Purchase this book and my two novels on Smashwords.com and other ebook retailers.
Purchase this book and my two novels on Smashwords.com and other ebook retailers.
All through this movie last evening, I found myself silently clapping for this young feminist woman who embodies the behavior that once was and should continue to be. The girl who waits, who asks for what she wants, who sets boundaries, she is the heroine I am trying to explain in my new book “You Don’t Need a Prince to Lead a Charming Life.” This girl who becomes a woman in front of our eyes and not because she suddenly has sex. It is the scene on the boat where her survival skills are put to the test and you are not only relieved that she will definitely be a strong character but you also know that now she is a woman in the making. I was thrilled also to see that they downplayed the extroverted wayward girls in favor of the chaste one. Not only this but it showed how these girls began to realize that she was the one to be in awe of, rather than themselves.
The most important piece of the film, which is toward the end, is the woman who stands as the voice of reason. In the film, she is portrayed as the “bitch,” and she certainly comes across that way but she actually makes our main character wake up and smell the coffee. As an elder woman now I can understand why we want to make her the bad guy and even my fellow elder female friend and I looked at each other after and said “She needed that.” Always, we want to look down on our elder wiser women of the community – which is what makes them/us come across as the bitch in the first place. They tire of the disrespect from insolent young women. We are so frustrated when we see these younger women who are making such fools of themselves and we sit there feeling unable to help them. Sometimes we put our foot forward and spew out an uncontrollable amount of spit in a passive/aggressive way that does come across as mean. My late ancestors and a great older friend did this to me and now I turn to them late at night and thank them for their patience and tolerance of my ignorance.
Why are young women so eager to let go and give up everything they have for a man in today’s society? Single parenting creates a need for love from a man that they rarely have unless of course it is mom’s boyfriend or other family member who takes advantage in the worst way possible. Our society glamorizes this lifestyle as if it is just part of life. By being politically correct we not only continue to patronize but pathologically make it acceptable. Being in denial about an issue that needs to be spoken about in an honest and intellectual way continues to make life difficult for all these unplanned children.
Young girls, please pay attention to the message of this film. It is how young girls used to be but it could be the way you are now. She gets everything she wants in the end and isn’t that what you really want?
This is the title of a memoir I published in 2003 but it is now out of print. I thought of the title again today when I was thinking of the holidays and all the sadness I continue to have of missing people in my life. Memories that won’t be made because of family members who have died or grandchildren who I am not allowed to see. I thought about being a single parent and all the women in my ancestry who were single parents, who began this trend long ago. I think about women today who glamorize this topic, the media who puts an entertaining spin on it, the women who argue with women who don’t want to have children, the 50% rate of unplanned pregnancies in America and the 40-50% divorce rate. I wonder about all the children who I have worked with over the years, who had no fathers because they weren’t allowed to see them. Mothers who were mad at the man they slept with because he didn’t give them the fantasy they craved. Fathers who are absent from children’s lives because they were players, addicts, pissed at the mother, never had a father themselves and didn’t know how to be one, the list goes on. These parents, who were quick to have sex but refused to take responsibility for the future by using birth control. I have been the kid, the granddaughter, and a single parent myself.
Imagine what it is like to be a child and your father is no longer around, as mine was at the age of four. By nine, my stepfather adopted me, because my father signed off on the papers so he would not have to pay child support. It sounds like a quick fix but I did not want this. I loved both my father and my stepfather. Imagine what it is like to suddenly be told that I could not see my two half-sisters, my grandparents, my stepmother, my aunts and uncles. As a young adult, it would be my maternal grandmother who put me in touch with my father and I began to become re-acquainted with my paternal family once more. She did not believe it was right what my family did. Re-connecting is not very easy when you have lost over a decade of growing with the people you once loved. It is not easy for them either. One of my half-sisters died before I could ever see her again. My memory of her is when she was about seven or eight years old.
Coming from such a tragic childhood, I fell into the trap of searching for someone to feel an emotional void. A guy I met in high school, who came from a father who was not there and who was at one time a batterer to his mother and an addict. I never knew addiction growing up; this was one issue I was lucky to not have to face as a child. Once I did face this and domestic violence from my husband, I got out quickly but not before having a child of my own.
