Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Are you a Mature, Emotionally Healthy Adult? Hint...not as many of us are as we think.

Hi all,

In the last few months, Ive read several excellent non-fiction books.  All with poignant life lessons and insights within, offering life changing potential if one chooses to consider, take in, and fully absorb their messages.

One of the books in particular, "Changes that Heal" by Dr. Henry Cloud, I found especially excellent.  He wrote another one "Necessary Endings" which I liked better, found much more applicable to life in general, with absolutely excellent messages and insights within.  Though "Changes that Heal" offered one section in particular that resonated with me deeply.  The section is titled: "When We Fail To Grown Up."  Aka, what happens when people fail to grow into (emotionally) fully mature adults.

We often tend to think that once someone physically looks the part of adult, that this is it.  They are now an adult.  Boom, done.

Not so.  Not even close.  Consider all the adults you know personally (there are probably at least a few...and for some of you, there may even be many) who might be emotionally chaotic, who have all sorts of major character flaws (not minor and usual ones, which we all have.  Instead, I am talking about traits7behaviors that majorly impact ones life negatively), "adults" who cannot seem to get their lives together, maybe who have frequently turbulent relationships, etc.

We all know people like this, and usually they are "adults."  Meaning, they look like adults on the outside but in the article following below, you will learn that actually, they are still children emotionally.

These are people who have failed to grow up.  Who, while they may embody the physical appearance and age of an adult, are not truly adults in their minds and emotions.  And it shows, in the lives they lead.

In the article follow, I will be listing several traits of "adults" who are actually children in a grown up persons body.

Whats helpful about this list and article is that:

1.  It can help you identify those around you who are still essentially children, both mentally and emotionally (even though they may appear to physically be an adult).  And thus, this can help in your dealing with and understanding them better (whether a colleague, family member, or other).


2. If you have one, a few, or even several of these traits yourself, the only way one can grow and change is through recognition and self awareness.  Therefore, seeing and admitting such within yourself, and then attempting to actively change your thinking and behavior towards growing up and taking back your sense of adulthood, personal strength, own authority of yourself and your life, and personal responsibility.  This can change your life radically for the better.

With that said, here is what I read in "Changes that Heal" are what happens (and how it negatively impacts our lives) when we fail to grow up:

--Inordinate Need for Approval.  People who struggle to grow up emotionally often cannot function well independently of the opinion of others (this can be from their parents, romantic partner, friends, or even people they aren't especially close with).  They strive constantly to gain the approval of others.  This kind of approval is different from the wish to do well and be recognized for such. That is generally a normal wish and desire.  This is instead, a hungering for and hinging on the need for approval from others.  And difficulty behaving in ways that involve striking out on ones own and even at times, having to disappoint people.

--Fear of Disapproval.  This goes along with a need for approval.  Often, people who have failed to fully grow up emotionally feel quite anxious when an authority figure is around.  Their anxiety then tends to interfere with their ability to do a job well.  Every time their work is evaluated, their fear is activated.

--Guilt.  This is a component of the loss of parental approval.  Part of growing up means separating from your parents, and this will at times mean disappointing them.  This is ok, normal, and part of forging your own path.  If one is living as an adult, to the beat of their own drum, its only natural and inevitable that you will at times, disappoint others when you dont act in accordance with their opinions or wishes (including your parents).  This is part of having the courage to live your own life, which is integral to both your happiness as well as growing up.  People who still harbor guilt over this type of thing continue to feel "under" the parental voice.

--Sexual Difficulty.  People who feel one-down to authority more often than not have sexual difficulty.  Why?  They have not gone through the adolescent passage of disagreeing with their parents and therefore, overcoming guilt and repression.  Sexuality is still a "no no" to them because psychologically, they are still children who "shouldn't think about things like that."

