This will be my last post specifically on this subject. While I don’t think this horse will ever be dead, he sure is tired.
I recently read an interview with a woman who had won an age 40+ model search. “It just goes to show that you can do anything you put your mind to!” she said. Huh.
Now, at 45, I am sure she has to work out like crazy and really watch what she eats to stay in shape. But I also got the impression that she was a stay-at-home mom whose kids were all OLDER and at school or out on their own a lot of the time. Being a stay-at-home parent is a lot of work (as Mr. Coffee often reminds me) but if her kids were all 14+, as implied, I don’t think she was being run ragged by kids all day. She might be running them AROUND a lot, but she didn’t seem to have that on her plate either. As a matter of fact, I also got the impression that she had a lot economic resources to spend on training, food, and quite possibly hired help. As for the rest – did she put her mind to being tall? White? Conventionally pretty?
This is where it breaks down – she was giving herself 100% of the credit when some of these things she didn’t MAKE happen. Some, she might be able to call blessings, some were simple chances of birth, but she did not MAKE all of these things happen. And I have issues with people taking credit for things like that…
Before I let the horse rest, a few thoughts about MY experiences with this:
1) Several years back, my life began to unravel as the result of a head-injury that I got when hit by a drunk driver. I am okay now, but for awhile, things were in pretty rough shape.
I was targeted by someone, not incidentally a cult member, who earned my trust over 6 months, and then began systemically picking me to pieces. I believed I created reality, so I thought everything he did was my fault. I lost my job, and my rent was raised to a level that I couldn’t pay, and I ended up with no home – and I thought that was my fault too. And this man, this cult member, proceeded to play an awful game with me, until there was almost no “me” left.
“Friends” asked why I was “letting this person hurt me.” Rather than pointing out that he was being a jerk, it was MY fault he was a jerk. Sound familiar? A woman is responsible for how a man behaves. Hardly “new thought.”
And yes, I think this philosophy is particularly damaging to women – so many of us hold ourselves accountable for other people’s actions. And guess what? So does society (in general) too! So – here is a great way to uphold the status quo, while tearing people to pieces, and be all self-congratulatory about one’s progressive positive thinking at the same time!
2) A little while back, my employer GENEROUSLY put me in a “Leadership Development” Program. To be clear, I think my employer is great – I think the teachers of this program have serious unexamined entitlement issues.
We were encouraged to do self-reflective work and I had recently realized that I had never mourned the end of my career as a concert French horn player and that I needed to do that. I had first heard the horn in 3rd grade and thought it was the most beautiful sound in the universe. In 6th grade, I had the chance to play the horn and from that moment on, I spent every possible minute practicing – soon spending 5 to 7 hours a day in practice.
Right before I was to start music school (college), I was in a car accident that cut up the left side of my face and shattered several teeth. I have lost count of the oral surgeries I have had in the intervening 20 years, many of which involved peeling my gums away from my teeth and drilling holes in my jaw. I have several permanent caps. They don’t feel at all like real teeth, but they look fine. Externally, the only thing you can SEE as a result of this accident is a crooked smile.
For a long time, I tried to tell myself that it was for the best, but in reality, I have NO WAY of knowing if life would have been better or worse for me if that accident had never happened. All I could know was that it was probably different. And yes, it was time to mourn – 20 years late.
The brilliant responses from our instructors? “You must not have wanted it bad enough.” “You must not have been that good.” AND “Why didn’t you just change instruments?”
The arrogance and ignorance combined in those statements is stunning.
Not wanting it bad enough? A conservative estimate of how many hours I spent practicing before the accident is 38,000. These are business leadership folks who stress that 10,000 hours makes you an expert. What was I then?
Not good enough? Well, folks who heard me play might say otherwise. Plus there was that playing in college ensembles when in the 10th grade thing. And hearing from damn near every brass musician in the city symphony after the accident. If I wasn’t very good, why did all of these professional musicians 10 – 30 years my senior know who I was and care enough to call?
As for changing instruments, that’s like saying “Gee honey, I am sorry your fiancé died on the way to the wedding, but there were a lot of other nice men around – why didn’t you just marry one of them?” Because this sort of thing is THAT kind of commitment.
But you can’t SEE my injuries, so they must not be real, I guess. I wonder if they would have said the same thing to a minor league pitcher who, on his rise to the majors, lost his arms in an accident? See, because having my mouth muscles and teeth destroyed was the same sort of career-ending injury. And I wasn’t looking for sympathy; I was just trying to deal with a loss I’d spent too long denying. But these folks were too arrogant in their beliefs to realize that they were talking about something they knew nothing about…
This is the kind of callousness and arrogance that results from the philosophy in question.
I can’t say I’ll never talk about this again, but I am going to tie up the horse and get him some water and oats now….