inspiring


That’s right, I said it.  And in my title, too.

But before I lose the members of my audience for whom that biology doesn’t apply, don’t forget!  You owe a lot to that particular body part, so maybe show it a little respect and keep reading for a moment.

V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women.   Now, assuming you’re not an abuser or a victim of abuse yourself, you might be tempted to think this has nothing to do with you.  Sadly, the odds are that this issue has directly effected someone very close to you.  According to the UN, in the United States alone, a woman is beaten every 18 minutes. Globally, one out of every three women will be abused at some point in their lifetime:

“V-Day was born of the belief that until these themes are addressed, these violations named and taken up by whole communities as an unacceptable desecration of human dignity, the violence will continue.”

What does that have to do with Valentine’s Day?

Since Valentine’s Day is considered a day of love, a time to honor the beloved women (and men) in your life by showering them with expressions of romantic devotion, this makes it a perfect time to reflect on how we would want them treated the rest of the year.  What started as a single day event in 1998 has grown to include annual events taking place over a span of three months, February, March, and April, where performances of “The Vagina Monologues” and “Until the Violence Stops” occur all over the world.

 

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area, the University of Central Oklahoma is hosting a performance of “The Vagina Monologues” on April 19, and a screening of the documentary “Until the Violence Stops” on April 18 (times TBA).

Funds raised at both events will benefit the YWCA of Oklahoma City.

So maybe while you’re making your last-minute Valentine’s plans, you could schedule time to take him/her/yourself to see one of the V-day performances.  The benefits will last longer than roses and no one has to worry about the effects of too much chocolate on their waistline.

Ladies, gird your loins, cause this shiz is about to get real.

A friend of mine already commented on the following ridiculousness here:

I know right?!  I couldn’t believe it either.  How in the world this stuff continues to infect our lives is seriously beyond me.  Thankfully, articulatethelimb offers a sane and intelligent response to this rancid idiocy.  There’s not too much for me to add to her commentary, which does fantastic job deconstructing the ideas line by line.   Still, her words inspired me to create an image that captured the righteous spirit of her rant in a way that could be shared quickly and effectively.  And so my friends, I offer you my version:

photo credit: supershiksa

Feel free to ‘like’ and ‘re-pin’ this on Pinterest here.  Don’t let that old narrative permeate our lives or define our standards.  Let’s make this the new standard.  Come on, ladies, let ’em hear you roar.

For the majority of my life, I’ve been a pretty hopeless stick in the mud. This made me extremely popular among the church-going, elderly folk who would always praise my parents on their child-rearing skills: “You have it figured out, you sure do. Such well behaved children you have! How do you do it?” (By calling my brother and I ‘well-behaved’, what they really meant was ‘terrified lumps of goo that didn’t dare upset the delicate balance of parental sanity by engaging in typical childish sedition’. Potato, potahto.) As I grew older, and by older I mean a freshman in college, I finally rebelled. Years of resentment at being the good girl fueled my mutiny as I strongly insisted to my parents that it was ok to go bowling with friends on a friday night and stay out until the ungodly hour of 10pm. I was, after all, a full time student with a full time job and I’ll be damned if I won’t be allowed to waste $10 on used shoes and greasy pizza in the company of my youth group companions! That’s right. I said it. And when Dad said no, I totally acted pissed off and would NOT participate in family devotions that night. Take that, Mr. Man.

I guess the reason I never really went ape-shit as a kid was my good ole protestant sense of guilt. Don’t want to finish your dinner? Stole some nickel candy from the grocery store? Forged your parents’ signature on your test because you couldn’t admit to them that you got a B? God’s kicked people out of heaven for less. Better fess up or you’ll be millennial kindling. As an adult, thankfully, I’ve realized life is more complex than that. There are times when it seems that to do wrong is the only right option.

Take these guys, for instance. They call themselves Guerrilla Gardeners. Basically their passion in life is to sneak around the city at night, armed only with shrubs and shovels, and give a little love to forgotten patches of land. Technically, their behavior is illegal since they do not own the land they are planting neither do they gain permission before they plant. Yet there seems to be something intrinsically right about their illicit hobby. Is it not wrong to neglect and/or abuse the land we live on? Is it not right to care for the powerless, even if the powerless is a patch of dirt? I believe somewhere in my guilt-riddled theological education I heard it said that Good People ought to do the right thing even if it seemed wrong to everyone else. Father Abraham taught us that…though technically he didn’t complete his wrong-headed murder in the name of YHWH cause the ram who lost his way stepped in to save the day but still…it’s the thought that counts. Plus there’s that whole “care for the earth” bit in Genesis that we tend to forget in favor of the “have dominion” translation. But I digress. You should really check these guys out. Kinda makes me wanna grab a shrubbery and start a little rebellion of my own. Who’s with me?!

Three years. That’s how much time your average man spends on the toilet over the course of his lifetime, according to a British survey taken just two years ago. Not surprisingly, ladies tend toward efficiency in this area and only waste (heh) a total of six months in the loo. Perhaps it’s best to put down your Sports’ Illustrated and focus on the task at hand, gents. Besides, we’ve got about 3 years of our lives we need to spend getting ready in the morning and we need that bathroom mirror so hurry it up in there!

The point of that little survey is, I imagine, to encourage people to reflect on how their lives might be different if they spent less time primping, pooping, or procrastinating and focused on the important things. While I don’t usually ponder the amount of time I give to various routines, it occured to me that I’ve spent a good chunk of my life in pancake houses of the international variety. I got my first fix as a teenager with a pathetic social life and a crippling fear of discipline. Sure, dad might be pissed I snuck out to spend time with one of my two friends but hell, the only addictive substances I consumed were bad coffee and maple syrup so as far as the sin scale goes, I’m golden. In college, my need for thick french toast and free WiFi grew to become a regular Saturday morning* habit. True, other coffee houses have competed for my attention, what with their caramel machiattos and espresso charged french roast, but for 3am “i-have-a-25-page-paper-due-in-6-hours-and-i-need-breakfast”, there’s no comparison.

It was in one of these fine establishments that I recently found myself waiting on a ride…for 4 hours…you know who you are. With my second pot of watery coffee in front of me and a serious case of the jitters, I put down my pen (I couldn’t hold on to the damn thing anyway) and struck up a conversation with the local pancake bus boy. I had been writing for some time by then and he asked if I was doing homework.

Me: Nope. I’m done with school.

LPBB: Oh really? That’s great. What do you do, then?

M: I’m a teacher. I teach college English. (So I exaggerated a little. Bite me.)

LPBB: Oh really? That’s great. You look young.

M: I’m older than I look. I’m almost 30. (So I was fishing for a compliment. Again. Bite me.)

LPBB: Oh really? That’s great. Do you like what you do?

M: Yeah, I love it. (So I haven’t taught a day of class yet.  You know what to do.)

LPBB: Oh really? That’s great. It’s important to do what you love. As long as you spend your time doing what you love, that’s all that matters.

That, while piling dirty dishes, half-eaten food, and backwashed drinks into a germy plastic tub to take back to the kitchen for cleaning. At midnight. Having just started his shift.

I wonder how much time I’ll spend over the course of my life bitching to people about how much I hate my job, my hair, my body, my car, etc. Just think what I could do with all that time and energy saved by just being happy with where I am, as I am. I mean, if the midnight bus boy in a run-down, skanky pancake house can stay positive, the least I can do is attempt the same. Maybe then I’d find time to strike up more conversations with random sages in dirty aprons.

*Morning is here defined as the hours immediately following my being woken to the blast of the tornado siren testing. Outsiders will note that these tests are performed every Saturday precisely at noon.