Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - More: Things That I Love and Love to Hate

Since my last couple of postings were somewhat serious, I decided a lighthearted journal was in order.  I wrote in an earlier blog of some of my favorite things; I simply want to expound where I left off, and add some of my pet peeves.....

Movies.  I love going to the movies, and watching good films on TV.  I am not a huge Sci-fi fan, nor do I like most horror films and rarely see them.  I adore some films made way before I was born...I love Casablanca and probably have seen it at least one hundred (100) times.  And, anything with Cary Grant in it, Katharine Hepburn, or Audrey Hepburn, will get my attention.  I love independent, dramatic, dark films.....things that are not mainstream, and always have been a fan of The Godfather 1 & 2....not too much Godfather 3....seen them all many times.  If George Clooney is in a film, I will see it...and not be disappointed.  Same with Kate Winslet...she is fantastic in anything.  And I have been in love with Robert Redford forever. Oh, The Way We Were..... My favorite romantic films are Breakfast at Tiffany's and You've Got Mail.....I especially love them because they take place in New York. Love and Other Drugs with Jake Gylenhaal and Anne Hathaway is a new favorite.  Too many movies to mention....love them!

 Hottest(sex) Scene from a movie:  The limo scene from No Way Out with Kevin Costner and Sean Young.  If you have never seen it; rent or download it...does not disappoint.  I still have the fantasy of recreating the scene as a surprise birthday present for someone special!!! 

Most sensual scene:  From Out of Africa with Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, when he is washing her hair. Doesn't get better than that. Or more intimate.

Scariest movie:  The Exorcist.  Seen it only once, and that was enough.

Funniest movie:  too  many to name, but, I like Airplane, Weekend at Bernie's, Animal House, and more recently, Bridesmaids....hysterical.  Movies.  They transport us away from ourselves.  Love them.

I love my friends and I'm probably loyal to a fault.  I am also a serial flirt.  There's flirting for fun and flirting with intent.  I do both.  While it often can lack seriousness, for me flirting is also a way to strengthen a bond I have with someone in a fun, sexy way.  And, I never tease.  That is not my style.

The beach.  Crazy for it.  Mountains...love them too.  Both help restore my spirit when it has been compromised.
Pillow talk.  No sex. Just talking...side by side, for hours. 
Late night phone calls....I am always calm after the day has quieted down and never get mad if someone calls late and wants to talk.  I miss some of that now with emails and texting.

Okay....some pet peeves.  I hate when I am on line ordering something and you have to put in a code from the image shown.....it's annoying and has no purpose in my view, and looks like scribble to boot.  It drives me crazy.

I hate labels.  Literally.  On clothes, jars, etc.  I am always peeling them off.
I hate people that don't signal when they are turning or changing lanes.
I hate paper napkins and paper towels, and don't own them.
I hate conspiracy theories..
I hate guys who leave the toilet seat up.  Yep.  that's an oldie but a goodie.
I hate when someone butters their toast, then leaves crumbs in the butter dish.  Ugh.
I hate when people take up two parking spaces.
I hate people that invite you out, then cancel.
I hate greeting cards that have sparkles or confetti fall out when you open it.
I hate ice cream with freezer burn.
I hate people that are always late...really, I hate it.
I hate it when people don't return emails or phone call...makes me feel insignificant, guess it's my issue.
I hate hair on soap.  ewwww. or hair in shower drain.  ewww...ewww.
I hate that I have a draw full of cords that I have no clue what they belong to.  Cell phone? Camera?
I hate an unmade bed.
I hate wobbly tables.
I hate unsolicited advise.
Most of all.  I hate lists.

Smile.  It's the second best thing you can do with your lips.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - Reflection

September 11, 2001....ten years ago today.  Our Facebook and other social media pages, TV, Radio and all media is flooded with images and remembrances of that day that shook us to our core, and changed how we felt about our world, forever. The event left us all questioning our future freedom, and left us with a resolve to rise above the insidious notion that terrorists can take away our spirit. 