I never re-married but I did continue to follow a path of looking to fill an emotional void. The difference though between myself and many other woman today, I took responsibility by making sure I did not bring another child into the world, just because I was looking for love in all the wrong places. One child raised by a single parent was enough for me. I learned my lesson there and I learned my lesson as a child. Life wasn’t easy for me, for my child and I wouldn’t do that to another until I figured life out and was more secure financially and emotionally.
My son grew up, eventually we found his dad and later, my son became a father as well. Unfortunately, he also took the path of an addict and brought three children into the world with three different women. He has since become a recovering addict, his father died unwilling to ever take responsibility for his health, his child or get off of the drugs. As a result of being an addict for so many years, these mothers of my son’s children were unable to admit to their own failures in the choices they made with men. The fact that neither they nor my son used birth control but yet it is “all” my son’s fault and they are angry with him. As a result of this, two of my grandchildren are not allowed to be visited by my son. He is able to keep in touch with the eldest who is 15 and old enough for Facebook but lives in a tiny town far away. This child wants to visit his dad but is forced to do what his mother requests. My son pays child support, gives him gifts for birthday and Christmas, talks to him almost daily but never gets to see him. In Ohio, it is not what is in the best interests of the child but what the mother wants. Men have no rights here to their children. Grandparents have no rights to their grandchildren.
My granddaughter lives near my son and goes to the same school as her half-brother and step-brother. Her name is not on the roster and my son believes she has been adopted by someone that her mother began a relationship with after him. My local grandson knows who she is though as he did meet with her a few times before her mother decided no one could be involved with her child. Her mother was in a relationship with my son, while he was in a relationship with my grandson’s mother. They were together in the same house he shared with my grandson’s mother even. Both of them were using drugs and partying “like there was no tomorrow,” but my son is the one who is in the wrong and my granddaughter is being punished, as is my son and I, because of this.
Being a single parent is no joy ride and it is difficult for the children to bear. I do not believe any parent should stay married for the sake of the children because this is not the answer. I do believe that we need to take more responsibility with our sex lives and the partners we choose. Having sex is fun, raising children is a lifetime and it costs money. It is easy to blame another but both parents have to take responsibility when a child is brought into this world. It is never ONE person’s fault. It is certainly not the fault of the children that the father did not give YOU, the mother, what you wanted.
My father was a player and hurt my mom’s feelings. This was wrong of him. I understand her animosity toward him because of this. I understand she needed the money from him as my stepfather was paying the way. However, it was not my fault that he was a player or that he wasn’t paying child support. He never harmed me and my parents were not desperate for money. After I was adopted, they made the same amount of money as beforehand. Meanwhile, I was emotionally wounded at the loss of my paternal family.
My son IS a recovering addict and has taken steps to clean up his life, get in touch with these women and reach out to be an involved parent. It is not my grandchildren’s fault that they want him to choose them now that he is clean. It is not my grandchildren’s fault that their mothers are jealous of his new life. These children will never have the benefit of their father and his family being in their life. They are being punished for their mother’s mistakes which they refuse to acknowledge and take responsibility for. My son was wrong for what he did and their mothers are wrong for their part too.
Many children will grow up in households, never knowing their fathers and in some cases their mothers. They will be turned against their fathers and in some cases will be told lies about who he was. From being a psychotherapist and having worked in social services, I see family patterns repeating themselves for many generations. I see girls being sexually molested by stepfathers, mom’s boyfriends, uncles, grandfathers. Often their mothers were too in childhood. I see boys who have spent time behind bars. Often their fathers were too. I see adults coming in to tell me their anger toward the father who was never there. Telling me about fathers they didn’t know they had because they assumed the guy who raised them was the dad. I hear stories about mothers who never recovered from the man who jilted them and so the children aren’t really sure what to believe. Sometimes adults hold out hope that he might have been a good guy but more often than not, they take their mothers or grandmothers side of the story. Sometimes there is a huge blank from the families, because this is never discussed. The adult kids of missing parents don’t know what to believe.
