“…the best teachers are people you have difficulty with, because they teach you important things about yourself”
I have found this to be very true.
“…the best teachers are people you have difficulty with, because they teach you important things about yourself”
I have found this to be very true.
“It starts with understanding that as men, our value does not come from how much power we hold over women. Our value comes from being respected and being loved as we respect and love the people who matter to us.”
My daughter saw a youtube offering that impacted her greatly and she wanted us to watch it with her. So her brother and I sat down to our hdml hookup and watched a video that went over a perennial interest I have: women and the cultural view of beauty, social impact of those views, and how our baseline moral view articulates those aspects of social identity. It was from a political and cultural perspective very different from mine ( the usual hostility to Christians that is ingrained in the liberal/Democratic views) but imparting some very real concerns and truth for all that.
The video was “Miss Representation”, and you can watch it below. It moves quickly with a barrage of thoughts and images. If you really want to think about what is being presented to you, you must stop it often to process what is being said and what it means. Otherwise, the impact is to rile your emotions without giving a real context to what you should do with these emotions.
Also it lacks the will or the depth to connect the dots between the paradoxical conflicts inherent in the old arguments on the side of “legalizing prostitution”, and the growing concern over “human trafficking”. Think about these “two?” issues. Aren’t we using mere euphemism when we want to address the enslavement of women and children in prostitution as a problem, and obscure problems that women face whenever prostitution becomes prevalent and accepted? Maybe you don’t make the connection between the way we think of and represent women and the issue of human trafficking, or how allowing prostitution to be recognized as a legal and viable occupation might be relevant. This probably deserves its own essay and evaluation.
If I were going to convert to any religion I would probably choose Catholicism because it at least has female saints and the Virgin Mary.
Before you view the documentary to see what you think of it and the issues it raises, what about a couple thoughts on some of the bias and dismissive perspectives I noticed?
(1) American women have the most freedom of any women in the world. Yes, on the whole, if we look at the opportunity and the freedom to live as we choose (lifestyle, education, economic). No it isn’t paradise, but nothing on earth approaches that idea of paradise. We do and should keep striving for better conditions, preservation of our freedom, access to opportunity, but we also should not forget or diminish what we have.
(2) Christianity is a powerful voice for the oppressed and dispossessed. Historically, it has one of the best records of any force for the empowerment of women. Ask yourself – in what place and in what age did the rise of women’s rights gain the most momentum? And it wasn’t the 1960’s. That may have been when you heard the loudest shouts, but not when you saw the greatest momentum.
Whatever your opinion of the Christian religion, it ought to be recognized for the beneficial influence on ideals of freedoms and rights. If you are willing to deny that, then I would question your ability to correct any of the injustices discussed in the film “Miss Representation” with real fundamental change. My guess is that the best you would be able to come up with is some reactionary and temporary “re-balancing”, which is only injustice inverted, not averted.
My life has changed.
While our children were little my husband rarely to never took vacations, and we couldn’t afford to travel anywhere, anyway. I centered my life around the home and gardening… then put lots of time into blogging. All those occupations were in sync with my intensive demands of homelife (raising ten children while homeschooling), allowing for creative expression while not requiring lots of money or absence from overseeing the needs of my family.
Now I find I am always on a trip somewhere.
It changed slowly with rare trips to places I never dreamed of seeing… I went to Hungary and Denmark, then to Brazil to attend my son and daughter in love’s wedding. With the advent of grandchildren, there have been increased trips to Georgia, mainly, but Florida and Phoenix were on the list as well.
In the past year we did something -twice- that had been on my husbands wishlist since I met him: a road trip across the nation, visiting the West. He still has the Badlands on his bucket list, but we checked off the others: Highway 1 and Mendocino, Bryce Canyon in Utah, America’s Loneliest Highway Rte 50 through Nevada.
I know some people blog while they travel, but I am an “in the moment experience” type of person. I don’t even like the distraction of taking photographs. I have moderated that and forced myself to take photos for the sake of memories and just because I want to capture some of the beauty that I see, but mostly I drink in the scenery, and let the atmosphere saturate my mind and heart.
