Body Shaming: When Will It End?

Body Snark Free Zone Sign

Body Snark Free Zone Sign (Photo credit: The Lingerie Addict)

Ok, so this isn’t a post about alcoholism or addiction in the sense of drugs and booze, but this is a post related to the addiction with body image of which most of us are probably unaware.  I watched a video of images a young girl (or any female for that matter) are subjected to in the course of a day.  The video was time warped into about a minute, but I got the idea.  Apparently, if a woman isn’t either a size zero walking on a runway or built like Marilyn Monroe from yesteryear she really isn’t a woman at all.

That’s bullshit.

The most disturbing part of all this is when I read the comments on articles or Facebook posts, it is women attacking other women! WTF Ladies! Get your heads out of your fat, skinny or otherwise perfect asses and wake the hell up!

The media is destroying us with commercials, unhealthy diets  and ridiculous clothing.  When that doesn’t work we resort to plastic surgery.  There are so many items for women to make themselves “look perfect.”

  • make-up
  • skin tightener
  • bras that make boobs look bigger
  • panties that make butts look bigger
  • girdles and cinches that make waists look smaller
  • high heels
  • hair dye
  • plastic surgery

Those are just a handful of items.

I have small boobs.  I HATE my boobs.  But the thought of actually having objects inserted into my breasts to make them appear bigger so I can feel like “I fit in” is disturbing on a myriad of levels.  I have actually entertained the thought a number of times because even watching the news in the morning can fuck up my whole day.

Then I turn the news off and drive to work.  When I get to work, I walk by the magazine rack: more images of air-brushed, photo-shopped women with heaving bosoms and blinding, perfect smiles.

Then I am at my desk.  I have to go online to do some research for my job.  Commence pop-up ads of “have a flat stomach in ten days” and “diet without exercise” and women with “curvy shapes.”

Fuck you.

And my email homepage?  Fuggedaboutit.  I was on there today and the top news articles were about actresses and other famous (or moderately famous) women ‘baring bikini bods’ or ‘rocking their curves’ or ‘so and so wows in skimpy dress.’

So this is what I, a 40 year old woman, go through on a daily basis.  I cannot fathom what young women and girls go through today; what my daughters go through today.  It’s disturbing to know that women cannot ‘just be.’  We can’t just be beautiful because we are who we are.  We (me included) point out the flaws when someone compliments us: Thanks, but…

Or we point out the flaws in other women because their beauty makes us uncomfortable and we ‘don’t measure up.’

 When did the media decide body shaming is a great idea and when did we, as the human race, buy into their crap?

I don’t know and quite frankly, I don’t think anyone knows.

What do you think?

Things That Are Fun (While Sober)!

Picnic

Picnic (Photo credit: Carlos López Molina)

When I first got sober it was in late May of 2006.  I immediately found some meetings to go to and when a person goes to meetings, they find out about picnics.  My first thought was, “How the hell does a person go to a picnic and not drink?”

Turns out, there are a lot of ways to have fun that do not involve drinking or drugs. Here are some of the ways I have had tons of fun all while being sober:

  • going to a meeting
  • walking in the woods
  • walking on a main strip in a small town
  • going for a long drive (like… really long)
  • drawing
  • writing
  • listening to music
  • shooting pool at a pool hall (not a bar!)
  • cooking
  • exercising
  • making a craft
  • cleaning
  • napping
  • going to a book store
  • going to the library
  • going down to the river
  • antique shopping (or browsing)
  • going to lunch with a friend
  • going to lunch alone
  • starting a scrap-book
  • journaling (I wish I would have documented my first year of sobriety)
  • and yes…. sober picnics!

These are just a few of the things that I had (and still have) a ton of fun doing while trekking through sobriety.  Do you have any to add?  Please share!

Being Me…

Dance Floor

Dance Floor (Photo credit: enric archivell)

Okay, so I’m an alcoholic.  I was probably born one, but didn’t catch on until my late twenties.  Further, I didn’t do anything about it until my early thirties. I tripped, stumbled, blacked out… did all the crazy things that alcoholics do and then some.

The one thing that got me tripped up all my life was… me.  I am so damn hard on myself!  I can go down my list of “nots” and really spiral into a dark, lifeless hole.

I am not pretty enough; smart enough; talented enough; GOOD enough. It seeps in like a cool November breeze and before I know it I am sitting there shivering with rage.  I cry, curse at myself. Hell, when I was a teenager, I even used to hit myself if you can imagine that one.  I just hated myself so much.  I hated me, I hated my mother for giving birth to me and I hated God for allowing my birth.  Surely, it was a mistake.  Why on Earth would He put someone as pathetic and ugly as me on the planet?

Yeah, ugly.  I suffered with my self-image for a long time and still do… sometimes.  I was picked on all through school as a child and then a pre-teen and a teenager.  I was even made fun of as an adult. I resorted to violence to fend off the teasing when I was younger.  When I was older, I just drank more.  Surely the alcohol would numb my self-loathing.

