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Thursday, May 9, 2019

OCCUPY SPACE!!!


This month I've been noticing something extremely common. People apologizing for just being. Sorry my purse is on the table. Sorry I brushed you when I passed by. Sorry for taking a moment of your time. Sorry for making a sound. Sorry for bothering you. Sorry I am a burden. Sorry for drawing our attention somehow. Sorry for disagreeing. Sorry for liking something different from you. Sorry, you are probably too busy to deal with me. Sorry, you've got more important things to do. Sorry for having something to say. Sorry, you probably don't want to really be my friend. Sorry for apologizing. Sorry for asking for the things that I want or need. Sorry for sitting here. Sorry for standing in your way. Sorry for forgetting. Sorry for remembering. Sorry for occupying this space. Sorry.  
Sorry.
 
Some men apologize often. And women? Wow, we apologize ALOT. We apologize for our very presence sometimes.

 
I'm here to tell you to PLEASE TAKE UP SPACE.
 

Be there. 
Open your mirror and put on your lipstick.
Chew your gum.  
Ask for a refill.  
Send back a cold meal.
Tell me about the new thing you learned. 
Request better seats.
Leave all bad relationships behind.
 
Step forward.  
Occupy public spaces boldly.
Explore your world.
Experiment.

Discover new interests.  
Ask for the type of love and affection you desire.  
Toss your coat onto the couch.  
Stand up to drink your coffee. 
Sit at the head of the table.
Get the sex you love.  
Put your purse on the table and rummage through it.  
Extend your arms to put your coat on.  
Stick your legs out a bit when you sit.  
Sneeze louder.  
Stand anyplace you like.  
Speak up.  
Change your mind.  
Express your values.  
Tell your truth.  
And just BE.


OCCUPY SPACE, My Friend.
I want you there.
You are valid.
I want to hear you.
I want to see you.
 
You are totally worthy.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

I'm Offended


On the social media sites, nearly everybody loves that moment when someone pipes up and says That Offends Me!, because now we all get to all gleefully call that person BUTTHURT.

For nearly all of history the quiet, the nice, the introverted, the timid, the trampled on, the sensitive, the wounded, the abused, the neglected, the disenfranchised people have silently accepted and allowed all words to pass them by...no confrontations.

No confrontations, no rebuttal, no contradictions, no self-defense, no assertively saying NO, no audacity, no guts, no challenge, no friction. No comment. And those who seem to not notice their abusive ways could safely ignore the wounded human being who became collateral damage to the wit, the sarcasm, the venting, the anger, the aggression, the narcissism, the self-aggrandized bloviating.


But something is happening and I, for one, am DELIGHTED.
For it is happening to me as well.
The silent have begun to stand up for themselves, for their sensitivities, for their rights. This silent underbelly has begun to stand up and say NO, that is inappropriate and you have injured me or others with that statement. And I'm going to take it anymore.

This is NOT the same as saying Hey I disagree with you, nor is it Your opinion is different from mine nor is it I need you to think the same way that I do, though that is the accusation leveled at the assertions belatedly- and bravely-spoken.


Allow me to let a few memes speak for me:





Now allow me to speak for myself:


I miss the good old days when I could actually have an opinion without offending someone.
GUESS WHAT: you DID offend someone. They simply kept it to themselves and took the hit.
You never noticed.
You get to have any opinion you want. But you now are being called on the carpet for your boorishness. Rather than learning from the brave person who stood up to your brashness, you have decided to deprecate the speaker, to ignore their brave message, and to feel offended yourself.
IRONIC. And manipulative.
And, from the number of times I see you posting memes such as this, I see that you are missing the point. What you miss is the days when you weren't called out on your acerbity.


It's called a joke. We used to tell them before people became offended by everything.
GUESS WHAT: some so-called jokes are very thinly-veiled criticism or verbal abuse hidden as humor. This isn't funny, nor are we buying it anymore. Your racist, genderist, ableist, abusive "jokes" are being called out for what they actually are: simple-minded ignorance from someone who believes that they are clever. I see, again, that you are missing this opportunity to become woke. It's very difficult confronting someone with little to no self-awareness.


