All The Love In My Life

This morning shortly after arriving to work I became fixated on something my 8-year old made for me when he was in preschool. To think that that was just over 3 years ago is bizarre. On the one hand it feels like just yesterday. But on the other it’s as though it were so long ago. Who I was then, where I was, what I was doing was completely different. And in that time my son has grown in so many of his own brilliant ways most assuredly.

heart

What the message reminds me of is a lesson I have found myself sharing with my son over and over and over again. Because yes, there are times when I’ll catch him feeling sorry for himself; he feels he’s been cheated out of something that someone else got and he didn’t. And what I’ll tell him is how important it is to focus on what he has instead of what he hasn’t got. It’s amazing to watch those little wheels turning inside his head as a shift in perspective begins to take place on his face and in the way he proceeds with his life. He moves on. He gets over it. He learns to appreciate what he already has instead of clinging to feelings of jealousy and insecurity. He remembers the love in his life.  (And the ice cream I just treated him to perhaps!)

There is something for me to take away from this, too. How often have I pined away for a love that couldn’t be reciprocated? How often have I wallowed in sorrow, loneliness, and discontent?  Or wondered why other people get to fall in love and live happily ever after and I don’t?  All the while forgetting–even deliberately–that I am already surrounded by so much love in my life.  And who am I to expect more than what is already given me?

Rules For Entering: A Mother’s Reflection On Matters Of The Heart

This morning before leaving for work I was struck by the sign on my 8-year old son’s bedroom door.  It was a list of “rules” for entering which you can see here:

20160321_094725

I thought it was a fine list of rules; he doesn’t seem to request anything of his bedroom guests that is too unreasonable.  Asking permission to enter, being kind, respecting his personal space, as well as his feelings and the times when he just needs to be alone… all good things.  What I was most intrigued by was the warning he attached below them: if you break the rules, you’re out.  No wavering, no mending, no talking about the problem. It’s a very move-along-and-don’t-let-the-door-hit-ya-on-the-way-out sort of mentality; Nihilist, even, black-and-white.  Fear ridden.  Destructive rather than constructive.

So while I was standing there reading the sign and having these thoughts I wondered, is that what my son has learned?  He’s seen me go through three relationships with men I invited into our home and our family yet who are no longer around, outside of his own father.  The other two just… disappeared.  Why?  Because they broke the rules, I guess.  And what were my rules?  Well, very similar to junior’s, actually:

20160321_094848

Seriously.  I asked for a donut.  Where the fuck is it?!  Right???  I think we all feel that way sometimes, or at least I have.  I just find it very interesting to see that feeling reflected here in my son’s rules for entering his room, his world, his life.  Poignant, symbolic, yes?  What I don’t know is how much of that is learned and how much of it is a natural part of being human and wanting to feel safe and cared for.  I guess if anyone regardless of their current situation or circumstances growing up can say that they would ask the same of anyone entering their haven, then we can all agree that these rules belong on every door to every heart.

Unfortunately, written within those rules there is nothing to be said of loving for the sake of loving; giving when you don’t want to give; learning what that feels like in the end.  Even though it’s challenging, there is no implication in such demands that believing the pain of loving without guarantee or restitution is worth it; there is no resolve to lead with love despite the fear of getting burned.

What do we do not only for the other person, but for ourselves when we allow someone in even when they’ve hurt us… upset us… didn’t deliver what we asked for?  I’m 34-years old and I’m still figuring this out; I suppose I can’t expect my 2nd grader to really grasp it yet.  But as his mother, his teacher, his guide, I see it as my job and my privilege to show him the power of love, forgiveness, and working through differences, even when someone we trusted enough to welcome into our lives has hurt us, gone against the rules.  We would all want someone to show up at our door bearing donuts, chocolate, and ice cream.  It’s just that, not all days are like that.  Some days it’s a pile of smelly trash, baggage you don’t care to deal with, and horse shit.

itsy bitsy or teeny weeny?

Bikini Contest.  The other night I came across a video with this title when I was on YouTube listening to some tunes.  My children spend a lot of time on YouTube, much to my dismay (especially my daughter who is 11), so sometimes video suggestions will pop up based on things they’ve watched.  This video, I could tell, was geared for (presumably) a young teenage audience.  So, I decided to be a responsible parent and check it out.