--Need for Permission.  Many struggle with an inordinate need for permission.  Often struggling with feeling as though they need clearance from someone before proceeding with decisions in their lives. They often ask, "may I say something?"  In the middle of a conversation, when its unnecessary to ask for permission to speak.  They hesitate to test the limits of any system or organization, always giving restrictions and rules.  They haven't thrown off their parents restrictions and found their own.

--"You cant do that" Syndrome.  Authority bound people tend to stifle creativity.  Someone may come up with a new way of doing something and an authority bound person will react, "you cant do that," or, "it'll never work."  They appear to have prison bars around anything creative or new.  This is because they overidentify with their limiting and putative parent- ever giving restrictions, rules, and attempted control.  They haven't thrown off their parents restrictions and found their own.

--Feelings of inferiority.  Often, people with this issue have parents who have not treated them with respect in their own right as people.  So invariably, they look up to others and feel "below" them.  They tend to think that someone else is always better then them in some way.  They rarely to never feel equal.

--Competitiveness.  People who have never established equality with one or both parents tend to act out unresolved competitive issues, often with people of the same sex.  They cannot stand for anyone to "win" over them, because it puts them in a "one down" position.  Instead of saying or thinking, "I lost the game," they feel "I am an inferior person."

--Loss of Power.  Those who haven't become an adult either repeatedly give away their power in relationships, or, feel that they are losing power.  These people especially have trouble with controlling, domineering people, routinely deferring to them in what they perceive to be a lack of power or right from their own end.

--No Equal Differences.  People who live in a one-up, one-down world rarely consider differences acceptable.  If someone believes or thinks something different, that person is "wrong."  There is no such thing as a difference of opinion, or agreeing to disagree.

--Black and White Thinking.  People who can only see the world in this way, black or white, right or wrong, are stuck in their pre-adult way of thinking.  They are thinking like an eleven year old.  They are unable to think in terms of gray.  There are no tough moral dilemmas.  Everything is simple.  "If the rule says it, I do it."

--JudgementalismJudgemental people fuse with the parental, legal position and look down on others.  These people deny the badness within themselves (as there is bad and negative in all of us) and instead act like they are perfect and "above" others.

--Anxiety Attacks.  Anxious people fear disapproval, both internally and externally.  Generalized anxiety signals something dangerous about to emerge in a persons consciousness.  People who suffer anxiety attacks fear this.

--Impulsiveness and Inhibition.  Both come from authority problems.  On the one hand, some people are so angry at authority that they deny any rules or standards and live lawlessly.  These people are often impulsive and do as they wish.  These out-of-control adolescents have done away with authority.  On the other hand, legalists are so bound up with guilt, they aren't even aware of their own impulses.  They are often very shy and inhibited.  Their friends often say, "let your hair down sometime, relax."

--Parenting others.  Some people who have never grown up think they know what others "should" do.  They are unable to realize their own limited knowledge of a persons situation, as well as the persons responsibility or ability to deal with his or her own problems.

(Important side note here: I am going to slightly disagree with the concept of "parenting others" being automatic evidence of oneself not having grown up yet emotionally.  Yes, if you are talking to others in the self righteous way of "I know best and you dont" and if this is a way you frequently talk to/think towards others, then yes, this is a problem.  Its condescension of the highest order, as well as arrogance and misplaced self righteousness, assuming that you often/usually know other peoples situations and lives better than they do.  However.  There are many exceptions to this.

Sometimes, we do see a situation more clearly with regards to someone we love, than maybe they do.  For instance, numerous studies have shown that the few nearest and dearest of someone (say, their best friends and maybe a couple family members to whom they are quite close) tend to be able to judge this persons romantic relationship better than the person in the relationship can!  This is a case in which yes, others sometimes do know better.  They can see it more clearly because they are once removed, they aren't the ones emotionally involved.  There are of course, caveats to this.  This is assuming that these said loved ones are reasonable, realistic, emotionally mature, clear thinking themselves, and well meaning towards their loved one.  Then yes, we might rightly assume they have a more realistic view of the relationship then the person they love who is in it may have.

