REVOLTING WOMAN (A BIT OF A BITCH)
by Helen M
Having written the essay as follows I realised in trying to promote it to a literary agent to get it published that no few words could adequately describe it. To use more words to do so would then almost render its reading redundant.
Finally rather than wait for who knows how long to interest someone in looking at it I thought it better to offer it free for the reading as soon as possible (time is a-wasting) to whomever might find it, and having found it, find it of interest.
The Preface has been kindly written by a dear friend.
“…one has to be alert to the devices used to attack our self-determination and railroad our intelligent evaluation and consideration of issues which touch our lives.” Helen M.
I taught media studies for years with the sole purpose of giving kids the power to discriminate and to be able to turn off the television. Now I am so jaded that I literally do not watch any commercial TV channels because of the very contamination and pollution factor which has given rise to this book.
Jean Paul Sartre once wrote an existential novel called NAUSEA, which describes how I feel in the presence of advertising, so I know how Helen M feels. Here she creates a portrait of her rage, railing against the machine of hybridized and homogenized, contemporary western culture. In so doing Helen M dons the mantle: “REVOLTING WOMAN, A Bit Of A Bitch,” giving rise to a counter-culture figure, a version of the passive-aggressive Andy Warhol in his timeless book: FROM A TO B AND BACK AGAIN, in which he anticipates mundane reality from the centre of the universe, New York. His vantage point is the telephone – a mass medium where form and function have totally replaced content with the banal. Warhol’s bottom line: “who cares, so what,” epitomizes in negative minimalist form what Helen M challenges in positive outrageous assertions, yet somehow they address the same issues, the same disappearance of self in the struggle to survive.
REVOLTING WOMAN offers nine sermons on a venal world that forbids the pleasures of smoking; institutionalises child abuse; starves, poisons and prostitutes the young girls; applies surgical solutions to imperfection; celebrates artificial insemination as a career choice and in general pursues Mcmamon!
The sting in the tail of this devil’s advocate or Bit of a Bitch comes with some good advice on how to get real and get your life – starting with your body and what you put into it – back on track. One needn’t go to the gym, the body is the temple and the answers are to be found close to home.
Helen M’s revelations are gained directly from her own suffering, her debilitating demon of the disease fibromyalgia, has revealed to her many insights, not only in managing pain but in celebrating some of the simple things of life in her quest to be whole.
I hope you find it as outrageous.
Every time I saw an advertisement selling some cosmetic which promised to take years off my life, or an article selling some celebrity diet, or before and after pictures of someone standing proudly next to some clumsy expensive exercise machine whose caption assured that the contraption folds away easily with a mere flick of a switch, I laughed derisively and marvelled that anyone was sucked in by that stuff.
As the years passed I became increasingly sickened by it all and began to think that perhaps I should write a book outlining my own humble methods for maintaining healthy body mass and skin, but the plethora of books and magazines on the subject served only to increase my suspicion that of all people to write such a book I should be considered the least qualified, for reasons which shall become glaringly obvious should you continue to plough on.
Then I thought I had a few other gripes I wouldn’t mind addressing, since the information touching on the above mentioned subjects could scarcely be stretched into something approaching a book, and the temptation to have a bit of a bitch about a number of things which irk me reached a fever pitch recently when a network advertisement reminding me that it was its channel I was watching danced across the bottom to mid-section of my television screen obscuring what the actors were looking at right in the most critical moment of the scene, and I suddenly knew what I had to do.
It may be arrogance on my part that I will not apologise for giving offence if indeed I do, however in my defence I only plead a thorough going hatred of commercialism, dissimulation, the popular and political correctness. Neither will I apologise for using correct English, in as much as it’s in my repertoire of learning to do so, rather than in flagrant disobedience to it bow to pressure to refer to the singular as plural because stupid people insist that it’s sexist to default to the generic “he”, “him”, “his” etc when the gender is not specified.
Read on if you dare.
It’s a very sad and stupid world we all are forced to share I’m sure most thinking persons would agree. I don’t think there has ever been so reactionary a time, nor such a time of deception and lies. It seems it no longer matters that we are lied to so long as the product sells, and so accustomed are we to deception that we no longer find it outrageous but rather expect it, and even in optimistic dismissal of all signs of warning, and forgetting past experience, we embrace the product whose attendant sales pitch most cleverly or cutely insults our intelligence.
Each day we’re bombarded with trivial information delivered by talent selected largely for their ability to manipulate the emotions of the receivers to by-pass critical analysis. The newsreader whose pleasant face is suddenly distorted slightly with disapproval of the alleged miscreant causes us to conspire against the legal and moral right to the presumption of innocence, and ignorant of his circumstances, with information pertinent to his innocence withheld, misrepresented or unknown, we suspend suspicion of the reportage and give mental assent to the accuracy of the charge.
This kind of manipulation is endemic and operates on many levels and in many ways, affecting everything from the treatment of people to the conduct of business and government. A case in point might be the radical change in public opinion towards a product which as little as thirty years ago was received either enthusiastically or dispassionately but now almost with religious hatred. All it took was a shonky analysis of some very flaky statistics, an hysterical message delivered over and over again by persuasive talking heads, and a campaign of peer pressure instituted by a self righteous minority never attracted to the product in the first place, or who had ceased to use it for any number of reasons. I refer to tobacco.
I hate few things more than being lectured on the dangers of smoking by overweight people with a drinking problem, or having thrown in my face the exceedingly dubious statistics of smoking related deaths which conveniently ignore the other contributors of which the heavy consumption of alcohol, over-eating, a diet excessive in meat and other animal products, trans fats, hydrolised food products, chemical preservatives, insecticides, heavy metals and over exposure to micro waves and magnetic and electric fields rate as extreme dangers, to say nothing of the devastating effects of anger and unforgiveness, childhood trauma and systematic personal abuse, all of which singly or together have impact upon the health and longevity of a magnitude greater than smoking.
