Tag Archives: attitude


Ever get off the crutches too early?  You start doing compensating behaviors (like the way you changed the route you took to your desk so the hand rails would be on the correct side.)  You change your stance, you change your gait, and then things heal wrong.  You start compensating to the point where you prevent healing.

This happens on emotional and mental arenas as well.  You wake up, trip on the covers and bonk your toe on a chair.  Then you say to yourself, “Well, it’s going to be one of THOSE days!”  Why would you set yourself up like that?  It’s emotionally and mentally safer that way.  You’re expecting things to go wrong so that when they do, you pat yourself on the back and say, “Yup, you called it right!  It IS one of THOSE days!”  What if instead, you said, “Well I got the worst part of my day over with and it’s not even 7:30 AM!  Woohoo!”  What if something else went wrong during the day?  What if it WAS worse than smacking your toe?!  You’d be WRONG in your ASSESSMENT!  Has anyone heard your assessment?  How would anyone else know?  Ahhhh, you go around telling everyone what a horrible day it has turned out to be today and it’s not even 10 AM.  Why?  Because misery loves company.

How about those of us that say, “Well I’m certainly klutzy today.”  That gives us license to spill the coffee on that goofball in accounting that thinks he’s clever and is always trying to be witty in the break room.  It gives us an excuse to knock all the papers off Mr. Never-makes-a-mistake’s desk so he has to put them alllllllll back in order again.  It gives us permission to be mean and blame it on our klutziness as exhibited in the privacy of our bedroom earlier that morning.  Wait… No one saw that.  Hmmmm.  You could make up a story about your short comings and have a ball taking out all those people that annoy you!

  1. I didn’t get my morning coffee, I’m grumpy.  We can tease and yell and complain all day!
  2. I couldn’t find my keys this morning, I’m losing everything!  Like the report we didn’t do or the party funds we might use to buy lunch today…
  3. I’m so distracted today!  I can’t focus on …squirrel!  That allows us the freedom to stare out the window during the meeting, and interrupt the blabbermouth as he regales everyone with his boring golf stories.

But see?  This makes you the annoying person in the office.  It is fun, but it isn’t right.  Do not use a single characteristic to paint your whole day.  Do not ascribe a temporary shortfall in your abilities to a fatal flaw in your character.  So when you stub your toe, just say OUCH.  If you don’t get your coffee, drink some at work or on the way.  If no coffee makes you grumpy, you have much bigger problems.  If you lose your keys, be extra attentive to your belongings.  If you’re distracted, go to the bathroom and collect your thoughts so you can refocus.  Because eventually, if you have that many fatal flaws, and destiny is against you, you will be hit by a bus.



Why does it take so looooonnnnnnngggggg?

Broke my hip in August.  10 months.  3 months now without cane or crutches.  My Physical Therapist says, “Try not to walk with a limp.”  OK.  But my injured leg doesn’t come straight up and down when I step on it.  It kinda lists off to one side.  When I walk on the tread mill, my gait is ok, but when I’m done, my right arm is sore.  “Don’t lean on it.”  ok.  “Try not to walk with a limp.”  *puts hand back on handle bars for tread mill.*  “Now that’s good, just take your hand off now.”  *takes hand off*  “Now try not to walk with a limp…”  repeat.

They’re all confused about what to do with my gait.  So they sent me to the shoe store to get better shoes.  I paid $165 for shoes that hurt.  They have a wide sole and a very hard and high arch.  I slide to the outside of the shoe.  (Gravity tends to work that way.  Put something on a hill and it will slide down.)  “Your gait needs improving.  The shoes are fine; you are messed up.”  I have blisters on the tops of my toes on one foot, and the tarsometatarsal joint on the outside of my foot goes out of place if I step on uneven ground.  This is most unpleasant.  Since I was a dance teacher many years ago, I know how to pop it back in, but that doesn’t make it less painful, and it doesn’t solve the problem.

I tripped over a broken hose this morning, and it hurt that foot, and also the thigh on my injured leg.  Here I am at 7:30 AM and my day is already slated to be nasty.  I’m driving through the heavy rain with lightning and thunder, and the guy on the radio says, there’s a better chance for rain (50%!) for tomorrow.  How can a 50% chance of rain be better than the 100% that we have now?  Will it rain more earnestly?  My conclusion is that the day brings what the day brings, and hurting myself 1st thing in the morning does not dictate how the rest of the day will go.

Oh Yesssss!