Another example, if someone is using drugs, gambling, having an affair, or getting into some other dicey stuff, potentially going down a very bad path and their loved ones see clearly the disaster this person is moving towards, yet the person involved cannot see it clearly, is in denial and blinded...another example in which others very well may know better than this person does

There can and will be times when someone you love and to whom you are close, you see them behaving in ways that are either hurting themselves, or others.  This is an important theme in the international bestselling psychology/love/self help book called "The Road Less Traveled" by Scott Peck.  HIGHLY recommend it, by the way.  This book changed a lot of the ways I think about what it means to love.  Anyway, the book talks about this theme.  How when you truly love someone, it is your duty to "risk the relationship" if you will, to tell them when/if/where you see them hurting either themselves or others, by a way of thinking or behaving.  Being too afraid to speak up and tell the person you love this?  That isn't love or respect, its cowardice.  Love means that when you love someone, you want them to live their best life.  You don't want to see them in pain, or watch them hurt themselves or others, so you have a duty really when and if yo use this occurring in someone you love, to speak up.  Even if it may mean pissing them off in the moment.  Your hope and desire is for the long term picture which you hope will actualize.  Your hope in helping them see the light, where right now they may not.

Therefore, there absolutely will be times throughout your life, when either you love someone and do happen to "know better" than them at that moment, seeing clearly that maybe they are venturing down a bad path or are causing hurt to others, or are feeling hurt themselves.  Or, there will also be times when people who love you will point these things out to you.  When they see you making choices that they can see clearly are not likely to be in your best interest, that may hurt you or someone else

This though, is not one in the same as "parenting" others.  Instead, its love...support...offering caring honesty where you see it might be needed in someone you love.  This is one in the same with truly loving relationships that are emotionally close- honesty, even when it may be hard to hear.  Therefore, these are two different things.  "Parenting" others, as opposed to offering potential honesty, support, or potential guidance to someone you love and see might be struggling or might not be seeing clearly).

--Superiority.  The opposite of inferiority, some people always find a way to see themselves as better than everyone else.  It can look like narcissism or idealism, but really it is one-upmanship.

--Depression.  This stems from a "bad me" self critical attitude.  People who are criticized by their internal parent feel bad or guilty, which leads to depression.

--Dependency.  Some people actively avoid taking responsibility for themselves and find someone to parent them.  For example, it is not unusual for people to marry out of dependency and then resent their partner for "treating them like children."  They tend to give executive power of their life to others.

--Idealism of Authority.  The perception that someone in authority knows best or is perfect pre-supposes a one-down position, because people who have identified with the authority (and are mature adults themselves) know that the authority is a person just like them, warts and all.

Here are several distorted ways of thinking that tend of show up frequently in the minds of people who have not yet become adults emotionally:

-I am less than others.
-I am bad if they dont approve of me.
-I must please others to be liked.
-I am bad if a disagree.
-My opinions are not as good.
-I must get permission from others.
-I am bad if I fail.
-I shouldn't feel so sexual.
-Sexual feelings are bad.
-My plans will never succeed.
-If I differ, I am wrong.
-I am better than they are.
-My group is the right group.
-Our belief system or ministry is the only real one.
-I know what's best for them.
-I know better than them.
-They never fail like I do.
-They are never this afraid, or mad, or sad, or stressed, or...
-They will like me better if I am compliant.
-They will hate me for standing up to them.

In order to live a life that is your best one possible, this entails the necessary passage of both growing up physically, as well as emotionally.  All of us grow into and become adults physically.  Many of us do not grow into adults emotionally, instead remaining stuck or stagnant as children mentally.  And the majority of people stuck as children emotionally dont even know it.  Becoming aware of certain behaviors or ways of thinking in yourself which are still emotionally immature is the only way to changing it and thus, the only path toward fully maturing emotionally into an adult.  This is the route and solution towards living your strongest, happiest, most fulfilling life.

In my next article, Part Two, I will detail the skills needed for (and essentially how to) for becoming an adult emotionally.

