Glamorized

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Here is what I shared on Instagram account last year right after I completed watching the 2nd season of The Crown:

The most disturbing thing about season 2 of the Crown was watching the queen and the way she, even as her Royal Highness, acts merely as a puppet in a man’s world.

“Female power involves women taking part in the conversation either in the public arena or the dinner table, and having the same emotional space in which to do so as men.  It means women not having to fear punishment of any kind.” ~ Marianne Williamson

I am not a historian so this post is not about monarchy, or a direct judgement of the queen, but rather a reflection of us women, and people in general, losing our own power. The “attachment” to an outcome is surely always going to cause us to compromise and tolerate things we would never tolerate otherwise.
While in the Crown this attachment to preserving the old ways and honoring the ancestors was completely exposed, I think that each of us constantly does this in our own lives. In wanting to belong, we often sacrifice what is possible.
I never wanted to change my last name (that was my father’s) even though it made so much more sense to go with my mother’s.  I was in agony for so many years growing up, so much so that I only finally broke through it when I got married.  Even then, I decided to wait for my citizenship to actually formally change it.  Feeling like I am “disobeying” was way stronger than my personal desire to break free.

I wonder if anyone sees the places where being faithful to the old ways is robbing them of opportunity to owning who they really are and can be.”

I remember taking so much interest in monarchy when I watched this show and following up with many documentaries about the queen herself, Lady Diana Spencer, Kate and William and so on.  The more I watched, the more I felt that being a royal was almost like a curse, one is born into this privilege but then is completely robbed of a normal experience of growing up – paparazzi follow your every step of the way and while I would personally love to have more audience, I can’t imagine that someone would fill tabloids with my every move.  Nor would I find it important – and it’s not just because I am not a celebrity but because certain things don’t need to be glorified.

There is something that has us get fascinated by the stories we see on TV and buy as real.  I am still blown away by the popularity of Kim Kardashian for example. While I actually admire her ruthlessness and probably great marketing skills, I can’t help but feel that her content literally has no value.

This is a bit how I felt after watching the royal wedding.  I got curious and wanted to see – I fell for the fairy tale and even thought of myself as jealous and less than.  In allowing all those feelings to come up, even writing about them, I realized: something here doesn’t add up.  Naturally, I won’t spend time trying to prove the point, as far as I am concerned, I really don’t care what happens, but what I do care about is that this fairy tale princess story feels a bit like a drug of choice. Mesmerized by what they see, the surface of it all, people all over America have been glued to their screens and social medias commenting and sharing their love for the royal couple, their view of the whole thing and alike.  In a process, I think many don’t realize, this smoke screen of happily ever after is just as dangerous as photoshopped models that have us create unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our bodies.

I am happily married:  I define it as being committed and in love with my husband and able to solve any problem with him in a conversation.  We haven’t gone to bed mad at each other for the entire time we’ve been married (and while we dated).  We don’t agree on everything, we even have loud disagreements but we keep it real and we work on it and when it comes to it, we have space to work through whatever our limitations are so that when we come together, we can still be a team.

Duke and the Duchess of Sussex are surely in love, that shows and they are blessed to have found each other in this.  But let’s not compare ourselves to them.  Let’s not pretend that Meghan “lucked out” when she married Harry, because she is yet to prove that she can stomach all the restrictions that come with her role: the one she married into.

My concern with the messages I see all over social media is that we are creating a fake standard for what ordinary people, women, relationships should look and feel like.  There is nothing wrong to aspiring to marry well or into a royal family if that is what you truly desire, but let’s not pretend that anyone, regardless of their fame, has a better life just because they have status and money.  Granted, this is not true for people who are in a “survival” mode, but it is for everyone else who makes a decent living – because happiness, that’s not something money and fame can buy.

I think we often miss the blessings in our lives because we watch TV more than we mingle with real people.  It’s a form of escapism that I think doesn’t do us good on a long run because we have unrealistic expectations that cause us to feel bad about things that are actually good.  There is a fashion designer/youtuber who did an experiment with real people and had them pose like models in magazines.  Not one of those woman could actually physically make the pose they saw in the magazine.  Other words, we are attuning out eyes to visions that are not possible for us and then we use that to turn on ourselves.

How about we try being wise enough to detach from the buzz, appreciate what we have, and create what we really want.  Be better than you were yesterday and understand that happiness comes from you and the choices you make and the life you create and not from anything you see on social media or TV.