Nobody’s allowed to die of old age anymore, every death certificate bearing the name of some medical condition responsible for death, so it’s hardly surprising that in the absence of any obvious cause such as blunt force trauma, the deceased’s smoking is elected the culprit in his heart failure or his pancreatic cancer or his throat cancer or whatever it is accused of ending his life, rather than the toxic chemicals in his diet cola or the double scotches he threw down his throat every evening before dinner, or the bitter hatred he bore his brother. It’s not that I argue for smoking but rather that I resent the deception which all are co-opted to embrace by the employment of skewed data, illogical hysterical claims, and the presentation of the most repugnant images of gangrenous feet or cancerous tumours of the mouth taken of victims whose alcoholic malnutritive diabetic lives in the gutter might more properly and usefully be employed to engender shame that we ignore the plight of the so-called loser in this pitiless world of money grubbers and power grabbers.
What could be more absurd than banning smoking in the open air on the cafe strip through which passes motor bikes, cars and buses which belch deadly chemicals and constantly slough minute rubber particles? Are we to believe the authorities’ claims that the ban is purely for our health? And in any case, who are these bleeding heart authorities to which we refer as “they”, and since when did they whom I’ve never met and who know nothing of my existence care so much about my health that they felt moved to interfere with the execution of my daily life? Surely the poison I choose to shorten my life is my business. What kind of hypocrisy is it anyway that allows the ready and legal availability of a product which they claim is universally lethal? Addicted to the tobacco revenue it’s hardly likely to be banned so while the revenue outweighs the costs of insurance claims and the toll to the public health system the balancing act will continue.
Further, any child psychologist worth his salt knows that if you want to attract devotion or loyalty for a product among the young and vulnerable it is only necessary for its disapproval by the authorities or elders or its risks to be made known to ensure success.
The message pedalled to resounding success that quitting smoking is extremely difficult has crippled the efforts of many a smoker to eliminate tobacco from his daily life, but furnished an ever burgeoning industry dedicated to “helping smokers to quit” embarrassing profits. The truth is that it is quite easy to stop smoking if one really wants to. The fact that few smokers really want to give it up should not be ignored. Most who think they want to quit will advance as reasons almost any kind of thing which might give the appearance of conviction, but seldom will you hear one say “I want to. I wanted to smoke and now I don’t.” And do you know why? Oh it’s so simple you’ll kick yourself. It’s because when a smoker wants to stop smoking he’s already done so before he’s encountered another soul for whom he’d need to form the sentence. At that point he’d be more likely to be looking for the words to describe his smoking as a past event. No, the real reasons smokers try to quit centre solely on fear: fear of dying; and fear of ostracism or exclusion from the group. Interesting to study would be the devilish effects of fear and terror induced in the minds of those haunted by the grisly images of the anti-smoking campaign who have believed the propaganda that they can’t quit by their own efforts.
But while on the subject of smoking, here’s some advice to the brave soul who’s determined to enjoy his fag though his peers and all the world despise him: don’t smoke those foul factory made cigarettes which are loaded with some of the most dangerous chemicals known to man but roll them yourself from good tobacco which has fewer of the toxic chemicals and put a filter at the end. Because there are no regulations applying to the tobacco industry’s use of toxic chemicals there is virtually no limit to the strength and breadth of the poisons they use. Their justification: it’s a lethal product anyway.
It’s difficult to roll the perfect cigarette and the pursuit of excellence in this endeavour will become a point of pride and a necessary part of a pleasant ritual which should be savoured as much as the smoking. If you have guilty feelings about your smoking and are doing so in contradiction of your conscience you’re very likely to be harming your health. I advise straightening out your thinking and avoiding gazing upon the filthy pictures on the packet and reading the warnings, the fear of which is far more detrimental to the health than the smoking, of which the psychologists in the employ of the anti-smoking campaign should be well aware, and buy or make yourself a pouch for the tobacco rather than having to look at their grotesque pictures, or don’t smoke.
I am among the few remaining in the western world who permit smoking in my house if the cigarette is rolled by hand of good tobacco, because the smell is not offensive, unlike the stench of death left in a room by the smoking of the other, which can linger in the air and the furniture for days, visiting the most horrible nausea upon everybody else in the house who has the misfortune to have to enter there.
If the tobacco industry had satisfied itself with producing a high quality product for the consumption of those who genuinely enjoy a good smoke, rather than through greed laced the product with carcinogenic chemicals to on the one hand kill pests and ensure maximum production and on the other to increase addiction, perhaps its status might have remained as it was back in the days when people enjoyed it in moderation and weren’t made gravely ill.
But possibly by now you’re getting my drift. And you can see what I mean by reactionary. Oh it’s so easy to manipulate people. Firstly identify an enemy and blame it for a range of problems. Of course to do this you must first have a reason. Maybe you want to deflect attention from a more serious problem or blame that serious problem on something less serious and less of a problem so that you don’t have to deal with the more serious problem. Or maybe you want to accomplish something without anyone’s being aware and this convenient enemy you identify preoccupies the people’s attention whilst you get on with your agenda unhindered. Or perhaps it’s a personal glory thing. You know, identify an enemy and stir up the people, appearing in the nick of time with your cunning solution. It’s a time tested trick and we fall for it all the time because fear produces reaction.
Disinformation, misinformation, the employment of attractive or persuasive people to present or argue a bent truth or outright lie, all are the stock in trade of the manipulators who fashion our world, determine trends, and make merchandise of us. We must ask ourselves certain questions whenever we’re presented with stuff. And we need to apply filters to the enormous bulk of trivia and spiel which comes at us all the day long. We need to remind ourselves that nobody trying to sell us a product really cares whether we’re happy or healthy no matter how sincere the spiel sounds nor how attractive the packaging. All he cares about is making more money or getting more power and if you think otherwise you’re simply a fool.
High fructose corn syrup is made by a multi-step labour intensive hydrolising process to convert corn starch to glucose and then to fructose to make a clear, sweet syrup cheaper than sugar which forms toxic substances when exposed to heat. To say that it’s a natural product which does no harm is stretching credibility to breaking point. And yet this is the claim of the manufacturers of baked goods such as biscuits, pastries and cakes despite the evidence of decades’ research that it’s a leading cause of diabetes and obesity because its uptake into the blood stream is rapid and energy from it if not used immediately by the muscles and in its entirety is laid down as fat, the substance blocking messages to the brain which alerts the system to overload or sufficiency, but hey do they care that they’re making squillions from possibly the ill health and premature death of countless punters all over the world? Don’t be ridiculous. Of course they don’t care, and why is that? Because they’re laughing all the way to the bank.