The past few years have seen a great increase in travel for me… which may not be comparable to many others, but it is a huge change for me.
I find I like it.
I come back to loads of laundry to do, a marathon of weeding and neglected gardens, but it has been worth the exchange. Time spent by the ocean, seeing vast redwood forests, immense mountains of the Rocky ranges… these are mind opening, soul nourishing events.
So I don’t apologize that this season of my life leaves less room for the type of blogging I once did. My online life evolves and there is no pattern for the shape it will take. But, like all the rest of my life, I have shifted away from letting demands rule my life, and have created space for the simple act of living. Letting the flow of what creates an organic and vibrant participation of relationship and experience to take the forefront, to become my priority.
People figure more predominately in this way of life, and tasks become secondary. I don’t pretend to imply that it leads to being a successful blogger or to create worldly wealth. I do, however, feel richer, and may I say it? Happier. Or maybe happy is not the right word choice, I think the term “joie de vivre” is a more accurate term. The joy of life infuses this pathway.
My garden takes on a wild look, my blogs are temporarily neglected, but I have more to offer when following this roadtrip of life.
A few pictures seem in order here.
This isn’t just about writing for income, and I will say that right at the beginning so no one is confused. But it is going to touch on that topic.
When I first arrived on the blogging scene, I really didn’t know what it was all about, but many who were beginning to blog at the same time had a much more concrete view of what the purpose of their writing would be. Many of those writers/bloggers were inspired by a man named Hugh Hewitt to begin their blogs with the view to change people’s world views. I should amend that to say “Christian and conservative” writers and bloggers. The people of liberal politics had long seen the value in using media to persuade people’s thinking.
But whether bloggers of that time were convinced by a specific person, or of the many who had chanced upon this new door to influence, many of us were of the mind that our writing could “make a change for good”. I know that was always a powerful motivation for me.
It still is, but blogging and online writing has changed for many like me.
It was a slow train coming for me to adopt the idea that writing and earning money were linked. Or could be, or should be.
And I still believe that one must be careful with one’s motivations, not just in writing, but in all endeavors of life. I also understand that without some sort of support, no writer can keep at their craft for long. This is perhaps one of the biggest evolutionary changes for me: if you keep on writing, over time you find you become “a writer”.
In the meantime, I took a break from writing to influence people’s thinking. After spending a good deal of time in online forums, and the dialog that was common on blogs is those days (early years of 2000 to 2007 or so), I grew tired of what online “conversation” had become. No longer exploring differing opinions, creating dialog, or even giving a rational argument for one’s view. Like the rest of the world around it, the web sunk into the morass of polarized diatribe, pandering, and propaganda. It wasn’t fun anymore, then, either.
Yet, there is something very attractive in the way a person, of no means really, can engage in discussion and a public presentation of views, and touch the possible thousands. That is heady stuff. So, I kept on writing and started exploring the world of online income… some of the things which are called passive income, but truthfully aren’t passive at all.
This was a natural road for me since I had started my web experience with non-fiction types of writing… my garden website‘s nascence sprung from the pages begun at that time. In retreating from the hotbed of politics and religion I found solace (as a writer and blogger) in the garden. In the need to pay for the nuts and bolts of such a thing, I began monetizing. Not the easiest thing to do in my chosen set of topics.
Another thing happened along the way… aging.
The focus of life has shifted, and the reality of needing to produce some income for retirement has also become part of my intention for developing my writing online. This has created multiple motivations for branching out into other sorts of writing and interacting online. And let’s not forget the online revolution itself… Facebook and Twitter have mightily changed online writing and all sorts of things.
I still have not forgotten that desire to impact people, to influence society for good (or goodness sake!). I am just not sure how it all works together, or even whether it can.
Earning even a small amount of income online is a lot of work. In fact, for a person like me who is not business savvy, I could not write, if I were dependent on its income. Still, some of the things I do are paying for website hosting for my other sites (this one is free, and I own only the content – not the domain). I have ventured into the world that others entered long time back…. writing for income. This I do on sites like
SquidooThis site was sold and no longer exists as a home to writers as recorded in this post, and just this week a few articles on Hubpages. They are looked down upon by some in the blogging community, and I understand why. The impetus now is for these sites to clean up the junky parts of the neighborhood.
