Social construction of skinny

The value placed on being skinny is a social construction. It doesn’t match with human history, health and wellbeing, or even all cultures. So freaking what if a person has a couple of extra kilos on them. It really just doesn’t matter.  

Get away from my body. I don’t want any comments on my body or face. You can say you like my dress because I made it myself though.

Times when I’ve been underweight I’ve gotten positive comments about my size. 

“Look how tiny your waist is!”

Yeah, I’m underweight and really unhealthy right now. I haven’t eaten for about three weeks as I’m grieving like crazy. 

Find something else to fuss about

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Let it go

Have you noticed how kids let their unpleasant moods go quickly and move on? They don’t dwell in resentment all afternoon like a certain other person I know. 

There’s a lot to be learnt from this. When I hang onto unpleasant emotions they slowly build up until out bursts some regrettable comment or action. But when I let go and move on there’s far less of those outbursts.  

Guilt, resentment, taking things personally, frustration. All require a talking through to let go.

It’s getting easier and faster with practice 

It’s not about the red cup…

…or the toy or whatever else the kid is crying, whinging, melting down, demanding, or having a tantrum over.

And the first part of the solution is always cuddles and/or connection. 

It’s easy to get into an argument with a kid. And that’s really what’s happening when we’re trying to explain that they’re being unreasonable. 

It’s easy to focus on what they’re saying and doing and get caught in logic or logistics. But then we miss what they are actually needing. 

  • Stop
  • Cuddle
  • Listen
  • Problem solve

Misty Copeland

I heard way back when Misty Copeland became principle ballerina about how proud the company and America was of having an African American as lead. Wonderful, I thought. This is progress I thought.

Then months later I saw a photo of her for the first time.  She’s a lovely shade of very light brown. Nowhere near as dark skinned as I had assumed. I was disappointed. 

Not about Misty herself. She’s an amazing ballerina who must have worked so incredibly hard to get where she is. She’s just doing her thing in the skin she was born in.

I’m disappointed as it seems that still so much of America wants their African American people not too dark, thanks. Like they’re only a bit liberal. Which of course is not liberal. Like they can’t handle really dark skin. 

When do we get to see a jet black Sudanese woman in a senior position? 

Helpful reminders

“Hold steady.” Sometimes I feel wobbly. I get disappointed and frustrated and wish people could read my mind. 

“Choose love.” This can pretty much cover most scenarios.

“Just stop.” Time to breathe. Time to stop the runaway thoughts. Time to make a better decision.

“How can I simplify the day?” To cure trying to do too much.

“How can I look after myself right now.” I need to ‘parent’ me too. I need to look after me too. 

The destruction of free

Kids seem to spend so much more time being in pleasant moods than adults do. 

What goes wrong?

Is it the parenting? What a horrid thought. So much pressure.

Sometimes I see how perfect my kid is and I try and keep up with her. Be as amazing a parent as she is a kid. I fail at that one. 

Imagine what a life could be like for a person who wasn’t limited by their parents hangups and failures.

Practices to become a better person

I want to do better and be better. What can I do to make this happen? What’s the most direct route to dealing with my unpleasant emotions which upset me and lead to unwanted behaviours?

After much thought I realise the best thing I can do is to ‘catch’ myself when my thinking turns unhelpful. Recognise the thoughts are unhelpful and replace them with helpful thoughts.

So simple. So hard. But each time I do it I get better and faster. 

One practice. This is all I need to work on in myself. Nothing else.

A¬† feminist take on ‘sexy’ images

You’d think a Google image search for “x-ray” would be safe if you didn’t want your toddler seeing sexualised images of women, right? Right?

Keep scrolling…

See it yet?

The fake x-ray image of a woman wearing towering heels, sitting on the ground with her legs spread.

I can hear the arguments against my protest. What’s wrong with sex? It’s just a sexy image.

And I think this attitude speaks to how conditioned we are to see women as sex objects. 

I don’t have a problem with sex. But this image isn’t about sex, it’s about objectifying women as sex objects. I have a problem with the proliferation of images and the idea that women are values because of their services ual attractiveness to men and that women’s pleasure comes from a man being attracted to them. 

If there were only a few of these images in amongst other models of womanhood then this image wouldn’t bother me.

If there were just as many images of women enjoying their sexuality, this image wouldn’t bother me as much. 

If we didn’t live in a culture that blames women for rape and abuse, then this image wouldn’t bother me so much. 

The message these images send, within our current society, is that women are valued according to how sexualy attractive they are to men.

This is not the message I want my girl or my nephew to learn! 

Autonomy vs patience 

Her autonomy is really important and something I want to encourage. But not something I seem to cope with at times.

For example, often she doesn’t want to brush her teeth, get dressed, change nappy etc. I know I’m meant to meet her “no” with respect and calmness. But lately it’s just pissing me off. I seem unable to hold some boundaries calmly or relinquish control with grace. I’m all muddled up and off track. Unsure where my boundaries are or where I’m being too controlling. The other night she went to bed in just a nappy. Did I drop the ball? I’m still not sure. I’m so freaking sleep deprived, worn out, and without some space that I can’t even think it all through.

I’ve cancelled swimming lessons. The house it’s staying a mess and we’re eating leftovers and frozen vegetables for dinner. 

We need more boundaries and clear rules about bedtime routine. I need a way to not get pissed when she doesn’t participate in teeth cleaning. I’ve been snapping or turning away/letting it drop to avoid snapping. Neither is effective. I’m lost. 

This afternoon we’ll just play and connect. Tomorrow I get a break for 5 whole hours. I’ll see how I’m going after that…

“NO!”

I’ve heard lot of parents wanting to know how to get their kids to stop saying no to them. Other parents have said they hardly use the word no with their kids and try and find alternative phrases.

My concern is that both these styles of parenting will raise adults who struggle to define their healthy boundaries and won’t be able to say no when needed.

No is a very healthy and useful word. It expresses what we will and won’t do. What we will and won’t aceept. We want our adult children to be able to do this.

We want our kid to have had sufficient practice in a safe space with having their no respected. We want them to know it is a word with power. 

Picture your kid as an adult or even a teenager. Someone is pressuring them to do something they don’t want to. Something you’d be horrified if they went along with. How do you want them to react in that moment?

So we need to both model clearly saying no and respect their no.

While there is plenty of merit in not overusing the word with them and finding alternative phrases (“we can do … later”), sometimes its important to be really clear and direct with our kids and give them an absolute answer, then deal with the fall out. 

Just because our kid says no to us doesn’t mean we can’t respect their response, even if it won’t be the final outcome. 

“Let’s go and brush our teeth.”

“No.”

“Your telling me you don’t want to brush your teeth right now.”

“Your teeth will need to be brushed before bed. Do you want to do it later? Perhaps we could brush … (toy) teeth before yours? I’m going to take … (toy) in to have her teeth brushed now. Coming?”

Hearing no can be challenging for us who were raised with the idea that kids are meant to obey. Saying no might be hard for you if raised with ‘pleaser’ parent/s. To be comfortable with no will mean confronting deep seated beliefs and deciding if they are still relevant and useful. If the beliefs come from our childhood it’s possible we aren’t really conscious we have them until we focus on our thoughts and keep questioning ourselves for awhile. 

“What are my beliefs about no? What is the role of a good parent?  What is a kid meant to be? Why do I think this? Is this useful still?

My girl likes to roar “NO!” occasionally. To handle it better I like to picture her as an adult roaring at someone being a total arsehole to her.