Likewise the manufacturers of sweet carbonated drinks should know that their product is a health hazard, sugar for decades called white death and known to be addictive and widely acknowledged responsible for diabetes, but produce a product even more dangerous to the health when they make their artificially sweetened drinks which contain substances credited with causing dementia, strokes, multiple sclerosis and a range of other alarming diseases. A scandal broke following the Gulf War when finally the terrible illness which befell a large number of soldiers was pinpointed by some to the extreme toxicity of the artificially sweetened carbonated drinks they consumed after crates of the stuff were left out in the heat.
A vast range of chemicals is used by the manufacturers of packaged foods to keep the product in the same condition as when it was made so that it can be stored over long periods of time and through varying environmental conditions, none of which adds anything nutritious but rather has the capacity to transform the product into something presenting varying degrees of toxicity from mild to extreme.
Food is medicine and nobody in his right mind would mix poison with medicine thinking everything’s gonna be okay. One might excuse the rare incidence of toxic harm if the consequences weren’t too noticeable or difficult to bear – we do that from time to time in full appreciation of the impact and after some degree of consideration, having first acquitted ourselves of deliberate sabotage, and then resigning ourselves to the consequences to follow we take or eat the thing we know does us no good simply for the fleeting pleasure it brings. Unless ignorance is argued, to repeatedly and consistently consume the poisonous thing constitutes a form of addiction or madness.
Even your local doctor can’t be trusted because the pharmaceutical companies lavish dinners and holidays on him in the expectation he’ll promote their products and guess what? He does.
Agricultural genetic engineering, pesticides, synthetic hormones, anti-biotics and heavy metals poisoning the entire food chain is leading to a litany of hitherto unheard of complaints and one has to wonder what they’ve done to wheat that has made it suddenly toxic to an alarmingly increasing proportion of the population. Bread, the staple of thousands of successive generations is now becoming one of the most debilitating of allergens resulting in extreme sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt and oats known as coeliac disease, another of my own afflictions discovered finally following such a violent bout of vomiting and diarrhoea that I very nearly died.
A few decades ago a great deal of panic and worry was occasioned by the revelation of the degree to which our precious planet was being destroyed by the perilous practices to which I’ve been referring as Lyall Watson, Rachel Carson and Vance Packard published their books delivering dire warnings on what awaits us as we stick our heads in the sand, but even the threat of complete and utter disaster has not managed to deter us from the path to destruction.
We must enquire into everything because we can’t afford to take the safety of our consumables for granted. If after gaining knowledge and understanding you choose to take that poisonous thing I can have no issue with you, after all that is your personal choice and each of us, addictive by nature, chooses his own poison. My issue is with the cover-ups, the lies, the misrepresentations and the manipulations surrounding the manufacture and sale of products for daily consumption whose ingredients range from suspect to deadly which are foisted upon a blithely unaware public to the detriment of an entire society and the profit of corporations interested only in the bottom line.
Big business is a rapacious monster, lustful, voracious, without compunction, having no mercy, no scruples and no conscience. What it can’t subdue by hostile take-over it viciously destroys, but the captains of industry and heads of corporations are held up as brave adventurers and high achievers whose exploits and rewards are a model most devoutly to be admired.
It is my theory, as yet untested but which I proffer as a reasonable hypothesis to account for the marked increase of cases of mental illness, suicide, violent behaviour and alcohol and drug dependency among young people, that packaged, denatured, chemical contaminated food to which they have been made attracted has had a gravely serious impact upon the brain causing various forms of insanity. Unless people get wise fast we doom future generations to lives whose only purpose will be to find some way to cope with the horror of utter calamity.
All things being equal, or rather if food was really just food and additives which actually promote obesity were excluded, in the normal course of nutrient consumption a simple rule applies, to whit that if you consume more than your body uses the remainder will be laid down as fat. Nothing mysterious about this process at all. You don’t need to be a genius to grasp this fundamental concept. And yet I’m expected by the popular media which love to present trivial issues as of the greatest importance, to sympathise with the plight of some obese celebrity who can’t understand why she keeps getting fatter. “I’ve tried everything,” she simpers “but nothing seems to work.” The news anchors and their paid guests brought onto the show to tut about what a terrible problem the poor dear’s dealing with don’t seem to have the vaguest idea what the problem is either. They spend their two minute sound bite discussing the various merits of this or that slimming organisation’s moral support strategies and gush about the wonderful availability of cutting edge pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures which promise to give you the body of your dreams. Here’s my solution: stop shovelling in that food you moron.
One of the major problems facing the fat person is that he has habitually eaten more than necessary and because he eats too fast to permit the signal to kick in which alerts him that he’s had enough, no longer can he distinguish what constitutes a moderate helping, and increases his consumption looking for the satisfaction he can find no more. He looks upon him who reins in his consumption with pity, marvelling that such a miniscule portion has the capacity to sustain life.
Never has the sin of gluttony occupied such exalted status as today, elevated now to a scourge assailing innocent victims, nor have those for whom it is routine to gorge been so pitied rather than censured, attributed with “battling a serious enemy”, heralded as heroes, and held up as peons to be admired for their “courage”. I mean what the hell is happening here? Only in the west we seem pleased to make a virtue out of failing to exercise proper moderation. Or will some of you accuse me of racism? So much easier than actually squarely facing the truth and doing something about it. Wake up people.
Anyway. If you truly haven’t the faintest notion how or what to eat and when, then I submit the following, although your mind is probably so clogged with erroneous information that it’s unlikely to be able to absorb the simplicity of it all. However here goes.
Don’t eat whilst doing anything else but give the food your full attention. Notice its texture and consistency and see whether you can identify the various ingredients by a mental exploration of its makeup. At first you’re going to have difficulty because it has never occurred to you before to consider anything but getting that plateful into your mouth, but the more you determine to thoroughly enjoy every mouthful at leisure the more you’ll become aware of things like spices and herbs. Of course this assumes that you’ll give real food a go, and not the laboratory created facsimile which passes for same to be found at your local fast food joint.
Don’t swallow until you’ve completely chewed everything in your mouth. By the time it hits your stomach that mouthful should be the consistency of soup. Learn to appreciate the subtle blend of flavours and take notice on what part of the palate various flavours resonate.
