Ever Evolving

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Aging. There is a reason why it is a verb and not a noun. Or a journey rather than a destination. Some days I just blaze through them when I am focused on a task and not even notice that the time has passed.

Other days, I look in the mirror and think: WTF what is going on here?

Lately, I’m a bit obsessed with my wardrobe. I’ve always been a fashionista, with a tendency to make a statement with my clothing. I like edgy with leather moto jackets and studded boots. I like bohemian with flowy prints. I like color, texture and patterns. No one that knows me would call me beige.

What comes with aging, that is so mind-boggling, is the constant state of body change. All you women out there who have gone through menopause, know exactly what I’m talking about. There are a gazillion blog posts written on this very subject. Lots of WTF moments.

Change is inevitable, but I think it is difficult to accept what happens to your body. Your boobs get bigger and they droop. Your ass gets bigger and droops. And then there is this round thing that shows up around your waist like a Monday morning donut. WTF. It is not an easy task to get them corralled and back in shape.

A diet shouldn’t be a diet, but a lifestyle. Learn to love vegetables. Eat hormone free meat. Seriously? If it makes an animal get bigger, what do you think happens to you? Practice intermittent fasting, if nothing but to eliminate the digesting grumbles in the middle of the night. Take supplements because, yes, they really do work. Drink water with a chunk of lemon in it. It makes you pee, but you’ll notice the puffiness goes away.

Exercise. Walk. Take the stairs. Do weight-bearing repetitions several times a week. Even if it doesn’t do much for your shape, your bones and joints will love you. Having muscles will help you get out of bed in the morning, instead of just rolling over and hoping you don’t end up on the floor. Our muscles get weaker as we age, so you can counteract that by lifting weights.

Take care of your hair and skin. Nothing ages you faster than looking like you don’t give a sh*t. Gray hair looks awesome when it is well-cared for. Spending money on good hair products is worth it. Same thing with your skin. If you live in a dry climate, like I do, moisturizers are a must unless you like itching your way through winter. Coconut oil works quite well.

Keep up with your teeth. Brush, floss, see your dentist. Healthy teeth keep you healthier.

Breathe. Meditate. Get out in nature.

It will make it a lot easier to go back into your closet and throw out all the things you bought last year that no longer fit.

A Whiter Shade of Gray

senior-3336451_1920In the last several years, there has been growing popularity in older women and men being chic, fascinating and featured in magazines. Well, why not? Older people have this “been there, done that” attitude and are going to continue doing what they want. Old does not mean slow, stupid or even about to die.

Our bodies are aging, each and every day. We know that. Yes, our brains do too, but that does not equate to being senile. We have a wealth of experiential knowledge that helps us to make quick and powerful decisions. We are no longer burdened by the “image” society has picked for us. We can sky-dive if it so pleases us. We can get married when we are in our 90s. If we want to wear florals, stripes and sequins all in the same outfit, so be it. “Insta-Grannies” are all the rage now. I won’t list them, because by now you will have seen, read or are following most of them.

Is this a fad that will slowly fade away as many of these icons pass on? A fad is something that gets worn out and loses its appeal. If we are all aging, then we are all fads. So why not be so individually cool that you never outlive your time?

active-cyclist-elderly-264073What these ultra-cool elders are really showing us is that you must keep going and growing in order to live your best life. Having your 60th birthday, or whatever age you deem to be old, is not an automatic indicator that you must now move to an assisted-living facility and wear Velcro shoes. A continually stimulated brain will spur you into stimulating your body. Walk, dance, climb, hike, swim, sky-dive, whatever challenges you want to place upon your body – just go for it. Be safe; just because you can do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for your body. Our muscles don’t recover as quickly as they used to, and our bones aren’t as strong as they used to be either.

barca-473854_1920Are you a widower and think that because your spouse of 50 years is gone, you should just sit alone in your tiny new apartment? Au contraire, my friend. Loneliness will kill you faster than your one martini with dinner. Why not a companion to share that martini with? There is no social demand that you be married. Living in sin, if you call it that, is far more fun than withering away by yourself.

