Society Exposed

There has been lots of talk lately about the recent hacking and subsequent release of multiple celebrities’ private photos. People have opined that this type of act goes beyond simple invasion of privacy and into sexual assault territory. People have suggested that everyone who seeks out and views these photos is complicit in the crime. People have wondered why the hell so many celebrities have naked pictures of themselves (seriously, what is up with that?).

I essentially agree with all of these points, and I’m not going to completely rehash them now. Yes, I think there should be an extremely harsh punishment for someone who not only breaks into a private cloud account, but also publicizes the information. There can be no purpose behind that besides humiliation and degradation if another human being, and whether it is done in person or through technology shouldn’t really be a factor.

No, I do not agree that asking why someone has naked pictures of themselves is akin to victim shaming. Obviously, having private photos of yourself on your own personal device is not a tacit admission that you deserve to have them exposed. Everyone deserves privacy, even those who out themselves in the public eye. However, in this day and age it is simply a fact of life that if you don’t want something out there to be seen, you can’t put it on the internet. Even in a private account. Isn’t that the entire plot of the movie Sex Tape? It’s a sad truth that nowadays you just don’t have the room to be silly and foolish and young- we’ve had talks with our kids about how even the most innocent post to social media can be taken out of context and used against you for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, it is just an aspect of our current technological abilities, that you have to approach every photo and tweet with the acceptance that it can never truly be deleted, and it may be seen by a far wider audience than you ever intended. (I personally have some “before” bikini shots on my phone that I took before I started my yoga training, in the hopes that someday I will have impressive “afters” to compare them to. I would be embarrassed beyond belief if they ever went public, not only because they are supremely unflattering and highlight every lump and ripple, but also because of the hysterical blindness that would strike down anyone who accidentally saw them.)

The biggest issue I’ve seen with this discussion is the constant blame places on our society. “Society creates the demand for paparazzi photos and encourages people to go ever further in search of exposing, embarrassing, or invading celebrities’ lives.” “Society always places blame on the victim, whether it be for having naked pictures or wearing a short skirt after dark.” “Society dehumanizes women, placing value on their physical appearance rather than their minds.” Because here’s the thing: society is a myth. There is no Society, deciding things and setting boundaries for behavior. There are only a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand individuals each making the personal choice to judge, or shame or defend. Every single person who viewed a naked photo of Jennifer Lawrence chose to view her as an object whose privacy was less valuable than their own curiosity. Every single person who looks a woman and thinks “nice outfit, slut” is perpetuating a stereotype that revealing clothing contributes to loose morals.

Society doesn’t judge. We do. One at a time, every day, when we allow negative thoughts about another person to overshadow their humanity. I’m guilty of it. I took a photo of a woman recently who was very heavily overweight and squeezed into too small clothing for the purpose of texting my husband and making a joke at her expense. Just because she will never know, does that make it harmless? No. Because I allowed my distaste for her physical appearance to outweigh the fact that she is a human being with feelings and the same right to respect as myself.

The label ‘society’ makes it all too easy for us as individuals to step back from our responsibility to show simple consideration for each other. Society didn’t click the link for naked photos- you did. Living in a culture that is obsessed with celebrity doesn’t excuse
you from making the personal choice to participate in an invasion of privacy through your computer screen. One person set up the ladder to peek through those windows, but one by one people lined up to climb it.

I’ll admit my first response is curiosity. But I can’t bring myself to perpetuate the degradation of another human being solely to assuage a moment’s boredom. I’ve found my opinion of anyone who has seen those photos (either by choice or by accident) definitely lowered, and my standards for my own behavior have been raised.

My decisions and my actions are society’s decisions and actions. The tail doesn’t wag the dog.

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Is Nowhere Safe?

The spiders are taking over. We’ve always had a number of spiders in our front bush, and around this time of year it gets festooned with spiderwebs. Like DIY Halloween decorations. And after 5 years I’ve finally made peace with this, and can even walk right past the bush without cringing. And because what little time I spend outside is confined to the backyard or walks around the block, I had so far been spared the knowledge that the spiders actually string webs from their bush to the giant pine tree in the center of the yard.

Until I walked face first into one.

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If you don’t declare it on social media, it didn’t happen

Fine. I can make peace with my front yard being booby trapped by tiny, eight-legged fiends and their tickly, sticky webs of horror. Forewarned is forearmed, so they say, and my ego can take the public flailing necessary to traverse this canyon of doom.

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But that isn’t enough for the spiders. They just HAD to go and violate my personal premises, and enter the first bastion of human domain: the garage. Last night, with cruel intention, a demon spider decided to spin it’s web between my car and the wall of the garage.

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That sucker is giant!

I now fully believe in a higher power, because nothing short of divine intervention could have saved me from blindly walking out of the house on autopilot and straight into that nightmare- I stopped mere inches away from actually TOUCHING that thing, and therefore having to set myself on fire. As it was, I stood there frozen for an embarrassingly long amount of time debating how to solve the problem and get into my car.

If you take your eyes off them they get you, you know.

Obviously, walking around the car the long way and getting in was probably the best option. But backing my car out of the driveway would untether the web, causing the spider to fall, and of course disappear to who knows where, lying in wait for his next chance to get me. But breaking the web myself ran the risk of having it stick to me and actually pull the spider CLOSER; a concept almost unthinkable.

After mustering my courage and pointing out the spider to my kids (who were wondering what the hell I was doing just standing there), I managed to knock the web down and eliminate the threat. I wish I could say that I safely and gently removed the spider back outside to his rightful place, but no. I stomped that motherfucker. (I did apologize and tell him “namaste” first.)

