We Have Always Had Needs

Recently, I stumbled across an article entitled “12th-Century Poem About A Virgin Arguing With Her Vulva Uncovered in Austrian Monastery”. I ask you, how could one not be intrigued? I had to read more.

It seems that this is the oldest known copy of this satire, but it is not the only one that has been found. In it, a woman is debating with her vulva about what attracts men more, it, or the woman’s general physical appearance. (I don’t think that question has been answered definitively, even all these centuries later.)

What fascinates me most about this poem is that there was obviously a frank discussion about sexuality even back in the 12th Century. We seem to hold two contradicting notions in our head: Ancient peoples were devoid of morals and self-control, whereas we are more sophisticated (read: prudish) now. But at the same time, we look back at past history, at least in the European, Christian sense, and tend to believe that humans have become more open, less conservative, over time. Clearly neither theory tells the whole story.

I also remember reading an article (which I can no longer find) about a wooden dildo that was found hidden up inside a fireplace niche in Colonial Williamsburg. Well, the “hidden” aspect of it implies there was a source of shame there, but its existence confirms that people have always had needs, and were willing to get creative to fulfill them.

If you look at art through the centuries, you’ll see that there has always been a fascination with genitalia. Most historians nervously attribute these things to fertility, the need to procreate, and take the sexuality out of it.

Hmph.

According to this article, sex toys have been found that date back 28,000 years. So who’s to say that fertility statues weren’t also used for pleasure and visual titillation? I mean, come on. Most of us appreciate a little stimulation now and again. Do we really think pornography originated in the 1900’s? Do we think the more artistic depictions of all things taboo began with Georgia O’Keefe?

We also seem to want to quash the fact that once upon a time, women were considered powerful by more than just those of us who are woke. (Women can create men inside their own bodies. The reverse cannot ever be claimed. That’s magical.)

This article discusses a variety of artistic depictions of female genitalia, including sculptures of the sacred yoni in Hindu art, Venus figurines that are at least 35,000 years old, and Sheela-na-gig carvings of women with exaggerated vulvas that are found throughout Europe.

Further, Baubo figurines were popular in ancient Greece. They were often depicted as a naked headless body with a female face emerging from the torso, and a vulva on the chin. Hmmm.

In the Palauan archipelago, one could often find Dilukai, or carvings of women with their legs splayed open, above the doors of the houses of the chiefs. These were said to be sacred carvings to ward off evil, and symbolize fertility and spiritual rebirth. But missionaries tried to claim they were there to shame immoral women. (I suspect that what went on in the chief’s house had little to do with lessons in morality.)

It is even said that the Vesica Piscis, an almond-shaped symbol that appears all over the place throughout history, including in the ancient Christian fish symbol, is actually a depiction of the female vaginal source of creation.

Personally, I see no reason to cast shame upon those who believe in the sacred female, nor should we feel shame about the body parts that have allowed all of us to walk upon this earth, nor in the urges that have caused us to make use of said body parts. More power to us all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A 12th-century Sheela Na Gig on a Church in Kilpeck, Herefordshire, England

Do you enjoy my random musings? Then you’ll love my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

A Bitter Pill Indeed

I just came across a group that I didn’t even know existed up to this point: The Red Pill Movement. And the more I learned, the more horrified I became. I’m glad it mostly only exists within the confines of Reddit, because if it were a widespread, out there, active thing, it would be the face of the ugliest parts of humanity.

The Red Pill Movement, in essence, is a sexist social club for angry men who feel they’ve been victimized by women and society in general. The consensus seems to be that all women are the same. Apparently we all cheat, we delight in belittling men, we are manipulative, selfish, and cruel to the point of making a sport out of it. We claim to want nice guys who treat us decently, but really we want to be dominated, subjugated, and even (on the more extreme end of the movement) raped.

Huh.

I had no idea that I was supposed to be connected into some waspish man-hating hive mind. I also had no idea that, while hating men, I was also supposed to be longing for them to be even more “manly” toward me. I am also, so the theory goes, so sexually manipulative that I lead men around by the ear lobes, all while truly wanting them to tie me down and transport me back to the 1950’s.

Yeah, that makes sense.

It makes as much sense as believing that all women are inherently awful, and yet spending a great deal of time trying to figure out how to get them to sleep with you, as these Red Pillers do.

The thing that I find most amusing is that these people believe that women can have whomever they want, whereas for men, dating is a struggle, and a smorgasbord of rejection. If we can have whomever we want, why have so many of us suffered through the humiliation of internet dating along with our male counterparts? Why are so many of us lonely, just like our male counterparts?

I’ll tell you why. Life is hard. Love is hard to find. But the only way to find it is to have respect for others as well as respect for yourself. If you are allowing a hate forum like the Red Pill infect your belief system, you’re going to either attract people as damaged as you are, or you’ll be alone. Lead with love for people, not hate.