I like that a format like Squidoo creates community. I haven’t found that in the blogging sector for a long time. I also like that it is set up to create online income for those who contribute. And I have stretched my writing wings in the more mundane aspects of writing. Which is not to demean it. Why be elitist about our writing? I have distaste for this kind of thinking that is so prevalent in the art world.
So, here I am starting to write on Hubpages, too.
I also have learned some marketing along the way which is very enlightening. You view things in our society a whole new way when understanding basic marketing techniques. We are immersed in it whether we realize it or not. Just look at the sales ploy of “scarcity”, for example…. but I digress.
What reasons might be for writing on such sites as Squidoo, or Hubpages, or even Blogger, for that matter?
For me, the
Squidoo site helped open things that I had long had an interest in but had no grasp of what it took to accomplish. One of those was utilizing the Zazzle site to create and to earn income. I am still making baby steps, but without guidance (and clearly the forums attached to such sites help,too) would still have gone nowhere with these avenues.
If you would like to read more about my thoughts on these sites, making an income online, etc. Check my WebHelp blog.
Community is powerful. It is necessary as well, and the sooner we learn that lesson in family, our neighborhoods and cities, and online, the better. It is just an illustration of “no man is an island” which we will face over and over until we “get it”.
Maybe this part of learning what can help me pay the rent is obvious to you. I have an inkling that for individualists who have a high value on personal freedom, it is a hard won realization.
Paying the rent is not just about money. It isn’t about a materialistic society, it is about how we help each other survive and thrive. Work is important and necessary. All sorts of work -and having integrity and honesty in how we go about it- matters.
One more thing, influence is something we do everyday in all our actions, whether we realize it or not.
I don’t feel strongly about following certain teachers or teachings (other than the Bible itself), but found this very interesting.
I was thinking about the legacy we leave our children. Not the type that is made up of stocks or bonds, or houses, but the kind that is a result of the DNA we passed to them and that more esoteric kind of legacy made up of passing on who we are. Some of my children want little that represents what I’m made of, and some highly regard it. But highly regard it or no, it is passed on to them in measures not of my making. Perhaps little of their making, for we do not choose what makes us, how we are arranged together or who we come from.
God makes all those choices and we can grow into what we are meant to be, called to be, best fitted for in life. I say that because another unchosen condition is the time and situation of the world we live within.
But of the qualities that I pass to my children, one of the foremost is my ability to withstand pain and endure. Built into me somewhere is the stubbornness and bravery of Scottish Highlanders and Hungarian Hussars. Faces of flint when needed. It sounds like a good thing until you realize one of the hardest things for such people is to remain open to others, especially those who seem bent on hurting and using you. I struggle to stay the course with people.
Grit is great sanding material, but not so good to get in your shoe in a long journey. A little oil of joy doesn’t hurt, and likely is necessary. I am learning to value joy for that reason.
I am courageous. I am a lightning rod.
I draw trouble and the wrath of the oppressor. It makes me a bit oppressive, myself.
I am giving and have a deep vein of compassion, but it is tempered with hard lessons.
I am easily misunderstood and most of the time I really don’t care about that.
I listen to my own inner convictions and keep my own counsel. It makes me strong, but also makes my mistakes big ones. I don’t have much emotional intelligence at times.
I feel others pain. Sometimes I find it crippling. Sometimes I am paralyzed by the sight of the consequences they must face.
I often want to give up and can’t. I don’t know if it is Sisu or just inflexibility.
I second-guess, and switch gears all too often. I lack consistency.
I have trouble being positive and affirming, and have all too often been in the habit of looking for the problems and faults. I am something of a control freak with a crushing sense of over responsibility which -oddly enough- contributes to the fact that I can be undependable.
