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.