By Jean Mlincek
(Editor’s note. This is the first column in a series explaining why the author was almost void of humor this past year. You will find her restored sense of humor elsewhere in this newspaper.)
I hit my “Stop -the-world-I-want-to-get-off” moment early in 2021. Nothing seemed funny to me anymore, so I “retired” from writing humor for Senior Voice. It felt as if my soul had flat lined.
Our world is changing. People are changing. Norms are changing, and it isn’t pretty. It is hard to believe, considering how the masses function today, that man and woman are God’s highest creation. We alone are created in His likeness, His image. We often forget that wonderfully astounding fact.
You look at people today and you know something has gone sideways. Too many people are rude, violent, selfish, unkind. And so ignorant of the fact that they sabotage themselves, so needy that they compromise self-worth, so bent on power and “perfection” that they ruin the original work of God. I hate what I see.
One thing that troubles me a lot is the rampant abuse of our own bodies. It’s not just the internet ogres who are body shaming; we do it to ourselves, especially women. The death of Lisa Marie Presley is a classic and tragic example. She lost 50 lbs. in 6 weeks so she could “look good” at the Golden Globe Awards. Dear God, she looked terrible: frightfully pale. eyelids half shut, steps precarious. Was her attempt to “look good” a case of stupid vanity, or was she just another victim of our cultural demand that women must look beautiful 24/7? Either verdict still is cause for an untimely and unnecessary death
I grew up hating my nose, my thighs, my big ears, my rounded shoulders, my inability to grasp left-brain tasks. I wasn’t born with this self-hatred. It came from the outside, one blow after another. Even now, I am still beating myself up because I fall short of “beautiful” per my culture, the beauty industry, Hollywood, the Kardashians, and everyone else who dictates what beautiful looks like. I hate my body. No, in reality, I hate ME--the one graced with the image of God! My body works hard for me, but I rarely sing praise about it. . And I easily dismiss my true beauty--the twinkle in my hazel eyes, my soft hands, my creative mind, my nurturing spirit, my deep empathy. Thanks to my body, I can walk, talk, touch, laugh, hug, pray, share kindness, encourage.
I never realized how brutal, how unforgiving I was of my own body until I read Jen Hatmaker’s wonderful book titled “Fierce, Free and Full of Fire; The Guide to Being Glorious You.” Women in particular consider their bodies an “it.” And we are unmerciful towards “it.” Hatmaker says we should address our bodies as “she” or “her”--because our body is us, not something we are forced to drag around. She is so right. My body IS glorious; “she” has served me well. She deserves daily celebration. I need to cut her a break.
I hate that we have been pummeled into self-loathing. We need to find joy in being ourselves, in being accepted “as is”, in loving and being loved. Unfortunately, our world has become too dark, too demanding to allow those rights.
Next: The clowns in Congress.
Jean Mlincek is a free lance writer who resides in St. Petersburg, FL.
By Jean Mlincek
I call them “crazy ants.” I am talking about Florida’s newly arrived drivers.
“Crazy ants” is the name of a species of ant that seem frenzied over nothing and which move fast and chaotically and exhibit psychotic behavior. They dart and dash about in patterns that make no sense. They have found their match in today’s frenzied, speed happy, pyschotic, erratic Florida driver.
Driving today is a nightmare thanks to crazy ants (and thanks to our city leaders who have promoted a ridiculous influx of crazy ants from other states). With today’s roads more congested than ever, one would think the call would go out for patient, safe driving. The only call crazy ants hear is “Start your engines”, and God forbid if you are in their way. It’s bad enough that they ride your bumper, but you hear their engine revving so loudly behind you that you are certain your vehicle is about to go airborne, landing somewhere in the state of Wyoming.
I tell my Northern friends that here in St. Pete, I feel like I’m driving in New York City, even though I have never driven in New York City. I only know that no one likens drivers here to those in Frankenmuth, Michigan. So there you have it.
Crazy ant drivers are rude and reckless. They are notorious for speeding through school zones. I hate to think that they don’t see the orange cones, the flashing yellow lights, the other cars going 15 mph, but apparently they don’t. They barrel past the “End School Zone” as if the school crossing guard is there to wave a victory flag as they sail through. They apparently don’t see the children, either.
They have no respect for pedestrian crossings or bike riders or the elderly who ride with full vulnerability on electric powered mobility scooters. Crazy ants see all three as annoying speed bumps forcing them to slow down or stop. Only they often don’t stop.
They risk sideswiping other cars just to get one measly car ahead. Any stretch of highway, no matter how short, is their Indy 500. They treat parking lots at malls like racetracks, totally ignoring shoppers going to and from their cars. They think anything that moves, whether other drivers, bicyclists, or pedestrians, should relinquish a path for their maniacal driving. I hate venturing out anymore because these assholes ON our roads are more dangerous than the numerous potholes IN our roads.
Too often, a line of 50 or more cars wait impatiently to get on the entrance ramp to our interstates,
blasting horns, thrusting the middle finger out their window, and engaging in hot-under-the-collar behavior. For what? The highways are at a crawl, so why the pressure to “move us along’’? If they are in such a hurry to “get out of Dodge” every evening, why did they move to “Dodge” in the first place. We were doing fine without them.
I have never liked round abouts, but even in that small circle, crazy ants rule with their infantile aggression. They won’t let you merge and if you happen to accomplish that feat, they won’t let you exit. I always feel like a hamster on a wheel, going round and round until I somehow escape the “dreadmill’’. The Kia Soul hamsters make driving look so leisurely, God bless their “Souls.”
Crazy ants are a prime pest in South America, but trust me, we aren’t crazy about crazy ants here in Florida.
Jean Mlincek is a freelance writer who resides in St. Petersburg, FL.