What truly sickens me is that there’s a subreddit in that group called Red Pill Women, and apparently they talk a lot about being more meek, offering up their vaginas whenever their men want it, and ways to submit to their man’s every desire. It’s the most self-loathing group of women that I’ve ever heard of.

I suspect this group mostly caters to young men who are in that socially awkward stage that all of us suffer through, combined with a mentally unstable group of guys with anger management issues, and the women who love them and don’t think they deserve better treatment. It’s all very sad, really.

Always surround yourself with people who celebrate your abilities and your amazing qualities. Interact with those who want to lift you up and encourage you, not treat you as if you were some mindless scum that shouldn’t think for yourself. And that’s advice not only for the Red Pill Women out there, but the men as well. You’re all being manipulated by the echo chamber of this bitter, misogynistic group. Break free. It can be done.

Red Pill

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

The Devil Made Me Do It

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about temptation. I can gaze at my ever-expanding waistline and think about how miserable it makes me, and I can stare at a bag of Tim’s potato chips, feeling helpless, and I know that without a doubt, I’ll be diving head first into that bag of chips sooner or later, waistline be damned. I can resist anything but temptation.

But temptation implies that there’s some outside force acting upon me. It’s sort of a get out of jail free card. It’s not my fault. The devil made me do it. I was tempted by… fill in the blank.

This deferment of responsibility is rooted, I think, in the religious teachings that have been embedded in our culture so deeply that we barely think about them anymore. I passed a church today, and the message on their sign said, “The devil wants us to FALL.”

Many of us are taught that we are weak creatures, prone to sin, and satan is out there, hellbent on making us commit these sins. We must resist. But if we can’t, we should repent and be forgiven.

It’s really rather comforting, having a ready excuse for bad behavior. It’s wonderful to be able to blame everything on some outside source, as if we have no ability to say no. Like we’re puppets on strings. We might be doing the dance, but it’s not our choice.

I have a friend who does not like to watch true crime documentaries, because he doesn’t want those sick ideas put into his head. It’s almost as if he thinks that if he learns the motivations of a serial killer, for example, then he might just become one himself. And, mind you, this is the most decent, stand-up guy I’ve ever met in my life.

Here’s an idea. Just say, “I don’t enjoy true crime documentaries.”

Here’s another idea. Admit that every single food item that I put in my mouth is there because I am choosing to put it there. Every. Single. One.

Here’s yet another idea. Stand up and say, “I chose to start drinking/smoking/doing drugs. Yes, now I’m addicted to this substance, but the process began with a choice I made, and now I can choose to get help and/or change my behavior.”

Granted, you can be tempted by others. But even then, you are choosing to surround yourself with these people. If someone is a bad influence, maybe it’s time to cut that person out of your life, or at the very least, stop participating in his or her negative behavior.

I think it’s time that we grow up as a species, and start taking responsibility for our own actions. It may not be fun. It may not be pretty. We may have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. But we can do this.

I admit it. I have not seen my last potato chip. But at least I’ll know that the choice is my own, and hopefully I will make a better choice next time. I’m a work in progress. But the work, and the resulting progress or lack thereof, is mine, mine, all mine.

Chips

Start a gratitude practice today. Read my book. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Those Pesky Pedestals

I’ve always admired the Dalai Lama. For me, he seemed like the epitome of enlightenment. He’s dignified. He’s compassionate. He remains calm in the face of grave injustice in the form of China stealing Tibet. He doesn’t even seem bitter about the fact that no country is willing to step in to correct this outrage. He’s all about love and acceptance. He doesn’t judge.

But it seems that he’s also just a man of his generation. And that breaks my heart. Because as a man, he’s inherently flawed.

According to this article, he has said on more than one occasion that if a woman succeeds him, she should be attractive. Because if she’s not, no one will want to look at that face. Even when he is told that this comment offends people, he sticks by it.

This enlightened man just doesn’t get it.

You’d think that someone who has seen his country go through what it has gone through would understand that it’s wrong to require that someone’s most important quality be something that is so completely out of her control. It’s wrong to place hurdles in front of one group of people that you don’t place in front of another. It’s an incredible waste to completely overlook someone’s vast inner value based upon the arbitrary yardstick that you use to give a seal of approval to their outer shell.

It makes me sad to now see the Dalai Lama as an old man with occasionally outmoded, wrong-headed ideas.

But perhaps that has more to do with the rickety pedestal I have placed him upon than it has to do with the man himself. What right do I have to expect perfection? Just because he has failed to meet my standards, that doesn’t mean his inherent value as a public figure has changed.

Let’s try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as he seems so willing to do. But give me a minute to mourn the fact that I am having to lower my expectations, here. I, too, am only human.

Dalai Lama

Hey! Look what I wrote! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

True Gallantry

I have this amazing husband. He takes such good care of me. And that’s not something I’m used to, at all. For 53 years I’ve either been alone or in a relationship where I had to be the caretaker, and it was exhausting. I could definitely get used to this, and I plan to.