I'm not being rude, I'm just saying what everyone else is thinking.
GUESS WHAT: you are being rude. Incredible that this has to be explained to you. Again, and this is becoming tiresome for me as well, you are missing this chance to learn appropriateness, courtesy, kindness, consideration, gentleness, respect, manners, decorum, honor, civility, class, politeness, etiquette, moderation, humanity, decency, forbearance, affability, stop me when you get it...


Before you get all butthurt and offended, ask yourself why it bothers you so much. Maybe the problem is you, not it. Only the weak are constantly offended by things that have nothing to do with them.
GUESS WHAT: This sounds exactly like  a narcissist telling me how wrong I am to be offended by rudeness, ridicule or sarcasm. Even in the meme itself is an attack.

Maybe you are weak: Maybe I'm strong and you aren't used to it.
Well get used to it!

If I say that what you are saying is offensive, you don't get to say that I'm wrong that your words are offensive. That is totally my call to make. You can call me butt hurt, but, again, that is simply name-calling, no better than a child, and missing the chance to freaking LISTEN and improve our relationship.
Of course, you could ignore me, consider it my problem, and never ever learn to be a better person.


Welcome to the era of over-sensitive, easily offended whiners.
GUESS WHAT: Welcome to the era of those of us who have had it and are saying NO MORE. Welcome to the era of people expecting you to face the consequences of your words and actions. Welcome to the era of people refusing to silently accepting your crass, rude abuse sitting down. Welcome to the era of learning clear and healthy communication. Welcome to the era of being empowered to no longer accept toxicity.

Standing up and telling you that your words are offensive is not whiny, it's strong and it's bad ass AF.
Being constantly offended doesn't mean you're right. It just means you're too narcissistic to tolerate opinions different than yours.
GUESS WHAT: Being constantly offended probably means that I'm living with a toxic, obtuse narcissist. Feel free to use the word narcissist, but do so with the knowledge of what it means. If someone is suggesting to you that they are constantly offended when they are around you I honestly think it's time you take an honest look at your behavior. Getting angry that I'm angry with you shows a clear lack of self-awareness as well as an unlikely opportunity to learn to take a moment and think about the people around you, rather than yourself, first.


More and more people are learning to no longer tolerate negativity and toxicity in their lives and, sometimes, this means that they are standing up to and calling out the people who criticize, insult, and put them down in condescending manners.

And that takes courage!
It takes practice!
It takes an amazing quantity of self-awareness!
It takes utter maturity to respond to abuse with assertiveness.

SO, when you see the memes about how ridiculous I am for being BUTT HURT, KNOW that I am looking back at you and wondering when you are ever  going to get it...


 


Sunday, September 17, 2017

I am the Adult Child of a Hypochondriac



We could talk about being that small child whose parent makes a mountain out of a molehill. But let's move forward a few years. You are now the parent yourself and your child is coughing, or febrile, or has a stomach ache. Do you know how to respond or does your stomach clench at the knowledge that you aren't equipped to determine appropriate parental response to such a normal, childhood thing?

I read on mamamia.com.au that "the Greek word hypochondria translates as 'below the ribcage'. It was first used to explain indigestion, then melancholia, then neurosis and finally, 'a misplaced fear of illness based on misinterpretation of bodily symptoms' and while almost no one will own up to it publicly up to one in 10 people suffer from anxiety problems and doctors are seeing more cases in which this shows up as health anxiety or hypochondria. The DSM-IV defines hypochondriasis according to the following criteria: Preoccupation with fears of having, or the idea that one has, a serious disease based on the person's misinterpretation of bodily symptoms.



Enter anxiety. If your own parent has a hypochondriasis-type disorder or pattern of behavior, then your parent presents with major anxiety much of the time and you, as the adult child, probably go through periods of crisis and periods of disconnection with that parent. Because that would be normal in this not-normal situation.

Growing up with a hypochondriacal parent makes it difficult, as a parent yourself, to know when illness truly exists, to determine levels of illness, and to figure out appropriate treatment options. You might consider ill people to be fakers or to be exaggerating. You might have a difficult time knowing when to intervene with medications with your children. You might not know when to take their somatic complaints seriously.  If your parent is a hypochondriac you might not even know when to take your own illnesses seriously.