What I discovered was that this video was posted by some self-consumed Barbie doll wannabe teenage twat who decided to try on and share with the world all 30 (yes, 30) bikini swimsuits that she owns.  Answer me this: who… the hell… needs 30 swimsuits?!?  And all bikinis none the less!  …that’s not very practical.  Also, who has that kind of time or money?  (Obviously not me so I should probably just move on…)

This poor stupid girl started off by saying how all of her friends were doing these videos, so she decided to join in on the fun (so this is a thing that other stupid girls are also doing apparently).  She proceeded to show her viewers each bikini, one by one, and described them in detail, as if we couldn’t already see what they looked like (it was riveting, let me tell ya).  She demonstrated what each one looked like by trying them on (offering a close up of her chest) and got really excited over STUPID shit.  Thirty goddamn bikinis later, she’s encouraging her viewers to “like” the video and “follow” her on YouTube.  But it was her closing remark that really made me sad and mad at the same time.

It was something along the lines of “even if you’re a creepy guy who just wanted to see some girl walk around in a bikini, that’s okay, you’re still a follower!”  She then winked and gave the camera a thumbs up.

What the…………. fuck?!??

I’m sad that there are actually young girls and women out there who feel they need this kind of validation in their lives…. the kind that comes from complete strangers who care nothing about them but rather what they look like underneath the next to nothing clothing they may or may not be wearing.  I’m sad that it doesn’t bother but rather excites this girl to know that strange “creepy” guys are using her to get off, but will later forget all about her.  BECAUSE SHE MEANS NOTHING TO THEM and because she will be replaced with the next girl feeling frisky enough to take her clothes off for an audience.  How sad that that is yet so important to her concept of self.  …And that there are girls and women who think and feel and behave this way EVERYWHERE.

I’m mad that this type of media not only shows a lack of self-respect, but also a lack of consideration for the young girls who have been victims of sexual violence as a result of the smut regularly available on the internet to creepy guys everywhere.  [Sort of as an aside, I was actually surprised recently to learn from a friend who worked in probation with pedophiles that when asked, offenders will oftentimes say that what they did to their sister, niece, cousin, neighbor girl… they learned by watching online videos; their curiosity got the best of them.  I guess I always assumed these fuckers were repeating what had been done to them or what they watched happen growing up.  But that isn’t usually the case as it turns out, at least in my friend’s experience.  And yet how often do we support this type of violence that is most often directed towards women and girls by supporting the porn industry in some form or fashion?]  I’m mad that I’m forced to raise my daughter in a world that begins sexualizing girls at a young age, exploiting them in a myriad of ways, only to turn against them in the end for getting old and fat.

So this evening I had a well thought out discussion with both of my children in which  I very deliberately said a swear word.  This isn’t something I do often.  Oh sure, I’ll let something slip in a fit of frustration or hostility or if I’m just not thinking.  Very rarely do I contemplate a swear word before using it around them.  But I felt, after watching this video and others like it, a word that is taboo and profane to them was exactly what I needed to describe what I thought of this online trend in order to leave a lasting impression.

And so I said to them, “hey… kids…  this video is SHIT.”  I made sure to repeat it several times and continued to explain the impact that videos like these have on both girls and boys and how it can affect their perceptions without them even realizing it.  Videos that are self-serving and attention seeking, that contain nothing but petty commentary and pointless dialogue (or just down and dirty raunch) just to hide the fact that a girl is insanely insecure (and why wouldn’t she be in our society) do nothing to enhance one’s character or improve the lives of others.  It is pure and utter… SHIT.  I just hope that none of the brainwashing has set in for either of my children yet. My 8-year old son just laughed when I brought it up (“Who would want to watch someone in a bikini?!”); my daughter insisted she didn’t see it and steers clear of those types of videos.

Nevertheless… this mama bear is tightening up on what she allows in her home.  I can’t control what my cubs see in the real world, but dammit if there’s going to be a lot less SHIT around here interfering with anyone’s potential to be their best, most confident and most ambitious selves.  I’m sorry but, trying to determine which of your 30 bikinis is the most liked by people you don’t even know isn’t very ambitious.  There is a lot of shit going on in the world, more relevant than the SHIT you contaminate it with, stupid fake pretty girl!!

 

 

wolf mother

I see her — the wolf mother. I see her as I see myself. She stands, stoic; a look of fierceness in her eyes. She’s strong and beautiful; a blazon spirit, tender in heart. But do not dare threaten the young she protects lest you fall into her snare. You then will find yourself pitted deep below the peel of the earth. She will unravel you, slowly without equivocation, sinking her teeth within the flesh of you, ripping you apart. All that could sustain her she spits back out again, for no trace of evil must enter in. She is to remain pure and undeterred. She is the righter of wrongs. She is the wolf mother. She knows no other than to carry on.