One of the emotional traits and characteristics/ways of thinking of people who are adults emotionally is the quote above.  They dont mind being disliked by some, for sticking to their boundaries and being authentic to who they are.  In fact, they know its an inevitability of living an authentic life.  

See the book, "The Courage to be Disliked" based on an ancient Japanese phenomenon which shows you how to change your life and achieve real happiness (hint: cliff notes version...having the courage and acceptance to be disliked, knowing that being liked by all is impossible, as well as a very unfree and stressful way to live in attempting to ensure that all people like you a reality.  That doesnt mean you should just be shitty and throw caution to the wind with attempting to be a good person.  It does mean being your best person and the best version of yourself that you can be, while simultaneously accepting that even as you do so, still there will be people who will not like you, as well as people who will disapprove of your choices as times- such as your parents or others to whom you are close, and that is ok).

Much of the insights above were taken from this book (I highly recommend reading the whole thing.  Its chock full of life changing insights, lessons, and ideas):

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hes a Stud, Shes a Slut.

Double standards, sadly, continue to run rampant throughout our culture with regards to men and women.  This, at its lightest, is frustrating, offensive and annoying.  And its worst, this brings physical and emotional harm to both men and women, damages relationships, and limits people from living a life to their fullest capabilities and emotional growth potential.

Take a look at the two covers.  On the left, his pose is powerful, emphasizing his muscles, a relaxed, confident look on his face.  All the headlines are about how to be stronger and fitter, or, how to bed her.  The cover on the right, she is scantily clad, her position passive, demure, biting her lip and crossing an arm over her body in a self soothing gesture.  She is heavily made up, her appearance being the main attractor on display.  All the headlines, about how to look good.  The message is clear, as a woman, your worth is in how you look.

A more simplistic image of basic gender stereotyping in a woman and man.

Coming to you from a proud feminist (and lets get this straight once and for all.  A feminist is not a bra-burning, man hating, "femi-nazi" as some like to call them.  On the contrary, a real feminist is someone who loves both women and men, and works towards/promotes/wishes equal rights for both), here is my list of several concerning double standards that still permeate our society with regards to how women and men are perceived, why each of these are a problem, as well as incorrect.

To clarify a quick side note first though, to me,  being a feminist means believing that men and women should be treated with equal rights, be afforded the same opportunities, and judged with the same standards for behavior and personal potential.  Not for women to continue being seen as less than men.  Nor does it mean hating men, claiming they are all "pigs" or "awful" (as Ive heard some women who claim to be feminist say), nor does it mean disparaging men in our working towards and wishing to be treated equally.  Thats taking it to the other end of the extreme.  Its thinking about and treating men in the very ways which we ourselves are upset about being treated.

Instead, being a feminist means wanting to be regarded and treated with the same rights, respect, and opportunity that men are afforded.  Thats it.  Wanting to be seen as of equal worth to men.  As though we have just as much to offer and bring to the table as they do, because we do and because that is the truth.  Men and women are both just as intelligent, worthwhile, worthy of respect, capable, and awesome as one another.

With all of that said, here's the list of several sadly ever pervasive double standards and grossly unbalanced ways of thinking that still permeate our culture, as well as unfair and absurd expectations/judgements/perceptions of women in our society today (as compared with men). And why these are so damaging.

1. Hes a Stud, Shes a Slut.  Most, if not all women, have either been called a slut at some point in their life, or called another woman said offensive word.  Women are called sluts when they develop faster than others in school.  When they kiss a boy at a party.  When they wear something slightly revealing.  "Slut" has become a word tossed around like popcorn at a movie theatre.  Commonplace (which is sad and getting ridiculous), casual, thrown about willy nilly whenever a ready-made insult is needed on the fly to put down a woman.

