Beauty–the ugly truth

I’m not a big fan of the title. It needs some adjustment. For now, I’m very excited to have the first draft of a concept that snuck up and took my soul by surprise last night–society’s standards of beauty. I’ve gotten in a lot of deep conversations regarding the idea of beauty and how it’s applicable to that person’s ideology about women and men’s designs and nature. Here’s a little rhetorical piece about my feelings towards that concept. 

 

Too often I’ve been told,

between worn out words

and conversations stuck

to the bottom of too many regrets:

“a little paint

on the old barn

 never hurt anyone.”

But I’m telling you, I’m am not

weathered,

though this ship

has wrestled enough

hurricanes,

twisted itself free

from the rocks along the shore

enough times to know

it no longer wants to see

the inside of the barrel

of a sawed off shotgun,

no longer wants to feel the poison

of revenge

pulsing in the space

between soul and spine.

 

I know what the inside

of a concentration camp looks like

for  I have been aprisoner

inside my own tower of bitterness

for far too long.

My mind has fought off scarlet fever—

infectious to the crewmembers

trying so hard to breathe—

long enough to try to dig holes

in the spaces where good memories

should live;

and clearing it out

took every ounce of strength,

took the backhand

of a machete

in the deep woods of anger

to knock down the walls

that asphyxiated freedom

from bursting in my heart,

exploding as a rose

growing through the rocks

in the desert.

 

So I pulse this prayer,

clinging close to some-day hope

that this world will comprehend

that beauty’s definition

is expansive,

it does not run with fear,

it cannot be expelled by naysayers,

and that only when we add “I”

to beauty

do we find freedom,

for we cannot be free

when this oppressive world chooses

so desperately to callous our hearts

with ill-chosen ideologies that revolve

around the correct curvature of the spine,

the proper part of the lips ,

or the sly way in which a smile

creeps along the face

after low blows to the intellect.

 

Sometimes true magnificence

is found marginalized,

marketed by few,

for society’s standards

spell implosion,

suffocation,

and does not comprehend

the definition

of redemption,

and the beauty that comes

from battling our demons,

not hiding them beneath

layers of makeup,

and false advertising

to make the barn pretty.

 

Our souls slither

between the space

of soul and intellect,

initiating realization

that fairytales

do not always come

pre-packaged,

they burst forth beaming

from circumstance.

Rise forth, queens of pain

summon your strength

for you are strikingly stunning–

surreal–

and society only serves

to suck

self-esteem

from the ones who know not

that their beauty is deeper

than any critic

could ever tell them otherwise

so let’s become a pandemic,

and strike this world confused

with our hearts heaving,

beating beauty, with every breath. 

 
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WeLove Movement

I have recently felt a desperate longing to come up with a page to help reach women and make them feel powerful, loved, beautiful again. To help combat the garbage that we encounter every day, and the lies that we are told like “you aren’t a good enough wife if you don’t do x” and “you’ll never be good enough.” They just keep building up. I’m sick of seeing broken women lining the streets. To see downtrodden, abused members of society because no one took the time to tell them they are worth someone. So, I assembled a group of powerful women to impact this world. 

 

Let’s make this a MOVEMENT. Not a dream. Stand with me today. Share this page with those who need it. And let’s get to changing the world. I’m ready. Are you? 

 

https://www.facebook.com/WeloveMovement?skip_nax_wizard=true

Powerful, unforgiving–my soul as a work of art

I am a woman. A strong, powerful woman with a heart full of honey and a mind as strong as a steel trap. Who wants to change the world by using her fingertips on the keyboard to mold the clay of the world into a beautiful piece of pottery.  That even though the clay hurts when thrown on the wheel, it is twisted and turned into a work of art. The sad part is, that art can be misinterpreted, and so many people in this world like to take the way I look at things and twist them into the way some people look at nude drawings. Offensive. But all I want is for others to see that there is a mass full of people out there who only want to go another day without having to worry if their wings are going to be clipped, so they can no longer feel the wind on their face and the breeze in their soul. Or feel the sunshine on their back. The way sunrises and sunsets are always too short. Always a beautiful flicker that reminds us of rebirth, and of endings in whispers. So many lives are like that—powerful rays licking the earth hoping to taste the saltiness of the rocks and the mustiness of the dirt. Longing to feel anything besides the nagging sense of debt to the American dream they feel every morning when they fill their briefcase with another stack of propaganda, stomping off to work in pumps that cost more to place on their delicately manicured feet than it would relatively cost to feed an entire village or two of dying children here in own country.