Living By The Lists

When I was a kid I had lists for everything. I retained them in my head and I’d review them over and over until I could recite them perfectly. Whether it was some game which I would not allow myself to play until I mentally reviewed the instructions and object of the game precisely, or the lay out of a house in which I would not feel comfortable until I examined and approved every tiny detail. If I thought something looked off, I’d try to adjust it so that my mind could make sense of my surroundings. This was freakishly weird! (I thought at the time.) I assumed something was wrong with me and that I was the only one to ever suffer from the same obsessive mental madness. Years later, when I would go on to take various psychology and sociology courses, I realized that while still weird perhaps, there are actually people out there with similar Obsessive Compulsive Disorders …and there was a name for it! Of course, by then I no longer carried the lists around with me. At least, not to the same extreme.

However, now as an adult I find that the lists, while different in content and intensity, still define my life. And I have so many lists: things to do, things to buy, places to go, people to call and email, projects to complete… The lists are never ending.  Yet I write them with the anticipation of being able to cross things off, one accomplishment at a time, as if to prove that I am doing something with my life.  And as though there will soon come a day when I won’t have anything left to scratch off.  But then what?  Because I also realize that the day there isn’t anything left for me to do–no errand to run, no groceries to pick up, no person to get in touch with–is the day I will draw my last breath.

There will always be things to do.  And there will always be chaos. Making lists has just always been my way of bringing order to my life; of feeling in control. I suspect that even as I was growing up, when things around me didn’t make sense, this too was the purpose of my wacky lists.  I can’t see myself ever fully functioning without writing things down; my lists are little reminders of all that there is to do.  (And as a single mother of two, there is always lots to do.)  I just can’t help but feel sometimes that by living by the lists, I am also dying by them one check mark at a time. 

mother

everything you’re not
and that makes you bitter
but I will never blind my eyes
the way you do,
bind my heart the way you do;
I am not a quitter.
And those things that you say,
it’s a shame to let
such a beautiful heart go to waste.
It’s as if all your strength
has gone to me,
as you grow weary,
admit defeat;
a troubled mind seeking release
from the betrayal of our senses.
Seems all of this is relentless
and senseless.
When will you open your eyes?
When will you move beyond?
I know all you want
is a world in which you belong.
But that will never be the way to go about it.

Not by Chance, but by Love

This evening I was sitting and chatting with my son, who is 6-years old. He was counting all of my moles and decided that I must have over a hundred. Then he told me about all six of his, the “cutest” one being on his pinky finger. I insisted that the one on his face right below his left eye is my personal favorite. Then I asked him how he got to be so cute. He pointed at me, explaining that I’m the reason he’s so adorable. That makes sense, I agreed, “I did, after all, make you.” Holy shit! I then reflected. I made him!! That shit is crazy! (Not that I wasn’t already aware of this.) He’s so big and so smart and so delightful and fun. And I’m responsible for bringing all of that into the world. I’ve always wanted to make the world a better place. And through my children, I already have. They certainly make my world much more fulfilling and enjoyable. I can’t imagine life without them. So here’s a little story of how their journey into this chaotic world began.

Their dad and I met when we were in the 8th grade. I was 13-years old. I can remember the first day I ever laid eyes on him. We were in the same science class together with Mr. E. It sounds unbelievable, I’m sure, to anyone who’s never experienced anything like this, but it was in that moment that I heard a calm, low voice say, “That’s the man you’re going to marry”. I wasn’t entirely convinced at the time. I mean, what the hell did I know?!  We were YEARS away from being at that point in our lives and plus I didn’t even know the kid!  But as time went on and I did begin to get acquainted with him, I fell pretty hard for the jock who managed to go for a nerd like me.

Throughout high school and then college we went on to have our share of ups and downs. I can’t tell you how many times I broke up with him.  I would often fall for other guys because I didn’t feel like he understood me. But then, we were so young, I think I was also still trying to understand myself.  He was jealous and insecure, which I thought was just an implication of how much he really loved me (wrong). And so I’d go back to him, assured that no one else could love me the way he did (again, wrong). Because here’s what I learned 16 years later: we were both perhaps too young and dumb to know what true love is all about.

