I have a confession to make, I am fucked up, fabulously flawed and on most days, full of grace. But you know what? I’m not alone…chances are, so are you. For it is the rare human being that escapes this world unscathed, battered, and a little worse for ware. In the last several days as more women come forward to reveal their personal torment of sexual harassment at work, as they are forging careers among unscrupulous men, it becomes clear that somehow the lines got blurred, and some men assumed that it was perfectly acceptable since they were in a position of power, to whip out their penises and women would grovel at the opportunity to service these powerful men to advance their careers. The fact that this has been society’s dirty little secret, serves to prove my point. Yes these men have a sexual compulsion that’s interwoven in their fucked up and flawed fiber, but the bottom line isn’t the sex, in as much as it is in the power, and misguided sense of what to do with women in the workplace, and while these men knew what they were doing was wrong, they made excuses to continue, mostly, because until recently, no one has made them accountable. Fucked up, yes, flawed, obviously, full of grace? Maybe.
So how did we all get so fucked up? Here’s what I think, and depending on where you are on your path, you are either going to shake your head in agreement with me and think I’m spot on, or strongly disagree and flip me off. So here goes…, being a child of the 70’s and 80’s, I can remember the Moms in my neighborhood, most of them, like my Mom,were stay-at home Moms for most of our formative years, allowing them to reign us in, watch over us and help mold our characters’ as best they could. On the heels of this was the feminine movement, which empowered women and helped to perpetuate the notion that women could have it all…a structured, fine tuned home life, and a career they loved. Now I am not placing blame on women by any stretch. What I am saying is these changes in society within my lifetime, were impactful in changing a whole generation of women, and the child rearing that it fostered. How did this impact us as a society? For one, with women entering universities and the workplace in higher volume then genrations before, the climate of dependency on men changed dramatically. Women now had options, we didn’t have to rush to the chapel and get hitched when we could just as easily amass our own wealth with a college degree and or a career. We also didn’t have to settle for any old job, we could become doctors. lawyers, CEO’s, we could marry, work, and have babies. But what it didn’t prepare us for, was the way this would affect men. With the emergence of women in the workplace, men finally had some long overdue eye candy, as they saw it, since after all, men are visual beasts, and a pretty woman is going to stir some feelings in a heterosexual man, even in the most happily married, heterosexual man. Some men looked, but respected the fact they couldn’t and shouldn’t touch. Other men saw women as a conquest and drunk with power, preyed on women who they felt were lusty in their own ambitions and quest for a career, thus feeling secure that these women wouldn’t blow the whistle, so they roamed the corporate landscape, hunting their prey, much the same manner as a lion in the Serengeti’s. For some men, this happens because they are unhappy at home, and are looking to fill a void, for others, it is the mere art of the dance, it is the ultimate feeling of domination, the rights they feel privy to, as high level executives among their diminutive subordinates. Lastly, are the class of men, that resent women in the workplace, always have, always will, so they thrive on being so in your face, so disrespectful, that in their delusion, feel they will force us women back home, in the kitchen where we belong..(only if we choose to be a food blogger and chef) barefoot and pregnant (no longer in this lifetime, for me), as the old saying goes. These men will never get use to women in positions of power under any circumstances, and not even a killer lap dance in the conference room, could get them to change their minds!
So how did this affect us and get us all fucked up? To be fair, my Mom was a doting Mom, and did her best to protect, love, and nurture me, and I still became a fucked up. As most of us can attest to about their upbringing! Now when I say fucked up, what I mean is, I became affected by the world around me and the impact traumatic events in my life had on me. In general what I mean when I say fucked up, is the dichotomy of changes in society from a generational standpoint, that have had an impact on us as a whole, as I see it!
For those children, and I knew a few growing up, that had both parents working, they were forced to grow up very quickly, had to fend for themselves, make decisions to do homework or veg in front of the television, or hang out getting high till the street lights came on and then dart home, and make it past their Moms who were so bone tired from their full-time jobs in addition to running a household, to notice how high their kids were. Now in fairness, stay-at-home Moms’ kids were high too. But lack of parental supervision upped the odds in that direction exponentially, for sure. Now while all this newfound freedom for women, thanks in part to the feminist movement, was instrumental in showing a whole generation of girls that they don’t have to settle down and marry for the sake of financial security and motherhood, thus enabling them to find their place in the workforce against their male counterparts, I do believe there was some negative impact on child rearing that differed from a generation just a decade prior.
Further, with the rise of inflation and the increased need for a two-income household and with women in the workforce making their own money, women soon realized that they didn’t need to stay in a bad marriage for the sake of financial security or fear of the once dreaded stigma of divorce. All of a sudden this leveled the playing field for women and they could be a single parent and it didn’t have to shame them. With the rise in divorce with the emergence of women leaving the home front for careers, it did impact children in sometimes negative ways. I think this happens mostly when both parents were adversarial with each other and are not committed to staying civil and united where their children are concerned, thus leaving the children to feel anxiety, conflict, anger, and feelings of resentment towards one or both parents, which left unchecked can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, and even sexual aggression. Which is why I said we are all fucked up, and gosh “darnit” we are! Perfectly imperfect, fabulously flawed, and full of grace, mostly!
So does this mean we are doomed, destined for failure, raising a host of misguided, maladjusted kidlets? No, there is one bright spot, ok maybe more than one, we can change the course of history, we can be the ones who finally get it right! Yes Gen-Xer’s us. The “nothing generation” that society labeled us. How? Get off our collective asses and recognize that we are responsible for the entitled, spoiled-rotten kidlets, we point the finger at and might be raising. How? Out of guilt, working long hours, divorce, wanting to give our children everything we didn’t have, and keeping up with the Jones’, we gave our children possessions, in place of ourselves, to soothe, not theirs, but our feelings of inadequacy and guilt. Re-read that. If they feel better, than so do we, if they fit in at school, so do we, if they are accepted in society so are we, if they drive bitchn’ cars, ultimately so do we! It looks good, feels good, and to the outside world, it is good! But there is no replacement for conversation, discipline, structure, values, morals, and being truly present to listen.
We need to assume responsibility for our sense of misguided, misaligned, and misunderstood intentions, and reset! It is possible! Everyday we are learning to do better, because we know better. The future is now, we can change the trajectory of history and empower the next generation to be better. We have the tools, we know the work that needs to be done. We need to get off our collective asses, and stop making excuses. With hearts full of grace, pure with intention, first and foremost to our kids, we need to fucking parent, not coddle, not hover, not be “bestie” at least until our kids are young adults and don’t require as much structure and disciplining. To our spouses and/or significant others, we need to express our love, compassion and learn frogivness. To our friends, we need to be a better friend, a true friend, who listens, and is compassionate, and above all we need to show tolerance, love, and live for peace in our world, and one another’s world.
Sometimes we get it wrong, sometimes we are a little jaded, a little cynical, a little imperfect. We are flawed, fucked up, and at times feel less than filled with grace, and that’s ok, if we recognize, acknowledge it, own it, and rise above it… as long as we don’t allow it to define us!