Children have a right to know their families, both paternal and maternal. They have a right to figure out for themselves what this guy was like on their own as both my son and I did. If they then choose not to have a relationship with this person, it is on them. Closed adoptions are inappropriate and unfair to the child and to the family involved. If a mother has been raped by a man or if the man is a dangerous person to be around, this is one thing. The child should still be told. Many circumstances, neither of these situations are the case. In almost all circumstances, the grandparents are not to blame, nor the aunts/uncles, cousins, etc… The half-siblings of these children are certainly not to blame. Why do we continue to create this vicious cycle over and over again? Why do men and women continue to have unprotected sex? Why do women continue to lie to their children because they are upset with the father? It won’t end as long as we continue to ignore this topic because we don’t want to shame the single parent. Or because we aren’t being politically correct for some reason.
The holidays are meant to be spent with family. This is a time to create memories. It is a time to learn the stories of your ancestors. It is a time to find out who is who and make your own interpretations of what you see for yourself. Don’t kid yourself into believing that your lies will somehow help the child to have a better life. It never does.
As a professional woman, I am a little surprised at where we are today, 15 years into the new century. I would expect to see more women dressed in professional clothing, to imply that they are intent on getting ahead in their companies. I would expect to see fashion houses creating clothing for a mature professional woman. I would expect that fashion for the corporate world would have created some interesting new styles and that suits for women might have evolved into something that expresses our femininity and allows us to be fashionable as well as practical. I would expect to see women putting their voices into action through innovative companies. I would expect to see more women getting involved in politics. I would expect that actresses, who are famous, would be creating production companies that make films for women and focus on our history and stories about women in power. I would expect to see top models creating modeling companies that protect young women and work to end exploitation. I would expect to see female students being a little bit more responsible for their future and setting higher expectations about the men they choose. I would expect to see more books for women to help teach them how to be a professional woman and get what they want in life. I would expect to see more successful relationships from the increase of women going to college. I would expect to see TV shows that portray positive female role models with good storylines and in positions of power. I would expect to see more films covering women’s history (all of it) and showing women in storylines that focus on their intelligence and their ability to balance their role in career and home. I would expect women to be astute at setting boundaries and asking for what they want in a diplomatic way.
Instead, I see women dressing down at work in more relaxed fashions. I also see women out on the streets in 4-6” inch heels and tiny skirts without panties. I see more tattoos on women than I do on men. I hear women more intent on having babies and bashing women who are interested in a career or don’t want children. I see relationships continuing to have a high divorce rate because sex is so important and courtship is a foreign word. I drive down streets where the campus is on a Friday or Saturday and see girls that are obviously hoping to get laid that evening. I see women on dates dressed to impress and men dressed like they are ready for a job at the factory.
Human Resources positions show 71% are filled by women, so why is it that we still have the worst maternity leave of absence then other developed countries? Why is it an issue for women to breast feed at work in some companies?
Who has run for President since Shirley Chisholm (1972) and before this Victoria Woodhull (1872)? We had a couple of women who were brought on board to be Vice-Presidents. It was probably done to be politically correct and to, of course, get votes. The Dole’s both put their head in the ring for a couple of minutes and then backed down. Now we have Hilary, whose husband brought us all “Made in China,” ruining our country in more ways than we even want to imagine.
I see women constantly complaining about what rights they don’t have but I don’t see them doing much about it. Actresses are not turning down films because they feel that they don’t represent women in a positive way. Where is an Actresses Guild to protect young females in the industry and to make change in the kind of movies that are made representing women? We have a modeling TV show, by a top model but it is about teaching women that they have no choice but to do what is wanted by the industry. Where is a Models Guild that focuses on helping young women in this industry so that they aren’t taken advantage of? Why are fashion magazines continuing to show women in clothing that does not represent a career woman but a lady of the evening? These magazines, you might know already that are run by women.
Why when we have so many different types of birth control, moreso than in 1960, 50% of pregnancies are unplanned? How many young weddings have you attended lately where there wasn’t already a child? At the same time almost half of all marriages end in divorce.
