Saturday, February 15, 2014

I am freaking awesome just the way I am

I remember the first time I heard Lorde’s song Royals on the radio, before anyone knew who she was; I said to myself, This woman is going to be famous.

When I learned she was only seventeen, I was blown away.

Seeing such talent in young women usually gives me two mixed reactions: 1) I feel like anything is possible and there is still great art and expression to be made by others and myself, and 2) I feel like I am way too old to have any impact in the world with my creativity and I might as well roll over and let the young people talk to the world.

Then I sober up emotionally and intellectually and realize there’s room for all our voices. The “Lordes” and the “me’s.”

It’s imperative to hear what the youth, who are experiencing the American culture upfront and loud make of it, but it’s also important to hear the balance and hindsight of our older voices.


The ones who have actually been saying “I'm kind of over gettin' told to throw my hands up in the air” for years or even decades.

Witnessing a seventeen-year-old taking risks and feeling like she has the right and audacity to say what’s she sick of in our popular culture, then maybe I can use her as inspiration to voice my own upset as a forty-two-year-old.

I definitely am over being told to throw my hands up in the air. I’m tired of being told to always be happy and carefree. But what I’m really over is being told what I‘m supposed to be and look like in so many hidden and not-so-hidden messages.

And it’s that special time of year again when the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition makes its debut on the newsstands. Showing us again that no matter what we say about women’s bodies, the ones that get celebrated publicly are the ones that fit a certain beauty ideal.

But you know what? I'm kind of over getting told to push my boobs up in the air.

So there.

I’m kind of over trying to live up to our culture’s beauty ideal, of worrying whether my thighs are thundering, of checking my butt in the mirror before I walk out the door.

I’m kind of over big boobs being worshipped.

That’s it.

I’m changing my life today.

I will no longer care what other people think.

I will live my life the way I choose and have no regrets.

I will teach yoga and writing in my own unique way, which will not please everyone, but I don’t care. I’m an awesome teacher and I make a difference in many people’s lives.

I will dance as if no one is watching, even when someone is.

I will sing loud even if people cover their ears.

I will write about the issues important to me.

I’m done with playing small in life. Except when it comes to my breasts. They are small and they are beautiful.

I’m done with never feeling good enough. I’m done with getting down on myself for not being perfect.

Today I take my stand.

I am freaking awesome just the way I am.

Some people will love me and some will hate me. It doesn’t matter either way.

I feel it. I know what’s important. Just like most of the women in our culture know it sometimes.
But I want to live it. Every day. I want to know it every day.

I AM beautiful just the way I am. I am worthy. I am important.

I hereby give myself permission to love my body, my life and myself. Little boobs and all.

Won’t you join me and say enough is enough already?

What are YOU over? What is holding you back from fully loving yourself and your life? Turn it on its head.

Let’s take back our self-esteem and our lives.

Let’s proudly show the world the women that we are. The women that should be—and can be—celebrated. 

But we need to make that choice before anyone else will make it for us. We need to demand the world change to reflect what we want to see.

I'm old enough and wise enough now to not be too proud to admit that I need to remind myself every day that I am worthy. That I am freaking awesome just the way I am.

Let's be the women who make that change so that our daughters won't need to remind themselves of that ever.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Strip Tease Was About More Than Sexual Fantasy

This article in The New York Post, Fantasy-selling strip clubs must pay taxes: judge, reminds me of a similar case in upstate New York last year.

Women take the stage at the Hustler Club.                                   Photo: Getty Images
In both clubs, the management argued they shouldn't have to pay taxes because of an old law on the books, which allows establishments to not pay taxes for “live dramatic, choreographic or musical performance.”

I can totally see how a strip club would try to snake by on this law.

And as I have discussed before, there are certain strippers, who on certain days, really are "dramatic" entertainers.

But let's get real. Even when I had an amazing dramatic performance as a stripper, I knew what most of the men were there for.

Wait a minute. I can't believe I'm backtracking. A lot of customers were certainly not there for a "choreographic" performance, but they were there for much more than just "sexual fantasy."

The customers came to have someone to talk to. To have friends to hang out with. To feel like they were worthy of being talked to by others. To waste time. To find time. To drown their sorrows. To forget life for a while. To live. To be seen. To disappear.

Some of the same reasons I was there.

And, yes. For some of us, when we went up onstage, under the rosy lights when time stood still, we were there to perform. To become sexual fantasies. To become seen and loved and adored from afar. From near.

Sheila Hageman as Kirea at The Blue Angel, NYC
We were human.

The customers. And me.