I guess I felt, “hey, if I can’t be pretty, I’ll be a brute.”  Even though I weighed maybe seventy pounds soaking wet when I was thirteen.  At five feet seven, that right there my friends is a ‘bean pole,’ as I was called.

There were much worse names.

I was picked on in junior high school because I didn’t “fill out” like all the other girls.  I was so flat chested, I didn’t even wear a bra.  One time, some boys were walking down the hallway behind my friend and me and they grabbed at our backs to snap our bra straps.  I found out later they did that to prove I didn’t have a bra on because I didn’t have breasts. They laughed their asses off that day.  I ran in the bathroom and cried.

I felt worthless.  I felt ashamed.  I felt soooo ugly.

So yeah, I became violent. I started getting in fights with other girls and I started beating up boys.  Beating up boys!  Not so much beating them into a bloody pulp, but I got the best of them for sure.

Now, you would think that after all these years, and all my years sober and all the step work I have done and all the resentments I have talked about with my sponsor and all the shit I have let go, that this would be the big one I wanted to let go, because, after all, who the hell wants to hold onto a big pile of shit?

I just don’t know how to let it the hell go!  I am so mad still (sometimes.) I am not mad all the time, but sometimes I just get mad.  Sometimes, I look in the mirror and still see that skinny, flat-chested girl who used to get picked on. The girl who boys didn’t like.  The girl who boys didn’t ask to go to dances and when she was at dances, they certainly didn’t want to dance with. The girl who never got put on the “list of girls.”

A lot of people say, “Darlene, get the hell over it.  That was a long time ago.  You’re beautiful!”

Yes, there are times that I feel beautiful. But there are other times, usually when I am watching television or I am on the beach or at a big concert or something, that I just get way lost in the hoopla of what is defined as beauty today.

For the record, I don’t watch much television and I rarely go to the beach. I listen to a lot of music, do a lot of writing and I do my readings everyday because a small part of me knows it is all in my head.  A small part of me sometimes sees something beautiful in me.

I never think of drinking over this.  Hell, I can’t remember the last time a drink entered my mind.  Thankfully, I have a lot of women in my life and a pretty good support system.  Thankfully, I have the rooms and the literature I read.

Thankfully, most times I recognize it is all in my head.

Hope – It Keeps Me Hanging On

Music guitar

Music guitar (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Not sure if you ever saw the movie “Shawshank Redemption,” but there is a great scene in that film regarding ‘hope.’  Tim Robbins’ character has it and Morgan Freeman’s character thinks he is hopelessly romancing hope because hope is a heart breaker.

Maybe it depends on the person when it comes to hope.  I used to feel disdain for hope.  Maybe it was because I grouped hope with wishing and praying when I was using and drinking.  Then again, the things I hoped for were things like not getting pulled over by the police while I was high or having twenty extra dollars in my pocket to finish getting my load on. Go figure.

These days ‘hope’ is very different for me.  I do hope for material things like hitting the lottery or waking up one day with big boobs, but I know these things aren’t going to happen, so I am acting the child when it comes to hoping, praying and wishing for things.

I need to redirect my hope to attainable things that are not materialistic.  I write music reviews for three different websites.  At this moment, I am not paid for this, but that’s okay.  I love what I do.  I hope to one day get paid to write about music, but until then I will work my day job and write about music in the evening.

I hope to one day have a flourishing career in the music/writing industry.

Hope is amazing.

I Tanked On The Blog Challenge!

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: jjpacres)

Yes I did.  Ha!!  I have so much going on that I could not put together a post for every day of the month to publish for my readers.  I am truly, deeply sorry.  I am writing music reviews for four websites and loving every moment!  I am not getting paid for my writing services and that is okay.  I am doing something I truly love while building my writing resume.

So stoked!

All the writing I have done over the course of my life (poetry, short stories, two novels, addiction blog and now music) has been amazing fun.  I love to write and have recently found that my passion is writing about music.  I have loved music since I can remember.  My grandmother used to tell me an interesting story about me.

When I was a baby, I wouldn’t stop crying one day.  She tried everything!  Finally, frustrated and overwhelmed, she wound up a music box and tossed it in my playpen.  I stopped crying immediately. To this day, I get sad when the music stops.

Will all my writing about music land me a well-paid gig for a big time music site or magazine?  I have no idea and no expectations.

Therein… lies the beauty.

I will commit myself to blogging a little more frequently on addiction in the coming weeks.

Have a blessed day.

Day 8 – Control

Self Control (film)

Self Control (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“You cannot always control circumstances, but you can control your own thoughts.” ~ Charles Popplestown

Wouldn’t I just love to control everything, everyone and every circumstance so that I may never be upset, angry or hurt.  The truth is, I have no control over anything except my thinking, and that is where the trouble comes into play.

For years, I tried to control the behavior of others to manipulate my mood.  I would tell them how to behave so that I may be happy.  This is a temporary fix to a deep problem.

Honestly, the sheer effort it takes to control other people and their behaviors is exhausting.  Putting people where we think they belong, helping them act the way they should act and relying on others to make us happy is unfair to us and them.

