Saturday, March 31, 2012

Judgment. Epiphany. Zen Stick. Ouch.

I guess it started with the first episode of Sharp Pointy Objects...the one I named Self-Esteem. Or maybe it started before that when I first became aware of the overt war on women happening in state and federal capitol buildings across the nation. I do know the self-awareness and shame came to me several days before we recorded episode four of Sharp Pointy Objects - Sex Work and Feminism. That episode only sealed the deal. 

Regardless of where it started, a couple of weeks ago, I had an epiphany.

I am a harshly judgmental all the conditioned ways.

And I really don't like this about myself.

Let me explain.

Last year, about this time, I was seeing someone, someone I cared very deeply about, someone I saw great potential least insofar as to say he seemed to fit nicely into my scheme of how Jane's World operates which is to say I love nearly everyone and require those important to me to accept that I will express love to however many I choose in whatever way I choose and, in fairness, will accept vice versa gladly.

And then he dumped me in the worst possible way. He dumped me but didn't tell me. He let me find out about it on Facebook when my replacement - a much younger, thinner, prettier woman - changed her relationship status. A woman who, for all intents and purposes, purports herself to be a silly, vacuous, self-absorbed little girl looking for Mr. Good Bar. She has admitted repeatedly to wanting only one thing out of life...a man to take care of her so she doesn't have to work.


Was I bitter? Oh yeah. Very. Was I angry? Yup! Was I hurt? Beyond belief.

A couple of months after the relationship was over, while my heart was still smarting immeasurably, I saw her out at a club dressed to her own standard of nine's in a corset and mini skirt.

Now...when I say she is thinner than me? She is. That's a fact. But she is not thin by any stretch of the imagination. So, when I saw her that night, dolled up in what I'm sure she thought was an outfit to impress, I honed in on her back fat so prominently accentuated by her corset.

I laughed snidely. I pointed it out to my close friends. And then I took a picture of the evidence with my phone. 

Solely to make fun of her at every turn.

I hated myself the moment I snapped the picture. 

Because even then I knew what I was doing was wrong, shameful, ugly. To pick on a woman because of the way she looks is the lowest common denominator in the war against women. It was calling the pot black while me, the kettle, was blacker than that! I knew it. Even then. Still...I did it. I am not proud of it. Not at all. 

I never did make fun of her publicly. I never posted that picture anywhere. That does not excuse my abhorrent behavior. I made fun of her in my head and to a few understanding friends because of how she appeared. And I justified my judgment of her appearance because the two of them had hurt me terribly. Because the two of them were deceitful. Because the two of them lied. But mostly...because I was a mean, hateful, horrible bitch

Fast forward.

Mid-February, 2012, I recorded and published a podcast about self-esteem. Mid-march I recorded and am about to publish a podcast about sex work and feminism. After talking, at length, to women I admire, adore and respect, I no longer want to use words like bitch, slut, prostitute, whore. I don't want to offend women I love. But it's even more than that...bigger than my love for them...

Her image - the back fat image - and my capturing evidence of such, looms shamefully large.

Because women - all women, all people - are more than that...better than that. Even when they act as though they are stupid, vacuous, and silly. 

She doesn't deserve my ridicule for her appearance. I have absolutely no room to talk. She doesn't deserve my ridicule for acting like an airhead, stupid girl when she likely isn't, because wow. Girls are societal victims of just such programming. I can't blame her for not really knowing any better. I can't blame her for buying into the Disney-fication of the world when that's what we've shoved down her throat until her gag reflex was so over-developed she could likely deep throat Ron Jeremy (ew). And she is young enough to continue to fall prey to the conditioning that beauty and charm brings the prince.

That was the epiphany.

I was blaming her beauty, her charm, her ability to accessorize, for my broken heart. And I was pointing out, bitterly, vindictively, her imperfections to my friends to deflect actual character her, in him...

In me.

He dumped me because I brought out his vulnerability he didn't want to expose. He dumped me because I felt strongly for him and expressed it. He dumped me because I wasn't easily distracted from what made him - the "him" with which he wasn't comfortable. What he didn't do is dump me because I was old, ugly, fat.

I'm fairly certain now, tonight, he thought I was beautiful.

I, tonight, honestly think he dumped me, replaced me, for someone infinitely easier. She wasn't more beautiful (younger, thinner, yes, but not more beautiful). She was just able to believe his facade of strength. A facade he depended on and one I never believed.

The epiphany came when I understood thoroughly...we aren't loved because we are physically perfect. We're loved because we are what the other person needs us to be.


Celeste Neumann said...