We are continuing to pay more than a thousand dollars/year to watch cable programs that exploit women that they are choosing to be in and women are anxious to watch. When I am in public, all I see are gadgets in front of people, in their ears, at restaurants while eating dinner with families, while on dates, while walking down the street, and while driving. Parents complain they don’t know how to take responsibility for their children’s viewing yet they are not setting standards by their own actions. Couples complain that their partner has no boundaries with regard to social media.
I know my expectations are high; it is because I am just confused about the world we live in now. I feel as if I woke up and realized I haven’t been paying enough attention or haven’t really asked these questions enough before. I have been so focused on being mindful of my own actions by not paying for cable, by buying only American as much as possible, by not being on social media (except for business), by creating my own business to help other women (and men and children), by writing a new non-fiction to help educate women, by showing up for work dressed like a professional – even though it is my own business and by trying to live a good life.
I want to say to American women, because European women are already on board with these things, that they have more power now than any other time in the history of women. This is a time when we can make so much change and have what we want, yet we continue to spend our energy complaining and whining about what we don’t have. We continue to be so focused on finding a man to “complete” us even though we have the wherewithal to have the man we want but we are too impatient and desperate to have him in bed, to have his child to keep him, to not be alone that we end up with nothing but exactly what we didn’t want. I want to say to American women, men are not to blame for what we don’t have in our society and we need to take responsibility for what it is we need and want.
Focus on what you can do, instead of what you can’t do and start making change by putting what you want in place. If you don’t understand, read some books about women in history, who stood strong against obstacles that you can’t even begin to relate to because you take these things for granted now. You have the power to do what you want and have the life you want. You don’t need a man to do it for you.
Here are some selections for winter that you might want to take a look at and see if it might fit with your budget. I am not recommending any of these, just helping you to jump start your preparations for winter.
Winter is almost here so get preventative maintenance for those of you suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka SAD or Depression that is seasonal related.
These links below the products are all MADE IN THE USA.
Ladies, you are smart, independent, beautiful, modern thinkers. Get what you want first and then consider bringing a man into your life (or woman if this is your choice). If women expect more out of men, by respecting themselves more, men will be forced to go back to behaving like gentlemen. Wouldn’t you like to see them pull up their pants, take that hood/cap off their head, brush their hair, shave their face, brush their teeth and over all, be responsible? After all, romantic movies continue to be all the rage and the men in these films are not dressed like the aforementioned. If you want to get a man, you have to behave like a woman and if you want an equal then you have to look at your own life. If you are a single parent (or single woman) with no education, no direction in life, you are going to attract the same type of person, not a prince but a pauper. This is why you have to get out there and make the life you want now before you decide who you will share your life with, who will help you raise your child (if you have one) and who will respect you for who you are.
Ladies, you make life too easy for men. If you are too quick to be on your back, are not using birth control and then expecting the man to marry you and help raise that child you have both just created, this makes no sense. Why should a man work hard for something you are handing right over to him? I am a Pro-Choice woman myself but I am still perplexed that more and more women are doing the “Oops I got pregnant,” when you chose not to use birth control. Imagining that a man will stay for a baby is an old wives’ tale. Forcing him to marry you isn’t love. Of course, it is just as much the guys fault for sleeping with someone who is not using birth control. Often I see men who act as if they knew nothing about it. Don’t go to bed on a whim without using birth control. It is not fair to these children. Don’t confuse sex for love. Sex is lust. Love is a process of getting to know someone and building a foundation based on respect and then trust.
Years ago, I watched either Eddy Murphy or Chris Rock in a stand up performance on TV talking about women and orgasms. They were known for being pretty crude and honest about being a man. There was a whole skit about women’s orgasms and the bottom line was that once a woman cums, she is yours, you have her and you can pretty much sit back and enjoy the ride from here on in. This is an extremely intimate moment that causes some women to feel that they have finally connected in such a raw way and believe that he is theirs. No one can make them feel like this and they want it even more. Hence our mind conjures up the scene played out in many cartoon strips where the man is smoking a cigarette and the woman wants to talk.
