Tag Archives: perspective

I Can(t)

Just because I may have had a bad day
Doesn’t mean that I can’t make someone else’s day.

Just because I may be having a problem
Or problems even
Doesn’t mean that I can’t help someone else with theirs.

Just because I may be struggling
Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, or…..
Maybe even all of them at the same time
Doesn’t mean that I can’t forget someone else’s struggles.

Just because I may be thriving
Physically, mentally, financially, or
Maybe even all of them at the same time
With everything in complete flow
Doesn’t mean that I can forget someone else’s struggles.

To and Fro, Come and Go

People, come and go
To and fro
May the healthy stay
For the highest good
Let them be

Situations, come and go
To and fro
May they help to grow
For the highest good
Let it be

Hardships, come and go
To and fro
May they inspire compassion
For the highest good
Let it be

Riches, come and go
To and fro
May they aspire humbleness
For the highest good
Let it be

Lives, come and go
To and fro
May they achieve nirvana
For the highest good
Let them be

WONDER, Oh Wonderful, WOMAN

The choices we make are our own, and they define who we are not only today but for our future and for those we touch both directly and indirectly.   What we do today affects ours, and others, tomorrow’s tomorrow.   We may think there are big decisions, and small decisions, but every second of our life we are choosing our step from here to there.

I spent the last several days researching the history of why women must cover up their nipples.  What is so threatening?

Not your normal topic, but I often spend my time researching history from a different perspective.  As a child, I was fascinated with Native American history (and still am) especially their culture, pre-European invasion.  Theirs and others have been said to be primitive, or worse, that they were savages.   Yet, for all their perceived savagery, they had the utmost respect for the environment, for nature, and all living things.   They killed an animal to eat and to survive, not for sport.

As an adult, I often wonder who is it that is primitive?

Primitive is how I would define many laws, which are on the books as I was shocked as I began researching not only the history of nipple coverage but also other laws specific to women’s bodies.

It was not until the 1930’s that it was legal for men to expose their nipples in public.   Today, women can be arrested for exposing their nipples in public.

In Delaware, a woman can be arrested if her exposed nipples are shown to cause affront or alarm.

In Louisiana, a woman can be arrested if her exposed nipples are in any public place or place open to the public view with the intent of arousing sexual desire or which appeals to prurient interest or is patently offensive can receive three-years of jail time for a first-time offense and a $2500 fine.

https://www.thegailygrind.com/2015/05/14/did-you-know-it-was-illegal-for-men-to-show-a-nipple-in-public-in-the-1930s/

It is not the laws themselves that I find shocking but how they are written.   Affront?  Alarm?   What is so scary and threatening?

While there are outdated, archaic laws still on the books from every state, is there a pattern?  Does it transcend into other elements of society?   In what other areas do other aspects of not only female body parts but also female presence feel scary or threatening?

It was not that long ago in historical terms that women were not allowed to run in marathons.   It may seem we are light years ahead of that time, but women today still are fighting to run in proverbial marathons.

For myself, the ideology that men should do and be X and women should do and be Y has never resonated.  When I was younger, in college, I had long hair.   I had not one, but both my ears pierced.

In high school, I was one of two males in our Marriage and Single Living Class.  To me, as an elective it seemed like common sense to take a class with practical application. Nothing more, nothing less.   In college, I took a lot of cultural history courses including Women’s Studies and Human Sexuality.   Again, I was only a handful of men in these classes.

Why men don’t take these types of classes is not something I want to venture a guess.   I really don’t care either, as I can only speak for myself.  I make a decision based upon what I find interesting and what works for me, not determined by what I should (or should not do) as somehow deemed appropriate and/or inappropriate by someone else.

As fate would have it, I found myself as a single parent for both of my children.  When they were young, men generally did not raise their children by themselves.  It is a much more common place now, but then, there were no changing tables in men’s restrooms, for example.

As a single parent, I did not need a woman to complete me. I had positive female role models for my children in the form of my mom, my sister, my coach, and a lot of my friends are women (and still are today).   Just as a woman does not need a man to be happy, I did not need a woman to raise my children.

As in all aspects of life, we make the best of our situation.  All of us are presented with challenges, although each of us responds to them in our own unique way.   We can either take the circumstances we face and use them as opportunities to become more hard and rigid or more soft and open hearted.  We can become angry and blame the world, or we can use it as a learning experience to help us nurture and grow.

I do not in the least bit slighted for raising my children by myself nor do I feel angry. Instead, I feel like it was a unique opportunity.  I set the rules and expectations. I raised them to the best of my abilities, and I also gained so much respect for my friends who were single mothers.

My friend Kelly raised her two boys without any family in the area.   She worked, and she did the very best job she could.  It is amazing to see them now, as adults, and how good people they are.  They are kind, considerate, and they treat others well.