Many seniors become entrepreneurs. Done with the working-for-someone-else world, many active adults start new businesses built upon hobbies or passions. We have a lifetime of skills and workplace savvy to make it lucrative.

How about a little Botox, sculpting, or other cosmetic enhancements? False eyelashes and eyeliner aren’t just for the 20-something set. Whatever you choose to make yourself look and feel better should be just to make yourself feel better, and not about what anyone else says.

old-2742052_1920Growing older isn’t an easy thing. The changes in your body can be very frustrating. The lapses in memory are annoying. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Be kind and loving to yourself. Use them as opportunities to slow down and savor the moments of each day. You now have time to do all the fun things you put off while you were working and raising children.

You might even have time to go sky-diving with your grandkids while wearing your new purple-sequinned jumpsuit.

The Mating Game

butterfly-743549_1920Spring is teasing us with 70 degree days. Pasty white skin is showing beneath shorts wrinkled from winter storage. Straw hats and sunshades are getting dusted off. We’ll need those polarized specs to ward off the glare from the snow that will still make itself known before the earth heats up.

Spring brings flowers and flowers get crafted into beautiful wedding bouquets as young couples tie the knot in a ritual as old as Spring. Love, hope and promises swell the heart as they shout out their vows. Then begins the ritual of learning how to live together in peace and cooperation.

Statistics being what they are state that not every couple stays together. Sometimes it is big issues, those red-flags that were ignored in the heat of desire. A person will tell you everything you need to know when you first meet them so pay attention. When you are older and the sexual part of your relationship is in the waning stage, then you want to be best friends with your spouse. Too many good relationships end over power struggles that can be prevented.

Most couples fight over responsibilities and money. I have found some solutions to these issues that have worked well. First of all, share responsibilities. If one of you works outside of the home and the other in the home, SHARE responsibilities. It is very easy to have the homebound person take on most of the duties, but they are working too. Taking care of a home and children IS work. If one of you is a better cook, then the other can do the cleanup. Most resentments revolve around one person feeling that they have the bulk of responsibilities, usually housework. ASK for help when you need it, don’t expect that the other person can read your mind or will just pitch in. Ladies, this will help you avoid getting mad so ASK him.

In terms of money, the best way to avoid most fights is to have different bank accounts. Have a joint account that pays for housing and its upkeep, food, travel or any other thing that is shared. Put in an equal amount, even if you earn unequally. For example, if you both put in 80% of your income, then it is fair and equitable even if one of you makes $5,000 a month and the other $8,000 a month. The person with the higher income will put in more, but at still the same percent. Then you each need a separate personal account for discretionary money. You will have money you can spend for things you enjoy without harming either your living costs or having to justify to the other person. Just remember, do no harm. So if one of you smokes, then you aren’t using shared money to purchase them. The non-smoker doesn’t get to judge the spending either. Although I don’t recommend smoking as a spending habit. But before any expenses, be sure to save a portion of your income each month. You will want to retire someday and, trust me, you will be glad you did.

Your mating dance can last a lifetime. Patience, acceptance, cooperation and lots of laughing go a long way. And the occasional disco twirl on a warm spring day.

Bird Dance Beat

pigeon-2332702_1920Boppa-oo-mao-mao. If you are familiar with 60s music, then you know that line from “Bird Dance Beat” released as a single in 1964 by The Trashmen. My aunts had the 45 record and I loved dancing to that iconic tune.

The song has filled my head as I watch the annual spring mating dance of birds. Sunday morning we ate breakfast at a retro diner downtown. We were seated in a booth next to large windows. There were juniper bushes next to the building, but trimmed back so they created somewhat of a shelter for some sparrows. I kept noticing a bird fly back and forth and another preening on a branch of the bush. The flying bird finally landed on the branch and then I realized that the mating dance was on. The little girl bird had her back turned, but coyly looking over her shoulder to see the display. The boy was turning on the charm, white chest puffed out, head bobbing and wings flipping up and down. [I think he could have been dancing to “Bird Dance Beat”.] Girl bird didn’t seem too impressed so he flew off. She turned back around and proceeded to clean her feathers.