Men though, cannot be sluts.  Sure, occasionally someone will call a man a "dog" or a "pervert," but they are not judged even close to how women are with regards to their sexuality.  And if they are, generally its in a positive way.  Men who have a lot of sexual partners are studs, Casanovas, pimps (lets not even get into how disgusting this slang word is.  So whats become a compliment to men who bed lots of women actually means a man who SELLS women,  Wow), and players.  There isnt even a word, let alone a concept, to signify a male slut.

The word "slut" is about controlling women through shame and humiliation.  Womens bodies, in our culture, are still ever being vied over for control.  Whether its rape, reproductive control over the right to choose what we with our own bodies, violence against women, or even gross things like purity balls (a totally creepy prom-like gala where fathers take their daughters to a fancy dance where they promise their virginity to their daddy.  Disgusting on more than one level, and all about giving over control of their bodies, again, to a man).

Aside from the incredibly offensive and awful double standard behind this, lets go with logic.  Why is a woman less of a person, or "dirty," or someone deserving of shame and disrespect, because she has sex?  Why is it that men do not receive the same judgements?  Why are they exempt from such, simply by means of having a penis?  This is not just inaccurate, its completely wrong, unfair, illogical, and misdirected.

2.  He can be a Beast, while she must be a Beauty.  Unrealistic beauty standards have become so pervasive and normal throughout our culture, we hardly look twice any longer, other than to long for looking like such.  All of these cookie cutter, near duplicate media messages touting almost the same images of what women should look like: thin, blonde (usually), big boobs, curvy hips, perfect hair, the whole package.

Sure, nowadays men have more pressure to be ever muscled and hot themselves, there is more emphasis of importance being place on appearance in general both for men and women (a misdirected priority and overly focused on life aspect for sure), but women get this backlash a whole lot worse and have for ages.

He can let himself go, while she must remain beautiful.  Its ok if he becomes a beast because "hes a man" so thats almost expected.  However, if she doesnt remain ravishing, most certainly she will either by dumped or "traded in" someday for someone younger and prettier.  The majority of her worth and offering in a relationship, being laden in her looks.

Even further, its not enough to be emaciated, tan, shaved, toned to the max, and generally perfect.  There are even things like the new "labiaplasty" trend.  For those not in the know, this is vaginal rejuvenation surgery.  One of the fastest growing plastic surgeries out there, despite it being dangerous, painful, and potentially permanently damaging to your ability to have pleasurable sex.

Now, even our body parts unseen must be beautiful.  AND at the cost of our own pleasure.  And why?  For the same reason that all the other parts of us must be flawless: for the pleasure of men, of course.  Women are so desperate to be "perfect" and beautiful that they are even paying thousands of dollars to feel so.  Literally buying body parts (whether bigger breasts, a new nose, or a different vagina) to make themselves so.  What happened to being born with how you look and thats just who you are?  And then making peace with such and going through life focusing on and in pursuit of other, more important goals and ambitions?  Now, our pursuit of beauty and physical perfection has become, for many, a central focus and near obsession.  What a waste of the limited time we have here on earth.

A little (hopeful) inspiration against such thinking: Do not diet.  Its a waste of your time, energy, and hopes.  Its a $31 billion industry that fails 95% of the time.  Further, dont spend money on products made by companies that make you feel inadequate and ugly.  Instead, redefine your notion (which is probably a narrow one, and spoon fed to most of us at that, by our cultures one dimensional view of what it means to be attractive) of beauty to include your own wellness- including joy, fulfillment, resilience, and self love.  As well as know and believe that beauty can look like so many different things.  Varying heights, different types of hair, numerous skin colors, differing body types, etc.  

The media does not dictate what is beautiful, though it certainly tries to force feed us the same narrow images over and over again, excluding the other 93% of the population who doesnt look like such.  Beauty is health and a degree of self care/mindful attendance to ones being, and its also, very importantly, joy...luminosity…love...generosity...thoughtfulness...caring...etc.

