Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Princess Epidemic

   I love Pinterest; I spend a strong majority of my "down" time alternating between food, home decor, fashion and inspiring quotes; if I were to be completely honest, a good plenty of the time I spend on there shouldn't be downtime... but I am looking at educational things so I like to call it Passive Professional Development...
   I've noticed, of late, a very scary trend filtering through the glittering craft projects and funky nail-paintings. More and more, I notice these quotes and statements and pieces of word art insisting that men are required to treat a woman like a princess... buy me things, take me exotic places, answer the phone as soon as I call, text me back immediately, indulge me, INDULGE ME AND OBEY ME. The saddest part is, it's not just teenage girls who are pinning these pinings. It's women my age as well.
   Let me start off by saying that I don't believe that anyone should be mistreated in a relationship, or even out of a relationship. I don't think people should be used, which I have, or use others, also this have I done. I don't think people should be lied to, lied about or lie. I don't think men should be domineering cavemen who drag women around by their hair. Whoops! Stereotype, right?
   Let's examine the princess stereotype: spoiled, indulged, locked away, protected, beautiful but vapid, delicate, naive and innately bad with towers in general. Let's examine how that looks in real life: relationship after relationship ending because women EXPECT to be treated like princesses BUT HAVE YET to figure out how to make someone the king of their heart.
   Ladies, you are selling yourself short by stamping your high-heeled, pedicured foot and demanding that someone buy you this or that, or let you use his face as a trampoline. Hopefully, and I am beginning to wonder in all honesty, you know you are worth more than that.
    I'm going to be honest, brutally so, but what would be new, right? My husband doesn't treat me like a princess. He doesn't think it's cute or endearing when I whine or try to boss him around. He doesn't find me petulent or pert when I bull my way through and try to do something on my own after we have discussed waiting. He treats me like something much more than a child who needs a daddy; he treats me like a QUEEN. He treats me like his equal, which is what marriage made us: equal partners. But he also treats me as if he is the KING... and because of that he has won my heart over and over again.
   What is the difference? First of all, he is the king, and I'm fine with that. It has taken me a looooonnnngggg time to learn how to let him be the king because I grew up in a queendom that was such out of necessity. When we met, I had princess mentality and I will never forget the day he looked at me when I was whining about our relationship and not getting my way and he flat out said this: "You have no idea what a marriage is supposed to be like because you didn't spend your childhood in a family that had one."
   Inner Princess told me to do the lip quiver, allow a single tear to fall and to ask for some new shoes. Inner Queen knew he was balls-on accurate. Have I wanted to call it quits? What do you think? Killing a princess is not easy... But it was all for the better, and I say for the better because we haven't hit best yet and that is exciting to me. We have something to work toward TOGETHER. Like a king and a queen would... with equal interest and importance and each knowing that the strengths of the other will most definitely make up for the shortcomings of the one.
   I dare to say, to you Princesses out there, that you don't have that and you never will until you take off the tiara and put on the crown. You don't deserve better than anyone else gets. You really don't. You deserve what you work for and let's face it, ladies, some of you are living on grace. Some of you should have been booted out of the castle long, long ago. And I feel the wave a-comin'... "But I'm so unhappy..." "He ignores me..." "The spark is gone..." Let me tell you some harsh, harsh truths, your royal highnesses: the only one responsible for your happiness is YOU; he ignores you because you are annoying and only talk about and care about the things that matter to YOU; and the spark is gone because you can't flint off of an iceberg. Queens know these things and they know how to deal with them and how to fix them.
   That being said, everyone must make their own decisions. If he cheats on you, then leave him. If you cheat on him, leave him - it's only fair. See, women spent years trying to become equal to men and as soon as we did, we turned right around and subjugated them in a completely different manner. There will never be equality across the board because the women who need to read this stopped reading after the first couple of paragraphs and decided that I am a bitch who doesn't know what I'm talking about. But there can be respect and there can be dignity and there can be love... real, true, hardwork love that makes you smile when you think about it, when you decide that when it comes to relationships, both boys AND girls rule.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


   I am full of hatred. I put on a good show, though, don't you think? But the truth is that I am so full of animosity that sometimes I can't even function to full capacity. I am sometimes so completely overwhelmed by my distaste for this person that I have to ignore them completely to simply go through the motions. But the hatred is always there, a burning, seething, writhing cobra that is coiled in my gut. Who is it, you ask? Myself. I hate me.
   I need to clarify, I suppose. I don't hate ALL of me. For the most part, I have a pretty healthy relationship with myself. I don't lie to myself about my abilities, I'm not particularly conceited too much, I have a healthy dose of self-deprecation which I use to temper any thoughts that I may be superior to another person. But I do hate myself... my outer self. I hate the way I look. I loathe it. I could write volumes on the fact that my upper arms keep waving even after I have stopped, the fact that I can use my own earlobes as earplugs, my lower stomach which is full of scar tissue and is never, ever going to be flat and if you want to occupy approximately eight hours of spare time, let me talk to you about this weird underarm/backfat thing I have going on now... Hideous.