I don't think anything I write tonight will be of a profound nature, nor write anything that has not be said or written about:  this tragedy that we have all experienced.  But, what I choose to write is about how we all have made promises we often make after a tragedy; of how we all feel we've had a wake up call and decide to live our life -- not only better -- but with more intention.  To live more in the moment and to experience less regret.

Therapists say that when either witnessing or experiencing traumatic events, our memory of that event is more vivid that happier, joyful events.  Why?  Probably because the event has left an indelible fear of the possibility of another occurrence, and that can keep us emotionally frozen.  The safety net that I, and so many others have, is that we really are all in this together,  and with that comes the hope and optimism that we are going to be alright in the end.

We have all felt the sense of loss with those that perished that terrible day.  It is a reminder to those of us who have lost loved ones, of the void and the hole in our hearts that remain.  Although I wrote about loss and grief in an earlier blog, my thoughts now are centered on how we move forward with our lives, holding our lost loved ones close by and somehow want everything we do to be with their approval.  I know that whenever I am in New York, I can not go to lower Manhattan without  feeling a pit in my stomach that I will be overcome with emotion as I see reminders all around me of the WTC.  I spent so much time there over the years. I flew to New York two weeks after September 11, and it was a surreal experience.  Beginning with the silence at the airports, so eerily unfamiliar, and then to see so many National Guardsmen patrolling the streets of the city, still so quiet even with thousands walking around.  We decided to get out of the city on the Sunday of my visit, to upstate New York, and as we passed through small towns and hamlets about fifty (50) miles north of Manhattan, we ran into many funerals being held for  many of the firefighters, who had given their lives, that made their homes in those small towns.  So unnerving, so profoundly sad.  I think, I, not unlike so many other New Yorkers, were frayed at the edges.

Have we lived each day being kinder?  I know that I'm a work in progress.  How many of us are following our heart....each and every day?  Not only telling people we love that we love them, but also modeling behavior that is an indication that we are trying to live our life with joy and happiness.  We tell ourselves that life is so short and seem to forget that until the next reminder....the next loss we have to deal with.

When my sister, Ann, passed away some years ago, I vowed to live my life without regret.  Because, I regret that I put off going to Los Angeles for just two days due to a business meeting that was scheduled.  I knew she was in serious condition, but, only expected  her to have a long recovery, not succumb in a matter of days.  I am flooded with emotion whenever I am in Los Angeles for a visit and cannot attend the church where she had her funeral without being in tears throughout the Mass.  And, for the longest time, I would not buy cherry-flavored Swedish fish, her favorite candy...I do not remember a time when she did not have them in her pockets.  The past cannot be changed, so having any regret is pointless.

As the evening draws toward closing , the TV tributes wind down, as the remembrances remain fresh in our minds, I am once again drawn to the possibilities awaiting all of us.  A reminder that each day brings a fresh start; a chance to begin again.

for Annie:

When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you

I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - The Sexual Objectification of Young Girls

Over the weekend I took my granddaughter, Katey, shopping and bought her a dress because, now as a middle schooler, she has a couple of dances to go to.  She was in the dressing room at The Gap, trying on the dress we ultimately bought.  While looking at herself in the mirror, she said she loved the dress and that there WAS a cute boy she had her eye on and that the dress should get his attention. She's eleven (11) and I was floored. 

Let me be clear.  I love clothes; I always have.  I love getting dressed up; I also love getting attention from the opposite sex .  But, I am an adult.  What is disturbing to me, is the trend today of having very, very, young girls play dress up for real.  Because, the not so subliminal message here is that their sexuality and sexiness begins to define who they are long before they have a chance to discover who they are, and what message these young girls want to put out there into the world.  There have been numerous articles and news reports made about this subject, and for those who have not paid attention, let me clue you in.

