I grew up in a family where the women had PhD’s in giving guilt. My grandmother could be heard sighing for miles. Sometimes it would go on for hours. It was her way of showing how unhappy she was over not getting acknowledgment over something she did for the family that went unappreciated. Every time I asked her why she was sighing she would reply “ I suffer”. It took me years to realize that she was incapable of making herself heard in a way that was not dysfunctional. My mother exhibited a different behavior. She would simply not talk until you went into severe begging, trying to get her to tell you what offense you might have committed. I not only inherited some of these behaviors but came up with some of my own. I was exceptional at pouting. When someone displeased me, I would sit in a chair with a look of complete despair. This technique takes patience because someone has to notice that you’re unhappy. Then they have to embark on a major inquisition to get you to reveal your angst. If they are preoccupied, they are not going to want to put in the effort, which leaves you without an enabler. If they finally do engage, it’s often with the same phrase. “What’s wrong, are you okay” Then comes your classic response, “If you loved me you’d know”. Over the years I learned that trying to impose guilt on family, friends or co-workers is merely another way to try to manipulate people. We develop these behaviors by imitating our family of origin and they are fairly unconscious. Becoming conscience can take years and some people simply never “get it”. It’s unfortunate that becoming proficient in communication skills is not a top priority for us as a society. We spend so much time not “saying what we mean” and “not meaning what we say.” The energy we spend on this kind of irrational dialogue is exhausting. It also creates a lot of unhappiness for all concerned. Why not spend a little time becoming more aware of what you’re saying and how it’s interpreted by those around you. Call a trusted friend and ask her/him if you are a perpetual guilt giver. It takes courage to become more evolved beings, but the end result can make all your relationships healthier, happier and more fruitful
Over the years I have bought into a myriad of products and clothing that made promises to lift, tuck, flatten, erase, lengthen, lighten, remove, reduce or enhance. I’m afraid to think about the money I spent on these items that essentially consist of creating illusions. I’m sure there are thousands of women like me all over the world. I have found that as I’ve gotten older that the comfort and enhancement that many of these products offer often comes from not buying them. Still, every once in a while I am seduced into looking into whether or not a certain item really does what the retailer says.
I often get commercials for the “ Genie Bra” on my computer. My imagination which is rife with humor started thinking of what a “Genie bra” might do. Could you rub the bra and get your wishes to come true. And where does the Genie live? Perhaps under one of the shoulder straps that the company says is wide and comfortable. I still look for jeans that have a shape but don’t strangle your thighs, and either come up too high or are so low you could get arrested for lewd exposure. Yes, I know there are companies that have jeans they say are for all body types, and I have friends who swear by them. Maybe, just maybe they haven’t seen a body like mine, since I can never get a pair that fit without feeling suicidal.
Makeup used to be one of my favorite things to shop for. I particularly love the eye shadows and blush, but I’ve gotten away from having to drive myself crazy trying to emulate what makeup artists do when their trying to show me how a certain product can open my eye more or diminish lines and lessen age spots. They often give you a chart to follow which is like having Map Quest for your face. I often end up looking like I’m auditioning for a circus act. I have finally had some epiphanies that have made my life much easier. Not wearing a bra unless I have to, is extremely comfortable. It gives the “girls” a vacation from bra prison. I have found some loose comfortable pants that allow easy movement and underwear that fits, but doesn’t constrict. I still love eye makeup, and hip fashion, but I have also come to realize that all of promises retailers make on how good you’ll feel once you wear their stuff means nothing if you haven’t worked on feeling good on the inside.