My Objectification

This weekend I finally fully understood what the phrase “objectification of women” actually meant. I have been a woman my entire life and never fully understood this phrase.

But today, it fully clicked. It started with getting shushed by a man, basically, when I posted this article published by The Huffington Post on my Facebook page. Mind you, this was a “friend”. His comments literally left me baffled and without a response. I understand not everyone agrees with abortion, but honestly I cannot fathom where he gets his belief on his other points. I had to share somewhere.

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I wished another woman would step in and blast him. I knew it would fall on deaf ears, but I didn’t know how to explain why he was wrong. But after watching the this TedX video, I understand why they didn’t and I understand why I didn’t.

I have observed silenced female role models my entire life. And when they weren’t silenced, they were in supporting roles discussing someone else’s ideas. And holy shit, I realized that I have fallen right into those footsteps. Thirty-nine years of existence as a woman were summed up more tangibly than I had ever felt when Soraya Chemaly mentioned her article, “10 Words Every Girl Should Learn“. Those 10 words are:

I just said that.
Stop interrupting me.
No explanation needed.

I literally feel the need to say the first two sentences every single day. It doesn’t matter if it’s to my husband, a male colleague or a friend of either sex; I feel it. Now that I have a way to express the feelings of over explanation, I probably will use the third phrase more often as well.

Objectification was such a big word that was difficult for me to understand. Soroya explained well that it’s more that we are silenced because there is an “inherent bias” that women do not have knowledge. We even grow up thinking that way. I forget often that I do “know” information and valuable information at that. I am smart and have a lot to offer. I am often dismissed though and I get tired of not being listened to and literally just shut up. I question my ability and knowledge often and especially if someone else has a louder voice or seems more knowledgeable. I know many women that seem to behave similarly. I wonder how many husbands and brothers and dads fully understand that the women in their lives feel this way. Would it change the way they act?

I’m not sure what to do with this information at this point. I needed to put it on paper. I’m sure there is more to come. It’s all part of my journey out of the rat race….

Goals & Expectations 2016

Well, it’s time to start thinking about my goals again for 2016. I wish I knew where to begin. My biggest goal in 2015 was to find balance, which I can say honestly that I am better today than I was yesterday in this category. I think that 2016 theme might need to be “Control What You Can Control”, which is a reference to the long-loved Serenity Prayer and a Codependent’s prayer as well.

Last week, I watched Barbara Walters reveal the Top 10 Most Interesting People of 2015 and Tracy Morgan was one of them. He said that “Happiness is having something to look forward to.” That was such an astounding thought. He’s right! My friends that are seeking purpose and passion are lacking that “something to look forward to.” All of us are directionless and have a long list of needs:

  1. We need strength
  2. We need guidance
  3. We need confidence
  4. We need love
  5. We need understanding
  6. We need goals
  7. We need encouragement
  8. We need a leader

Funny, we think we need someone else to do this for us, but it’s all right there for us to do for ourselves. I am struggling taking that step to do it for myself. I crave order and direction and guidance from someone and I am not used to needing to define these things on my own. Mistakingly, I forgot I owned my own life, and have been submitting to other people’s expectations of me for a long time without even realizing it.

I thought I broke free, but I lost me again. Maybe it was an illusion and I never found me anyway. This is the plight of a codependent.

People see me having a natural ability to lead, so when asked, I am flattered and say yes.

The ones that do not ask, I self-appoint myself and then feel resentment because they don’t listen.

At work, I am waiting on a sign of direction from my boss. Everyone says that I can own it, but I cannot see it.

Also at work, I can see amazing directions ahead and am fearful to not have a strong leader to help me through.

Another big one is that I refuse to own my husband’s search for this, but I desperately want him to define it for the both of us. (What pressure I’m giving him!)

When am I going to take control of my own destiny?

When am I going to decide what I actually want or have the courage to fight for that?

These questions are the beginning of change. And they are exactly why I’m thinking of the Serenity Prayer

Serenity Now!

Welcome to my journey out of the rat race. 🙂

 

 

 

Dear Corporate America

Dear Corporate America,

You broke my husband. He is a good man. He is a smart, wise and funny man. Yet, you have no faith in him. I do not know why or fully understand, but you slowly broke his spirit.

Today, my husband took a leap of faith trusting that I am steering him right by telling him that I am okay if he wants to resign from his current job. I do not believe he resigned yet, but he decided to not renew his gaming license because he is quitting before it needs renewed. I am proud of him, but he is broken.