So yesterday, I talked about the way people in the US use any occasion to get out of work and imbibe to stupidity.

What are the things most prized here?  They were the good old American Work Ethic and our Puritan beliefs which, by the way, no one currently knows or understands.  The Puritans were not against alcohol, but drinking to excess.  The Puritans were not against leisure of any sort, but they assigned it to Sundays.  The Puritans were not against sex, it was just relegated to marriage.  The American Work Ethic was basically this:  Work so you can eat and have the necessities of life.

What is the thing that everyone seeks?  It’s a way of life that does not require a work ethic and is based on hedonist beliefs.  We desire what would be considered sinful.  Ah!  People prefer to put themselves first in every situation.  Look at Eve.  “Ooo! If I eat this, I’ll have the knowledge of Good AND Evil?  Then I’ll be just like GOD?  Gimme gimme!”  She was thinking of herself.  Cain was thinking of himself.  This is ongoing.  Now it is passe to think of “sin” and just call it a life choice.  The perspective has changed.  Anything I want to do should be legal.  It feels so good it can’t be bad.  It feels so right it can’t be wrong.  It’s hypocritical to think that we can legislate morality if no one in the country wants a moral compass because that would lead to lowering our self image.  We NEED to define sin for our society to function and we CANNOT define sin because there’s a separation of church and state (which is no where in the constitution by the way.)

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. (Thank you Wiki)

So we go merrily along our way doing whatever the heck we want until someone gets hurt and then we get arrested for doing something stupid.  Did you know they actually had a “sin tax?” A sin tax is an excise tax specifically levied on certain goods deemed harmful to society, for example alcohol and tobacco, candies, drugs, soft drinks, fast foods, coffee, sugar, and gambling.  (Thank you Wiki)  If it’s too expensive, we won’t buy these goods and thereby save our society from sugar-high drunken smokers who crash into fast food drive thru windows.  And if it doesn’t work, the tax should pay for the damage.  Doh!

So we reward ourselves for doing something good by doing something bad.  How typically American.  “I worked for a year for this vacation!  So now I’m going to Las Vegas and lose all my bonus, get stupid drunk, cheat on my spouse and make me regret having worked all year.”  “I worked for a month to lose these 2 pounds!  I’m going to have 2 pounds of cake to celebrate…”  oops.  “I’ve been sober 2 years, 6 months, 3 days and 14 hours!  Let’s have some champagne!”  Let’s turn every holiday into an excuse to get drunk and over eat.  Let’s buy a car that goes 200 mph so we can drive 70 on the interstate.  We long to do sinful things because we are sinful people.  It has a certain adrenaline rush when you know you’re doing something illegal or immoral, and you think to yourself, it won’t hurt anyone, so it’s ok.  If it’s illegal or immoral, don’t do it.  Actions have consequences.

Morals are not something you legislate, they come from upbringing and reverence for life.  We have so many in prison because we don’t acknowledge that fact.  Nearly all of the Non-violent crime and so many of the violent crime involves no reverence for life.  It’s not a hard concept.  With moral law, we don’t need as many civil laws to protect people.  Moral law is written on the heart and is enforced by the conscience.

Does it hurt people?  Don’t do it.  Does it endanger your health or life?  Don’t do it.  Does it threaten someone’s livelihood?  Don’t do it.  Is it selfish and petty?  Don’t do it.  Would your grandma do it?  No?  Don’t do it.  You don’t do it and you teach your children not to do it, and your grandchildren not to do it, and your neighbors and their children not to do it.  You show your friends how not to do it, your enemies how you don’t do it, and YOURSELF how you don’t do it because you revere all life.

So if you do stupid things because you’re trying to escape your world, count your blessings and grow up.  If you are doing bad things because you can, and your only worry is getting caught, you have a serious social problem.

In any case, in all cases, treat people and property with respect.  It’s what you do.  Then fewer stupid things will happen and we’ll all be better off!



I am so disillusioned!  I thought Sinko de Mayo was when you ate mayonnaise by the sink!  Now I find out it’s a DATE?  5th of May…who knew

Apparently nobody.  Cinco De Mayo has nothing to do with Mexican Independence, that was September 16, 1810.  It is a celebration of an underdog victory–the Mexicans beat the French on May 5.  It is usually celebrated by military parades in Mexico.  In the US though, it is a holiday where all the gringos switch to tequila to get drunk.