When it comes to true love, the kind that is deep and eternal, you have to be willing and able to see your partner for all that they are and embrace them, flaws and all.  You also have to be willing to be honest and able to grow together.  While I did go on to marry the boy I met that day in the 8th grade, after all our years together, he never really seemed to take the time to get to know me fully.  He wasn’t interested in the totality of me, just the parts of me he approved of, denying that there was so much more below the surface incomprehensible to his depthless mind.  But I could not be who he wanted me to be and he couldn’t be anything more than who he was.

So alas, after 7 years, our marriage met its end. But not before creating two beautiful children who have convinced me that destiny is, in fact, what brought their father and I together. Because were it not for him and all of the choices and strong emotional ties that kept bringing us back together, our children wouldn’t be here. We made them, but it feels more like they were made for me. I don’t know if the voice I heard was “real”, meaning that it came from an alternate source. But I do know how real it felt. I’m not sure whether our love was ever real, meaning void of ego, but surely we had our moments. One thing I do know is how real my love is for my kids and how incredibly lucky I am to be able to say that I’m their mom and yes, I made them.

Postpartum Partners

In every relationship we’re given challenges as we face different stages and phases of our lives together. As my girlfriends and I sat around the table one night, sharing and relating our stories of love, life, and motherhood, this is something that became very clear to me. And what I’m figuring out is that women’s and men’s experiences are completely different from one another, but that is not where our problems lie. Without an understanding of and an appreciation for our partner’s experiences, there is naturally going to be a divide.

I think first and foremost, we have to grant ourselves permission to feel what we’re feeling. Whatever it is, there’s a reason for it, so allowing ourselves to experience our own emotions without shame or guilt is a crucial step in figuring out where those feelings are coming from. We also need to be aware of ourselves. We can’t expect our partner to understand us if we don’t even know what’s going on inside our heads. But sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint why we feel so unsettled; there may be several factors all contributing to one problem. So, patience and kindness must become cornerstones in any relationship.

Since our experiences differ, our perspectives are also going to be incongruent from one another. It’s easy to feel slighted, overlooked, or unappreciated when we don’t feel our partner recognizes or cares about our experiences. Validation becomes the missing key ingredient then for harmony to exist between two people who are coming at the relationship from opposing angles.

What my friends seem to be going through is something I can remember going through and what I think so many couples with young children encounter. It’s the hump that we all must get over. Or not. One statistic I read is that around half of all children in the U.S. come from divorced families. Perhaps partly because, again, women’s and men’s experiences vary so much from one another, especially when it comes to parenting. We forget to acknowledge the difficulties unique to our partner as a mother or as a father, which may not be fathomable to us, the opposite.

Of course a man can’t even begin to know what his wife is going through after giving birth. And women, how can we even begin to explain it, right? Men, it’s no wonder you may feel neglected after your wife gives birth. SHE JUST GAVE BIRTH. To a real, living and breathing human being. That’s kind of a big deal. And it kind of requires a lot of work to ensure that that tiny person continues to live and breathe. We all know how excited men can get over the size of their turds. So men, imagine shitting an 8 pound human being that’s actually cute, smells nice, and is fun to hold. Can you really blame your wife for obsessively concerning herself with the livelihood of this tiny creature that she forced out of her body?

As a woman who’s had children, it’s easy for me to say: Hey.. guys.. suck it up! Your mother may have been a woman, but that doesn’t mean all women are here to cater to you. There is a tiny person who now exists partly thanks to you and who requires attention. So rather than complain about how little of that you’re getting, how ’bout you tune into your baby’s needs as much as your partner does? This will lighten her load and may mean she has more energy for “other things” that now seem to be more of a priority for you than they are for her.

Speaking of “other things”, boys, please understand the strains that having children bids of a woman’s body before, during and after giving birth. Are you really going to put her through the guilt of not wanting to have sex? When a woman starts having children, her body goes through a series of changes. She begins to see herself differently; she may not like what she sees. And she fears that you won’t either. During this time, your wife or partner needs constant reassurance that she is still the sexiest woman alive in your book. Yet even though she needs to know that she’s still sexually desirable, that in no way means she wants to have sex.

A woman’s priority once becoming a mother is, naturally, her child’s needs, not yours. So while men still feel driven to bury their bone immediately after becoming a parent, women’s experiences are so much different, for obvious reasons. So many demands are placed on women’s bodies during and after pregnancy. Believe it or not, gentleman, we are not just fuck boxes. Our bodies are vessels through which life can safely enter this world. Our bodies are milk machines sustaining that life upon its arrival. Our bodies become a comfy place for tiny babes to rest their fragile heads and for growing toddlers to climb and pull upon as though our limbs resembled monkey bars. Our bodies do not belong to you.