Before long, the male returned with a twig in his beak as though to demonstrate “hey baby, I will build you a house”. That must have won the date, because they flew off together into bird love land. Or so I assume.

Spring is a glorious time to remind us of the continuation of all species. Birds dancing, cats meowing, squirrels winding themselves around tree trunks, and humans stripping down to summer clothes. Biology demands that all creatures seek out the prime specimens to perpetuate the herd. Creatures do what they do, but humans have a choice and so they should as we have a much greater life span than many creatures. Many of our non-human creatures won’t make it past the hour of their birth. That is a sad thought, but might be why they continually reproduce without thought.

Or maybe it is just because they want to “bop to the bird dance beat”. Boppa-oo-mao-mao.

A-Dior-able

images[5]On February 12, 1947, Christian Dior launched the “New Look” collection from his Paris couture house. The world was recovering from World War II, and its austere, masculine clothing. The New Look returned the feminine silhouette with a full bustline, tiny waist and curvy hips. I believe that it reminded the world that the feminine, nurturing energy was returning. It was criticized as being a wasteful luxury when times were still lean. Thus is the power of the feminine energy, to create, to nurture, to honor the need to pamper our souls.

Today, my Sweetie and I attended the Dior exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. The show is in its final tour, ending on March 17th. The exhibit included dozens of beautiful gowns and suits, beginning with the classic “Bar Suit” categorized by a creamy fitted jacket and a black, calf-length full skirt. Think Lucille Ball in her heyday. From the simple suit to fabulous gowns of detailed embroidery and gems, lean silhouettes to curvaceous sweeps, all stunning in this gorgeous collection.

 

I, myself, enjoyed the blatant outrageousness of John Galliano. Highly satirical, if you studied the garments closely. One fabulous gown, that I failed to take of photo of, (God knows why not), which I dubbed “Queen in Bondage”. Bejeweled red satin, the bodice was a tightly fitted corset style with the seeming intent to expose the breasts, although there was a bit a fabric tucked in to keep it decent. Or so I assume. The skirt flared out from the knees, mermaid style, looking almost impossible to move in. The entire garment was capped by an innocuous-appearing crown. Luxurious, over-the-top, this gown defined Galliano’s evil genius. Too bad he couldn’t limit his antics to design instead of running off at the mouth.

IMG_20190303_115107239 (1)Like all art, fashion is beauty in the eyes of the beholder. For women in general, it is the living expression of our soul. You can wake up in the morning ready to deal with what is likely going to be a sh*tty day, and instead, choose to arm yourself with a great outfit. Fake it ‘til you make it, or so they say. Dressing in your favorite outfit, because you know you look fabulous in it, will change the day into something great. And I hate to disappoint you guys, but women don’t usually dress for men unless they are hunting for a husband or boyfriend. As designer Betsey Johnson said “if girls dressed for boys they’d just walk around naked at all times”. Just notice when you are in a public place, most of the women are looking at each other and often commenting about shoes and handbags.

Why? Because we are just f-ing adorable.

Love, Love Me Do

parrots-3427188_1920“You know I love you. . .” The Beatles, 1963.  Love is very important to our existence.  Whether it is from a spouse, partner, parent, child, friend or even your pet spider, everyone wants and needs to be loved.

We are all lovable children of the Creator.  Every single human being on this planet was created as a lovable, beautiful, miraculous person regardless of their path in life.  Every human is capable of giving, receiving, and deserving of love.  EVERYONE.

In the spirit of cleaning up your life, let’s look at romantic relationships.  Things need cleaning and maintenance to work properly, and so do relationships.  If you don’t put gas in your car, it won’t go anywhere.  If you don’t put time and energy into your relationship, then it might not go anywhere either.