And while my heart may be full of honey, I cannot make the world a sweeter place if no one is willing to get stung a little. I may watch a sea full of people, whose hearts beat to the drum of abuse and suffering in sizes my hands cannot hold, but this does not mean that my shattering in pieces that could put the sand on the ocean to shame makes me weak. I am only stronger because of it. Stronger because I vicariously have felt the pounding of a thousand nails along my heartstrings. And while I will never be like Jesus was, I can only hope that by filing my tongue every morning with an outpouring of holy words will make me understand how it feels to be uplifted.

Too many people are satisfied being the bulldozer in the city, when the graffiti is always much, much prettier. We would much rather stigmatize tagging as vandalism, instead see the beauty in the pain sprawled across walls like blood oozing from paint cans. Fall short of understanding the art that comes from the street. Girls splayed around street lights hoping their butterfly wings aren’t too crushed beneath their corsets and red lipstick. Men who know no other way to provide for their family than to peddle a little metal, just between their hips so that the world knows they mean business when they are thrown up against a wall, with nowhere to go but through the bullets.  But let me tell you, it’s so much easier to do the judging when you aren’t the one whose life is crumbling around you. So go ahead, keep the blinders on. But you are missing out on a world full of beauty. And while I see an ocean of problems we need to fix, and people who need more than a fistful of stitches, I will always try to bring roses to every sunrise, and lilies to every sunset.

I may be a woman. But that does not make me an object. Unless you count my soul as a work of art. I will only allow you objectify me if I ask

…explicitly.

Stop shaming our daughters into believing their worth lies in their sexuality

I’m going to apologize in advance that this post is quite lengthy. I do not feel like making several posts to make up all of my thoughts on this topic, so if this is a problem I am sorry. I just have a lot to say. If the title of this blog post is offensive, maybe you should back away from the computer now before I start throwing out pages of information and beliefs your way.

The other day I had managed to find myself sucked into the vortex that is YouTubeland, once again. I was enjoying myself watching strange documentaries about people who have interesting medical problems, until I stumbled upon this documentary:

After the first three minutes I felt sick. But I couldn’t stop watching because I wanted to understand, to try to comprehend such indoctrination. I, too, was raised in a home that strongly believed in the value of saving yourself before marriage. The point of this post is not to bash those who have made the personal decision to wait until their wedding day (or those who have successfully waited). I find them to be admirable to be so committed to a choice they personally have made. What bothers me most about this documentary is the disturbing fact that the highest age of girls interviewed were in their early twenties. And the choice of abstinence and virginity until marriage does not feel like the decision of those interviewed, but rather the choice their parents forced them to make, pressing them into the act of confessing their purity to the father of the house every year.

In my opinion, I had hoped that society had evolved enough to not require the force of parents to determine their child’s entire life. I guess I had forgotten that every where I look I see travesties like this one happening all around. As the media has altered perceptions all around, parents have begun working on over time to prevent their children from becoming corrupted. As Christians, we are called to be different from the world. There is nothing wrong with setting some boundaries on what our children are exposed to, ensuring that they are aware of the problems around them. However, at a certain point, as adults, we need to simply allow our children to experience the consequences of their actions first hand.

I firmly believe that my role as a parent (or adult) is to set my children up to live life to the fullest. To show them the hurting world around them and give them the tools to not only grow themselves amidst the turmoil, but to successfully help carry those who really just need a helping hand. Yes, there is a lot of evil in the world, but I do not believe that in order to properly raise children than I should feel entitled to put them in a glass bubble and ensure they do not leave it. Our children need to be built up, to know they are important.  We need them to feel as though they are the most special people in the whole world, and lovingly correct them when they need some guidance in life. I successfully consider parents to be like bumper railings. There are many bowling pins that children can consider targets. They don’t have to bowl a strike every time, there is some leniency allowed, but when things start to get out of hand, we are there to guide them back into the correct realm of things.