St. Patrick’s day is a solemn occasion that reveres St. Patrick who was instrumental in converting Ireland to Catholicism. But in the USA, everyone wears green and they dye the water in the Chicago river green as well.  There’s parades and pub crawls, and it has nothing to do with the celebration of St. Patrick’s day.

New Year’s Day is when we make our resolutions and reflect on the past year.  Unless you’re from the US, then you start drinking Dec 30 and get so blasted that they pass out and miss the momentous occasion at midnight on the 31st.

What is it about Americans that we use every excuse to get a day off work and get drunk or high to excess?  How is that fun?  Why do people look for occasions to escape their lives–either by running away from work or spouse or kids or becoming unconscious?  Being drunk isn’t fun.  You can’t see, you can’t talk right, you can’t walk straight, you throw up, you pass out, you lose your inhibitions and do really stupid things that you regret for a long time after.  Why do they have to make low-calorie beer?  Is it to entice you to drink more since you won’t then gain weight?  What is the matter with people?!

It has a lot to do with how people see themselves.  It is not with a small amount of discomfort that I refer to myself as fat and give my fat “sentience” and a name (Obie) and a personality.  If people see themselves as trapped in a job, or in a relationship, or by circumstance with a family, they will engage in escape behavior.  I’ve been good all week!  I deserve to have that cake, since nothing I do will ever make me thin…  Counter intuitive don’t you think?  I will engage in a drinking binge where I end up in a motel with someone I don’t know and have no recollection of the whole night.  That should fix my broken marriage.  What kind of idiot thinks like that?  Quit crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.  Wouldn’t the end result be continued crying at a louder volume and a longer period of time?  Nobody is addressing the root cause of the issue.    We shouldn’t have to feel a need to escape.  We’re not in a hopeless situation.  We’re not fleeing to Canada or Mexico.  (BTW, Are the anti trump celebrities still here?)  We have 46 million people in the US that are foreign born.  People want to come here.  All those other societies with free health care, and better schools and better understanding of immigrants etc, only have a fraction of the number of people going to the US.  How long will the myth of the American dream last?  Longer than you might think.

They all think we’re rich.  We consider ourselves living paycheck to paycheck and just barely scraping by…with a new car, a 52″ screen TV, food of every imaginable type available EVERYWHERE and for EVERYONE.  No lines for staples like bread and milk that run out.

Our WORST problem is that we’re all fat.  Poor Americans, they have too much food.  But we’re the ones trying to escape our lives?  Good morning America…count your blessings.

Resolutions and Reflections

At this time of year, most people are saying to themselves, “Next year is going to be different!  I will NOT be doing such and so, I will NOT look like this,  I will NOT procrastinate (starting January 2nd because I’ll be too hungover to start January 1.)  How many reflect over the past year and see the successes?  Don’t most people make resolutions in January and by February or March they’ve already abandoned them?

I decided to reflect 1st.

  1.  I have been eating much more healthy than I did the previous year.
  2.  I have started drinking more water than I did daily the previous year.
  3.  My endurance on the stationary bike has increased over the past couple of months.
  4.  I am gradually weaning myself off my crutch after my hip surgery.
  5.  I am gradually getting back to doing things for myself like cooking and dishes.
  6.  I have read John Maxwell’s 21 laws 4 times and studied and passed the speaking platform training to become certified with John Maxwell Team.
  7.  I have started studying the coaching platform as well.
  8.  I finished the study of Revelation and have begun the study of John.
  9.  I have co-written a book and got published.
  10.  I am currently collaborating on a 2nd book.
  11.  I have taken on the duties of Division D Director for District 24 Toastmasters.
  12.  I have joined a 4th club.
  13.  I am close to finishing 2 more Competent Communicator manuals, a Competent Leader manual and 2 advanced manuals.
  14.  I have done more investments for my clients in the past couple of weeks than most in my company have done in a year.
  15.  I have replaced 4 of the 10 students I lost due to my hip surgery.
  16.  I have seen marked improvement in some of my special needs students.
  17.  I haven’t played a computer game for over 8 months now.

Hmmm.  That doesn’t look like the work of a loser.  Then I look at the stupid scale and I think to myself, “This machine cannot tell the whole story of my life over the past year.”

OK, so resolutions now.