Additionally, check out movies and TV these days which further promote and perpetuate this frustrating and ridiculous double standard: Marge/Homer on the Simpsons. Tony/Carmella on the Sopranos (or really, any couple in that show.  All the men, overweight and ugly.  While the women are generally decorative, ever glamed up ornaments for the mens viewing pleasure, as well as stand-ins for the mens sexual pleasure whenever they so desire).  The movie "Knocked Up," hes an ugly, aimless slacker while she is a bombshell, ambitious woman.  The list can go on and on and on.

This constributes to men having delusional expectations about how women should look.  That they can just sit back, and the universe is likely to and should deliver them a supermodel.  Because hey, look at TV and movies, apparently theyre everywhere and this is how women really should and can look.  Its gotten to a point where, for many men, being with a woman isnt so much looking for a partner but more a status symbol who looks good on their arm.  For many, this has taken priority over someone who is, say, intelligent, kind, funny, driven, you name it (basically, someone to whom you are attracted but who just as importantly has compelling and great character).

3. He is the Bad-Ass Bachelor, while Shes a Spinster/Old Maid/Lonely.  Men who remain ever single are touted as the coolest, with their own place and "freedom," the ultimate openness in their lives to do "whatever they want."  They're seen as mysterious, confident, independent, and more often than not, envied.

Single women, basically any women not paired up over the age of 30, are old maids, spinsters, lonely, unfulfilled, resigned.  They are desparate to be either a mom or a bride and just couldnt find either one.  There is no such thing as a single, happy woman.  Single women are all just wives in training, or crazy cat ladies in the making.  They are all "waiting" to "find someone" and "then they will finally be happy."

There is something about unmarried women that our culture does not like and seems to feel threatened by.  Thats why the media is constantly telling us how miserable single women are.  Fun fact: the interesting and ironic truth is that women may actually be better off not getting married.  Studies show that while married men tend to score higher than single men on measures of mental health like depression, as well as generally having physically healthier habits, the same is often not the case for women.

Dont get me wrong, I am not against marriage.  Not even close.  Getting married for the right reasons can, and often is, a very positive thing.  I am against this obnoxious, unfair, and totally inaccurate perception with regards to women who chose to remain single which men are not faced with.

4.  Hes a Politician, Shes a Fashion Plate.  The man in power is recognized for what he says, how he acts, what hes like as a person.  The woman on his arm?  Generally, its all about reporting what she wears, where she brunches, who does her hair.  All about how she looks, as well as shallow, unimportant, vapid "facts" about her lifestyle.  Little to nothing about who she is as a person, and what she brings to the table intellectually or action-wise as a partner.

5.  Hes Distinguished.  Shes Old/Used Up.  As men age, they are often give labels like "distinguished," "silver fox," or "gentlemanly."  Women who age?  Done for.  Deemed generally unfuckable, unloveable, "used up," and ultimately useless.

Take a look at any womens magazine.  Its littered with advertisements and images of wrinkle creams, youth serums, Botox ever increasing as the norm.  We are so terrified of aging that we pay huge sums of money to inject poisons into our bodies, and even purchase whole body parts to replace the aged ones, to feel better about ourselves.

The message is clear.  For women, old or old-looking is bad.  Youth is ideal and is the only way to be attractive.  All while men can get as old and/or as fat as they want with no one saying a word against such.  Seems pretty messed up that someone like Hugh Hefner (one of the slimes of the earth, might I add) has like nine young "girlfriends" and yet, Helen Mirren is considered "over the hill."  Huh.

These two, George Clooney and Helen Mirren, are about 10 years apart.  They are roughly the same level of attractiveness.  Yet, he is considered an ultra sexy bachelor, while she is considered "over the hill" and old.

6.  He is Superdad, while she is Shittymom.  Moms can never do enough.  They can never be too selfless, devoted, or giving.  Can never go to enough soccer games or school plays.  They can never actually obtain being a perfect mom, even as they chase it via all the pressure of our culture to do so, as its what society demands of them.

But if dads so much as attend a baseball game or read their child a bedtime story, they are proclaimed father of the year.  This is the absurd and angering parenting double standard.  Traditional norms about who should be the primary caregiver are nothing new (moms), but what is new is that moms must be "perfect."  Thus, the setting up of impossible-to-meet standards for mothers.

