I myself am the enemy who must be loved.
Carl Jung – Memories, Dreams, Reflections
I squeezed and the feel was really impressive, soft and plump, like the real thing -but better because they would never sag. The scars were still visible but you could already tell they would heal well. I stood there, contemplating the new breast implants of Mary, a very pretty sales clerk at a department store. We had discussed the matter for the past two years –I saying that whatever led her to go under the knife would not go away after the surgery, and she insisting that she had been going to therapy for years and had to have them, to feel good about herself. Well, it was done now, no need to discuss anymore. And all I could do was deliver my sentence in all honesty: “you know I’m not in favor of this business, but this….”, I shook my head in disbelief”, “this is a fucking work of art!”. I sculpt at home occasionally –I’m a private artist- and I can appreciate any form of creation and this was really something to behold. “I can’t believe how they feel! I’ve never seen such perfect ones, they usually feel like titanium and look so fake! This is well worth your 4500 euros. Great investment honey!” And I meant it too! I was now feeling so embarrassed about my own breasts, about to turn 40 years old and facing the new breasts of a 25 year-old girl that reminded me of mine… not long ago. “Enjoy them, they really look great. This is really so unfair to the rest of us, but whatever works for you!”
The whole department store has gone under the knife of the same man, a famous plastic surgeon specialized in reconstructive surgery for women with breast cancer. God bless him for that, and for a second I felt relief: should I ever have to go through that, this artist could give back some life to my body. It’s comforting to know that there is someone out there who does have a talent for breast implants. From what I’ve seen, however: it’s also rare, if I may say.
I love myself
I live in Marbella, in the south of Spain, a town where the idea of changing and loving yourself is construed as getting an appointment for cosmetic enhancement. Everybody has had something done, for better or for worse (mostly worse, in my opinion) and it is not only the norm but considered a beautiful, self-loving gesture. While deep down I don’t really think people should be executed at a public square for doing that, it is a convoluted subject that makes me wince for many reasons. Having said that, I’m pretty sure I haven’t had anything done myself because I’m basically apprehensive of needles and doctors. What I mean is that I’m now 42 years old and I get that it’s not easy to deal with “the body” getting old; I don’t feel superior for being untouched and I also never say never. But there are ramifications to this subject that I think we could benefit from exploring a bit.
When I separated, a friend took it upon herself to give me a serious makeover as part of enacting “the change”. I tried. I really tried. Her style is -and I quote her exact words: slutty-whore. You’d think one of those words would be enough, but for some reason the two seemed to make a point that one of them could never achieve. Let me point out to you right now that my style is: no-style. I just can’t be bothered with that shit. God knows I’d love to have style and look pretty and all that, but shopping for clothes is my worst nightmare. I can spend hours at an Arts & Crafts store though -or a bookstore.
However I succumbed under the pressure of my friend and felt ugly enough to fall in the trap of buying shoes with impossibly high heels. You know one of those that were initially made for photo-shoots and (non-walking) models, by designers who obviously hate us? Well, I fell for the only cute pair I have ever liked (to this day) and under the ever-present banner of female empowerment, I headed to yet another female-only social event with my new shoes, after watching a bunch of YouTube videos to educate myself on how to walk in them (I’m not kidding). I practiced at home for as long as I could until I had to go to the Pharmacy and buy some protective strips of all kinds -just in case. I was taught to walk with a book on my head as a child –“the way a princess does”- and I felt like a chicken in those things, trying to look as dignified and natural as possible. Surely with no success.
It’s not easy to park here in Spain and it’s really a deterrent for going to places. But on the day of the party I was lucky to park not too far from the venue. However, as I emerged from my car, I realized that to reach my destination I had to walk a few meters… downhill! Oh boy! And nothing to hang on to -left or right! As I chanted a few “fuck” mantras in my head, I very carefully applied myself all the way down and mercifully arrived unscathed at my destination. I spotted an acquaintance, a couch that looked like Jesus with open arms, and parked my ass there with no intention to move until I decided to go back home. Which I would have: right there and then. But you see, already on the journey downhill I had damaged my feet, in spite of all the expensive protective stuff I had bought, and so I really couldn’t move much right now. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like such an idiot in my entire life; and I cursed at God, asking him for the umpteenth time why I wasn’t born a man. A man wouldn’t have to undergo surgery and walk around with a fake dick-zilla, trying to impress ladies. But women: we have to do that kind of stuff all the time. It’s our curse.