  1. I will schedule more time in the gym to increase my strength, endurance, and cardio health.
  2. I will continue to eat healthy and continue to keep track of my food.
  3. I will continue to study the Maxwell information and get certified in March.
  4. I will begin Master Mind Groups and start Personally Coaching.
  5. I will finish the study of John and begin a new study this Fall.
  6. I will have my office cleaned and organized by June.
  7. I will polish my chapter for the 2nd book and begin a 3rd book.
  8. I will continue to work with the clubs in my areas to promote their progress and build up their membership, and will investigate possible new clubs as well.
  9. I will get a triple crown award for educational goals met in Toastmasters.
  10. I will continue to work with my clients regarding their financial needs and seek out more people that would like my help.
  11. I will continue to add more students to my studio, and foster a feeling of accomplishment in all of them.
  12. I will seek to be efficient in my time.

Hmmm.  My resolutions last year looked like this:

  1. I hereby resolve that I will not pet Polar Bears on the Nose. (success!)
  2. I will not plant anything in my garden that demands weeding (Failed that, planted potatoes)
  3. I will always use revolving doors.  (Changed my mind on that one!)
  4. I will not drive down the Dodge Expressway blindfolded and backwards.  (another success!)
  5. I will not audition for American Idol. (success again!)
  6. I will spend no time in the hospital.  (oops.)

They were silly resolutions.  I had no plan, but I accomplished a lot.  What would happen if I made a plan and followed it?  I will post my resolutions where I can see them every day.  And of course, I will keep you informed on my progress.  Both of you!

Since it is the Holiday, everyone have a Merry Happy and a Christmas New Year.


“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater.

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.

That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”
Veronica Roth, Allegiant

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
Mary Tyler Moore

I’m tired of being brave.  I don’t want to be brave anymore.  I want to crawl into my room, turn off the lights and cry.  I don’t want the ‘poor baby’s and the ‘it will be alright’s.  I don’t want to put on the mask of ‘I’ll be fine.’ I don’t want to just get up and face tomorrow like nothing’s wrong.  My broken hip hurts.  My muscles in my legs cramp.  My shoulders hurt and my hands have 2″ wide callouses on the heels.  I can sleep in 2 positions.  It hurts to stand up, it hurts to sit, it hurts to lie down.  It hurts to move my leg and it hurts not to move my leg.

I finally got in to see the orthopedic doctor.  I was escorted into the x-ray room, and the tech took the pictures.  This was MUCH better than the last time I had x-rays done.  I then waited in the little room.  I heard the doctor outside my door.  “Well, let’s see how Rebecca is…OH MY GOD!  Do you see all the appliances she has in there?  And she WALKED in here?”  Then he walked into the room.  “So?  How are you feeling?”  I hurt.  I was expecting that.  “I have your x-rays here.  Were all those done on this recent operation?!!!”  No.  The replacement was done at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN about 1993.  The joint material had a chemical reaction and weakened the bone and it broke along the spike, so I had Kevin Garvin operate on it here in Omaha in 1999.  Luckily, he didn’t have to replace the appliance, just replace the joint material.  That was the 2nd operation on this hip.  Then I fell in Orlando and that’s when they added the web clamp you see here.  (We were comparing before and after pictures on my phone.)

“Are you taking any pain meds?”  No, those ran out weeks ago and were not refillable.  On a scale of 1-10, it’s an annoying 2, and depending on the activity, it spikes to a 4.  “Who drove you here?”  I drove myself. (A look of disbelief crosses his face.)  “How much weight can you put on your leg?”  Let me show you.  I stood up and with help balancing on my crutches, I put about 60% of my weight on it.  “Ok, just continue to just put touch pressure on it.  I worry about breaking that complicated machine that is in your leg now.”  It’s not complicated, it’s a metal web clamp secured by screws.  “This is way beyond my expertise.  I’m going to refer you to a hip trauma doctor for you to see next month.

A nurse came in and told me which doctors they were referring me to for my follow-up follow-up.  (Yes, I used the word twice.)  Then she said, “You’re the one–the one with the hardware store in your leg.”  Yes.  “The whole office is talking about you.”  Good to know.  Why do I keep hearing this in my head?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i47Hz4vvQ2I Why do they have the automatic door buttons on the opposite side of the door they open?  There are times I can’t hit the button and get to the door before it closes!