Further, the insistence that no woman is truly complete or fulfilled unless she has children, that women remain the best primary caretakers of children, and that to be a remotely decent mother, a woman has to devote her entire physical, psychological, emotional, and intellectual wellbeing 27/7 to her children, all of these are angering, untrue, and damaging perceptions about what it means to be a woman in connection with potential motherhood (or not).

The purpose of these impossible standards is such that the media, public, or even your own family can beat up on women constantly for not living up to this new standard of perfection.  If moms work outside the home, they are neglecting their kids.  If they stay at home though, theyre "lazy."  They should breastfeed, but not for too long, and for gods sake, not in public.  They should be straight.  Most of all, they should be married.  Dads on the other hand, if they manage to show up and financially provide, theyre automatically a good dad.  Dads who leave work early to catch their kids school play or baseball game get props for being "so involved" in their kids life.  A mom who does this is called a slacker.

7.  Hes Gay, while shes the Fantasy.  When it comes to being homosexual, men are just gay, while women who are gay are "hot" and a "male fantasy."  This cheapens and dismisses a love relationship between two women, making it into being a source of pleasure for men.  Instead of being about them and their relationship, its about men "enjoying the show."

8.  Hes Himself, shes Mrs. Himself.  Why the automatic assumption of changing her name to his on marrying.  The automatic shedding of a huge part of her identity, all while he gets to keep his, no discussion.  The reason most women elect to do this?  Tradition.  Meh, seems lame to me.

Why shed such a huge part of who you are, just because out culture dictates that "this is what you do?"  Why doesnt the man change his name?  Or, the couple hyphenate both their names together?  Or, the couple come up with a hybrid of both their names?  Why must the women still, ever defer to the man?

If a woman truly wants to change her name to his (maybe she doesnt like her own last name, or prefers his), this is totally all good.  If, on considering such and thinking about it, this is what feels most and truly right for her, than she should go for it.  But a woman should not do this just because "thats what do you."

9.  Hes "Pussywhipped," while shes a "Good girlfriend."  Why is it when a guy does things that are nice or considerate for the girl with which he is involved, hes called "pussy whipped."  But the same behavior is just expected as the norm from women in a relationship?

We are supposed to care (a lot) about what men think of us.  Just take a look at the cover of any womens magazine:  See what he thinks of your breasts.  Does he really love you?  When will he pop the question?  How to please him.  When it comes to (straight) love, men are "whipped" and women are just...women.  This is how we already are "naturally" in romantic relationships.

Further, this has negative implications on men, and how they feel they should be in relationships.  Men are actively taught that if they care at all what women think of them, or if they are kind, gentle and attentive to a woman they love, they're some sort of softy, weak, less masculine, or my least favorite word ever, a "pussy."  That just by being a decent, kind guy, that by caring about and loving someone, they are "whipped."  Very odd way of putting it.  This just reinforces gender norms, that men are supposed to be "tough" and not give a shit, while women should care and bend over backwards a lot.

All this serves in doing is putting up emotional barriers between men and women.  It encourages men behaving callously or emotionally disconnected from the person they love.  It puts men down for loving and caring about someone.  What kind of a messed up world is this that we live in?  Where loving and caring about someone is "weak," "lame," something to be made fun of.

To conclude all of the above, which I realize is a lot, these double standards as well as many more, are lines of thinking that still exist and in abundance, throughout our culture today.  They are damaging to men and women both.  Serving to shame women, as well as men.  Disconnect us from one another.  Encourage men to treat women badly, as well as to view them as less than.  

Just because our culture thinks, encourages, or does a certain thing, does not make it right, good, or the best thing/way.  

Challenge yourself in thinking more this way.  

