Sunday, December 28, 2014

On My Soapbox

I've never regretted my age. I've never longed to be younger, look younger, act younger. I don't dream of going back in time to warn my younger self of dangers to be avoided. There's an industry built around making people feel displeased with themselves-several really, and do you know what it is? It's bullshit. Part of growing old is losing the desire to feed that business plan. I'll decide when I'm unhappy, not when the Self-Help-Industrial-Complex says so.

As the New Year approaches, we're going to be flooded with messages aimed at making us feel bad about ourselves. I live down the street from a plastic surgeon's office with a flashing electronic billboard advertising a, "Mommy Makeover" as I sit trapped at the traffic light. "Your swimsuit is ready...are you?" I don't need mind games just because I happened to hit the light at 90th and Dodge. My body's fine, and if my swimsuit isn't, I can buy a new one.

If I want to take exercise, I will. If I wish to reduce, then I shall. If I (god forbid) want a "Mommy Makeover" (I don't) then that will be a decision I arrive at without any taunting from flashing billboards, television talk shows, or what passes for newspapers these days. It is the very worst sort of peer-pressure, except that it comes from those who profit from our insecurities, rather than our peers. My peers aren't assholes. If yours are, get new friends. I don't care what my friends look like,  if their cupboards are disorganised, or what dietary plan they follow. I've never been terribly competitive, or ambitious.

We're here for such a short time. The thought of getting up each day feeling somehow less than up to the job because your hair is frizzy, or you've gained a stone, or your ears stick out, or your house is messy, or you really can't stomach kale juice no matter how hard you try...Sigh. Is it worth it?

If you feel bad, it ought to be your own doing, not something inflicted upon you for profit.

Just try to keep things in perspective as the resolutions nonsense gets into full swing. You've made it this far doing your own thing, so you're probably doing something right.


Don't like it? Don't fucking look. My suit, and my body are ready to go swimming. Happy New Year. 




19 comments:

Connie said...

Goodie. You are so beautiful. I know what you mean. I live in California, the home of youth culture. It is sad and upsetting how many people around here buy into the hype. Stretched out faces and puffy lips everywhere. So scary. I'm with you. Put on that swimsuit and jump in the pool o' life. I'm right there behind you.

Janice said...

I'm almost always inspired to comment when you climb up on your soap box. Short and sweet. I agree completely with you!
I hope you find a warm pool and a fluffy towel. Swim on!!

Goody said...

@Connie

I wouldn't last ten seconds in California.

Cannonball!

Beth Waltz said...

Amen!

Once upon a time I took my brother-the-rich-Republican to a medical building for a minor surgical procedure. This being an upscale area of Florida, the establishment belonged to the sort of fix-you-up firm you describe in this post. As I sat waiting in the scented lounge, the clones at the desk covertly reviewed the wreck that I was and, unable to refrain, offered to prepare a free estimate...

Ready? $xx,xxx including spa meals and counseling!

Delighted to report my brother had a painful return trip home -- chuckling hurt his stitches.

Happy New Year to you, too!

Goody said...

@Janice

I love having friends that understand where I'm coming from.

Happy New Year to you as well.

@Beth Waltz

That's rather pushy to give an estimate to the person attending the patient to the clinic. I'd have had a few choice words about our time wasted having a women's movement, but it would likely have been met with blank stares. I was once accosted in the mall and offered a makeover-that was bad enough!

Happy New Year.

Propagatrix said...

Oh, Goody, I needed to read this right now. Last year I lost a good deal of weight, and I've regained most of it since I became unemployed and depressed. The solution isn't hiding and eating and feeling awful. It's doing what will help me in the next five years (walking, weightlifting) and not what helps for five minutes (eating an entire sleeve of crackers). If someone came up to me and offered advice or a surgeon's card right now, I'd probably cry until I threw up. When I feel good, I treat myself better. Therefore, I must mandate feeling good, and the rest will follow.

Goody said...

@Propagatrix

It seems so bullying that people think saying awful things about someone's appearance is helpful. They know it isn't, so I have to assume it isn't out of concern that comments are made, but a desire to be horrible and get away with it. YES, YES, and YES-good feelings NOW!
Happy New Year.

Northern mum down South said...

Well said Goody, the world has got many things arse about face.

Bibi said...

I've found competitive & ambitious people to be massively insecure (& beyond tedious).
Life's just too short to deal with other people's insecurities.
My only ambition has been to build a life I don't need a vacation from ...& I did it!!! YAY!!!
Anywho....A belated Merry Xmas & חנוכה שמחה (Happy Hanukkah)!

Sue said...

And this is exactly why I love you Goody!!!!

Goody said...

@Bibi

That's a wonderful way of putting it-a life you don't need a vacation from.

I don't want to sound like I care if anyone has plastic surgery, goes on a diet, etc-I just can't stand the constant message that we're all somehow lacking physically or emotionally and *must* do these things to be happy.

Happy New Year.

Goody said...

@Jayne

I love that expression! It sounds so much better than the American version of, "Ass backwards" which if you're me, comes out, "Bass Ackwards."

Happy New Year!

Goody said...

@Sue

I was going to invite you to the pool, but after seeing your video, I think I'll head for your beach!

Happy New Year.

Curtise said...

Juniper, I bloody love you!
That's all.
Apart from wooooweeee - that's a wolf whistle, btw! xxxx

Mim said...

I want to come to YOUR beach party. But later in the year, perhaps, when it's not snowy!

One of the great things I'm learning from burlesque class is that EVERY body is amazing - they all have perfect bits and less-than-conventionally-ideal bits, and the bits that some people like are different from the bits other people like, and they're all capable of fab things. Every body is a good body.

Goody said...

@Curtise

Smooch!

@Mim

This year the pool had a giant inflatable rubber duck wearing a santa hat in the empty pool. I forgot to get a photo, but it was great.

"Every body is a good body" is a wonderful motto.

Helga said...

You frigging ROCK.
I've never been especially competitive or ambitious either.
And I LOATHE kale.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Joanna said...

You say it Sister! I'm not going to lie and say aging isn't difficult but I do think we shouldn't be down on ourselves or wish something different. I say take the experiences as they come:) I'm with Helga, You frigging ROCK :)

Goody said...

@Joanna

This may be the first time you've ever uttered, "Frigging" publicly. I'm pleased to have been a part of being a bad influence on you (and I'm sure Helga is too).

I may change my mind in 10 years, but so far I really am OK with the aging stuff, but then I've always been a bit of an old lady, even as a child.