So my orthopedic doc is having a heart attack after looking at my x-rays, telling me that he’s amazed that I can walk, let alone drive.  And yet, I am to continue my life as if this condition with my hip is just an inconvenience.   Well it’s a heck of an inconvenience.  Getting out of bed in the morning requires balance and timing now.  Getting into and out of the shower is a major accomplishment.  Stairs are much slower.  Opening doors and keeping them open long enough to enter takes coordination:  Pull open the door quickly so it continues to open after you put your hand back on the crutch.  Move the crutch into a position on the ground so the rubber end catches the door before it closes. Shoulder the door so you can move the crutch to a new blocking position, while edging further into the doorway with the other crutch.  Shoulder the door again moving both crutches in, and block the door from smacking you in the back side by placing the heel of your good leg just outside the door frame.  Clear the door way. Getting in and out of the car is always a series of steps, and hoping the crutches don’t fall down onto the pavement before you need them.  I fear wet floors in bathrooms.  I can’t cook because I cannot move food to and from the refridge to the counter or the stove.  If I microwave something, I can’t move the plate to the table.  I can’t carry a bottle of water, or a cup of coffee.  I can wash dishes, but I can’t put them away.  I can’t do laundry.  I can’t vacuum.  Looks like I’m confined to crutches for at least another month.

But I have lessons to give, a conference over the weekend where I help with one activity, and then am in charge of another.  So I do these things, and do “work-arounds” to compensate for my crutches and the pain.  Thank God I have an amazing husband that picks up the slack when he’s home.  He cooks for me, does laundry, and helps keep me organized and (fairly) sane.  But most people assume that because I put on a good face and make light of things that I have no pain, that I’m OK.  This is me being brave.  I don’t want to be, but I have to be.


I am a person of integrity.  I do what I say I’m going to do.  I tell the truth.  I don’t use truth as a weapon, and if someone needs to have some course corrections, I don’t use bluntness but careful guiding and care for the person to make adjustments in their growth.  What you see is what you get when you meet me.

Grit is the determination to get things done.  You set out a plan, you take the path, you finish what you start.  When things look hopeless, I don’t give up the task, I continue until it is done.  I believe in my learning system and know that if I apply this system, there isn’t anything I cannot learn, regardless of the subject matter.  I know some people that will say, “I hate math, I’m no good at it.”  I look askance and I think to myself, “No, they are not good at math because they don’t want to be.” So I coined the word, Integritty…full of grit

I am also extremely curious.  If something catches my imagination, I will make it a point to learn as much as I can about it.

Why this long introduction?  I was on my way home from rehearsal last night, and reflecting on the accomplishments I had achieved over my life.  (It was a 1 hour drive…)  And it came to me that most of the accomplishments that had given me the most pleasure were shot down by those around me.  When my hubby was in college, he couldn’t walk into a math class.  Why?  Because the other students would boo when he walked in.  He was so good, that he did all his math homework in ink.  He saw problems solved in his head before anyone else had a clue on where to start.  He was the same way in computer programming.  When he did something amazing, he got praise and adoration from his teachers and fellow students.  When I was in college and I did something amazing, I was accused of lying or cheating.  When he got perfect papers in math, he got A’s.  When I got perfect papers in math, I was brought in to the professor’s office and asked point blank if my future husband had done my homework.  When he aced the calculus test, his teachers glowed with pride at the mention of his name.  When I aced the calculus test, they checked me for a copy of the test, or hidden answers written on socks or sleeves.  When I had to take the piano proficiency test, we had to play the Star Spangled Banner and My Country ‘Tis of Thee without music.  I played the required songs with multiple arrangements in several different keys.  I played them as I heard them in my head.  The teachers told everyone that I had memorized 5 different versions of each piece.  Memorized?  There aren’t that many versions, and certainly not in that many keys.

In another instance, I was the 1st person in the history of the college to test out of 2nd semester sight singing and ear training.  They had me listed as “dropped” from the class. Do you want to know what the final test was?  They played a Bach Chorale and gave me a starting note.  I had to transcribe the melody and the bass line for the piece as I heard it, and they allowed me 6 repetitions of the song.  After 2 times, I had both parts written, and as I had 4 more times to go through it, I filled in the rest of the notes.  Then I analyzed the chords.  I hadn’t studied the “Picardy 3rd” in theory class yet, so I identified it as a Major I chord.  They checked my work, then came in and accused me of having memorizing the chorale before the test and writing it from memory.  I assured them that I hadn’t even played this chorale before, let alone memorized it.  I also asked them how difficult it would have been to know in advance which piece of music they were going to ask me to transcribe  and find, learn, and memorize it in the 3 days I had before the test.  They grudgingly allowed me to finish the semester without taking the course.  I didn’t find out until much later that instead of passing me, they had me “excused” from the class.