Do you find that trying to control everything is exhausting?  

Day 4 – Keeping Score

Hopscotch

Hopscotch (Photo credit: Jan Tik)

When I was little I played games like most kids.  Hopscotch, Tag and Freedom were some of my favorites.  As I got older, I joined a few organized sports like softball and basketball.  I was athletic and while I didn’t particularly enjoy losing, I did it gracefully… sometimes.

Somewhere along the way I learned the awful habit of comparing myself to others.  My looks, my education, my material belongings… all of this and more was never good enough, never small enough, never big enough, never pretty enough; it was never enough and there began my dark spiral into the “not’s” as I call them.

Comparisons are like keeping score and I came up short (the loser) every damn time.

Something I’ve learned in sobriety is to compare myself to myself.  Everything about me I need to compare only to myself because, being a good alcoholic, it is easy for me to tailspin into a dark hole of self-doubt and woe-is-me.

“She’s prettier.” “Her boobs are bigger.” “Oh my gosh!  Look how cute her feet are!  I wish I had feet like that!” I mean, it goes on and on and on!  Ugh… I can go from 100 to 0 in less that thirty seconds when I start keeping score in my head.

Keeping score wears on my self-esteem, it shows on my face and most important it drains me.  Luckily, I love to read self-help books, go to meetings and talk with other women.  I have learned when I start to keep score and am learning how to stop.

  • Say the Serenity Prayer.
  • Realize that everyone is beautiful in their own way (including me).
  • I am better than I was a year ago.
  • I am on my own journey, and it is amazing.
  • Focus on my attributes.

These are some of the ways I deal with my “not’s.”  I’m human, so some days are easier than others.

Progress, not perfection.

Day 3 – Worthiness

If you don't see your worth, you'll always cho...

(Photo credit: deeplifequotes)

“The reality – the real reality – is that we are already worthy, there is no test to pass.”

That’s right.  Worthiness.  Self-worth. Feeling worthy. I battled with this demon for decades.  I battle a little less each day and am winning the war. Go me!

Worthiness was all in my mind.  I tied my self-worth to people, places and things for years (like a good alcoholic).  Even after I got sober, I still did this and could not figure out why I wasn’t feeling any different.  Then I started reading my Big Book and a ton of other books.

It clicked.

There is no test to pass!  No one is judging me.  Okay, maybe some people are (human nature), but you know what?  Who cares!  In the end I have to stand before me and my Higher Power and that is all I have to live with.  If I can get to the end of the day and go through my inventory and know that I did the best I could, recognize where I need improvement and give it to a God of my understanding, I have lived my life as intended.

Do you ever feel unworthy?  How do you leap that hurdle? 

Kensington Blues – A Hardcore Photo Blog

El fly-by

El fly-by (Photo credit: Tim McFarlane)

So a friend of mine told me about this blog called Kensington Blues.  I thought, “hey, I’m from Philly, knew a lot of ‘Kenso’s’ growing up after junior high school, this should be interesting.”

Interesting was an understatement after I saw the photos of addicts on the streets of Kensington.  I forced myself to look into their eyes of quiet desperation.  My eyes darted over the real-life backdrops of littered streets, graffiti covered buildings and the devastating picture of Nichol who looks no older than fourteen.

Heartbreaking.

The truth is no one wants a life on the street, selling their ass to get high or peddling for change to get another fix.  Life just goes that way for some.  I can’t explain it and I know in my heart that any of those women could have been me.  That stark reality is forever at the forefront of my mind when I see a bottle of booze or happen to be within earshot of someone talking about drugs.

It is a life to which no one aspires.  Sometimes it creeps in like a slow, ugly plague.  Other times, it punches you in the throat when you’re thrown out of the house at eighteen or molested by a trusted adult.

Us addicts and alcoholics spent many minutes on our knees, begging God for salvation or death, whichever should come first.

Please, take a look at the blog.  The life of an addict isn’t always some fancy story surrounded by a dysfunctional family in a three bedroom rancher portrayed on ‘Intervention.’  It can be much darker and sadistic.

See for yourself.

Happy Summer Solstice!

The sun behind the Heel Stone at Stonehenge, s...

The sun behind the Heel Stone at Stonehenge, shortly after sunrise on the summer solstice.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes!  Happy Summer Solstice everyone… today is the 21st day of June 2013.  Being so, I decided I have been way too damn negative and I need to amp up my positive vibes!

While it is extremely easy for us to get into a slump it is just as easy to step out of that dark hole and count the blessings God bestows upon us each day!

Therefore, since it is the first day of summer, I am calling this “New Attitude Day.” No matter how down we get on ourselves sometimes, or how crappy we feel, there is always… always something to be grateful for.  It could be something monumental or something as simple as having toothpaste.  You get the idea…

Today is a gorgeous day here on the East Coast… filled with warm sunshine, cool breezes, chirping birds, a bright blue sky and tons of other things – all reminding me that there is a God…

Amazing things happen when we lose the “poor me” attitude and get grateful!

What are you grateful for today?

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