Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The things we don't talk about


As women we don't talk about a lot of things in our life. We dig deep, declare our broad shoulders, and cover up the things that we don't want the world to see. We discuss things that are only considered civilized, appropriate and polite, and this is our downfall.

I grew up in a family where there were things you just didn't discuss, such as money, religion and politics, but also a lot of things that maybe we should have talked about. I sometimes wonder if I would be a different person if we had talked about sex, about sexuality, about relationships with men, with food and body image. The amount of conscious effort that it takes for me to not focus solely on these things in day to day life is absolutely exhausting.

Please don't get me wrong. This isn't a pity party for myself, but for a society of women who hold it together despite the internal monologue that must be going through their heads. It can't be just me.

I know that some of us were raised with great body images, a healthy relationship with food, an understanding of relationships and sex and all of that, but I would be willing to place money on the fact that those are few and far between. I would bet that the greater majority of us appear to be solid as a rock, but that underneath all of that is a little girl, cowering in the corner and wondering what will become of us.

Behind all the professionalism that everyone sees, there is a girl who worries every day about ever calorie of food that crosses her lips to the point that in her twenties she develops a severe eating disorder, with no regard for the fact that the typical eating disorder appears in the teen years, because she feels so out of control. She feels like a failure every day that the scale climbs, or stays the same. She measures her worth by the size of her jeans.

Behind the soccer mom who is taking amazing care of her children, and holding the family together is a woman who is scared every day that she won't be able to satisfy her husband, and so she goes way beyond her comfort in bed with him, just to keep him from going somewhere else. She doesn't know that she has the right to say no when something makes her uncomfortable. She pretends that she loves it, just because she loves him, and when he goes to sleep, she has a shower to wash the dirty feeling off her.

Behind the lawyer in her power suit who takes command of the room as she enters is a woman who is showing a little cleavage to "keep the old boys in line" because no one ever told her that she doesn't have to use her body to get attention, and that attention doesn't equate to respect. She laughs and flirts and seems to love her job, but she goes home every night and works out for 3 hours because she is terrified that if she loses her looks, she's lost in this job and that she'll never move forward.

Now, I'm the first to admit that we can only blame how we were raised for our problems until a certain age. At some point, we become accountable as adults for our actions, however we, as women, do ourselves a great disservice by burying these issues. We don't talk about them with our best girlfriends, our mothers, or our daughters. We take a deep breath, put on a big smile, and take on the world with our best face forward.

I'm of the belief that if we talked about these things, if we knew we were all facing them, it would help us all to find greater peace. Maybe we wouldn't make the same mistakes the next time around. Perhaps we could help each other to be stronger, more confident, to know our limits and to feel better about ourselves in general. Maybe by knowing on a personal level that our sisters, mothers, daughters and friends face the same thing it would help us to all feel a little better and stop hurting ourselves, and subjecting ourselves to unnecessary hurt because we think that we're alone.

1 comment:

Hello Amber! said...

Oh hai! You are totally a feminist.