Don’t eat anything about which you have a bad conscience. For example, if you’ve felt that it’s terrible to keep miserable hens in tiny cages where they exist only to pop out eggs but then buy them because they’re cheaper than eggs produced more ethically you will probably pay for that compromise with some health issues. Another example, if you say to yourself “This is gonna make me fat” when looking at the chocolate square in your hand, the worst thing you can do is put it in your mouth, because your body is very obedient to the things you tell it with an authoritative conviction. Conflict is a good thing to avoid.
With a little practise your system will alert you when you’ve had enough to eat, but at first it will need discipline. Tell it to eat only what appears decent on a plate and no more. You need to learn the difference between you and your body and show it who’s boss. Train it to enjoy good wholesome food. Before long you’ll amaze yourself at how you prefer the foods you didn’t want to eat and despise the cheap and nasty stuff which had been your preference before. You’ll look at junk food and see poison which you’ll allow yourself to eat from time to time with an increasing sense of having soiled your body.
The television commercials which show us beautiful young people eating deep fried fatty foods on the beach, their lovely bodies prancing about on the sand, a greasy hunk of something unrecognisable delicately and fondly held between two or three graceful digits while their perfect white teeth sink adoringly into said pathetic approximation of something edible tell a treacherous lie. They don’t show us the dangerous chemical change known as catalytic hydrogenation which turns unsaturated fats into trans fats at high temperature, responsible for depositing a kind of waxy fat in the arteries and over the abdomen, so unhealthy that no bacteria or mould will grow on it and it remains virtually forever, nor how latest research shows its responsibility for separating the outer layer of the eye from the retina causing blindness, nor how the combination of fried fats eaten under the sun intensifies its carcinogenic properties during digestion and renders the oils the skin produces minute melanoma factories.
The more saturated the fat the less dangerous at high temperatures, strangely enough, so keep the good oils like olive oil for use at room temperature or light frying and throw out the inferior oil after one use at high temperature frying.
Eat when you’re hungry and don’t eat when you’re not, and stop eating when you get the first signal that you’ve had enough. Violation only leads to a full stomach which results in faulty and incomplete digestion which inevitably produces colon cancer. And be grateful for the abundance which tempted you to think overeating could be justified in the first place.
Back in the sixties when I was budding into womanhood I was often offended by the chauvinist attitudes of the males in my life so when Germaine Greer came to my notice with her book The Female Eunuch I realised I wasn’t the only one to writhe with anger over being treated disrespectfully and learned for the first time what it would take to join the battle. The thing that concerned me the most was the fact that, apart from my father with whom I had a good relationship and with whom I’d discuss politics and weighty intellectual issues without gender conflict questions breaching the integrity of our exchanges, all the males in my life regarded me as inconsequential, my worth depending only upon my willingness to augment their comfort or status.
I longed to be taken seriously, to be regarded as someone having something to say, as someone valued as a character, an individual, and came to be embarrassed and apologetic for my physical beauty in which I actually had no confidence and knew it only by the apparent reaction it elicited in others. Desperate to be valued I gave my body for the pleasure of men without experiencing sexual gratification myself, and sought ways to impress them with my intellect but always frustratingly without success. My opinions were dismissed and my arguments ridiculed simply on the basis of my being both young and female.
Had I the support of and found a role model in my mother I no doubt would not have been profligate with myself, however that is another story. Suffice it to say I was heartily sick of being treated as merely generic female and increasingly appalled at the images of my gender portrayed in the glossy magazines so by the time women set about destroying the dubious legitimacy of the seductive siren motif and adorned themselves only with a new and growing personal dignity, insisting upon an identity as people rather than as merely objects, I was beginning to understand I could say no.
Germaine Greer and Kate Millet and a few others had made it possible for women to be seen as other than the goddess or the whore, and I, for one, was very grateful, not that it helped me personally all at once, no, the struggle had only just begun.
Maybe you don’t notice that women have been redigging their old graves or if you do perhaps you don’t care but please try to imagine what it’s like for a woman like me to have to almost constantly avert her gaze from the grotesque images thrust at her everywhere she turns of young women vulgarly posing their surgically and digitally altered bodies in a perversion of womanly identity, their mouths open, lips lurid red after Desmond Morris’ naked ape, tongue visible plump and pink just so, a thinly veiled subliminal reference to the vulva and inward parts of the vagina, a disgusting parody of female sexuality. Is this where the struggles of the sisterhood got us? If it weren’t patently clear yet that we’ve ripped ourselves off and sold ourselves down the river, and not just us but men too, let me elucidate.
The images of women in fashion photography and certainly in popular music video clips are those of the whore, the elegant whore perhaps, the proud and haughty whore, yes, the girl-next-door potential whore, and the young and innocent whore too, but nonetheless the whore. Fodder for masturbators. The fact that the subjects of these images boast that they’re proud of the message these images send of themselves as if it’s some great achievement and insist again with pride that unlike their forebears they are the controllers and not the victims of same speaks volumes for the base esteem in which they believe their gender should be held. Little girls aspire to be like them and starve themselves and paint their faces and wear age inappropriate seductive fashions and have earlier and earlier menstrual bleeds. They suck the dicks of boys because they’re desperate to be regarded as sexually awake and available and when they give their bodies they meet aggression with aggression.
Pornography has almost attained to the level of a socially acceptable pastime and yet it’s destroying the relationships of couples and the sensitivities of the young, and enflaming the twisted passions of violent sadistic men. Sexual promiscuity has not decreased the incidence of rape as apologists for it once predicted but rather rape has increased and become more catholic: anyone can be raped now anywhere regardless of gender, race or age. Younger and younger men are experiencing erectile dysfunction in their intimate congress simply because the pornographic images they’ve fed on to arouse their sexual power have created a drug-like dependency on increasingly sensational pictures. Gentlemen once swooned at the sight of a lady’s uncovered ankle, to give you some idea of just how far we’ve pushed the envelope.