The whole concept that men and women can’t be friends is but another fallacy. I don’t become friends with someone because they are a woman – or a man. I am friends with someone because they offer something in the form of positive energy.   They are good people, kind and compassionate.  That is all that really matters.

My friend, Linda is such a shiny example of that.   She is always making a positive difference whether it is herself, her family, or the community.   Who does not want to be surrounded by people making a positive impact?

Recently, I was privy to a similar situation by way of my relationship with my then girlfriend, Cathy, who is incredibly admirable in raising her son with no family in the area but not even in the country.  Her ex-husband is a fantastic father who participates equally well in their son’s life, which is an incredible asset to any child.   She though, I respected not only as a mother, but also as a person. She is so much better than I am any type of home construction project.  I am not handy at all, don’t know anything about cars, but we worked together well partly because we were people who not concerned with gender roles.

In my family, my grandmother played baseball when she was young, which at that time was not something a “girl” should be doing. That was not exactly lady like.   My mom worked many summers for the volunteer fire department fighting fires.

I am happy for having all those exposures, in fact, I am grateful for everything that I have been exposed to in my life.   I am also happy about my choices for myself and doing what makes me happy.   I am so grateful that starting at an early age I did what I wanted to do without regard of what others think.

On Sunday, on a whim, with 10 minutes before the movie started I decided to go see “Wonder Woman” that is playing in one of the local theaters.   I went by myself and got there just as it was beginning, having missed the previews.    For whatever reason, in this particular theater, I notice a lot of people (both men and women) go to the movies by themselves especially during the day. Today was no exception.

What an amazing film.   I loved the character, and she did a great acting job.   It really took things full circle.   The fascinating as to why men can expose their nipples and women cannot has very little to do with the nipple.  Like most everything, there are layers upon layers.   For me, it is about providing women with equal respect, which among them is opportunity.    And, it goes further, respecting not only all people but all living things.

In many ways, I do see our culture as being quite primitive.   If nothing else, we still have a long ways to go.   It is great to finally see a strong leading female action hero on the big screen.  Maybe it will become such a common place that both women and men are in not only leading roles, but leading institutions, governments, with the commonality being that no matter who it is we are all fighting for the same thing as Wonder Woman was fighting for – love.

Love, not the emotional attachment of another but rather love of self and love of others.

 See me not

As a male

Although I am not

Female

If you see me

But for only

My being male

Or, that I am deemed

Young, or old

Of a particular

Political affiliation

Or religious association

Or, of none at all

Then, you will

See me not

~ Bryan Hayes

Who Are You?

Who are you?”   They asked, as I walked by.  “Can you tell us about yourself?”

I without a sound nod my approval and almost instantaneously the first question is posed.

“You have to live somewhere.”  They begin.   “Where do you live?”

 Smiling, I answer.  “Where else? “  And, continue.  “I live in the only place there is.  I live in the moment.”

Looking a bit confused, but undeterred, they ask the next.

“You have to like something.  What you like to do?”

Smiling, I answer.  “What else?”  And, continue.  “I like to do all there really is. I like to be.

There is yet even more confusion, but again undeterred, they ask the next.

“You have to be living your passion.  You must.  You need to be playing a bigger game, so what do you do for work?”

Smiling, I answer.   “What else?”   And, continue.   “Every day, I wake up working on making today better than yesterday.”

There is even more confusion, but that is fleeting, as the questions are not intended to gain insight, to listen and to find meaning, but rather they are about more questions, and they continue undeterred and on to the next.

“You have to know what is going on in the world.  Don’t you see how scary it is?   What are your political views?”

Smiling, I answer. “What else?”  And, continue.   “Every day, I wake up and view today as the most amazing time to be alive in all of history since today is all that there is.  I am scared to think that I may miss one day of living by giving into my, or someone else’s, fears.”

There is still more confusion, but again undeterred, they ask the next.

“Are you married?  Single? You need to be with someone.  You must have someone special in your life.”

Smiling, I answer. “What else?”  And, continue.   “I am married to this moment, committed to living life and singly focused on loving every second of it as I am with my soul mate, always, and that someone is very special.”

There is still more confusion, but again undeterred, they ask the next.

“But, who?  Who? You must tell me who that is?”

Smiling, I answer. “Who else?”  And, continue.   “I see them every day smiling back at me when I look in the mirror.”

 There is still more confusion, but again undeterred, they ask the next.

“You must want more.  You cannot be satisfied.  What more do you want?”

 Smiling, I answer. “What else?”  And, continue.   “I want to continue living the life I live, giving myself completely to each and every day satisfied and equally grateful for all that I have, and all that I am right now in this moment, because that really is all I have and all I want.”

Who are you?”   They asked, as they walked away.