picture and decide they just cannot live up to it.  Hell, who can?

  Women grow older but not always wiser.  Friends joke about someone who is a 'loser magnet' and wonder why she never picks a winner.  The winners get over looked, passed up or seen as weak, unmanly or some other reason.  The 'loser magnet' just keeps seeking out the guy who treats her as dirt.  Why?  She seeks out the guy who treats her that way because she feels she does not deserve any better.  What happens is:  All the time she spends trying to change some guy, would have been better spent changing herself.  The person in the mirror is the only person we can completely control.  Too many women, from good families or not, have, for some reason, convinced themselves they are not worthy of being treated well.

                         You may have to wade through a lot of these

Let's address that 'came from a good family' thing for a moment.  Social Workers love to say: "Did you come from a normal family?  You poor thing."  Why do they say that?  Because there is no such animal on planet Earth as a 'normal family."  Some families work on good relationships, but no family is perfect and no family is exactly like the next one.  What a myth!  So the 'good family' is not going to save any of us from making bad choices in life.

                                   This guy sounds so nice in fairy tales

As parents we can try to be aware of outside influences on our daughters.  We can try to buffer the hurtful words from those who may make our daughters feel bad about themselves.  But, still, there is no guarantee that you will be able to stem the tide.  When women internalize what they think they deserve, it's a battle to convince them of anything else.  What happens then?  Well, women who internalize it will be susceptible to the men I like to call 'predators' those guys who for some reason, feel women are to be used, abused and treated as less than human, or women they feel are not on the same level playing field as they are.  Shame on those men, but we all know them.  Those guys seek out and latch on to women who feel badly about themselves and those scoundrel men take full advantage of the opportunity. 

Many of those guys don't feel good about themselves either, so in order to make themselves feel better, they seek out women they can grind into the ground in order to boost their own self-esteem.  Some of those guys are babied by their families.  They have been made to think wrong actions are right.  They have families who support their nasty ways of treating women as all right, or they blame the women those guys seek out.  Shame on them.

Some guys and their families are mentally ill and could not recognize anything beyond their own little mentally ill worlds they have created for themselves.  Some are alcoholics and like to use the excuse: "I never know what I do when I'm drinking."  That excuse takes the cake.  So we all can just drink to oblivion, hurt others and then rely on the bottle as an excuse?  Nope, only sick people do that one. 

 Many women do not understand that only professionals can help the mentally ill, the drug abuser or the alcohol abuser.  You cannot change them nor can you cure them.  Many women cannot recognize there is even a problem in those areas.  Especially when they never dealt with those serious problems before.  So those women, with the help of the 'sicko' of course, will start to believe they are the problem, when in fact, it's the other way around.

Do I write this because I'm some expert?  No!  I too have been around that corner.  I too, have tried to help other women understand what is around that corner.  But they do not listen, they do not take heed.  Will any now, reading this blog?  I'm guessing, probably not.  Too many will think: Hey I know we have problems, but we are different.  Gawd, such faithful words never rang more loudly.  I wish, I truly wish, we had all listened and understood good advice from those who have been there, done that.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Religion what is it

I grew up in a small town and my household was pretty conservative.  My Mom and Dad 'liked Ike', didn't fully trust President Kennedy, after all, he was Catholic and I was kind of raised as a Presbyterian.  

I didn't grow up in the part of America known as the Bible Belt, but I lived in the part where religion did get shoved down your throat, plenty.  My parents believed in spankings and I felt the sting of the lilac bush's branch often.  I was a wild child and willful, so my parents said anyway, so I'd get a yard stick and a good old fashioned belt when needed.

That religion part of our lives always baffled me. 

 For years we were Presbyterian, until the only Presbyterian church in our small town closed due to lack of a minister.  After that, my Mom announced we 'would now be attending the Methodist church.'  It mystified me how religions could be so interchangeable but Methodists we became.  I always, there after, felt like an 'adopted' Methodist.  After all, those faithful Methodists had been attending the church forever.  

One of the things I now had to do, was attend the Methodist summer Bible school.  I hated that two weeks every summer with a passion.  Those 'popular, Methodist' girls all had a small group and I was that damned Presbyterian outcast.  I guess I was a bastard in their church as far as they were concerned.  They picked on me something wicked and I was not impressed with how 'Christian' those little bitches were.

We also had a Baptist church in town and I ended up marrying one of those Baptists.  He turned out to be a rat bastard, so I found out Baptists weren't great and wonderful either.  I guess Baptists believed in capital punishment too, and the rat bastard apparently believed in it for his wife too.

One little girl, in my third grade class, was the daughter of the Methodist minister.  I remember saying: "Oh, my god" once on the playground and that girl smacked my face.  She promptly told me I was taking the lord's name in vain.  Well, how in hell did I know this in third grade?  She was such a stodgie little girl, wearing fancy dresses and never uttering a curse word in her entire little life.

Here I am, an adult, still wondering: "Religion, what is it?"

Monday, February 4, 2013

Summer coming

Tucked away, in a section of New York State, amidst a group of lakes formed by glaciers, is a place we call the Finger Lakes.  

A land full of old barns, family farmland and a group of people living among some of the most beautiful scenery and majestic hills, in America.

A land rich with history, New York is among the oldest settlements when our ancestors arrived in the New World.  Dotted with some lovely old mansions, from a time when builders were artists, taking pride in their craft. I just love old houses.

Buildings that also ring of past eras, past wrongs and mysterious ways.  A time when people were places in asylums and forgotten.  Some buildings stand as a monument to that tragic practice.  Asylums for the insane, which could have meant anything in those days.

But the Finger Lakes, so I have discovered over the years, is not a place people take lightly.  Many love it, some do not. But summer is coming.  If you can, come visit this land that many of us have called home most of our lives.  Form your own opinions.