 

Breaking the Silence

My father passed away last month.  I couldn’t get myself to write about anything else and the wound was fresh, the emotions bubbling up.  I always stand for authentic communication and was wondering how do I do that when it involves other people.  How do I write the truth about myself without mentioning people in my life who are part of my story?  I wonder this a lot because I am committed to living in the truth.

In my younger years, I learned that “rising above” was a better way to be about things in life.  I learned a few years back that being kind and keeping my mouth shut, protecting people from their own poor behavior was only shooting myself in a foot.  More often than not, people believe the story they are told.  They are not invested in finding out what everyone else’s perspective is on the subject and I find that unfair.  I no longer think that being silent or stepping out of the equation is good in and of itself.  On contrary, I believe I am responsible to tell my side of the story.

Years ago, and I think through this blog, I shared a story about my dad.  I sent him a link, thinking, it was appropriate that he knows about it.  I was proud of the way I’ve written it, I thought there was no shame and blame just simply my perspective on life as I lived it.  I remember him telling me that his younger son, my step brother, already told him about it and that when he asked if I was harsh with words, his son answered: “so-so.”  I was a bit wounded.  People walk around blaming other people for their lives, here I was, reframing my dad’s absence into a story of my becoming the person I was and it was still not good enough.  I was wondering, can anyone ever saying something personal without it meaning something bad about someone else.

We are all connected.  While this sounds like a total cliche, it actually isn’t.  We really are in this together.  People in our lives are merely mirrors for what we need to discover about ourselves and move through, evolve.  Perhaps all those fingers pointing at me for sharing my stories are making me stronger because in absence of approval, it is that much harder to stand for something we believe in.  And I, I simply believe in truth, in writing, in art, in being with one another.  We all make mistakes, we all mess up, but owning it allows us to transcend it, to stay present, to learn from it.  And there, I broke my silence and my concerns about writing.  I have a voice to use it. And so do you… woman

 

 

 

Pregnancy – reality check (from August 27th, 2013 – about a week before I birthed my first son)

I think all of my life, with some rare occasions of being rebellious, I have wanted to be a wife and a mother.  Definitely, the moment I was clear I wanted to be in a relationship, I was looking forward to everything the relationship would bring: partnership, prosperity, wealth, marriage, and children.

I have envied people who were in powerful marriages, who got along well and at the sight of pregnant women, at least after my 20s, I was envious and jealous.

It’s not until I got pregnant myself that illusions of the miraculous child birthing were beginning to crash.  Namely, I had visions of working and being completely mobile until the day of delivery and have found myself exhausting and sick for almost my entire first trimester.  My breast were getting bigger and it was painful.  I could no longer sleep on my stomach which is how I liked to sleep since I was born.  The worse thing was, no one could tell I was pregnant, because nothing showed on the outside, so I wouldn’t necessarily get a better treatment while in a metro or waiting in a line.

Then second trimester came and I had felt much better. I could finally eat food again (something other than lemons, grapefruits and sour cabbage), but my body was changing.  Now, I wasn’t looking pregnant but slightly chubby and for someone who suffered from extra weight and many impacts of that in my teenage years, that was a big mental struggle to overcome.  Don’t get me wrong, I wanted my baby more than anything else, but the way I felt was hardly matching or feeling like it’s  a fair price to pay.  Mind you,  I am talking about healthy pregnancy.  I cannot even imagine what women who have slight complications have to go through.

And finally, I am approaching the end of last trimester, very close to delivery.  I have interviewed more than 50 mothers, checked about different ways of delivery etc.  And, it seems that, while there is a small percentage of women who were mind strong and were able to have a relatively easy and natural delivery, most women had some kind of complication, lot’s of pain and perhaps some further impacts in their life from birthing their child (or children).  Yes not one of them is ongoingly complaining and most of them did all they could to put that experience behind the moment they brought life into the world, but I know, from having talked to all of them, that they all experienced pain in the process.

Then a friend of mine recommended a book by Ina May and on her website, even prior to ordering, I found this quote:

“It’s not just the making of babies, but the making of mothers that midwives see as the miracle of birth.”

— Barbara Katz Rothman

I realized that there was more to it than what we initially get to see.  This fear that I had my whole life about birthing a child, as much it can be justified, is also a bit unnatural.  And, I am out to find out.  AS my friend said, affirming: “easy, natural, child birth!!!”