And while you may crave the physical intimacy that was once so much a part of the relationship, if you care about your partner and are willing to validate her experiences as a woman who is now the mother of your children, you will put those desires to rest as you respectfully admire from afar the wonders of her body; as you begin your way towards a different kind of intimacy. One that embraces the responsibilities of parenting and grows out of a sense of cooperation, mutual trust and compassion.

Sure, as a man, you may begin to feel put off; your advances are denied time and time again and you start to question your adequacy. But at this point in your lives, your wife doesn’t want you for what you can offer in bed. The only thing she cares about when her head hits that pillow is sleep. At this point, a woman wants her partner to offer a helping hand, to share the responsibilities of parenting equally; afterall, making a baby is a joint effort. She wants encouragement and reassurance that she’s a great mother; something she’s probably dreamt about her entire life and which may come with a few let downs. A woman wants to feel like her partner is in awe of all that she’s done to bring this little human being into the world and all that she continues to do to take care of them. I mean, it is amazing, is it not? Perhaps the power this ability wields is what has threatened the male species since the very beginning and has led to their efforts of trying to “put women in their place”, knowing that ultimately it is women who give life. And what could be more powerful than that?

Men absolutely struggle with feelings of rejection and sexual frustration as their partner’s body becomes off limits. These are experiences that deserve to be acknowledged and validated by their partner. However, I guarantee the sacrifices men make in their sex lives do not outweigh the sacrifices women make during pregnancy, labor and postpartum.

Easy for me to say, right? The only experience I can attest to is that of a woman who’s given birth twice. But all I’m suggesting is that men consider it a possibility. Because in addition to the stress motherhood places on a woman’s body, there are also mental strains that women experience which men do not. Women often worry so much more than men beginning the second they find out they’re pregnant. Of course they do! They know their unborn child’s health and chances of survival depend on them and them alone. What the father does in no way affects his unborn child, but the mother must be wary of nearly every choice she makes, including what she puts into her body, as well as her daily activities. And for women who breastfeed, these sacrifices continue to be made for months and sometimes even years.

As children grow, generally speaking, it seems mothers tend to put more thought into what is best for them than fathers do. And I think women have been criticized for this. But men, imagine the concern you would feel for something that was once literally one with you, that began its life inside of you. Women want to feel like even though you can’t know this bond, you respect it and understand its value in the evolution of the human race. Your partner wants to know you feel just as responsible for your child as they do because of the love you share for one another and the commitment you’ve made to being a family. Women want to see that you’re willing and able to make life altering sacrifices the way they have.

And in turn for their natural role as givers of life, women want men to be protectors and sustainers of life. It isn’t often that I feel content to place labels on the two genders qualifying them as either ‘this’ or ‘that’. But from what we have observed in the natural world, this often does seem to be the case. Not that females cannot or do not protect and sustain their young; however I think after giving birth a woman looks to her partner and she wants to know how he’s going to show his love for her and their child the way she did by loving and caring this little person into existence. What grand gesture is he going to make? What can he now offer that will at all compare to what she has done for him and their offspring? Or will he instead believe his needs to be more important, dismissing the weight of the responsibilities of parenthood, and allowing most of it to fall onto her shoulders?

For women, perhaps their disinterest in sex is some way of unconsciously settling the score by forcing their male partner to sacrifice as women must sacrifice; to suffer in some way as women must suffer to bring new life into the world. But also, and without question, it can take a while for a woman to adjust to the new, constantly shifting demands suddenly imposed on her. One minute her body is wanted for milk or to comfort a crying babe. And the next it’s being groped by the hands of a man who expects her to be able to make the switch instantaneously from mother to lover. If only it were that easy…

While, as a mother, I can only give testament to the experiences of women after having kids, I do encourage women to consider the challenges men face as they learn to adjust to this new lifestyle of parenting and partnership. Surely it isn’t easy for a guy to suddenly lose his wife’s interest in him sexually, or to make sense of her emotions being controlled by the rush of hormones surging through her body, causing her to respond and behave in ways he’s never had to deal with before. All of these changes and challenges are an indelible part of relationships once children are brought into the picture.