Women feel too embarrassed about their bodies to enjoy sex and avoid it because the images of female physical perfection surrounding them remind them of their own perceived physical flaws, magnifying them so that they are repulsive sexually in their own eyes, and an imagined affront to their partners. They’ve watched too many Hollywood movies and television shows and seen too much pornography and can’t understand why they can’t achieve orgasm just like that, the way they’ve seen it in the movies and the porn flicks. They think if only they had big tits rock hard and standing to attention and extreme white teeth and skinny arms and long legs and flat belly and pert buns and perfect complexion they’d feel sexy too just like their idols and then they’d have perfect sex, and so they get the tits but soon they feel just as they did before and figure maybe liposuction will seal the deal and so on…..
Meanwhile their daughters, struggling with their own image issues, are learning how to despise themselves better and better and so on…..
Are you getting the picture yet? Is anyone getting as angry and sick about it as I am yet, or how long will it take before women wake up and realise what they’ve done, how much they’ve squandered.
No one having survived the misery, grief and horrors of parental split, the fights, the verbal abuse, the disconnectedness and guilt would wish that on another child. My memories of childhood are terrible and whenever I see an article in the press or on television concerning a father who killed his kids and himself I feel a sense of great outrage.
My mother abducted me and my younger brother and ran off with a child abuser, and the two of them interrogated me for days following visits with my father. More than my own sufferings the lasting impression which pains the most is the expression of my father’s grief because he could do nothing (following the failure of the Children’s Welfare Department to seriously investigate) to stop the abuse of his children.
A man’s wife and children are his core and hope for the future, and if through error or clumsiness or selfishness on his part, or worse, his wife betrays him, and she leaves with the kids, he suffers a significant blow to his core and a crisis of identity. Often men in this situation perform badly at work, lose their jobs and become dishevelled, aimlessly turning in circles wondering what to do with the rest of their lives. But if the wife blocks access to his kids he sees no future, and this plays out in the most tragic of ways.
In many instances the rancour on the part of the wife drives her to make unsubstantiated and spurious claims against the husband that he is a danger in some way to the children and manages to cheat him of his right to be with his kids. This attack upon his integrity in the most fundamental and profound seat of his personality is often far more than a man can bear. Many a mother is left to rue at leisure the decision she made to torture her husband. Unless the man truly is a monster this denial of access constitutes an abuse of both the husband and the children from which neither will ever recover, assuming of course that she hasn’t managed to drive her erstwhile partner to finding the final solution.
Laws governing child support and alimony inflict punishing and unreasonable demands on the father which make it financially impossible for him to live in anything but abject penury, so he has the additional pain of shame and humiliation for his own circumstances, and while his wife and children live better now than they did all under one roof together, anger and resentment for theirs. I ask any fair minded person to fathom this and say he can’t understand why men in these circumstances go nuts or suicide.
It’s not unconcern for the sufferings of women at the hands of men that constrains my launching into an enumeration and exposition of same, but that the issue with which I am most concerned here is the effect upon the children caught in the middle of the battle of the sexes.
When the children become political footballs in the game of mutual punishment, forced to relay messages to the warring parties, to answer questions they have no business nor opportunity nor understanding to know, and to have to listen to disparaging or lying remarks about the other parent, it does them a great deal of harm. Damaging enough to the child is the suffering he endures at witnessing and overhearing the adult issues violently and loudly exposed, and the display of hatred between the two people he loves most and depends upon for his safety and nurture. Not only is the psyche disturbed throughout the remainder of his childhood, but his future relationships are doomed to conflict and failure until he is able to decipher the meaning of his recollections and nightmares in a context rooted in the maturity of sound knowledge and judgement, a task almost impossible because his emotional development was arrested by trauma at the point in his childhood when his hardwiring was not complete.
Any child who survives this devastating start to life, and most particularly if sexual abuse was involved, if he doesn’t become suicidal or completely dysfunctional but finds a reason to continue, survives with a ticking time bomb within him. For females at around the late twenties, early thirties most often it will go off in the form of a psychotic break which is exactly what happened to me. For three months I was off the planet and might never have returned but for the kindness and patience of a stranger who became a friend closer than a sister. For boys more commonly follows an addiction in some form, to alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, danger, gambling and uncontrolled rage.
Both boys and girls affected by childhood trauma are at extremely high risk of a number of mental disorders, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia and others, and bi-polar disorder as in my case, and few escape. Not knowing my problem and afraid of rejection, I hid my crushing lows and soared on wings of intense creative energy with unbounded optimism on the highs. Unable to sustain, the pendulum swinging in the other direction, all that was left was a trail of unfinished projects, abandoned commitments and embarrassing flashbacks of strange behaviour which only served to increase my self loathing in the lows.
There is also some evidence that of the various kinds of trauma thought responsible as one of the factors triggering fibromyalgia, trauma suffered in childhood ranks extremely high. After years of the most debilitating and painful suffering I finally got my diagnosis and have endured its torments now for the past eighteen years. Just lucky I guess.
Feel free to challenge my assertions, after all I’m hardly qualified to extrapolate as I have, but you can’t deny my premise nor my concerns as though they were unfounded, and neither, I hope, can you ignore these issues as though they had no impact. At the very least, if you are determining breaking faith with your wedding vows or with the promises you made when you embarked upon a relationship whose issue is children, you might deeply consider the ramifications and put aside your own selfish drives to ensure that the kids are not emotionally crippled in the process.
Almost as repulsive as the advertisements that appear on commercial television after midnight of sluts awkwardly disporting their exaggerated and dubious charms to dupe hapless lonely men into spending their credit cards on prostitutes and telephone provocateurs are those of fat or muscle bound men and women smilingly spending their energy on ridiculous exercise machines.
Nothing could be more silly than sitting around eating too much, shuffling lazily between chores, and then thinking the consequences will be taken care of in twenty minutes on a machine.
I have marvelled for years at the saggy floppy buttocks of even young, slim women and tried to impart a jewel of advice to some but, to my dismay and amazement, my well-meaning efforts have been met with defensive anger. Undaunted I shall do my best hereforth to get across to those willing to be informed and prosper my method and rationale concerning the getting and keeping of firm buns.
At the tender age of twelve an acquaintance of my father took me aside one day and told me that I walked like an elephant. Before I had a chance to take umbrage he told me to imagine I had to walk quietly and lightly over crumpled paper, placing one foot directly before the other, and demonstrated with deft ease insisting that I do the same. I was surprised to find that instantly I felt completely elegant. It’s a lesson for which I shall be forever grateful and it started a train of thought and enquiry which over the years brought me to certain conclusions.