  • Have you thought that your daughter was faking a headache?
    Have you assumed that your child was exaggerating their illness?
  • Have you doubted your own knowledge about basic medical care?
  • Have you ignored your son's complaints, thinking them nonsense?
  • Have you counted on your partner's medical knowledge to determine appropriate treatment options?
  • Does a simple illness in your child make you feel inadequate?


If you can relate to this, then know this.
You won't find information online because this is a genuinely understudied thing. But you can re-parent yourself. You can learn basic illness symptoms and how to treat these illnesses. You can remind yourself that your children are honest reporters of their own illness. You can share these struggles with your own medical professional and with your child's pediatrician. You can intervene with your own maladjusted thoughts and remind yourself that you can trust your own senses.

It's real and you have the ability to retrain yourself and to pass healthy patterns on to your own children. Clarity will happen.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Guilt


It was a hundred years ago, back in my twenties, I was in a class where we were talking about guilt. Everyone in the class was talking about their various experiences of guilt, telling their stories, talking about the times they felt deep senses of guilt and shame. I remember sitting there in that moment racking my brain for times when I felt guilt. But I couldn't come up with one.

Weird, right?

When I was asked for a response I essentially reported that, that I couldn't think of any significant guilt. The response I got from the class really stuck with me.

My peers in the class reacted with doubt, essentially saying Of course you feel guilt, that's bullshit. One guy even looked right at me and said, Maybe you're a sociopath. Sociopaths don't feel guilt. Well, I heard that, sat, and waited for the class to be over.

A hundred years later, and something sparked that moment for me today. Of course I'm not a sociopath. And I still don't experience guilt much. Or shame. And there is a good reason for that. 

According to one online definition I found Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a universal moral standard and bears significant responsibility for that violation.   

Reread that. Compromising one's own standard of conduct. Guess what, I just don't do that. I know I am weird; I talk about things like this and I run the risk of coming across awkwardly, like one who is kind of self-centered. But it's really more the opposite. I simply think too much. I have the need to pick apart my own authenticity, my own ethical standard. It's fricking exhausting sometimes.

The thing is, I know that I try hard to do the right thing. I make mistakes. I definitely do the wrong things sometimes. But I can not carry guilt around. When I do things wrong, I do as much as I possibly can to learn from it, to correct it, to make amends. So why oh why should I feel guilt or shame about errors? Why should you? What is the use of guilt?

Learn from your mistakes.
Make amends.
Forgive yourself.
And fricking move on - because carrying guilt around helps no one.




What is the value or benefit of guilt?
Religions often use and abuse the administration of guilt to control people. Other institutions often use guilt to motivate or shame. But I am here to go out on a limb publicly to say that I find guilt POINTLESS. I REFUSE to wallow in it. I refuse to act like it is a useful emotion. I refuse to condone anyone carrying it around. And I encourage you to let your guilt go too.






Saturday, January 14, 2017

Self Loathing

I don't know how I missed it or how it missed me.
Around me people were stressing out about their appearance, their weight, their skin, their hair, their general look. But I didn't stress. 


Growing up, I noticed that people were hating themselves for the appearance of their face, legs, ass, weight...and I didn't hate myself. I don't hate myself. How did I not get it?

Don't get me wrong, I've added weight; I've added chins. I'm not delighted with the lesser health associated with the weight and I am working out now, down a few pounds. But that's not what I want to talk about, the pounds.

It's the self loathing.

How many people do you know, perhaps you yourself, who seriously and tragically loathe their own bodies. Are disgusted. Hate the skin that they live in. Can't look in the mirror.

I'm interestingly aware of my own thoughts and words right now as I write this blog post because parts of me want to assure you that I am quite cognizant of my weight and girth. It's no secret. I would like to lose some pounds and I'm working on it. Similarly I'm aware of the loss of my true attractiveness. I used to be quite cute. Losing that was shockingly and embarrassingly difficult to accept. It took me about a decade to come to terms with no longer being cute. I had to seriously consider the value of beauty and youth in American culture and how fleeting, even how false, that genuinely is. Still I mourned my loss of it. 