Plenty of things our culture perpetuates, people accept without much thought or consideration, to their own detriment as well as those around them.  In life, we need to be more proactive and forward thinking, more analytical and informed, braver and outspoken.  To question in depth whether or not certain lines of thinking, as well as particular ways of acting and behaving which our culture may also encourage, are hurting/preventing or actually helping us to lead our best lives.

Note: Much of the above material with regards to specific examples for the double standards was gotten from the book "Hes a Stud, Shes a Slut" by Jessica Valenti.  A great read which I highly recommend.  In her book, she goes over 49 of these damaging double standards.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Worthwhile Day Tripping to Newburyport and Plymouth, Massachusetts

Hi all!  Happy summer weekending and day tripping :-D

I have two fabulous day trip ideas.  Easy hops, skips and jumps from Boston, or even quite do-able from New Hampshire (if coming from the Concord area or below).

1. Newburyport, MA
2. Plymouth, MA

Both are within an hour from Boston, super easy.  You can still sleep in, drive on over late morning, spend the day there, and return at a reasonable hour.

Both are quaint, charming, gorgeous in their own unique ways.  Personally, if I had to choose a favorite of the two, it would probably be Newburyport.  But again, both are inviting and lovely.

This particular street is said to be one of the most gorgeous in all of New England.

This place has phenomenal reviews online.  And for good reason.  I stopped in here for a tea and, on a whim, snagged a cookie called an "Almond Cloud" for Maxx and I to sample.  Wow.  Talk about mouthwatering and absolutely delicious.  It was huge, the size of a small dinner plate.  The texture, chewy and moist.  Akin to an almond macaron.  Sweet, light, almond-y, absolutely awesome.

For lunch, we ate at Brown Sugar by the Sea.  I was hesitant, but oh my gosh, this place was delicious.  Maxx had "drunken noodles" while I had the Brown Sugar Fresh Rolls- to die for.  Essentially mock sushi but made from vegetables, rolled in rice paper, and served with peanut dipping sauce.  The sauce...still dreaming about it.  Maxx loved his as well.

We relaxed, sat outside on the patio, ate, and talked for like 1.5 hour.  Really, really nice.  I greatly enjoyed this.

What I ate.  My, oh, my, so amazing.

Sweet Ida <3.  Happy as a clam.

We had ice cream at Harbor Creamery, which was phenomenal.  Maxx got a flavor called Blueberry Port, which he loved.  I had a chocolate ice cream with chunks of chocolate cookie in it, topped with hot fudge.  My current quintessential ice cream topping of the moment :-D

Ida enjoyed her treat too, which we snagged from the dog shop next door... ;-)

My favorite house in Newburyport.

Maxxs favorite house in Newburyport :-D

And now, onto our trip to Plymouth, MA....we also loved this spot.  Ive been here once, years ago, though didn't have the chance to explore it in as much depth as this time around.  I was shocked to find that Plymouth has loads of brick lain, narrow, cute little back alleys, and sweet little clapboard houses in which are bookstores, museums, and more.

Important side note.  Both of these towns boost numerous mouthwatering, luscious looking bakeries, Maxx and I noted.

Seeming worthwhile bakeries in Plymouth:

--Blue Blinds Bakery
--Guilty Bakery
--Cupcake Charlies

Seeming worthwhile bakeries in Newburyport:

--Buttermilk Baking Co.
--Chococoa Baking Co & Café (known for their Whoopie Pies)
--Alden Merrell Cheesecake Co.
--Figtree Kitchen
--Market Square Bakehouse

You can see why I slightly favor Newburyport over Plymouth... ;-) not just for the scenery but for the sweets too.

Now, back to the day trip to Plymouth, MA....

Wandering the charming streets and checking out the decorative, colorful storefronts.

This bakery.  LOVED it.  From the Southern charm-esque porch, complete with rocking chairs and wooden tables, to the country style, rustic, warm interior.  This bakery had my name all over it.  The only thing that was a major bummer...they turned us away because of Ida.  We weren't even allowed to sit on the porch :-/

Soooo....we took our drinks and bakery goods elsewhere ;-)