Finding Our Voice



I watched the video above this morning and sat in silence for a long while trying to process it all.  The video made me sad, and angry, and validated simultaneously.  The first reason, of course, always comes back to my weight and self image issues.  "How is it that I have allowed myself to become so locked into what I look like?  How is it that with all of my personal accomplishments and successes that I am ultimately a failure to myself because I no longer am a size 6?" is a monologue that runs through my head 762 times a day.  They say men think about sex every five seconds?  A woman is thinking about how pissed she is that she has to lie down to zip her favorite jeans, about the guilt of not working out and losing weight while she is juggling the other thousand things throughout the day.  Then the guilt of not doing it all starts to require food to medicate.  I am a master of that one.  "I'll have cake and ice cream for lunch.  That will fix it."  Then the whole process starts all over again.  It is a hard thing to deprogram.  I cringe when I look at photos of myself ("My God I look HUGE") even though I know I am so happy in the moment of all of the photos (that poor girl would be so pretty if she would just lose some weight).  Beyond the weight, it is a bigger issue that I gnash my teeth about on a daily basis.

I work in a mini bureaucracy.  It is a mini political system if you will, where it has been a "good old boys club" since it began.  Now I am well versed in good old boys clubs.  It is the work world in general.  I am also well versed in "you attract more bees with honey than vinegar".  More on that later.  I have a job where I deal with workers and foremen of shops (Plumbing shop, HVAC shop, Electrical shop, paint shop, etc) because of the facility that I run.  I have had to fight to be even acknowledged as a valid voice about something that I have been working in for 20+ years, and I have a big voice.  The workers often will not even look at me in the eye when I am speaking to them because I obviously don't have any idea what I'm talking about since I have tits.  I am dismissed daily by those in charge of things at the District level (even in my building)  because I am a woman and would not know about such things.  And if I were to demand a little louder, I would most certainly be considered emotional and irrational ("God what a bitch.  She is such a WOMAN").  So I have to play a different game.  It's the one where I sweet talk them all and flirt and pat them on the arm and "honey" them and act like they all know best because it's all they respond to or what they respond to the fastest.  Then they show up for me when I call.  Then they will come "to take care of me" down there.  It makes me want to scream.  But I play the game because it is a shorter distance than the other fight.  I don't have time to wait on Bubba to get himself together when I have a leak in the pump room.  Some would say that women have all of the power because of their sexuality.  I will say very clearly that sexuality is not the power that women need.  I want to be seen as an equal and validated because of what I offer as a professional in my field, because I am smart and well read and educated and have a depth of knowledge about my profession.  Not because I know how to bat my eyelashes and make a man feel big and strong.  

I have a 10 year old niece that is so stunningly beautiful and smart that I ache when I look at her.  I want to throw my arms around her (and all of my friends' beautiful daughters) and tell her that she will always be the most beautiful girl in the world because of who she is, because she is thoughtful and intelligent and just GETS IT.  Not because she has long lovely legs and gorgeous features.  But what I tell her doesn't matter, much the way what my parents told me didn't matter because the message EVERYWHERE else is louder. "It depends on who is piloting..." becomes so critical.  The men that are in my life are amazing.  Friends, immediate family, husband, all of them.  They are thoughtful, respectful, and absolutely see me as an equal.  But the bigger message out there is not coming from them.  It is coming from media.  And media is everywhere.

I don't know how to fix this mindset.  I don't even know how to fix my own mindset.  It is continual deprogramming from what I have been told my entire life from the world as a woman.  It is also something that women don't talk about with each other.  We have come to the "It is what it is" way of thinking and to talk about it makes us a victim, which most of us would rather gargle glass than be considered.  Finding my voice is certainly a lifelong journey, but I am finding that when I speak out about what I believe, about injustices, about how to do it different or better, my voice becomes stronger.  And maybe that voice will be the one that drowns out the other one.      

      


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1 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am so relieved to know I am not alone in the battle. I have daughters and I worry about them daily. I pray that they too will fight to have their voices heard.

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