Think of maintaining your relationship like a seesaw.  One person sits at the opposite end of the other, and facing each other.  You begin the movement of the seesaw, and it is a continuous back and forth movement to maintain a balanced load.  If one person forces the movement to stop, the other is basically left hanging in the air.  If they are the stronger person, they are in control.  Unless the one in the air jumps off.  A good seesaw partner contributes to the movement and maintains balance.

balance-2108025_1920How does your romantic relationship serve you?  Do you have a good seesaw partner?  Are you one?  Relationships are rarely the lust-filled, love-you-til-death with my every breath, as you read in paperback novels.  Like a seesaw, relationships have their ups and downs.  A good relationship is supporting and accepting.  No one deserves to be physically, emotionally or verbally abused. Ending a relationship is devastating in so many ways.  Aside from the emotional death you experience, many people are left financially strapped.  Children also suffer.  If you are in a bad relationship and are staying for your children, they experience as much of an emotional assault as they would if you left.  Too often, children become the battleground over which parents play out their non-maintained relationships.

Sometimes a little tending is all it takes to get a relationship back on track.  How about date night?  Busy life?  How about giving each other a half hour of uninterrupted attention each day?  No electronic devices; just face-to-face talking about your day or maybe your dreams.  If you can create together, you can do anything together.  Too tired for sex?  Snuggle up and go to sleep like that.  Simple touching will activate those feel-good chemicals and many little problems will just fade away.  Share all the chores, including children.  Have a joint bank account for the household and then each have a separate account for some spending money (with no justification).  These are the things that most people fight about.  Remember, two people came into the relationship, it takes two people to maintain it.

But most of all, just Love, Love Me Do.

Me Who?

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I hesitated to write this article for fear that it would come across as a political and/or hate-filled rant, so I decided to address it from my own experience.

 

I, too, am a victim of sexual molestation.

 

The first time was when I was 13, and the second at age 16.  Both times were perpetrated by a family member (not the same one).  The first event was more profound and many of the details are as clear in my mind today as they were at 13.  Do the math, I’m 58 now.  Trauma imprints details indelibly on the brain.  Why do you think it is called Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder?

I don’t remember all the details, just specific ones.  I don’t remember the exact day or time.  It was a hot, sunny summer afternoon.  I specifically remember the where, the who, the jeans I was wearing and exactly what occurred.  And I remember the secondary event that followed the next day.  I remember feeling that I was mature enough (at 13?!) to handle the situation and that I could stop it.  Some bizarre part of my brain felt sophisticated.  I even remember asking the perp if he had done this to his younger sisters.  Yes, really.  I don’t remember his answer, nor do I really want to speculate.  I’m not the judge of that.

The emotional whirlwind that came after has followed me to this day, even as I write these words.  Initially, there was a mind-numbing sickness due to some books he showed me of perverted acts.  Shame, fear and even guilt that I had somehow caused this.  Ridiculous as I was 13 and he was an adult.  Now I know that as Person in a Position of Trust and could have put him in jail.  I couldn’t tell anyone; my family life wasn’t very supportive.  At some point, I mentioned it to my grandmother without really telling her anything and her reaction was something like “I don’t want to hear this.”  So I lived with the shame and fear until sometime in my forties, when I decided that I needed to make changes in my life.

Sexual molestation creates life-long damage.  My sexuality suffered.  I experienced difficult relationships with men that played out from deviant behavior to smothering.  When I finally acknowledged my pain and did the healing work, I was able to enter into a relationship with a man who helped me find my sexuality in a normal, natural and loving way.  My sweetie is a good man.

There are hundreds of thousands of women AND men like me, who are ashamed and afraid to speak out.  Many have and I hope many more will.  Imagine the global healing, and hopefully change this will create.  The trauma will always be with you, but doing the healing and therapy work brings acceptance within.  You must do the grieving.  You must forgive yourself for being in the situation and not being able to do anything about it.  Shame is very much about self-hatred; you didn’t take care of yourself.  Only then can you put the trauma in a neutral place.

Why do people perpetrate sexual molestation on others?  I don’t know.  There are plenty of theories.  Family conditioning, societal pressure, having been a victim and on and on.  How about “because I LIKE it”?  There are mean and predatory people in this world, who are not necessarily socio- or psychopaths.  When they are confronted, they deny or throw a tantrum like a spoiled child who got their toy taken away.  It takes an enormous amount of self-will not to get outrageously angry when I see antics like this.  The urge is strong to want to give them a swat on the a$$ like a tantrum-throwing child deserves.

However, I do believe in karma.