The Universe knew this was coming this week and already loaded its email to me.

Jen, it’s not possible to significantly change your life, for better or for worse, by manipulating the material world. Not by working harder, not by studying longer, not by schmoozing, not by sweating, not by fasting, not by the hair of your chinny chin chin.

But great change is inescapable when you first begin manipulating the world of your thoughts.

Thinking of you,
    The Universe

I asked my husband if this letter was addressed to him, what would he feel it meant. He said “very metaphysical and accurate.” I asked him if it helped him feel empowered with his thoughts and he said, “Not at all.  I feel broken, mentally weak and incapable.”

He received his bachelor’s degree 6 years ago and it has done nothing to help him advance in his career. We’re faced with the debt of that decision and yet again, we’re trying to find his path to a great career. Where do you start? Why are there no resources? Is he destined to the fate of a 39 year old white guy that made some bad choices when he was a kid? Why are some destined to succeed in this corporate world and others are diminished? Why is no one else noticing this?

It is sad and ridiculous that good people cannot find meaningful work. I know I am a biased wife, but as a “good Corporate American woman”, I know the potential my husband has and I hate that the expectation of this Corporate American world is breaking his spirit. Aren’t you at all curious why GenX couples want to leave the workforce earlier? Why wouldn’t we want to?!  It does not appear that you care at all. In fact, it appears that you are more interested in the Millennial generation anyway. You cater your sales to them and your studies towards them.

Needless to say, we are feeling very neglected. And as soon as we can, we’ll be parting ways with you.

Sincerely,

A GenX Couple

Stay Present in the Hustle & Bustle

This year, my holiday spirit is in a different place. My friend’s husband that was fighting brain cancer passed away this week. A life taken too soon in a marriage that is too young to experience it. The Universe has been sending me these types of messages through various forms to be more mindful of my fellow humans and of my own heart. Lately, I have felt the strong pull to pay attention more to the people around me that support me at all times in my life: my husband, my family and my best friends. That’s a small circle of people. 

Life is fleeting before my very eyes and I am trying to maximize the love that I have for it and the people that I am graced while here together. The past 2 months have been some of the most reflective I have ever been of my 20 year relationship with my husband. I am more loving, patient, kind and hopeful in our love and forgive myself faster for unintentionally hurting him. It has taken a long time to get to this point. He really is my rock and I am thankful for every moment that the Universe gives us. THIS is why I am fighting with all my might to figure out the way to retire early. I want to maximize that time we have together. I want to make sure that the time we have left is meaningful for the both of us and not sacrificed to the mighty dollar. I want to make sure we are actually LIVING.

A taste of my ADD and story-telling, I am going to go off on another path for a minute to make a point…. Elephants have been making their way into my visual presence lately via pictures, gifts, articles, etc. When those types of visuals happen, I try to pay attention and so, I’ve been studying their symbolism. I’m learning, according to Animal-Symbols.com, they represent “strength, wisdom, solitude, strong sense of loyalty to the family and intelligence.” I think I am experiencing all of these things right now. Also, these are long-living animals and often I’ve heard  they do not forget anything and are a wise creatures. Perhaps, I am on a journey of wisdom. Funny, I’ve always drawn an elephant facing backwards since I was a child that I called Wilbur. Here is a pic of him.  Maybe I was an old soul all this time.

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So I might not be fully engaged in all of the holiday hustle and bustle this year, but I am completely in tune to my loyalty to those that matter in my life. There is so much anger and hate in our world today. We do not need to add to it with more anger and hate because of minor inconveniences of planning the “perfect” Christmas dinner or fighting the traffic to get the “perfect” gift. The perfect gift is not a material thing or a specific event or a religion. It is not Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Islamism or Hinduism or “introduction” to their spiritual leaders. The perfect gift is emitting the love that those leaders were trying to teach us how to do. The gift is to be kind, patient, loving, helpful, generous and considerate when people around you are hurting or are in need.  It is representing the core of those religious beliefs and their leaders. All religions promote those gifts.

So this holiday season, give these gifts graciously and generously!  Take a moment to breathe and perhaps re-evaluate where you are at this very moment. Are you focusing on the things that matter or on the things that do not?

 

Until next time, I’ll be continuing my journey out of the rat race. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment below!