I noticed that one of the major differences between cats and dogs can be observed in the way they move. Cats think about every step and every step is deliberate and elegant. They sleep most of the time so when they move about all their muscles are involved and they remain perfectly toned. Dogs don’t think much at all and certainly concern themselves not one jot with elegance. They just throw their feet out thoughtlessly and scarcely notice the flying furniture and small children they leave in their wake. So I decided to walk like a cat.
Then I noticed that one of the major differences between black women and white women can be observed in the way they move. Black women realise their buttocks are muscles and use them as an essential part of the mechanism to walk. White women on the other hand seem to have no idea that this is the case and when not sitting on them simply allow them to hang there at the back so that they have no option but to flop from side to side as they walk. Most unattractive. So I decided to walk like a black woman.
Over the years I perfected the black woman cat walk so that finally it became second nature, and I’ve longed to share it with other women. Here’s how you begin.
Clench the buttocks together as hard all over as you possibly can. Now take some steps and keep going, paying attention to the various places over those muscles that you can actually feel and visualise. You should become aware of a tightening and heightening sensation over the upper part of the muscle which in time will reshape the entire derriere, giving it perfect high roundness and providing support for the lower back, whilst the muscle underneath which meets the leg pulls up tightly and small so that there is no spread at the sides. You should also become aware of a tightening of the muscles of the inner thigh and groin and a sensation like a pressure at the top of the thighs in front. This is a good thing and not to be feared. It means you’re using muscles you’ve only ever used accidentally, and at first as you continue you may experience pain in varying degrees depending on the extent to which they’ve been neglected. Don’t give up. In time the walk will be second nature for you too and after that you’ll never have to think about it again. Your muscles will have learned a new way to walk and they will do the job without your having to concentrate and control.
Already your thighs are feeling and getting the benefit of your new walk, but wait, there’s still more. Stand straight, and slowly without bending your back, slowly slowly squat. Feel that pull and tension all along the front of your thighs? To a much lesser degree that same sensation should be felt walking, and the same pull on the outside of the thigh, if you will try to bring it about. It may take a little experimentation until you feel it but when you do and put it together with the buns you’ll know what it’s like to be a cat. And like a cat you should never have to exercise because whenever you’re moving about you’ll be using every muscle, the least movement you make will be toning and strengthening just as though you had been working out.
As for all the other muscles of the body there’s nothing more effective, more conserving of time and resources, less dependent on place or circumstance than isometrics, and it costs absolutely nothing, zip, zilch, zero. Developed by Charles Atlas it is the perfect exercise routine because it needs no props, relying solely upon the opposing forces of the body’s own muscles when body parts are applied with pressure against eachother. Even invalids such as myself can do them because it’s possible to tone and strengthen muscle using only the best power you have available at the time without the risk of damage or over exertion.
Example of isometrics is demonstrated easily by pressing the hands together with equal opposing pressure for a count of seven whilst breathing normally. All the muscles employed will be exercised and strengthened as though they had pumped weights. Now look for all the other nifty places over the body where the same application of opposing pressure can be made and in this way every muscle can be made to work. If you can feel the muscle being hardened wherever you apply the principle, it’s getting a workout.
Much is made by the marketers and advertisers of the “special ingredients” cosmetic manufacturers put into their products so that you can have skin like the Hollywood stars, and amazingly millions of women buy them just to have a piece of that dream. Almost invariably the talent they use to promote the product are young women for whom the sight of a wrinkle is merely a distant future horror, but they tout the product with gushing gratitude that because of it they’ve been able to maintain their youthful complexions.
So desperate are women to hang onto their youth that they’ll believe anything, and the more exclusive and expensive the product the more convinced they are of its efficacy. No cream or lotion no matter how exclusive or expensive and containing no matter what rare magical ingredients can halt the so called ravages of time by application on the surface. The surface is not where it’s all happening. It’s only where some of it is happening.
Then some bright spark got the idea that by freezing the muscles wrinkles could be prevented altogether and before the voice of reason could muster its faculties and say something almost everyone it seemed was booked in for an expensive poisonous jab or fifteen in the face. It’s a scary thing to be surrounded by masks where real faces used to be. But that’s not nearly as scary as it’s gonna be when, atrophied by toxic paralysis, crippled by inactivity, these masks fall, the muscles that were there now just ugly useless shrivelled hanging things for which a new name must be found to enter into the modern lexicon.
When I was a child there was an elderly woman of my father’s acquaintance whom I thought beautiful and about whom my father remarked “…a handsome woman…” and I wanted to be like her when I became old. She was commanding in presence, striking with a confident comfortability in her skin, glowing with an inner beauty, graceful and gracious. I can tell you right now I haven’t changed my mind. That’s what I’m aiming for. But I ask myself how many women, and men for that matter, will I find when that time comes (and it’s not so long off now) prepared to stand with me clothed only in decent human dignity. How many will have rejected the invitation into the cult of youth with its excesses and narcissism and embraced the inevitable with honour?
The Bible describes the beauty of Abraham’s wife Sarah at the age of sixty five when they went to Egypt as so remarkable that the Pharoah gave over a load of valuables to Abraham in exchange for her. Afraid that he’d be killed and his wife stolen from him he’d lied about her saying she was his sister. What did Sarah use to keep her skin in tip top condition? Good old olive oil.
There would have been long periods of time when, nowhere near a water source and carrying only what they needed for drinking, Sarah would have cleaned her face with olive oil, totally compatible with human skin, and having wiped away the dirt which would have lifted effortlessly out of the pores, would then have applied the oil again to soften the skin and as a protective barrier against the elements.
When I discovered I was allergic to any cosmetic product having as its base that generic white cream, I tried to discover its origin and makeup without success. It seems to be some kind of secret, but in any case I had to find something else to meet my daily skin care needs. Soap of course is no good because it leaves a waxy film in the pores which only attracts and locks in dirt with the sebaceous oils. Alcohol based cleansers are no good because they interfere with the production of oils causing either excessive dryness or a reactive overproduction of oils. Sensitive to everything I tried I finally resolved to make the solution as simple and natural as possible and started to do a little research.