Congratulations Jane. True Wisdom. Close to the truth, that one is, even though only a half truth.
They love us when we love ourselves, because when we love ourselves, we appear strong.
They love us when we are firm in our convictions, and not vascillating and indecisive.
They love us when we are our own planets; not when we are mere satellites revolving around someone else (in other words when we have 'a life').
Self esteem is not something you have or you don't. It's a project, which requires work. Even the most successful egos crumble when they are not pet in the right way --> see Brittney Spears, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse.
If you learn to take very good care of your ego, and understand there is a difference between healthy egotism and narcissicism, then you shall do better. Then its easier to recognise those cowards who call themselves men for what they are: weak and pathetic.
Well done, Jane. Well done!

Peaceful Warrior said...

Wow you really did beat Yourself up all over again.
I followed closely the reasonings and admire the way you are achieving a closure on this matter.
Self flagellation is good as long as you are prepared for the pain and yet it is sometimes the best way to cure oneself.
You are correct about your lack of consideration about her feelings as a woman, though it would be difficult to eradicate that she may have done it with full knowledge about the consequences of her act. As you said yourself, her stated target was to become financially secure, the easy route.

What matters Jane in my observation,(of a situation I have no direct awareness of) (and being a guy) is that YOU are better off without a man that would leave you for any reason. (except Death)

You can control to some degree yourself, (not always your feelings and bitterness about the younger slimmer woman) But NEVER can you control anything about another. (unless they let you...!!)

HE. The guy is a nob for both leaving you, and not being decent enough to end the relationship with dignity.
SHE. Is possibly immature and learning as we all do from making errors, and her body is not who she really is.
YOU. are gorgeous the way you are. (I have seen only few pictures of you and anyway, who you are is not your body either...)

I am probably talking out of my arse here, and if anything offends you I HUMBLY apologize in advance, but wanted to say that you are a lovely woman, who many decent men would love to befriend and even consider possible romantic involvement with. You have male friends, so don't hanker after 'The One'. He will arrive when you are ready for him..

Ok I got my ear defenders on now, so shoot.....

Seriously though. We all love you for you, and bitching is funny, but if you can come up with a nice thing to say about someone, then that is what you should say...Capishe??

Big Hugs and loads of love.
P.W. x

Lucy said...

Wow,I think you are being so hard on yourself and I think you know me well enough that I would say they both still suck, but I will respect your wishes and not use any naughty words LOL.

Anonymous said...

Wow Jane, very few women have ths guts to address this woman on woman bashing. It goes on every day, women are conditioned to compete against each other from childhood. The problem only gets worse when (some) scheming men encourage it. I understand your anger in situ, nobody is perfect, but you can see it in the light now. Even if you're not aware if it, you've probably been that "other woman" to someone else. I applaude you for your self refection. I feel a blahg post coming on...

TangledLou said...

Infinitely wise. I hear Rocky theme music. A most important sort of epiphany. Do you want to hear an embarrassing fact? I had a similar epiphany just two short years ago. Yes, two. After more than a decade of marriage, two children and a happy, satisfying life, it just occurred to me one day in my shed (it's my epiphany shed) that all those heartbreaks, all those other relationships weren't wrong because there was something wrong with me. Embarrassing, I tell you. But freeing, no? I'm happy to read such raw words of clarity and courage. <3

alienbody said...


Gaelyn said...

Good call. We must all get past this judging of others to build our own self esteem. She is what she is. I am what I am.

Oh yes, we must love ourselves for others to love us back. Seems like we look for a person to compliment our personalities. And what we are first most attracted to often is what breaks us apart.

I love how you look at your life and reassess. Not always an easy thing to do. Plus you open your heart and share what others also feel.

a.eye said...

Love the last line of your post!

We women are so good at trying to bring others down. It is really horrible!

Anonymous said...

"We're loved because we are what the other person needs us to be."

That is exactly right. It's not a negative thing and it I don't think it reflects poorly on us as humans. We need what we need and we enjoy being around the people who help us to meet those needs, who confirm what we believe, who allow us to be who we think we are.

I've always said that successful couplings require finding someone who is fine with your brand of crazy and you're fine with theirs. Well, that and a good dose of dumb luck.

Elaine Griffin said...

Word, Jane, word.
Thanks for standing up for all of us, and having the strength to admit your "weaknesses," which we are all prone to.

Masked Mom said...

Self-awareness is not for the faint of heart. I have caught myself at this sort of thing--mostly on "behalf" of friends (behind-the-back, private mocking of the new girlfriends of their exes), but it's really always about my own insecurities and weaknesses, I think. Good for you for being willing to dig deeper into your own responses.

Unknown said...

ouch. I hear ya, and the truth hurts. Just LAST NIGHT I was trashing a woman in my head for "letting herself go" why? why do I care? thank you for addressing this all too real topic- even if it was ridiculously painful to read. -your words will be rolling in my head for a long time. thank you