But during that entire decade I never hated myself.


Self-loathing doesn't happen organically. It grows within a family, a community, a culture. It comes from celebrations of bodies that are absolutely perfect, or Photo-shopped to look that way. Both men and women are exposed to thousands of images day after day of human bodies that are so digitally-edited and manipulated that there is no reality left in the image. Yet we see those images and feel inadequate beside them.

Additionally the culture reveres, weirdly worships, youth and slimness. 

This is not news to you. We all know this and have known this for decades. The first time I ever knew of it was sometime in the 1980s when TV Guide took Oprah Winfrey's head and put in onto Ann Margaret's body. Ann Freaking Margaret. I'm certain such deception wasn't new even then. Now the ability to bend and change and misrepresent images is so pervasive I doubt we ever see a pic that isn't somehow revis....er, butchered.

Yet even knowing this so many of us, mature men and women, and the next generations of our children are wandering around feeling inadequate, unworthy, and full of self-loathing.


How this passed me by is completely beyond me. Not only was the female image actually taped to the wall (pictures of naked women...yes, you read that right; pictures of naked women were a part of my childhood), not only did our father jokingly call his adolescent daughters Thunder Thighs and Truck Butt, not only was there no strong female lead in our home, not only was my appearance one of the major roles that I played in the family identity, and not only were we a strong TV- and movie-viewing family, but the culture of the time was strongly slanted toward extremely thin, sickly looking young men and women in all of the teen magazines and popular womens' mags. How did I miss the body image distortions, because important people around me caught it?

One person very close to me can't believe I can be happy with myself when I have lost that beauty that I was once noted for. Yet I am. I am happy with myself and I think I've figured out some of the reasons why the self-loathing skipped me.


  • I am aware that my value does not lie in my appearance. I am deeply loved for the person that I am and I deeply love myself for how strenuously I fight to be honest and authentic.
    Because the quality of character means everything to the world around us, THAT is what we owe the world.
  • Self-loathing and a distortion of the reality of body creates an inability to see one's self clearly. Once you are into the hatred of your own body, no reality of self actually gets through. Many, many men and women who struggle with this are entirely unaware of their own beauty, inside and outside.
    In fact, I know that you are saying to yourself that there are things that I don't know about you and that is why this one does not apply to you.
  • And, weird as this may sound, having been pretty, I know that having it does not make me a better person. I know that having that thing that so many people long for is a total fools trap because having beauty doesn't bring happiness, joy, or fulfillment at all.
    Being happy, joyful, and doing fulfilling things does.

I can't offer solutions or secrets on how to turn Self-Hatred into Self-Worth, though it is possible. But I can contribute this small thought exercise to the discussion. If you struggle with the distortions of body image, please reread the three points I made above. 

Our society as a whole, not the American culture, the Global Popular Culture worships thin. 
Beyond healthy thin.

Be the change you need to see in the world. Recognize the bullshit TRAP you have bought into and are being controlled by. And do everything you can do to change the way you talk to yourself...because the world needs people who are kind and who know how to love themselves.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Lost in the Night


It's that deep night where their words circle in my head...and I lie in the dark repeating, refining, getting it perfect. Those words that I will never actually say to them. The exact, most perfect way of explaining their misconceptions, their inaccuracies, their complete fabrications.

My night is consumed with what I could have, should have, didn't say. In my fantasy diatribe I bust every falsehood and bit of slander and I dash each and every story told against me. In the dark I am successful.


Today in the light I realize that I, again, lost the sleep as they laid sleeping in a peaceful haze of bullshit and lies, a haze of their own construction. Another night lost...but do they win the night? 

NO for I am solid and healthy and not as fragile as I once was.

Today in the light I rinse off the residue of the night and I look myself in the mind and heart and remember that my self worth and beautiful life is not dependent on their understanding of truth. While they powerlessly flounder in a false world of their own construction, my ascent into the light is by my own power, with my own truth, and by my own hand. I do not need, require, or even want their filthy, beleaguered mind in my life. They are as oblivious as ever and I am empowered through the complex and genuine alchemy of self care, personal nurturing, and truth.

Tonight I will sleep soundly.