Needless to say: I have never worn those shoes again since then and don’t plan to. I might frame them though, because they are really cute. Maybe in my next life God gives me a special DNA with the ability to walk in those suckers.
“Female empowerment”. I don’t think you could speak two words that make me cringe more. It’s everywhere now, and next to “I want to inspire people and help the world”, it has become the number one slogan for singers who somehow have made a habit of enacting that empowerment by performing like glorified strippers. Female empowerment? I don’t know, I just seem to see more and more asses shaking, and aggressive females in small clothes trying to make a point that they are in control of how they should present themselves -as objects for men. Does that make any sense to you?
When I separated, I was advised by many to “dress sexy, go to bars, get drunk and get laid”. My brain immediately had a question: “if I have serious self-esteem issues, and insecurities, and I want to rebuild myself, how on earth is whoring myself out -and my body- going to help me heal?”
“You need to learn to have fun, to loosen up, drink and dance”, was the answer.
Apparently I’m too serious because I don’t get drunk and go to clubs! And while I was working hard to understand my history in order to be better than to be abused again, I received both such dumb advice and accusation. What can I say: it is what it is. You see, most people like to sweep the dirt under the rug and “go dancing and drink wine” or some surrogate of that. It’s no wonder they end up mutilating their bodies. Oh, sorry: “loving themselves”.
Well, God didn’t give me implants but he did give me intelligence and that doesn’t make sense to me at all. Not in earthly terms -not in spiritual terms. To be honest the subject of pretty and ugly is one that I reflect on a lot. It seems to me that many people don’t want to deal with the ugly in any way because it’s “bad energy” or something of the sort. And I think it’s a huge mistake, in all areas of life. From the spiritual perspective, accepting the body is one of the big tests that we’re going to have to face eventually –in this life or another- as well as revering the body experience. If I can’t get beyond the first-chakra tests and accept myself in front of the physical mirror, how on earth am I going to be honest with myself when working with the mirrors in my life? What is it going to be like for Mary when she gets older, if at 25 she already can’t accept her own body, when it’s at its best? Side note: after the initial rush, Mary is back to her depressive moods and insecurities. She also has a habit of sleeping with everything that moves. Well, I don’t have a PhD in psychology but I see this pattern so many times, of deep insecurity translating into a will to be in control in our relationships with others, in any way that we can: with sex, with our ego, wanting to be significant, etc. Just look at the music videos.
Goddesses without Gods
In my early twenties I was still under the teenage spell of meaningful connections. It is a sweet time where the future is not really part of our present yet, and we are still able to hold on to some innocence. The future is not scary yet, not complicated, and not really far away or demanding. In fact at that age, the future is just about the next phone call that will make our hearts buzz in anticipation. Fast-forward almost twenty years and all I see is evidence that men and women are unable to connect. I see despair, I see clumsy ways to try to connect, I see a lot of frustration. I also see how blind we are to our own faults -on both sides.
Women demand respect and equality, and yet all we seem to accomplish is yet another cosmetic appointment to enhance our boobs or try to cheat time. I attend events where female splendor consists of 40-year-olds modeling cheap lingerie in a fabricated effort to validate that “40 is the new 20”. I sure can’t revere that. Is that all we have to offer? Can’t we go beyond stripping in one way or another? From my point of view, those slogans are really there to signal that we can enjoy life at any age, and that we can accomplish that with the wisdom that we’ve acquired -hopefully. I’ve often heard men talk about how dumb women are and I used to cringe with indignation every time I heard their jokes. But now I see what they mean. To begin with: take a look at the trophy-girlfriend walking by their side. Take a look at the implants begging for attention. Jesus Christ, just take a look at most music videos nowadays! I love sexy and I certainly don’t embrace censorship. I don’t find anything wrong with racy stuff. For me the issue is that there seems to be nothing else on our screens but women who are desperate to make a point that they can satisfy their men, post-baby body and all. Did I miss the memo on modern feminism? Isn’t that typical feminine insecurity?
But that’s the nature of the female empowerment instilled in our girls nowadays, as they watch those performers –many with incredible talent -and yet falling in the same cheap traps as the rest of us… God help us, but how dare we complain that we are treated as sex objects?