It turns out the cheapest and simplest things of all work best. Go figure. The skin surface needs to be renewed so that it doesn’t form a crusty inelastic barrier which can’t breathe, so it needs to be lightly abraded regularly. I recommend bi-carbonate of soda, a natural uncomplicated compound of sodium and hydrogen, just fine enough to cleanse and abrade without damage. I do this in the shower because the blood is closest to the surface under the influence of the heat and the physical activity to enrich the underlying cells with fresh nutrients. Put a small amount into a little dish so that the remainder isn’t exposed, protecting it from absorbing moisture and smells, and massage it all over the wet skin, and follow with rinsing. After showering while the skin is still wet take about a teaspoonful of the best cold pressed olive oil and massage it all over the face, making sure to stretch and move the facial muscles so that the skin is not pulled around the eyes and mouth but the whole facial superstructure is exercised. Pull grimaces to achieve this, and follow with opening the eyes as wide as possible, and the mouth, and stick out the tongue aggressively. This routine will keep the musculature strong and youthful upon which the skin clings. Now with a towel wipe or dab the excess oil and lightly powder the purest mineral makeup you can get over the surface of the skin. Brilliant.
And for the body the answer is equally simple and the method undertaken for precisely the same reason. Take a coarse or old face flannel and wash all over with it, following with a vigorous massage starting at the feet and working up the legs, over the buttocks and belly, swapping hands as you go. Working up the torso now raise one arm over the head to scrub the breast with the other, ensuring in this way that the breast is taut and won’t be stretched, and swap. Then scrub each arm working from the hands to the shoulders and over the decolletee, throat and neck and over the back, reaching as far as you can any way you can to cover the whole area. Your skin should be markedly reddened everywhere you’ve scrubbed and tingling all over and you should feel quite puffed with the exertion. The blood forced to the surface in this manner flushes the cells with fresh nutrients, carrying away impurities to be dealt with by the liver, thereby taking care of the cellulite problem. Congratulations. You’ve just had a workout that will in a short time reshape your entire body, and you didn’t need a machine or a gym membership to achieve it.
Now take that flannel and dry yourself with it, squeezing it out as many times as you need ’til you’re almost dry, just dewy all over. Take some of that good olive oil into the palm of your hand and massage it all over your body, finishing with the towel dab or wipe. No more wet towels hanging in the bathroom multiplying germs between showers, and no more massive loads of them costing time and resources to launder.
“Oh it’s all too simple,” I hear you cry, “and I’d be all greasy,” I hear you whine, “and I’ve got my own routine and wouldn’t want to change for something so….radical,” I hear you whimper. Fine. Your loss.
Since the advent of the money crisis, the crash we had to have, people who were living beyond their means in an attempt to live like the rich and who were getting all twisted in a knot trying to sustain a lifestyle of rampant acquisition have been forced to scale things back to a modest state of indebtedness and are only now beginning to appreciate the simple pleasures of life.
What they never knew while they were scrambling up the heap in quest of the unsearchable and unfindable was that the rich are furthest from attaining these things, these intangible things, and the least likely of all to recognise them should they ever be at risk of glimpsing them in the first instance. They have made themselves too gross with their materialistic world view and too dull with instant gratification and too bored with arrogance to discern them, and should be pitied rather than envied. You can’t find these precious things at the top of the heap.
Money is a bit like water. If you damn it up and hold it it will stagnate and poison you, if you pour it into what is already full it will run over damaging everything around it and be wasted, but let it flow to needy places and the life it brings will transform and enrich your own.
I am bothered very much by the fact that shelter, which anyone should consider to be a basic human right, costs people the majority of the money they receive as labour, and not just once or occasionally but for most or all of the term of their lives. It isn’t right that when a person falls upon adverse circumstances and can’t for any number of reasons continue to find that whollop of money he should find himself on the street. And it isn’t right that those whose circumstances are comfortable should look upon him as though he were nobody or blame him that such is his situation. And it’s not right that those who earn the least pay the most proportionally in tax and for consumables, not right that the poor subsidise the excess of the rich, but what is worse than that is that when the poor are in need of shelter the high taxes they paid in proportion to earnings are not made available to meet their basic requirements but like stray dogs are forced to shelter wherever safety from attack or the elements may be found. And the sad fact is that as another family goes under and ends up on the street or living in the car there is a vast raft of rules and regulations and laws bearing down to make things even more difficult.
Almost everywhere you look you see empty houses out of which families have been thrown because the mortgage repayments and the credit cards became too much to service but people are living on the street. Does that seem as crazy to you as it does to me?
The happiest societies this world has known are the ones in which its citizens were housed and their basic human needs met by their collective wealth, or commonwealth, wherein which each pursued the occupation for which he was trained or gifted, each valued because he was a part of the whole and not for the status of his work, and was free to spend his own wealth wherever he pleased. “Oh but that’s communism,” you’ll say, and look back at Russia or China. And yes, more appalling examples could scarcely be found. But examine please the real threat to societies striving for human equality and social harmony and justice. Is it not always hijacked by an individual having great charismatic power, a manipulator who presents very nicely at first, sucks the people in with his clever rhetoric, forms a phalanx of ambitious yes-men to protect him from the people when they finally wake up to his evil, and then proceeds to use the defence and police forces to subdue the very people they were sworn to protect and serve? I mean correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that the way it goes? Nothing wrong intrinsically with the system, it’s just that scum rises to the top, violent unscrupulous self-serving people love to rule over others and when the comfort or safety of the people is threatened if they challenge the authorities there is a strong tendency for most to pull in their heads and pretend it’s not so bad.
All human organisations, even those that start out with the purest of ideals, the highest principles, and the most noble of aims, subject to the law of entropy, slave to the dictates of the most ambitious and influential in their ranks, and susceptible to the pressure of an unforgiving market place, in a short time devolve into virtual dens of iniquity, the Amish societies perhaps being the only exception. Harming no one, depriving no one, threatening to no one, they are now at serious risk of disbandment with violence because governments can’t countenance the maverick over which it has no control. Seeking any excuse to cause them to buckle and be obedient to the system or be destroyed, government agents barge in insisting on smoke alarms and council approved building permits.
Governments and media outlets have made an art out of dichotomising issues, a clever tactic employed to force one into one or the other of two extremes, excluding a range of options for consideration which fall somewhere between the two. So to manipulate the public into favouring the option of the presenter’s devising it is only necessary to present as the other option something so absurd or outrageous only an idiot would choose it.