If you expect more from a man, you will get more. If you give him everything you got, body and soul, then you have nothing left. The same with getting married. If you marry him without setting some boundaries and asking for what you want, he will assume you took him as is. No one changes because they get married. They just get worse because of all the assumptions and lack of communication. Couples counseling is often people coming in hoping I am going to change the other person. I don’t do this because I know it is impossible and I tell people this. I work on their communication skills and often, it is at this point of listening that people begin to realize whether they want to remain in this relationship or not.
If you have it to do all over again, here is a better way to do this.
First, take some time to re-think what it is that you want from life. What do you want from a life partner? I hear many people of faith say “I just want a good [insert religion] guy.” Then I tell them, “So if he is an alcoholic and a Christian is this okay?” No, of course not they say. This is what I mean by thinking what you want in life. Many people stick with “He is a good [insert religion] man and goes to the [religious place of worship], so he must be a good man.” One thing does not mean the other. Lots of “Good” religious teachers,” end up doing bad things. Things we have read about online, saw on TV but mostly, I think about what people have told me in session about how they have begun to question their spirituality due to some minister or priest situation they know about. Titles mean nothing, which is why you need to continue reading.
Second, take your time getting to know the men you are seeing. Don’t just take for granted whatever they say. Research them online (since this is easy to do now). Read their resumes on LinkedIn and see their work history. What kind of connections do they have? Look at what they are posting on social media. They are making it very clear who they are online what they aren’t saying on a date. Spend time getting to know them in person, online and don’t have sex with them until you feel they are ready to make a commitment to you. If you just want sex, then be honest about this. Don’t flip the script once you have been in bed because this only makes you dishonest.
Third, meet their family and find out how they treat their mom and their dad. If they have children, are they responsible for them. Whatever their excuse is, it won’t change because of you. A man should be responsible for his family, his children, and himself.
Fourth, what have his relationships been like in the past? Is he talking all about their problems or has he taken some time to re-evaluate himself and take responsibility for why these partnerships failed.
Fifth, if there are mental health issues what is he doing about it? If he has them and is not in therapy or taking medications or in recovery or whatever the issue is, then he is not responsible for his well-being. Don’t listen to excuses. You are not a therapist and your love is not going to make him well.
Once you have taken a look at all of these things you can think more clearly about whether or not this is the man for you. If you are playing the monkey see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil, then you have to take responsibility for what you get. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right it isn’t. Don’t fall into the desperate trap of not wanting to be alone. It is better to be alone then to be with someone who is not the man you want.
When we, as women, begin to respect our bodies and our minds more, men will be forced to have higher expectations as well. If it is hard to get us in bed, they will have to work harder at behaving like a gentleman, taking responsibility and dressing like a man rather than a child. Wouldn’t you like to see them pull up their pants, brush their hair (and teeth), shave that mess off their face, take that hood/cap off their head and behave more maturely? They don’t have to when we make life easy for them.
All these period pieces that we watch, like Downtown Abbey are very clear. When we had values about marriage, men and their worth they were forced to live up to this expectation. Other men went along with it so that their fathers, brothers, uncles, all supported the woman in having the best in life. Not every match was perfect then but this is not because their values were wrong. Knowledge and education were not as available as it is today. This is what we are doing wrong today. With all that we know we should be much farther than we are as women and as a society. Instead, we have taken things for granted and decided we can just do whatever we want, whenever we want it. That is fine if this is a choice you are making and you take what comes with it – the consequences. It is not okay if you begin to blame others for mistakes you yourself made. If you go into life believing that something magical will happen because your love is going to change everything, this is not the other persons fault. It is time for us all to wake up from the fantasy we have created in our minds and create a more responsible world to live in. Starting with our own.
To read more about this, check out my new book.
Why be a princess when you can be a Queen? Not the Queen of country but of your own domain, your life. You don’t need a man to have what you want in life. Naturally, we want to share our life with someone but first we need to find out who we are, establish ourselves as women and then consider who we will choose to spend our time with. Either, you’ve made some mistakes and feel you need some guidance on how to re-think your future or, you have just started out on your road to college and would like some advice navigating this road ahead.