When I took the Series 7 exam for securities, I was in a class by myself.  Literally.  They handed me 13 binders and I had to complete 22 chapters with chapter tests, and 13 final tests and a green light test without benefit of class or teacher.  I did that.  I passed the series 7 test the 1st time I took it.  Later (about 10 years) I took the Series 26 exam for principals in securities.  I signed up for the test, then studied the material for about 2 weeks.  I figured I might as well take the Series 65 for Managed Accounts that would make me an IAR a couple weeks later.  I was told in no uncertain terms that this was not advisable.  I should study for my 26 for at least a month before taking the test, and I should not study for the 65 until after I had passed the 26.   I nodded and ignored him.  I had already studied for the test and I had to just wait for my test date, so I started studying for the series 65.   I took the 2 hour, 100+ question test for the 26 and passed it on my 1st attempt 7/23/2012.  Then, I took the 4 hour, 100+ question test for the 65 and passed it also on my 1st attempt 8/10/2012.  Both tests were completed in less than 1 1/2 hours each.  I was asked if I had taken a boot camp.  I was asked if I’d ever taken the test before.

My frustration is that as a person of integrity, and a person with “integritty” why the 1st conclusion people come to when I do things is that I am dishonest, that I cheat, that I lie.  The 1st assumption is that I, being the person they perceive me to be, am not capable of doing something that is not within their expectations, and that if I do anything very very well it proves that I have done something outside the rules to accomplish it.  This perception is so prevalent that I don’t dare give anyone an inkling of what I am capable of.  I think I am a good teacher, but I’m probably not.  I think I am a good musician, but I’m probably not.  I think I am very very good at understanding money, but I’m probably not.  What I’d like is to do something really well and have the reaction, “WOW!  That was amazing!  You are so GOOD at this!” instead of, “Wait, you did what?  Naw, you must have cheated, you lie–you have done this for years before you tried it in public.  Who are you trying to kid?  Nobody can do that, so you didn’t.  How’d you pull it off?”  My husband is one of very few that knows I don’t cheat or lie or exaggerate.  I can count on one hand the others that think this.  It is a lonely way to live.



I came across this philosophy the other day and it just really bothered me.  “Sending a girl home to change clothes because her bra straps were showing or her shorts were too short is telling her that having a less distracted environment for the boys was more important than her education.”  The more I thought about it, the madder I got.  When I was growing up in the 60’s, and long hair on the boys and miniskirts were just starting to trend, girls had to kneel and a teacher or principal had to measure the distance from the floor to the bottom of the skirt.  It could be no more than 3″ from the floor.  They didn’t have a similar requirement for the boys since long hair wasn’t distracting but short skirts were. Compared to the skirt length that was common in the late 60’s, this was 3″ was not very daring.  Girls were not allowed to wear jeans or pants to school.  Remember that this was about the time when Hugh Hefner was pushing the Playboy philosophy.  His first magazine came out in 1953, but the 60’s brought about a change that said sex was not the same as promiscuity.  It was ok to have multiple partners, and women’s bodies were beautiful.  The Victorian ideal female was covered neck to toe and camouflaged, to show as much SHAPE but no details.  At this period of time, it was almost an English version of the Burka.  As Puritans with this view of women colonized the new world, their basic view was the same toward women.  Women were helpmates and baby factories.  The only person that should see them naked was the husband.

300 years later  (1660-1960) the view hadn’t changed much.  Men’s magazines were promoting lust and covering this philosophy by extolling the thought that women’s bodies were beautiful, and they had the choice of whether to have sex with more than one person rather than relegating sex to marriage only.  What hormone riddled man in his right mind would dispute that?!  Women were encouraged to shed their Victorian concepts of modesty and purity.  We did.  The music we listened to, the clothes we wore, the material in the magazines and news on t.v. said it was ok to have these feelings and that it was perfectly natural.  Shame was considered out-dated and silly.  No one should ever be ashamed of their body.  By that time, we had been exposed to Barbie Dolls and Playboy for a generation.  We knew what a beautiful woman looked like–they were chosen monthly. The dolls also reflected that ideal.  They were no longer baby dolls, they were action figures.  This is where the perspective shifted.  “If you are not ashamed of your body, show EVERYONE.”  However if you don’t look like Miss July or Barbie, please, don’t do it!