If you walk through any department store, or stores like Target, you will see bras being marketed and sold to girls as young as seven (7) and eight (8).  These are padded bras to give them the look of having developed breasts.  Add very skimpy, bikini underwear, and you have a mini version of Victoria Secret models.  Look, there is nothing wrong with Victoria Secret models, they are gorgeous women.  But, an eight (8) nine (9) ten (10) or an eleven (11) year old should not have anything in common with them. As let's be honest here;  Victoria Secret models are objectified. By men, and by women who want to be them. When women accept that they are defined by their sexuality, all women lose some sense of equality.  That is how it is.   As adults, we can choose how we want to be seen by the world.  Young girls today do not have that choice.

  When I see Tom Cruise and wife Katie parading their very young daughter, Suri, in outfits that are very grown up, it makes me cringe.   My daughter used to go out in her princess dresses, wearing plastic high heels, carrying purses, wearing jewelry...but, there was no mistaken that this was purely dress up.  Suri Cruise is often photographed wearing high heels and a line of clothing that is anything but dress up/play clothes.  And, I read that Suri often picks out Katie Holmes clothes for events such as premieres, etc.  Katie:  really?  Seriously?  At the age of three (3) and four (4)?  The question to Katie Holmes is why isn't she picking out more appropriate clothes for her daughter?

Growing up is hard enough.  For girls and for boys.  But, boys have a head start....they are not treated as sexual objects and are allowed and encouraged to explore their interests at a very early age.  Whether that interest is something in sports or academics,  the added pressure of their physical appearance does not play an important role, as is the pressure bestowed upon young girls.  Imagine if you will, the same department stores selling those padded bras to girls, begin to sell jockey shorts that are padded, providing a larger "package" for the boys.  Why not?  That would be a form of equality.  It would still be sexist, but, there would be some balance in marketing to boys as well as the girls.  I think if that would happen, there would probably be some legislature on the table blocking that from happening.  Why?  Because historically, sexism is so widely accepted when it comes to females and seems more offensive if there is sexism directed at males.
  
I know there are many more opportunities for girls now,  than in the past.  Especially in sports, thanks largely to Title IX, and also in the field of math and science. The challenge is getting past the notion that girls must be sexy at such a young age. Whether we like it or not, or whether you agree or not, objectifying young girls into sexual objects plays a role in gender equality.  Girls are not given a road map to their sexual maturity.  What used to be marketed to young adults in the form of sexy clothing,  has been marketed to very young teens.  And what used to be marketed to teens, in now the target for pre-tweens...ages 8-11.  Sexual discovery is occurring at a much younger age, and it is not healthy.  Eleven year old should not be concerned with being sexy enough to be noticed by boys; but, the reality is, it is very much on their minds.  I am sure the boys are feeling the push to notice the girls also.  I think the struggle to have gender equality is stuck; the pendulum is swinging...but, still with some friction. ......when I was twelve or thirteen, I was not worrying about my sexuality...even though I was crazy about boys.  When a boy told me he was better than me because he had a penis and I had a vagina, I looked him straight in the eye and said " as long as I have a vagina, I can have all the penises I want."!  Well, actually, that was a joke I learned in the seventh grade, but, it said something to me about how the world viewed women, and how I chose to respond.

Those who know me, know that I am a free spirit when it comes to sex and sexuality.  I like to feel sexy,  look sexy and be considered appealing to the opposite sex.  I have already come through the cycle of self-discovery.  Those of you who have followed this blog know some of my history;  know about the rape and other experiences that have caused me pain and have caused me, in the past, to question my self worth.  I do not define myself by any of those experiences, and that has taken a long time.  I embrace how I feel about sexuality, just as I embrace how I feel about equality.  My wish for my granddaughter and other young girls is for them to have the opportunity to discover who they are without sexual nuances getting in the way, to discover their sexuality when they have acquired the maturity to do so, and to pursue their dreams without the cloud of inequality.