The problem I have with the parents of this documentary is that, unlike the bumper railings, they have set a strict guideline on their children and expect them to follow it to the T. However, one cannot be expected to never make a mistake, and not allowing for any error only allows forever-wounds to be created, for craters to be formed where they are not wanted. We cannot know the damage we bring to our children when we refuse to love them or accept them for veering off to the side a little in the path of life. For not bowling a strike every time they set a target.

Growing up, I was given a purity ring on my sixteen birthday. I had no plans of rushing out and losing my virginity to the first man I met, but I felt uncomfortable upon receiving the gift because I have always believed that you can guide a child to believe what you think is right, but after a certain point it is just time to let them run with the values you have hoped to instill in them. Obviously I don’t believe that children at age thirteen should be having sex. They are far too young to comprehend and understand the consequences if something goes wrong. But giving our children the tools of abstinence and not allowing them to understand what could happen if they fail to follow through only sets our nation up for rising rates of teenage pregnancy. Whether a teenager of consenting age decides they want to have sex or not is their choice, not the choice of the parent. Am I grateful that I waited until I met my husband to embark on this journey? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that is the ideal image for every teenager.

What I’m saying is, that if we fail to teach our children better methods of protected sex, we are failing to give them the tools to make the right decisions. We can tell them that we believe they should save themselves for marriage, providing good, solid reasons as to why of course, but we cannot make them follow through. They are bound to make mistakes. Are we going to follow them everywhere they go and remind them not to kiss, or hold hands or whatever we believe that stopping point should be? It’s simply insanity. Like I’m sure  I have said a hundred times, our job is to set boundaries and to hope they understand what will happen if they make the personal choice other than the one I have told them I prefer. We are set to be guiders, not commanders. Our children will not effectively listen if we force them to follow a certain path of behavior, they are more likely to either rebel or to only do it because “they were told so”. We cannot give them the proper background to stand up for what THEY believe and allow them to accept these beliefs as their own if we ensure that they know nothing other than what we tell them. The world will throw a lot of garbage at our children, it is our job to give them the tools to sort through that garbage, to make decisions accordingly, and hope they turn out the beautiful people we believe the to be.

Another reason why I become sickeningly irritated by the parents in this documentary is because this type of teaching is so blatantly patriarchal it’s disturbing. As far as I am concerned, yes there are differences in the way that males and females GENERALLY are made, but most of those differences deal with the way we prefer things, and are very stereotypical. Maybe a general mass may think one way, but that does not apply to everyone. That’s why I think that gender standards are too rigid, and I think that maybe they should be more fluid so as to allow for the people who don’t exactly line up to the ways the world thinks they should run the ability to be accepted, too.

Women and men are more equal than so many people like to believe. If we teach our children that one gender is inferior, we allow the slanted view that women belong in the kitchen and men belong in the work force to be perpetuated. And this is not only a disgrace to the fact that many women are born with brains and domestic capabilities, and to the men that feel they cannot show any type of quality that might resemble anything feminine. It’s not black and white.

This documentary disturbed me because these girls (one who was interviewed began going to these purity balls at age seven. Seven!! That’s extremely young to make sure they know about sexuality and exactly what purity entails.) attend the ball with their fathers. They dress up like princesses, are served dinner, watch a little performance put on by other girls, and do a little dancing. All of that is not disturbing. I believe it is sweet that the fathers would want to spend time with their daughters, to make sure they understand that they are valued, in every way. We all should make sure that our children feel that way. After the dinner, however, it gets freaky. There are forms passed out, and the fathers agree with their daughters that their daughters will remain pure until their wedding night. It’s not like these daughters have a choice. And the fact that the fathers seem to take their daughters purity into their own hands only sounds perverted and disgusting to me. My father does not need to ensure that I am pure by regularly having discussions with me about it. I felt as though some of the dads appeared to have too much interest in their daughter’s sex lives. It’s really not their business.