Having trained the public to see issues so narrowly, so shallowly, it’s extremely easy to enlist it to become legalistic, merciless and completely selfish, acting on the authorities’ behalf to judge and condemn any individual who will not tow the line or be conformed. This is very very scary stuff and is demonstrated very simply with a little story concerning someone I know who recently took himself to a secluded part of the gardens of a local university to enjoy a quiet smoke. Far from any of the buildings and not at risk in any sense of irritating anyone with his smoke he was utterly staggered by the invective and hysterical abuse of a woman who, espying his activity through a distant window, took leave of her students to rush outside and charge across the expanse of asphalt and lawn to enforce the no smoking policy. I practically blanch with fear when I consider just how far this kind of insanity can be taken.
Is it pointless and futile on my part to draw attention to these things and to urge my fellow human beings to open their shrivelled little hearts and minds to allow in the light? Is it too much to expect common human decency from each other? I mean I gave up thinking people could actually love each other back when I saw the failure of the sixties revolution, but is it too much to ask that we might allow each other to live without the hindrances to personal happiness that our love of gossip, judgement, legalism and censoriousness brings us? Why the hell can’t we mind our own blasted business and if we want to see improved performance why can’t we concentrate on our own efforts instead of on those of every one else.
Advances in technology have made it possible for childless couples to obtain a baby despite their having significant fertility problems and has opened up a whole new ethical Pandora’s Box. Time once was when having a baby was a blessing not every couple was able to enjoy but with the availability of engineered conception it has somehow seemed good to people to consider it a right. Nothing seems problematic yet, after all this woman and this man have chosen to get together and have offspring and would have done so in the natural way had not there been an obstacle to success for whatever reason.
But now what happens if the man’s sperm won’t do the job and an anonymous donor’s is used instead? No problem, a baby’s a baby’s a baby right? One man’s sperm can father any number of babies, and abuses have occurred resulting in cases such as one exposed recently in Sydney wherein which a man had been donating sperm for years under various names so that he may very well have fathered thousands of babies. And then there are the babies who come from unknown ova and unknown sperm implanted into the wombs of strangers, but hey that’s okay too. So now anyone who can afford it can get one. Everything’s great until siblings having no idea of their origins fall in love and want to have babies, right?
People are seriously deluded if they think this is the only serious issue facing the child brought into the world this way. It’s hard enough for a person with a distinct lineage to feel that he belongs in this world and to try to understand his place in it and the meaning of his connections and to discover and recognise himself in his siblings and forebears and account for his inherited traits, and to find a context within it all with which he can identify but bend your mind to empathising with the child who doesn’t know who he is, cannot refer to his lineage, has no connections, can’t fathom his own idiosyncrasies, can’t discover his roots, looks nothing like anyone else around him, except perhaps that stranger in a bar across the road and that other guy down the street, can’t account for his inherited traits and has no way to find a context with which he can identify and no one with whom he has an inherent bond. He feels like a small cork bobbing about on the surface of a vast ocean, unable to dive in he can’t even sink.
But it seems no one considers these things in the stampede to get and have what we want regardless of the cost to others. I’ve heard some of these children say they’d rather come from axe murderers and have some kind of connections than have none at all, and you only have to witness the joy of the adopted child to meet his mother for the first time or of relatives when after a lifetime of being separated or lost they are reunited to get an inkling of the importance of these things.
I’m not saying there isn’t a very strong biological imperative built in to our makeup which gives us the desire or longing for progeny nor am I suggesting that the terrible disappointment of infertility can be dismissed as easily as if it were the longing for a new car we can’t afford, but what I’m saying is we can’t always get what we want in this life and it’s better to face this reality bravely like mature people instead of petulantly demanding as a child the things that for whatever reason we were never destined to have.
Strange isn’t it that to adopt a baby a couple has to satisfy the most stringent requirements and is vetted to within the last tittle, often waiting so long that by the time approval is granted the couple is too old to qualify, and yet to get a baby by means of technologic intervention all that is required is money.
The thing that strikes me as ironic in the extreme is the trend of the career woman who wants her cake and eat it too of waiting ’til the biological clock has nearly stopped ticking to have a baby which she then bottle feeds so that she can put him in the care of a stranger all day. Mothering by remote control. Naturally all career women who do this, stung that anybody should have the gall to point out the truth, will vilify me and a hate campaign will be instigated against me. They can get together with the pack who’ll hate my saying that children’s welfare should be considered before one’s own fulfilment and deliberately misquote me by testifying that I said childless couples don’t deserve children, and all the others who can’t bear that I’ve proffered an opinion in an area about which they feel sensitive who’ll be looking into my personal life to find something over which to humiliate me, looking for ways to discredit me, but you might have to stand in line or get in quick. The drug companies and cosmetic companies and packaged food manufacturers may put out a contract on my life for fear I’ll damage their profits by disseminating damaging information, or sue because freedom of speech is fine unless somebody wants to say something that might alter the punter’s perspective and affect the bottom line, though anyone can divine these things for himself from the abundance of literature to be found on the internet.
It’s a reactionary world as I have said, filled with lies and deception, strong delusions and selfish ambition, but I can’t help but hold out the smallest hope that a little light might enter in, a little love, a little truth, before it’s too late.
Thank you for bearing with me and by reading this brief rant attesting to the hard won right to the expression of one’s personal views. I don’t expect all to agree with me but I hope that my concerns are shared, that I have provoked thought, that I might have touched the hearts of some, and that I have helped in some way to make change in this world which so desperately needs to rethink its ways.
Yes it’s a short book, but I detest repetition and verbosity, preferring to be succinct and to the point.
By the time this is in your hand I’ll have kicked myself a thousand times for rushing to publish before I got a few more things off my chest, but that’s how it goes.
I did not set out to hurt anyone’s feelings, particularly since we’ve all been so well trained to take offence with readiness at the least thing to contradict our own stance, but felt strongly enough about the issues I’ve addressed to risk it. Neither did I relish gaining any enemies, God knows life is hard enough as it is, but some things are too important to hope someone else might stick out his neck so yours truly finally couldn’t resist.
Finally let me say that I wish you nothing but wisdom, understanding, health and happiness.