I am firm in my convictions because it took me hard work to get there and lots of testing of the thinking and the truth of them. It is hard to convince me, and harder to make me let go of what I have become convinced of. The one place I am dependable, consistent, and steadfast is in standing in those convictions. A good thing for being the ballast in my relationships, because I don’t tend to trust people easily, but I will stand by them because it is the right thing to do. Some would say of my trust level in people, “not at all”. I am convinced of the depravity of man.
So it won’t surprise me how bad you are. And it is likewise the basis for my knowledge that I could just as easily be just as bad- or worse.
I keep turning towards God no matter how little I understand why things are the way they are and how difficult and fearful the choice looks. I stopped looking for other answers. What is clear to me might make it hard for me to see why you have your questions. But I don’t begrudge you your questions.
These are a few things I have passed on to my children by way of experiences, upbringing, relationship with them.
My language of love is more tough, pick yourself up, and learn to be self sufficient.
You can see how I am easily misunderstood (insert a laugh track here…cause no one is going to laugh at this “joke”).
But I love in a way that has your back even when I don’t believe in what you are doing or I see trouble in your chosen path. I’m good when all your fair weather friends have deserted you.
I don’t need you to tell me how “good…nice…wonderful” I am.
But I do need connection even when I don’t think so.
And this is all a part of my legacy to my children. Who I am, the impact and influence I leave, and how much I love them.
whether they like that or not.
I had an experience in the past year that propelled me out of my comfort zone, and has me thinking about relationships, acceptance, and yet again – the way society sets us up.
Here is me: I stay at home, and have, for the past… oh, almost forty years that I’ve been married and had kids.
Increasingly over the past decade the mold has broken and I’ve been traveling, so far to Hungary, Denmark, Brazil, and across the States on a roadtrip west. I had moved into a type of intellectual travel, too, with the internet, forums, and blogging, but in 2012 I ended up briefly visiting the reality TV world.
That was stretching me beyond a number of comfort levels, into a world that is truly alien for me.
That experience can be seen in the brief scenes in the latest episode of Making Mr. Right.
(this episode is no longer available to watch for free, but you can get it on Amazon for $1.99).
When you know the premise of this dating show, immediately some of the most obvious questions come up, like “Could/Should people try to makeover their mates?” (Potential or otherwise) And the equally obvious questions about whether people have soul mates, or is “finding the right person” the key to happiness? Those last questions, oddly enough, revolve around the idea that we don’t “make” our happiness or the object of it, but that people are somehow static and finding the “right match” is the important part.
How much of our happiness resides in the power of another person, how much within our own making?
Actually there are all sorts of questions that swirl around in our culture, along with some of the preconceptions attached to them.
Which is what makes the idea of creating a dating show one that promises interest and entertainment for viewers.
And either way, we are led to objectify our significant others in ways that cause us to forget they are people who change and are influenced, and who have the power to make their own choices, to mold their own world, and to turn the tables on us! We might want to inject some humility, respectfulness, and freedom into this process.
Makeovers are such a big part of American myth. American girls are practically raised on that idea, from magazine articles to whole books to the beauty industry to the business world. If we just get the look right, or make the superficial changes, we unlock approval and success, and get to have our dreams come true.
Fortunes are made on such beliefs.Lies I Was Told
Kind of like the “Working Girl” movie with Melanie Griffith, made in the 80’s when the importance of image reinvented itself and became the top priority for our society. Makes the old adage “can’t tell a book by its cover” meaningless.
This idea has too many remakes to count, just take a look at a list of this year’s movies, TV shows, music videos, and other pop culture venues… I bet you can find more than a few that follow the pattern and sell the concept.
It is all about the image, the branding, the packaging. We just have to reinvent, and we will get what we want.
And it works. Glitz and glitter works in the short run.
In all this, some of the outdated deceptions reemerge.
Within those beloved makeovers, I wonder, can the changes go more than skin deep, can we really resolve the way we interact with people in our lives by changing the details and the surface conditions of our lives?
Let’s go back to ideas of changing our world, our society. Does a little Newspeak work on the macro scale? Is it working on the smaller scale of our jobs, relationships, and approval ratings of the people around us? Or more importantly for the questions brought out by Making Mr. Right, can we find and create our perfect life? Or a perfect mate, Or a perfect “other”? We certainly spend a lot of time trying.