But I think, if it were easy, wouldn’t it cheapen all those moments that eventually make all of the sacrifice and hardships worth it? Through struggle we gain strength and wisdom. Through family we learn the true meaning of love. And with gratitude we can begin to see this time as one that will help to shape us into the greatest version of ourselves. But the longer lovers go without validating their partner’s experiences, the harder it is to break down the wall of resentment that can split a family apart and cause much more than just a case of the baby blues.

Enough

Is beauty something that is perceived only through our sense of vision? How does a collective idea of what makes someone beautiful shape every social construct and social system–everything about us really, including the things we desire, and the way we learn to feel about ourselves and others?

If you’re anything like me, whenever you walk past a magazine rack you can’t help but eye and scrutinize each pretty face and sculpted body.  They’re always tied to headlines like, “Flatter Abs In 10 Minutes!”; “Flawless Skin You’ve Dreamed About”; “Get Him To Notice You”.   I’ll stand there with a feeling of contempt over the absurdity of our culture’s obsession with women’s aesthetics.

And yet, there are times when part of me wonders how my life might be better if I resembled them more in some way, even though I know most women don’t look like the celebrities and models in magazines; even the celebrities and models themselves don’t look like they do in magazines. With enough make-up and air brushing, (not to mention money and silicon), a hair stylist and fashion and lighting expert, we would probably all qualify to make the cover of some insipid magazine.

Nevertheless, I peer into the faces all staring at me, telling me what I should see when I look at me. Then later, standing in front of the mirror, gazing at my own reflection, that’s not what I see.  And what I’m left with is the feeling that I’m not enough.

I glare down at my deflated, once D cup, now B-C cup breasts. I analyze the stretch marks that span the width of my stomach and the skin there that puckers because it’s been stretched by two pregnancies. And in my heart of hearts I like to believe, and I encourage other mothers to believe, that these things make me more beautiful, not less so. Because they symbolize the amazing feat of growing, carrying, delivering, and sustaining the lives of two human beings!!

But unfortunately, this is not how stretch marks, floppy breasts, and flabby skin are perceived by the rest of society. No, instead they’re interpreted as marks of shame; something to be removed, pushed up and covered up, never to see the light of day. You can forget about wearing a bikini again, ladies. Nobody wants to see what you now have to offer after having done the most incredible thing any person can do–bring new life into the world. And how does that world repay us? By telling us we’re no longer sexually desirable; as if the outward appearance of our body alone delimits our sensuality; as if we should be content with the archetype set for us.

Yet that’s exactly what we’ve been brainwashed to believe.  The sexual desire of straight machismo men has been kicked into overdrive as images of sultry sirens continue to show up everywhere in our conscious awareness–surfing the web, listening to Pandora, watching TV, opening the mail, standing in line at the grocery store, walking through the mall–men are constantly taunted with images intended to stir their blood (and empty their wallets).

Knowing that the widely accepted standards of attraction are what entice men, and alluring men is how a woman is told she will gain attention and find love, women go to great measures to gratify the needs of men.  Even ads targeted towards women are usually intended to sell them something that will make them more desirable to their spectators: a new shade of lipstick, a different color for their hair, an age defying face cream, a fantastic way to lose weight… And we buy into it. We buy into it because we fear the threat of rejection if we don’t. Indeed, women have been used as pawns to make men happier and companies richer.

Afterall, left to their own devices, do people really think women would go to such excruciating lengths if superficial beauty wasn’t so highly regarded? Corsets, pantyhose, high heels, girdles… none of these things are comfortable or easy to wear and yet women have convinced themselves that squeezing themselves into these apparatuses make them look and feel sexier.

But you see, as women who buy into what they’re selling, we become a part of the conspiracy against ourselves. While I can intuit that true beauty is something to be revealed from the depths of one’s soul, I also know that it’s the skinny bitches with perfect hair and perfect skin, perky round tits and a “tight bod” that turn heads.  Ashamedly, I feel inferior to them, inadequate, even homely in their irrefutable presence.

Yet at the exact same time I try desperately to resist! Fuck a fashion trend and fuck a beauty myth! We must define beauty on our own terms and expect men to follow suit!  Because beauty, I do contend, is more than what we see with our eyes. We also feel it coursing through our veins, in our heart and in our soul; we perceive it with our mind at each beautiful thing our lover says and does. It’s in their touch, in their voice; we can smell and taste their beauty, that’s how enchanted we become. We come to know real beauty through their love and through our love for them.

But Cosmo doesn’t want you to know that. Because that’s not what sells magazines. Convincing women they’re not enough to attract or satisfy a man… now that’s where the money’s at.  And of those lies, I have had enough.