Now this is when things went sideways.  Remember how I mentioned girls that were sent home because they didn’t pass the 3″ rule on dresses?  Instead of saying, “Hm.  Maybe I should dress more conservatively,” we got mad and complained that we no longer had freedom of choice.  The parents,  who were as liberated as we were, (and indoctrinated by Dr. Spock that their primary role was to get to be best friends with their teen-aged children) went to the courts and the Government and Justice System got involved in our schools.  They determined that students have basic rights, they determined how punishment should be delivered, they determined subject matter, competencies of students and teachers, political and scientific correctness, administration, and every other aspect of schools.  This was the biggest mistake our country ever made, and 40 years later, we’re seeing the cost of this mistake.

In Nebraska in the 1860’s, the women were pioneers–tough, persistent, hard-working women.  When they got dressed up for church, they’d wear a hat.  Nobody used makeup.  Now, women spend many dollars on make-up and instead of lightening the skin to make it look like you didn’t have to ever leave the castle, they have tanning beds and spray on bronzer to make it look like you don’t have to go to work.  The purpose, of course, is to enhance the appearance that suggests wealth and a leisurely life style.  Instead of physical labor that keeps you healthy through effort, we have diets and trainers and running trails, and we go to yoga classes, jazzercize, and spinning classes.  The fact is that all women are meant to feel shame for the way they look.  Beautiful women are chastised for modesty because they’re accused of being ashamed of how they look.  “If you do not show us the maximum amount of your body, you are ashamed of your body.”  If you are not considered beautiful by today’s standards (because today’s standards are so temporary and may change tomorrow) then you SHOULD be ashamed of your body.  We can’t win.

Women are judged by men and other women according to an artificially set ideal.  And what is the purpose of this ideal?  Is it to live longer healthier lives?  Is it to feel better and enhance endurance and strength?  Nooooooooo, it is so we can “fall in love and get Mr. Right, or Mr. Pretty Close, or Mr. Available for the next hour.”  What age should we start looking for this man?  I’m seeing this programming started before the child can dress herself.  Given the ultimate goal for every female, OUR WHOLE PURPOSE IN LIFE IS TO DISTRACT MALES FROM WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND ATTRACT THEM TO US SO WE CAN HAVE THAT LIFE THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE WORK.  This means that education is not important, and we’re Supposed to distract the males in school. Wait, what? We want to have the leisure to lie in the sun, do all the popular exercise activity and become gourmet cooks and Martha Stewart decorators.  Does any of that take an education?  No.  Do females who don’t fit the profile have a chance at that lifestyle?  No?  Then education is only important to those unfortunates so they can get the career that gets them in front of more men, who, if they are not currently in a relationship or married, are desperate to find women and will settle for something less than the ideal.

This is where the anti-programming comes into play.  Yes, anti-programming!  We, as parents and society, need to indoctrinate our young women to be people of substance, people who can add value to others.  We need to show them the beauty of self fulfillment. We need to show them how to build character, how to become people of influence.  Does THAT take an education?  Absolutely!  It changes the perspective of our purpose in life!  If we no longer have to spend all our energy and resources attracting and keeping men and change our priorities to improving our character and our value to society, it doesn’t matter if we fit the ideal of the perfectly formed woman.  We don’t have to advertise our availability as a potential mate by showing our bodies in the most provocative way.  That DOESN’T mean we are ashamed of our bodies, it just means that how we look is not as important as what kind of people we are.  How do we as a society influence young females to this perspective?  As parents, we don’t encourage provocative dress in 6 year old girls.  We control what our daughters wear up until they start earning their own money, and then we control what we allow our daughters to wear to school.  We remind them that boys and boyfriends are not the ultimate goal of education.  As school administrators and teachers, we send home the girls that dress in a way that says they are not in school to learn.  (Remember I’m focusing on females in this article…the same concepts apply to males as well.)

The most important point I want to make, then, is that  “Sending a girl home to change clothes because her bra straps were showing or her shorts were too short is telling her that having a less distracted environment for the boys was more important than her education,” is completely backwards.  Sending a girl home to change clothes because her bra straps were showing or her shorts were too short is telling her that her education is more important than whether she attracts boys. Suggestive or provocative clothing is not conducive to HER education because attracting boys is not the purpose of going to school.

Break through!

This might make the difference!  I want to thank AGoe for this.  She’s such a great blogger and she gives me insight and hope.  When it is put like this, what is it I do most of the time?  I get disgusted with myself and think that it will move me to be successful.  I am trying to hate myself content, happy, with a feeling of accomplishment.  I am trying to criticize myself  better, faster, cleaner, and healthier.  I’m trying to shame myself worthy of people’s attention, respect, friendship, and caring.  Well no WONDER!