Realities that I woke up to …along the way.
So what do makeovers accomplish, really? For all our love affair with the idea, does it change anything? Surprisingly I do think that makeovers produce some changes, just not the ones we expect.
We think of the makeover as changing the outward appearance. Sometimes that is a reflection of what inward changes have already taken place, and improves the way others perceive us. We are not islands, and the acceptance, approval, and support of others is vital. The makeover can certainly be a type of catalyst.
A makeover can align the clues we give to society of who we are with who we actually are. We can more clearly represent ourselves by adding the objectivity of the others helping us with a makeover (or those we model ourselves after). Perhaps, dispelling the false messages we accepted from others about who we are. We don’t always know ourselves as well as we believe we do.
It can also connect us better with what others need. A makeover in etiquette, in how we express thoughts and opinions, in listening skills or emotional intelligence. This is gaining a toolset in relationships.
I love Francis Schaeffer, and his thought. One of the things that I picked up from reading his books is to look at the culture, especially its art and expression, to find out truths about who we are as a society. Beyond the shallow judgements of like or unlike, or slots of good or evil, what do our ideas of marriage, family, gender, man and woman, parent and child, divorce, dating tell us about our larger society and its direction? What kind of blind spots do we have, and what will give us insight and a pathway to follow on this convoluted road of life?
I think we still believe we can control more than we have the ability to control. Maybe as a society, that belief is more underlined and accepted than ever.
We see things through the filter of our hopes, and tend to edit out even obvious barriers. We believe romantic love conquers all obstacles. Romantic love is pretty wimpy, and that isn’t the type of love that faces and overcomes real challenges. Although it has a powerful kick as a firestarter to desire.
Our ideas of divorce are sacred cows roaming our streets and leaving us starving for strong relational bonds.
We laugh at how silly someone else may be while remaining blind to our own foibles.
Humanity is humanity and no amount of makeover changes that.
There was a time I wouldn’t watch reality TV. Then I started watching the occasional show. I never ever imagined being on one, even for a brief appearance. I am not really TV material, to say the least. But it was a great experience and I’m glad to have had the chance to connect with people in a whole new way, including with my son. If you look closely at my body language in some of the glimpses, I feel protective of my children, even one who is fully grown… and that is what I see in many moms. We want the best for our children and makeover or no makeover, we desire that they be loved, and learn to love. We want our stories to have happy endings, or at least make heroic efforts toward that end.
I learned that we continue to see new perspectives of the world through our children, just as when they were little.
I wish I had spent less time trying to be a makeover artist with my children, and more time just being with them and finding out who they were.
Finding out who someone actually is, and helping to be the best representative of who that is… I think that is the important lesson, the valuable takeaway from this experience. Get that from a TV show and your time watching was well spent.
Photo credit: clarita
No, not politically right, but in tune with resolutions to improve my blogging and keep on top of resurrecting blog efforts such as TrueGrit, etc. I wrote a little report on a few changes I made in my wordpress sites. This site and the garden website Ilona’s Garden, are my earliest efforts at blogging with the wordpress platform. I have many posts accumulated from years of writing, so the sites have gone through many changes in templates, plugins, etc.
In keeping with the new year I have worked hard to improve the blog experience by getting the sites to run more smoothly… as well as slowly starting back into more posting (such as this). In the WebHelp blog I decided to post tips and helpful things that relate only to those who are running their own sites. Little tips and leads to save time and effort.
The latest is my report on new Favorite WordPress Plugins . For those which work well I intend to implement on all my wordpress installaitons. And some of the ones I listed I am super happy with.
Make art… not … other stuff!
Maybe being late is just plain better when it comes to making resolutions, to give the brain time to handle the overload of a need for focused willpower ( Why 88% of resolutions fail ).
That is one way to rationalize procrastination. I have come to include a few resolutions for 2013, the first of which is to start implementing them on February 1st. More delay, I know, but I have learned a few things about being successful with the resolutions that I want to try.
So far, that is my list of purposeful intentions, resolutions which have specific plans of action and a focal point goal.