I was probably in my thirties when I heard through the family grapevine that the perp had an industrial accident.  Something hit him in the groin hard enough to blow out a testicle.  Feeling vindicated, I gave thanks that day and I really think that was what started me down the road to healing.

Karma can be a real bitch when she’s been wronged.  Allow her to help you heal.

Oz-tober

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Photo: Pixabay, Efraimstochter

Last night, Ozzy Osbourne played at the Denver Pepsi Center.  I didn’t go because it was a work night and I just can’t stay up that late anymore.

Ozzie and many other musicians have been out on epic tours, some for several years.  Why the significance as that is no different than any other year?  Because most of them are over the age of 60.  They are still out there rockin’ it and kickin’ a$$ long after the rest of us are snoring in our beds.

Some ask “why?”  “Do they need more money; don’t they have enough?”  “That’s old news.”  “Sick of that music.”  (Seriously?!)  Or “they are too old to be doing that”.  The reality is that they are out there doin’ it because they LOVE it.  Music is their passion, their reason for living.  They live to make music, play music and perform music.  And why not?

I recently saw a photo of Klaus Meine of the Scorpions that said “this is what 70 looks like”.  If that’s 70, then everyone should aspire to that.  70 is no longer seen as the bent-over, shuffling wrinkled person with overgrown nose hairs.  Check out Ari Seth Cohen’s “Advanced Style” and you will see photos of [yes, real] kick-a$$ older people living life to the fullest.  “Old is the New Black” is the motto.

Older people have had enough of being pushed aside, told what they can or cannot wear, think, do or anything else a bunch of under-experienced brats have decided.  Older people live, love, wear purple hair and have sex on a regular basis.

We are not dead yet.

It is a time to embrace your passions, to do the things that you barely had the time for when you were younger, to play, to have a loving relationship, to think, to feel, to honor yourself and speak out for what you believe in.

Or rock it at an Ozzy concert.  Just remember to wear your ear plugs.

Your Body, Your Choice

 

clothes-2029337_1280If you follow my blog, you know that I write about emotional issues and beliefs, many of which are from personal experience.  I pose challenging questions in the hopes that you think about them and make changes so you can live your best life.  I wish that for everyone and that is what we are here for.

This time, I am asking you to challenge your beliefs.  It is a very controversial subject, but one that is near-and-dear to me both personally and professionally.

It is the choice of when to have or not have a baby.

Babies are very precious.  They bring much needed light and life to the world and teach us that humans are amazing.  Because they are so precious, they deserve to be born into a family that is ready and able to give them the love and care they need to thrive.

Human beings are biologically wired to have sex, which can lead to procreation.  Males are wired to have it quickly and often.  Females take their time to choose the best mate.  Increasing the vitality of the herd, so to speak.  The human component of this is a loving family.

Biology rules, in spite of our denial of it.  The moment we start producing hormones, the urge to mate begins.  I’m sure that the global impact of media and entertainment can stimulate this somewhat prematurely, but nothing stops biology.  Certainly not denial.  It is important to acknowledge this.  Acknowledge what might be happening.  That preteen, supposedly studying with a friend in their bedroom while you are snoozing during the evening news.  The college student, far away from home for the first time, is lonely and goes to a party with friends.  The adult, emotionally battered from a neglected childhood, equating love with sex.  And the list goes on.

The biggest gift you can give your child is teaching them the facts of biology and how to respect and honor their body.  Their body, their choice.  Teach them that No is a complete sentence.  Teach them to respect someone else’s no and move on.  Teach them to protect their body from disease or unintended pregnancy.  Teach them to honor someone else’s decision to protect their body.  Your child is precious.

The argument is that a baby is a gift from Spirit.  Well, absolutely.  No argument there.

I truly believe that Spirit created human bodies with unconditional love.  We are placed upon Earth with Free Will choice in order to experience life and grow our spirit.  The ultimate goal is to live our best life, give and receive love, and find our way back to Spirit.  If all of this is true, and Spirit gifted us with Free Will Choice, doesn’t that mean we get to decide when to have, or not have, a baby?  Isn’t honoring your body a Thank You to Spirit for its creation?