Can I blame anyone for this?  What if you’ve been told all your life that everything you are and do are not good enough?  I am good enough!  For a long while, I debated people on these points.    I am just as smart and competent and resourceful and healthy and as good as you are.  Something happened.  I got nothing in encouragement except from my parents, and even then, I got the distinct impression that I was a disappointment to them and they were encouraging and supportive because they had to be.  Eleanor Roosevelt said that no one could make you feel inferior without your consent.  I got tired of arguing and debating, and I got to the point where I thought to myself, “Self?  If EVERYONE tells you the same thing, maybe they’re right.”  So I gave my consent.  I went into a spiral.  Yes, you are right, I’m scum.  No?  Ah, I give scum a bad name.  You’re probably right.  Want me to teach you banjo?  Want me to teach you statistics?  If you’d like to be a millionaire–I can help you.  Oh wait, why would anyone take advice or mentoring/teaching from scum?  Never mind…  I gave up on myself over and over again.  I’d do something really amazing, and everyone would be surprised that that I was capable of that kind of performance.  Then I would find it impossible to capitalize on that performance because I was unworthy of people’s trust and belief.

I need to spiral back up. I will have to leave the self hate, the vicious criticism, and the shame behind.  I have to do what I’ve been teaching students and clients for the last 50 years to do–pat yourself on the back for the things that go right and say “oops” for the things that go wrong.  Use the phrase, “Hmmm, isn’t that interesting?” or “That didn’t go as planned, recalculating!” instead of cussing myself out and reaffirming all the negative things people say to and about me or imply by the eye rolls and the snickers (not the candy bar…I like the snickers candy bars!  :p)  Should be an interesting change in perspective.

I feel better

Two posts ago, I decided that the numbers do not affect how I feel or influence my weight management program.  I found myself really really frustrated that I would eat such and such calories, and expend thus and so energy to controlling my weight and health, and see no benefit.  I was losing practically no weight, and in some cases gaining weight by being diligent in tracking my numbers.  It took an enormous amount of effort (ok, what exactly CAN I eat, and why do I have to spend an hour on the rowing machine to counter act the cinnamon roll I ate in 15 min?!!)  I threw out the numbers and just figured I’d eat sensibly and exercise to feel better and not worry about all those feelings of inadequacy and failure.

Welllllllll, when you do that, it’s like going off road to get to your destination.  I did that once.  We were in an airport in Canada on our way to England for a tour.  There was nothing at the airport we could really afford, being poor college students, so we decided to go to a mall or something to get food.  We didn’t want to take a taxi, and since we had a 7 hour layover…we went cross country to get to what we thought would have something affordable and edible.  We were not dressed properly for this adventure.  It seemed flat and passable and shouldn’t have taken more than 1/2 an hour to traverse.  It wasn’t.  It was rough, and muddy, and by the time we got to where we wanted to go, we were past starving and didn’t care what the prices were.  It defeated the whole purpose.  Then we had to trek back to make our plane.  We had a goal in mind, “It’s right over there!  We can see it!  Why aren’t we there yet?  Boy was THIS a stupid idea!”  We didn’t consult a map, we didn’t call to see what their prices were (no cell phones) and didn’t consider other alternatives such as ordering food and sharing it.  We reached our destination and got back in time to catch our flight, but we didn’t achieve our purpose.

I am back at the point where my back stiffens up when I walk or stand for any amount of time.  I put my arms to sleep when I lie on my back.  I have difficulties getting out of my car.  This doesn’t feel good.  This feels clumsy; this feels annoying; this feels painful.  So I go back to my numbers again.  Then, I had a flash of insight.  You need the numbers like you need signs…14 miles to Cambridge, 20 minutes to work, 2 hours to take this test.  It is to help you gauge your progress.  You are not in pursuit of the numbers, they just tell you where you are.

I know I have to eat sensibly.  I know I should move around some everyday instead of once a week.  The questions that arise are, what did you eat, and how much is available for the rest of the day.  What have you done movement wise today?  Should I set aside a specific number of minutes or a specific activity to do on each day.  It becomes a chore and we all hate chores.  It doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean house or organize stuff for your taxes just because you hate chores.  Things have to get done regardless of how you feel about them.  Oh.

So I went back to my numbers.  I am back on the path…though it is still muddy and rutted and dotted with dog poo.  I lost 3 pounds.