   I've NEVER worn a sleeveless dress or shirt in public. It's safe to say there are three people in the entire world who have ever seen my upper arms: one of them is my husband, the other is the lady that fits my undergarments and the other is my son, in the swimming pool. There may be a couple of other people, but I'm sure they have blocked out that trauma in order to move on with their lives and be able to eat pork again...
   All of the things that should make a woman feel beautiful just make me feel weird. I've never had a massage because I'm terrified that if the masseuse is small, she may actually get lost in my back fat requiring the jaws of life and heat-seeking radar to save her poor little life. Pedicures freak me out because I have a franken-foot. After a car accident I had to have three surgeries to correct the damage and there are scars all over my feet and ankles... and my pinky toe is just a big dollop of skin with a bit of nail... I shudder to think about it.
   Currently, my pores are so large and distended that I could smuggle refugees into the United States in  them, although they do come in handy for loose change... My legs are ok, except for the terrifying scars from all of my adventures as a child, from getting caught in a barbed wire fence to sliding halfway down a gravel road on my knees after an unfortunate bicycle accident.
   I don't like looking at pictures of myself because I don't want to know. It's a very, very, very unhealthy relationship that I have with my body, or how I view my body and I know that each and everyone of you probably spent the last five minutes inventorying all of your flaws. How sad is that?
   But there's a new development. One that puts all the other "This is sooooo wrong with me" laments to shame. Here it is: I am losing my hair. It's been slowly falling out since about a year after I had Kyser. I was on so many medications when he was born because we were both sick that my OBGYN told me I could possibly lose my teeth or my hair, possibly both. For years, I have held my breath... terrified that it would be my teeth... there's no way I could afford to replace them. But now that my hair is going, and it's going fast and in clumps, I'm not so sure I am willing to part with it, pardon the pun...
   But I don't have a choice. It's going... fast. I had almost grown it out to shoulder length for the first time in my life about six months ago and over Christmas break, it came out in handfuls. I called my doctor, he said to cut it short. I cut it short, it looked thicker, but I had to start using fiber enhancer on it so that you couldn't see through the bald parts of it. That stopped working so well about six weeks ago so I went and got it trimmed even shorter. I colored it red because the lady said red would make it absorb light and look fuller. We put highlights in, it didn't work. The fiber wasn't working anymore. I went to hair makeup, this stuff that you can brush directly onto your scalp to help cover bald spots. It worked for awhile. It's not working anymore.
   I spoke with a dermatologist. She said there is nothing that can be done. I spoke with another dermatologist. He said there were a couple of things we could try. I tried them. They didn't work. He referred me to a specialized dermatologist. The specialized dermatologist said to stop shampooing so frequently to slow it down. He said it might not work. It didn't. He apologized. I cried.
   I thought about everything that I hated about myself. All those wasted years. And then I got to thinking about why I hated myself. Truth be told, I didn't hate myself at all. I hated the way I looked. I hate the fact that no diet or amount of exercise was ever going to get rid of the huge span of scar tissue around my middle. I hate my Italian grandmother arms that, if they ever get out of control could possibly injure a small child. I hate my stupid long, weird earlobes. But not as much as I hate losing my hair.
   There's only one thing to do: learn the lesson and share it. I'm not sure who told me I was ugly. I'm not sure anyone ever did. In truth, it was something that I inferred. I've never looked in the mirror and smiled back at myself. I don't ever look at pictures of myself. I'm so scarred by my own perceptions of myself that I have never heard myself sing because I am afraid that if I ever heard myself I would hate that part of me as well and I don't want to hate it because I LOVE to do it.
   So here is what a lifetime of hating myself for the way I look has taught me:
   That's right, absolutely nothing. It's a regret, but it's one that I will have to live with. I didn't learn one damn thing from being so cruel and hateful to myself. I didn't learn one damn thing from agreeing with people who felt that way about me. I didn't learn anything from it. In fact, I allowed it to steal from me and it has stolen time, energy and worry and concern that should have been spent on others. I wish I could blame magazines or society, but I can't in good conscience. I bought magazine after magazine and poured over them so in a sense I did it to myself.
   And so, in honor of my last summer with hair, there's an excellent chance that I will be tear-assing around in sleeveless shirts - all I ask is that you protect your young. I'm going to go get my first massage and ask for the biggest, stoutest masseuse in the place. I'm going to get a sassy little pedicure and not feel self-conscious at all. And finally...I'm going to forgo the hats and go straight to wigs. Short wigs, long wigs, curly wigs... you name it. I'm going to find out if blondes do have more fun, but I doubt that it will have much to do with being blonde. It will have more to do with finally, along with shedding my hair, shedding the inhibitions and self-judgements that have haunted me since I was a teenager.
   Today, Ms. Williams... tomorrow: LADY GAGA!