With all the negative representations of women we are presented with in today’s society don’t you want to change all of this and be a part of a different world? Do you ever ask yourself these questions: How can I, as a woman, reclaim my power? How can I, as a woman, reclaim my pride and self-respect? How do I, as a woman, ask for what I want in a polite or diplomatic way, rather than demand it? How do I, as a woman, find a person to share my life with and create a long-lasting union? A relationship that I will be happy with, not just tolerating. How do I, as a woman, put an end to divorce and babies out of wedlock and abuse rates rising higher and higher? How do I, as a woman, go back to a state of elegance, a time of pride and family, but also of love, peace and harmony? How do I, as a woman, create new rules for how to behave in society? My new book “You Don’t Need a Prince to Lead a Charming Life,” will help you to find these answers, if only you will give it a try.
I am copying this over here to my website because I think this would be of interest to my clients or anyone viewing this from Ohio. Her documentary about mental illness called “Running from Crazy,” is being shown this Thursday, October 8 at 7pm also at the McCoy Center.
|An Evening with Mariel Hemingway:
Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction and Suicide in my Family
|Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | 7 pm
Renaissance woman Mariel Hemingway is not only an iconic Academy Award nominated actor from a celebrated family, she is a prolific author, healthy lifestyle brand entrepreneur, and a tireless mental health awareness and suicide prevention program advocate.
CAPA Ticket Center: 614.469.0939
Chapter Two of my new book “You Don’t Need a Prince to Lead a Charming Life.”
To reclaim your power, it is important to appreciate and be grateful for yourself.
Many years ago I was whining about my life to a woman I knew, and she reframed what I was saying into a positive idea. She interrupted me and said, “It is amazing that you don’t seem to realize all that you have accomplished in life.” It took me off guard and I stopped to think for a minute. “What do you mean?” She started to mention all the things I had done so far in my life that I had seen as negative rather than positive. It was quite amazing to me. I was only focusing on how these things had gotten in the way and brought me down. When she reframed my way of looking at it, I saw how it really was great that I had accomplished what most people would have had a hard time with. I felt pretty wonderful that another woman had seen these things, as it is always important that our own gender give us feedback about what they see, to help us grow as women. A woman-to-woman experience of selves strengthens our gender as a whole. Later on, a teacher at my college noted one day that she was glad to hear me saying that I was a survivor instead of a victim. The words we use in reference to ourselves go a long way in reclaiming our power.
When I speak with women in my practice I see that they all do the same thing: beat themselves up. They grow up in homes that teach them to be second-class citizens. They are not taught to set boundaries or to ask for what they want. Instead, they are supposed to put their own needs aside and focus on the others around them. The Calvinist motto is “Children are to be seen and not heard,” and in this respect it can apply to boys as well as girls, though girls are pushed aside much more than boys are in the household. Girls are meant to be the caretakers. They are raised to believe they will get married one day and their husbands will look after them (this still happens as I still see young girls chasing boys the same way I did in my day).
I don’t mean to pick on single parents but unfortunately, young girls who aren’t raised with a father figure need one. They need to feel admired by a man (unless they are a lesbian, though even for this sexual preference, I still see a need for a father figure). It is human nature, yin/yang, and a balance of male/female. If there is no male figure in a young woman’s life (for men this is still important but a different book to write), she has no one to teach her about boys and men and how to be in a relationship with them. Thus it will create havoc when she tries to have a relationship with a male. I have found in my own family, with clients I have served in private practice and while working for social services that these girls try too quickly and it amounts to sex (which they idealize means he loves me) and since so many are not using birth control (a frequent comment is that it makes them look fat or they don’t like the side effects) the end result of course is babies. This desperate need for attention (love) is recreated in the false belief that the boy will stick around for the child, and if not, what fun it will be to have a baby. Of course they later learn those ideas are most definitely untrue, especially when people begin to focus more attention on the baby instead of the mother and suddenly she finds herself alone once more. The Morehouse Research Institute and the Institute for American Values, (1999. Turning the corner on father absence in black America, A statement from the Morehouse conference on African-American fathers.), stated that when children are abandoned by their fathers, the girls are most likely to end up with early pregnancies and the boys are most likely to end up behind bars.