If instead we believe that this is entirely up to Spirit, why would Spirit allow a baby to be born into an abusive home with possibly fatal consequences?  If we exercised our free will choice, then isn’t that like protecting the baby prior to its conception?

Babies are precious.

This subject has deep personal meaning to me.  If my birth parents had the resources to protect their bodies, I wouldn’t be here.  I am okay with that.  I may have, instead, been born into a loving home and not had to spend most of my life struggling to resolve the emotional damage from my present life.  My mother was a teenager when I was born.  She missed graduation and all the other fun things of teenage and young adult life.  Her boyfriend, my father, was older – an adult – and chose not to give up his lifestyle for family life.  I held little interest for him since I wasn’t a boy.  Three lives have been impacted by not having a choice.  Well, I suppose I wouldn’t be trying to help others if I hadn’t had that experience.

Professionally, I am at the front lines of the consequences of unintended pregnancies.  I work for a government social services agency.  Thankfully, I handle money and not directly interact with clients – it would break my heart.  Each month, we experience these results.  Each year it costs more and we receive less funding to provide services.  We treat sexually transmitted infections, dispense planning methods, do cervical cancer screenings, process paternity tests, accept child support payments, authorize public assistance payments to families who can’t afford to feed their growing family and much more.  The numbers keep growing and the costs go up.  We rescue babies and children from homes where the parents struggle with substance abuse, have mental health issues, incur sexual abuse, bring violence into the home that may result in a fatality.  There are too many children in foster homes.  These homes are expensive.  Some of these children never return to their birth family.  Some of them may get adopted by a loving family, but even then, a few are returned to foster care because the new family cannot cope with the severe emotional and behavioral issues of the children.  It tears at my heart to see these numbers growing.  When and where does it stop!!!

Denial will not stop it.  Celibacy will not stop it.  Incarceration will not stop it.

It stops where it begins.  Your Body, Your Choice.

Honor and respect your body by making the choice.  Honor and thank Spirit for your body by making the choice.  But most of all, honor the babies and children by letting them be born to someone who is ready and capable of loving and caring for them.

Because. . .babies are precious.

 

For Kathy B: It is not how many you reach, but reaching the one who gets the message.  For each one who does, the energy will radiate out and multiply.  Many Blessings.

Waist Not, Want Not

belly-2354_1920Remember when a tiny waist was so important?  You would measure yourself daily and if there was a slight variation, you would starve yourself or do those twisty exercises or maybe just suck it in for the next week.  Once you are in the menopause-ing years, that tiny waist should be as forgotten as eight-track tapes.

I read a story once about maiden, mother and matron.  The maiden had a tiny waist to attract a really good husband, as a place for his hands to hold her.  The mother’s waist expanded so that when she held her child, the head was supported and placed for nurturing.  The matron’s waist was much thicker as to provide warmth and comfort on a cold night.  Hmmm.  Seems like our waist is only for the benefit of others.

Our middle section has been a focal point of our physical body since we discovered we had one.  Thick, thin, poochy, six-pack muscles, we spend more time on it than brushing our teeth.

Does your waistline trouble you?  Review your diet.  Do you need to clean up your eating habits?  Maybe go grain-free and check out the plan in “Wheat Belly” by William Davis M.D.  A ketogenic diet might work well so read “Fat for Fuel” by Joseph Mercola M.D.  If you have health issues, review them with your doctor.  It might be time to ditch the TV watching and go for a walk.  If you are physically impaired, roll your wheelchair down the sidewalk and experience the healthful benefits of fresh air and sunshine.

If you have taken the necessary steps to be your best self and your waistline still is not what you want, then it is time to accept this change.  Wrap your arms around your middle and give yourself a big hug.  That is what Loving Your Sh*t is all about.

Note: while the story about the waist was a cute fictional version, Maiden-Mother-Crone is considered the Triple Goddess in Neopaganism and often a woman’s power symbol in Celtic lore.  I also like to consider the waist area as symbolic of the third chakra – the solar plexus – as the area associated with personal power.  Claiming your personal and feminine power might actually strengthen and tighten up your waist.