But on the other hand, I hate it when people infantilize me or act like I’m not capable of taking care of myself. I hate the implication that as a woman, I’m somehow incapable and automatically need help all the time. I’ve written about this before. I am NOT made of glass.

It’s a struggle to find the balance. And yet somehow my husband seems to find it the vast majority of the time. I’ve spent hours trying to figure out how he does that. How does he manage to be so solicitous, so caring, without giving the impression that he finds me incompetent?

By way of example, we walk hand in hand. That’s not only for the romance, but also because I have suffered a lot lately from vertigo and blurry vision, and, let’s face it, I have lacked focus, and often overlook pesky things like uneven paving stones. He also helps me down flights of stairs, as I’ve got some wrist damage going on, and it would really be unfortunate if I fell. He opens doors for me, not because he thinks I can’t do so myself, but because he wants to show his love. And if I have to go to a sketchy rest area bathroom, he listens out for my scream, not because he thinks I can’t kick some major butt when adrenalized, but because the world is going mad.

So why doesn’t this feel like infantilization to me? We’re both getting older. I tend to point out cracks in the sidewalks to him, too. We’d like to keep each other. We balance like a tripod, and that’s a much more stable structure. He also makes it quite clear that he has confidence in my agency. He knows I’m intelligent and that I plan for contingencies and avoid stupid risks. He seeks my advice as much as I seek his.

I think I’ve finally figured out the difference. He does what he does because he happens to be a gallant man. He’s not demonstrating that he’s somehow superior. He’s showing his love, and that as a part of this team, we both are protecting what we have. That means so much to me.

But I have to say that the other day we were walking hand in hand at the farmer’s market and I hit my shin on the handle of a badly placed delivery cart. He looked at me in horror and said, “Did I just walk you into that cart?” I had to remind him that I’m a grown a$$ woman, and I, myself, stupidly walked into the cart. I walk with him. He’s not steering me.

There will always be slight course corrections in every relationship. I don’t envy the fine line on which he’s forced to walk. I see it. I appreciate it.

The world will always throw random obstacles in our paths. Yes, there will be bruises here and there. But I sure am loving the path that we are on.

Holding Hands

An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Go Away, Secret Admirer

It happened again. Almost exactly 13 months from the last time. And it rattled me. It still rattles me.

Late at night, someone left a flower on my car here at work. This time a pink rose. No explanation. No identification.

With the motive unexplained, the only conclusion I can reliably draw is that someone was here. Right here, where I was standing now, alone in the dark. Someone being secretive.

And because all other information has been withheld from my emotional database, it becomes, intended or not, a very eerie form of passive aggression. As I said when I wrote about the first incident, the secret admirer thing becomes creepy after about the second grade. Please read that blog post for more details on my thought process regarding this behavior.

In the meantime, here’s a handy rule of thumb: If you think you need to remain anonymous in order to take action, then DON’T TAKE ACTION. Either man up, step up, and own what you do, or leave people alone.

Please.

Pink Rose

A big thanks to StoryCorps for inspiring this blog and my first book. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

She’s a Beauty

It happened again the other day. A captain, in an attempt to compliment my bridge, said, “She’s a real beauty.”

He meant well. And I took it in the spirit in which he intended it. But it still got on my nerves. At least he didn’t go on to say, “She has a hard time getting up when it’s cold, just like my wife,” as another captain has been known to do.

Can someone please give me an example of an inanimate object being referred to as a he? Please? I’m not talking about the gender designations of nouns that some languages use. That’s different.

No, I’m talking about those smarmy, affectionate references to cars, boats, drawbridges, and all things mechanical. Yes, maybe it’s because those objects are, more often than not, worked on by males, and they feel uncomfortable loving these things if they’re not female. Maybe it’s just the average hetero guy’s fear of being considered homosexual. (Heaven forfend.)

But I suspect that if you scratch the surface, what you’ll see is that many men like to play with mindless, passive things that will do their bidding without question. And even if they aren’t from the 19th century, somewhere, in some underground curriculum that we women are generally not privy to, they are all taught the same thing: that all those qualities mean that this thing must therefore be female.

I’m sure that most guys who do this haven’t even given it much thought, but I’m telling you, it’s offensive. It cramps my little lady-brain, just thinking about it. And I find it even more offensive on the rare occasion when a woman does it, because a woman should know better. It’s just one more microaggression in the sea of microaggressions that women have to swim in every single day. So please knock it off.

As a tiny form of resistance, I’ve always given my cars male names. But even then, I can’t bring myself to refer to them as he. My car will always be an it.

Women are not wind up dolls, and your classic car isn’t going to kiss you back. Well… unless you’re an objectophile. Then it’s a whole different ballgame. Read my thoughts on that here.

classic car

I wrote an actual book, and you can own it! How cool is that? http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5