When I point out to my female clients that it is important to have self-respect, they nod their heads. I then tell them that they can’t expect a man to give them happiness, or to give them what they want in life and this causes confusion. How can I say such a thing and completely wipe away everything they have ever come to learn or expect in their lives? It really throws people into a mess philosophically. Sometimes women say yes, they realize that [intellectually] but to put it in practice is another thing all together. We can’t just stop time and turn ourselves from caretakers into independent women who set boundaries. There are steps to take as we begin to grow from fragile human beings into more evolved ones.
To have pride in yourself starts from the head and goes down to your toes quite literally. The way you present yourself says a lot to the world and a feeling of pride is external as well as internal. All senses are taken into account here. The way you dress – visual, the way you smell – pheromones, the way you talk – hearing and speaking, or how you are heard and how you talk. Taste would even come into play in the way you take care of your body. Let’s look at some of these things individually.
Visual: A woman who has reclaimed her power is going to be a person who is confident in herself and shows this in the way she walks and dresses in public. Look at a woman like Taylor Swift. She is in the same entertainment business as Britney Spears, though she was raised differently and so instead of seeking the sexual route, she is modest and careful in the clothing she chooses. She has a more mature look rather than a childish (little girl) look that excites sexual predators. She even makes fun of the racier styles in her videos as if to say, “Yes, I acknowledge the world around me, but I don’t need to be a part of this.” She is strong, confident, young, and willing to take risks but not to the point of ruining her reputation. Another young role model Jennifer Hudson, conveys a sophisticated, elegant woman with an amazing voice. Listening to the passion in the lyrics she belted out while she sang in Dreamgirls, I felt such a heavy weight on my chest. Older women such as Helen Mirren and Judi Dench astonish us all wearing clothing that makes them look beautiful and intelligent. It is horrifying to see women who have had plastic surgery wearing dresses that a twenty-year-old would wear or exposing their bodies. After you turn fifty, you really need to rethink how you dress in public. It is about looking attractive, intelligent, confident, and comfortable in your skin—because you know you have made it in the world.
When you walk, you need to do so like a woman who is dressed for success, not like a woman who is wearing clothing. Six-inch heels do not make you seem confident, nor does it demand respect. It makes you look ridiculous. They are not practical shoes for the boardroom or for going out at night. Stilts are for clowns in the circus or ladies of the evening who are selling sex. If you want to get ahead in life and in your career and want people to take you seriously, don’t wear this type of clothing.
Smell: Pheromones are subtle signals that we both emanate and pick up from others. There are some people who repel us for obvious reasons such as wearing too much perfume or cologne, and there are people who attract us for unknown reasons, but it is really the pheromones, which are our body scent, our energy, the aura that we have around us. A confident woman who is a good person will attract people because they are eager to hear what she has to say, to see what she is wearing, and see what she is like in person. They want to get to know her. A woman who pretends to be confident may come across as bitchy or insecure; she dresses in a desperate fashion focusing on her sexuality to attract people rather than acknowledging that she is a good person who does not need this attention. If you are intelligent and talented, you will get across the message you want to your audience; you don’t need to cater to people’s negative expectations. Modesty is always the best policy. It makes people want to know you more. Suddenly you are mysterious rather than obvious, and people love suspense.
Taste: what you eat says a lot about you. Our country has turned upside down with Walmarts ruining our communities, and this has also created a junk-food culture. Since Main Street is gone, so has our need to preserve and protect it. Our society has begun to want the predictable and it is expected wherever we go. You can find McDonalds in almost any country and a variety of nationwide franchises like Applebee’s enable us to get satisfied with the same junk while travelling. Predictable food makes Americans feel comfortable when they are on the road and don’t want the adventure of trying the local cuisine. As a result there is an obesity problem because chain food delivers oversized meals that no one ever sat down to at home growing up. Likewise, mom and pop restaurants serve normal portions. It is not just the food Americans are eating in these places but the servers and the cooks presenting it to us as well. They are used to quick and easy, not healthy and happy. Mom and pop restaurants, for the most part, have good values and ethics. Our dollar is important to them and they want us to come back. They have bills to pay and kids to feed. They are working hard to supply their families. A franchise is working hard to serve the corporation. Sure they have families too but the ultimate ruler is the person they bought the chain from. As a result, cleanliness in restaurants is at an all-time low and our society has come to expect this. They don’t have time to clean the place, because there are too many people to serve. Our society just allows these things because everyone is in a hurry and wants the quick, predictable meal. Why care what it looks like? If you are staying in a hotel, you can take it back to your room anyway. Eating good food happens when people love themselves, feel good about themselves, and are confident and conscious of what goes into their bodies.