I like spiders. I appreciate the job they do eating all of the other horrible insects that populate this world. And I recognize that it isn’t their fault they are terrifying rather than cuddly. But I specifically told them that they are more than welcome as long as they don’t show themselves, but if I see them, I have to kill them. That’s just the way things work. (Seriously. I actually announce, out loud, the terms of this deal whenever I move into a new place.) They reneged on the deal.

Unfortunately, the damage has been done, and I am now thoroughly traumatized and afraid to go back into the garage. All morning I was concerned there were spiders actually IN my car, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before something drops onto my head from above.

Stupid nature.

Posted in Creepy crawlies, fear, whining | Leave a comment

July And August Reads

August was shameful on the reading front. Only 5 books! And July was barely any better at 7. So I guess it is good I forgot to post July and combine them into one post with the appearance of decent reading accomplishments. We’re getting to the home stretch here, can’t go dropping the ball now! For the record, my year-to-date measures as 76 books read.

July:
The Bhagavad Gita- by Stephen Mitchell (translation)
The Hot Zone- Richard Preston
Missing You- Harlan Coben
The Divorce Papers- Susan Rieger
Killing Floor- Lee Child
The Silkworm- Robert Galbraith
Gone Tomorrow- Lee Child

Aug:
Supreme Justice- Max Allan Collins
Persuader- Lee Child
One Shot- Lee Child
Season To Taste- Natalie Young
The Magicians- Lev Grossman

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the Insults Are Complimentary

This evening my friend Amy posted a Facebook update detailing the less than flattering comment one of her children made to her, and it got me thinking about all of the times my children have gone well out of their way to remark upon the shortcomings in my appearance.

Like when Isabelle told me I looked like a zombie.

Or when Sophie compared the dimples in her cheeks to the dimples in my legs.

Or when Isabelle told me my posterior was “old and icky.”

Such angels, really.

It’s no secret that kids can be brutally honest. Which makes it that much less fair that motherhood comes with so many glamorous moments. Who DOESNT want to be surround by tiny little filterless critics when you are most likely to be make-up free/ covered in food (or worse)/ barely dressed (or NOT dressed- way to knock, kids)/ etc? Nothing checks the ego like a kid under 7.

And of course, the unrealistic expectations pushed upon us all by society and the media start ever earlier. Just last week Sophie felt the need to point out my every facial flaw during a commercial for clearasil (hooray for adult acne!), and yesterday a hair color commercial led her to cheerfully count out my every silver strand.

Eye circles, gray hairs, hormonal skin, a saggy belly and a fat ass: there’s nothing my children won’t helpfully remind me of. They could at least have the decency to recognize the role they all play in transforming my current physical state. I can’t wait for the day they figure out that instead of groaning and hiding their eyes they can just stop visiting me in the shower.

ps: I was perusing the Saturday Say What to remind myself of some of these. Good lord my kids were funny!! May I recommend this and this

Posted in blah blah blah, kids, personal musings | Leave a comment

Relax Around The Process

This weekend I took a workshop at my studio about yoga assists. The teacher is an absolute genius when it comes to laying the lightest touch on you and completely opening up a pose into heaven- I was totally thrilled to learn from her (and have her demonstrate on me!). The workshop was great and covered the basic how/when/why of assisting as well as some assists to try in some basic poses.

I can’t wait for round two!

Throughout the workshop, the teacher kept using the phrase “relax around the process.” You never want to push a student past where they are ready to go in the moment – definitely good advice if you aren’t interested in being used for injuring someone! But it’s also something I really need to remember in my own journey.

Going through the month-long intensive training was great. It was difficult and intense, but also somewhat easier because it was so completely immersive. All I had to think about in July was yoga. Makes focusing on personal development and strengthening my practice pretty simple if that’s all I’m working on. But since then it has been much more difficult to find a rhythm- and obviously I can’t be 100% yoga all the time anymore!

Immediately after the training ended we went away for a week vacation (have I blogged about that yet?), and immediately after we returned from vacation it was time for the kids to go back to school. So the past fee weeks have been such a whirlwind of changing schedules and trying to regain my equilibrium. Naturally, my focus on yoga has suffered with all of these new distractions. I’ve managed to get to class about 4 times a week (which isn’t shabby!), but it still feels slapdash and unplanned. I don’t have a set schedule of theses classes are the ones I always attend, and Brett has to be home on these nights at a certain time. I’m a creature of habit- I like to have my routine and set schedule. Otherwise it’s too easy to forget things.

Added in to this feeling of being untethered is the pressing sense that I still haven’t completed my certification. I’ve done the training, but there are outside requirements of attending and assisting and observing a certain number of classes that I’m not even close to completing. Which makes me a little bit crazy, because as a procrastinator I know I tend to never complete things, so as a control freak I like to do it all immediately as fast as possible so I don’t have the opportunity to let the procrastinator win.

I’d like to get started on teaching and developing some sort of yoga career, but I don’t feel comfortable doing that without my proper accreditation. And even attending 4-5 classes a week it is going to take me a couple of months before I am officially registered as a yoga teacher, which seems like SUCH a long time (even though it’s not). And my schedule is only going to get busier as the year progresses and dance and soccer and homework really start to kick in.

I guess what I’m saying is my head is not the calmest place to be right now. They say anxiety is worry about the future, and I am definitely on a mental roller-coaster of “when this happens, then this and this can happen” right now. But I’m trying to relax around the process. Developing a life-long yoga practice is not something I can do overnight. By definition. The important part is that I am getting in the studio, and I am ticking off boxes of requirements leading to my certification. Speed is irrelevant. There is a time for everything and everything will manifest in its own time.

Even if I want it to be now.

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