The film tried to state that the fathers simply don’t want their daughters hearts to be broken, for them to experience heartache because they found the wrong person to date. They shared that before a boy even was able to hang out with a girl he was interested in, the father would have to sit down with the man, hang out with him a few times, and then decide if he was a perfect match. In my opinion, that means that the father would be selecting a mate based on what he WANTS his daughter to date, that HE thinks would work, but that gives no room for the daughter to make her mind up about what she likes or wants. It allows no room for decision making on the girl’s part. In my head it sounds more like arranged marriage then courting. I believe parents should be able to suggest to their child who the right pick is, and hope for the best, but demanding that they can’t see certain people only allows them to want to see that person more. (Trust me, I know from personal experience). But also, it feels like some of the girls in the video got married quite soon after dating the first person they met. I’m not suggesting that we should all go around dating everyone in sight to decide our personal preferences. It’s such a beautiful thing when we allow our God into our lives to help us decide our potential future mate. And I’m lucky that I only dated one other person before I met my husband. When you know you know. I just feel as though there should be a little more leniency on the part of the parents for deciding who their children are interested in. We cannot prevent our children from heartache. It is inevitable. Even we give our children heartache sometimes. These parent’s goals are absurd.

Also, are the boys of these families taken to another ball and asked to pledge their virginity to their mothers? Do their mothers attend, desperately attempting to ensure that their sons are as pure as they desire their daughters to be? Or as much of society believes, are they men allowed a “free pass”, able to engage in sexual activity before their wedding day? I cannot even explain the level of irritation I have at a society that claims that men are allowed to have whatever amount of sex they want with as many girls as they want and that is “normal” but if a woman does the same thing, she is automatically considered a whore. I’m sorry, but where do we get off explaining to women that they are worth less than men? That men can do whatever they want but women should automatically be held to a higher standard. Pathetic. That’s what it is. It makes it seem that women are irresistible, but that women can find some means of self control. This only makes rape acceptable, only excuses it when a man cannot control his instincts but blames the victim when she “cannot find the grace to act like a lady and keep him from thinking of her in that way.” Ya know what I say to that line of thinking? Fuck you. Fuck society for thinking that way.

The biggest reason that this documentary made me sick is the fact that it makes it seems as though a girl’s only worth is in her ability to give her gift of virginity to her husband on her wedding day. This does not take in to account victims of sexual assault or rape. Girls who “mess up”. Those who do not find pleasure in those of the opposite sex. None of these things are taken into account. It is automatically assumed that a girl will naturally like a boy, will keep herself in good grace and not bring sexual violence towards her upon herself, and she will remain pure by staying away from any and all temptations.

As far as I am concerned, putting so much worth on a woman’s sexuality takes so much away from her potential as a smart individual, as a contributing member of society, as a brilliant being all her own, different from all of those around her. It places worth on artificial things like beauty, the ability to perform simple household duties, the ability to maintain the principles of motherhood. It assumes that all women desire to be married, therefore they should not deviate from the given path. I call bullshit.

I’m sick of the indoctrination we call America. I’m sick of the lies. I’m going to speak out now. I am going to stand up for what I believe. Always.

What would you like to see me write about next?

I’ve had a lot of thoughts swirling around my mind the past few days about what to write next. I’ve been doing so much typing these past few days it’s a wonder my key board doesn’t give out on me in complete defiance *knock on some really pretty wood* 

So, I’m asking for opinions. 

Tonight, when I was at the Redbox machine I noticed that the Bully movie finally came out. When I first saw the previews for this movie, I decided that I wanted to write a poem about bullying and how it is such a big problem. Not sure if the movie will inspire any sort of amazing writing, but it’s worth a try. 

I have also been mulling about writing about the way I was raised and feminism. 

The last choice is how I believe Jesus was a liberal hippie. 

All of these ideas are obviously in the beginning stages. But I thought it would be kind of cool to see what my audience would like to read next or none of it. Comment if you have any ideas!