Hearing and Speaking: Do you talk like a lady—a woman who is in charge of her life, or are you bossing people around trying to control the world around you? Healthy, strong, confident women do not need to demand, they have a way about them that people respect. We see women in society who are loudmouths, who fight with other women and men, who are known as drama queens or who take other people’s men. Women who are educated, well mannered, and diplomatic often have good communication skills. They don’t have these types of problems. They don’t need to yell or fight or demand. When they talk, people listen because there is a sense (from all the senses as well as this one) that this is someone they should listen to. If you have to raise your voice, you need to rethink how you present yourself. Also, you don’t need to be an educated woman to have these skills or to think well of yourself, but it helps. College often brings confidence, but only when your skills are being utilized in the workplace and you enjoy doing what you have set out to do.
Reclaiming your power has to do with reinventing yourself. You, as a woman, have to make a conscious effort to look at what type of people you are attracting into your life and whether or not you have the life you want and are happy with it. If not, it is important to address this, not by finding a man, but by making some changes in your life. How do you fix these things if you have been raised in a world where you have been abused? If your life has been overwhelmed by a mental illness or mental health issues? If you have been raised to be a second-class citizen and are just unhappy overall? Working on the self includes getting support spiritually, psychologically, and physically: mind, body, and spirit.
Having a spiritual belief system strengthens your resolve. It gives you something to believe in. When you have nothing, it often gives people a sense of emptiness. Start with what you learned growing up and then begin to explore religions in general. Take a walk in nature, a good long hike deep in the woods that will bring you to a place of questioning. Nature is good for soul searching. If not a walk, sail a boat, sky dive, do something that enriches your sense of self and takes you to a deeper place.
Almost anyone can benefit from psychotherapy to gain greater self-awareness and contentment within. There are thousands of psychotherapists available who have different modalities of practicing and come from all different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. If you are unhappy, have come from an abusive background and suffered physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or domestic violence as an adult or witnessed it as a child, if you have a mental illness that runs in your family, if you have lost someone in your life very dear to you… these are just some of the examples of why you should seek out a psychotherapist.
Finally, you can’t work on your mind and soul without enriching your health. Cigarette smoking is neither spiritually nor psychologically healthy. If you are putting drugs or alcohol into your system, you are keeping yourself from thinking clearly. Soda pop and coffee on occasion is one thing but living your life with them is another. I have known young people who dehydrate themselves with highly caffeinated drinks, because they were living off these new sodas and not drinking water, juice or milk at all. I have also known people who don’t even drink water or juice on a daily basis. All of these things are bad for the soul. If you are taking lots of medications, you really need to get a second opinion from either another psychiatrist or medical doctor depending on why you take them. A healthy mind, body and spirit does not come from taking four or more medications. Seeking out holistic support and changing your diet can often help to eliminate medications. Don’t ever ignore psychological or physical reasons for taking medications, but you don’t need to be popping pills as if they are candy for the soul. Not only should you focus on eating well and re-examining all that goes into your body, you must also exercise and stay fit and trim. Too many times people give me excuses: “I used to do that” or “I know I need to get back to going to the gym.” Excuses lead to obesity which is an eating disorder in the sense that you are unable to control your food habits or control the way you live your life. Food soothes and nurtures the human being as they begin to give up on themselves. This is tied to family issues, the non-organic food available in stores today as well as the junk food culture, mental health issues, all of which require the support of a wellness practitioner, psychotherapist or nutritionist.
Reclaiming your power is hard work, isn’t it? Anyone can do this. If you want to feel happy with yourself and have the life you want, you must demand it of yourself and start organizing your life in a different way.
Thoughts for the Charming Life: Name 10 female role models in your life, personally or professionally or women of history, that are not in the entertainment business, and who personify the criteria above. Read a book about at least one of them.
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