So no, we are not respected. And I don’t think we will be, for as long as we keep responding to the media jungle-call to slutty-ness, among other things, and aren’t honest with ourselves. I can’t begin to imagine what kind of a woman will emerge from the daughter of a mummy-faced mommy with titanium boobs, but my prognosis is not very optimistic.
What is shocking it that a lot of young girls confuse that with being feminists. Everything around them will contribute to raising them as objects and they have no idea how dangerous that is. We lose so much more than equality, we lose our identity completely. The very traits that define our feminine nature are being corrupted and that’s why it’s so hard to get out of it. Many women will even reject their feminine nature as a result -for which I think we pay a price later, because we do need to express our authentic feminine nature. We like feeling pretty, we like nurturing, etc, but we very easily “become” slutty and useless in the eyes of others because we are surrounded by messages that make us insecure. There is a difference in the ritual of making ourselves beautiful as an act of love toward ourselves, and enjoying spending time with ourselves, and invading our bodies in an act that responds to fear. If we can’t apply discernment at this level, and be honest with ourselves, I doubt we can really understand the spiritual precepts of accepting our physical experience.
Let’s get together
Personally, I am weary of feminism and I’ll tell you why: because I am an advocate of all-inclusiveness. In every area of life. Which means that I miss seeing a real effort in reconciling both masculine and feminine energies, in both men and women; and I miss seeing an effort to bring us together. I feel that the current focus ultimately reinforces separation between men and women because we fundamentally associate those energies with the physical body and its functions. And it’s not about that at all.
If we substituted all the feminine words with their masculine counterparts in all the headers for articles, seminars, and workshops, all women would feel threatened: “empower the masculine God in you”, “the Warrior in you”. As a woman, would you go to a workshop that claims to “awaken the man in you” or to give you “male empowerment”? We are all to become complete by allowing both sides to complement each other, on all levels: physical, psychological and spiritual.
Sometimes I wonder if when the Goddesses were in power, the men might have felt bulldozed and got together at workshops to plot their subsequent take-over. And so here were are. Shall we continue to face one another, pulled into our respective camps, indoctrinated to stand for ourselves, be empowered and an endless list of war-themed terms, forever claiming aggressively our right to be respected? Or shall we use our intelligence and the wisdom of our history to break the cycle, reach out to one another and give first what we want to receive? Isn’t that what spirituality is all about? Don’t we see that the heralded return of the feminine has nothing to do with having your period next month?
So yes, from my perspective all those feminist affirmations only reinforce separation because we don’t understand the value of togetherness. We claim out loud, with t-shirts and all sorts of accessories, that “We Are One” and still don’t wonder at how much we contribute to blurring this truth by our actions. There is no coherence between what we say and what we do. I think the concept of being versus doing is something we could explore more and I find that if men and women were more socially integrated, we would BE more naturally at ease together.
We would have to establish the intent to bring the two kinds of energies, or sides of the psyche, together, to understand how that balance can bring significant harmony into our lives.
Since my separation in 2012 I have been to many events and it’s all about women, women and more women. How are we supposed to get together when all you hear about is female empowerment and the goddess in you. How about including the gods as well? And female empowerment is so sexualized that I just can’t figure out how this can empower us. No wonder we are at war between the genders, it’s like a battle out there, what with all the boundaries, independence, fierceness and what not.
The work of enlightenment is to bring to light all those parts of ourselves that keep us separated from union. Fostering the WE in our lives is also part of the spiritual intuition of experiencing the divine. With all the spiritual awakening that is apparent on a global scale, perhaps we will finally begin to discover the essence of our souls and get to experience true connection. As Thomas Moore says: “we are left with a great battle between really living and just pretending”.
There is a quote from the Tao Te Ching that I love: “The guarding of what is soft and tender is the secret of strength”. To me that statement embodies the essence of spiritual awakening. The paradox it seems to represent compels us to pay attention to what it says: that true force is created from the completion of combining opposites.
There is no living by the truth of a Big Picture or to make sense of our existence without a profound understanding of the need to foster a “WE”. In my opinion, it is time to understand, that after the ages of matriarchy and patriarchy, the next big step in our evolution is to embrace the integration of all the elements of nature -the feminine and the masculine being at the core of this new alchemy. That symbiosis creates a whole new being. And love is the unifier.
The outer opposition is an image of my inner opposition
Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 279
🙂 Marina CB – Always be brave, be free