Monday, November 9, 2015

50 Shades of Black and Blue

I know that I'm a little late on this with domestic violence awareness month having come and gone in October, but I still wanted to address something that I told myself I was going to stay away from commenting about this whole 50 Shades of Grey movie that was released some time this year. Everywhere I turned, I saw commercials, social media posts, and news commentaries about the overnight success of this supposed, runaway hit, which was equated to that of Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal, and other raunchy flicks. Recently, I saw 50 Shades promoted on Redbox when I made a pit stop to my local grocery store. Something about the way it was displayed really irked me, and I simply couldn't understand its allure to the film. 

The reviews lump this type of literature into one simple genre: Mommie Porn. The books are riddled with a young woman's apparent eye-opening and enlightening experience with BDSM upon getting involved with a very powerful and wealthy man Christian Grey. Some in the media have even gone so far as calling it empowering for women. Umm...what? Quite frankly, I JUST. Dont. GET it, ladies. 

There is no denying that sadomasochism has been around forever, even before the Marquis De Sade popularized it. But what I don't understand is that while we have thousands of women suffering under the domineering hand of sexual exploitation and abuse worldwide, we are, as a society, contributing to encouraging this type of behavior by romanticizing and glamorizing violence against women. Unfortunately, many young vulnerable teenage girls are sipping the 50 Shades of Grey kool-aid, believing these types of relationships are healthy. That can lead to a very dangerous road towards toxic relationships.

If you have daughters reaching their teens, I highly encourage you to read with them, Lundy Bancroft's book, "Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men." He details many of the characteristics exhibited by Christian Grey that are indicative of your classic, emotional physical abusers, such as: threats, isolation, intimidation, stalking, humiliation, and pressure. In real life, this is not a book of consent. Most Anastasias of today don't survive a Christian Grey character. Many of them end up in battered shelters, or worse, dead.  

The underlying reality of this novel seems to detail a grooming process that takes place by a typical abuser who preys upon vulnerable women like Anastasia, hence leading to a relationship that would eventually lead to abuse, had this been the real world. 

While I don't believe in censorship, I do believe in making our children literate to a better understanding about what it takes to value themselves enough so that they are not so easily swayed by the current trends of a world that encourages violence against women. In my opinion, and you can take it for what it's worth, 50 Shades of Grey should've been titled, "Sleeping with the Enemy: The Prequel."

And that's all I'm going to say about that!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Feet Don't Fail Me Now

I don't know if it's the training in self defense or having become a mother, but every time I'm out and about with my favorite little person, I feel like I'm in this heightened state of awareness, and every situation has the potential to turn into a worst case scenario. 

Strangely enough, I think I am more relaxed when I'm by myself or if I'm with my husband. Perhaps it may be due to the fact that I'm not as accountable to someone who is completely defenseless during those moments. 

After I fell ill, having had so many issues with my adrenals and low cortisol levels, which is the hormone most people depend on to help combat stress, I tried to avoid doing jogs with my kid. I did them often when she was only five, and it's something I really missed doing. I still remember adorning my little one with a helmet, knees and elbow pads, tying a rope around the front handle bars of her bike and pulling it up hill as she cheered me on to keep pushing and keeping going. Don't laugh, but I kind of felt like Rocky in training, and I could even hear its theme song blasting away inside my head. 

I stopped doing that two years ago, because I had this fear that if I was placed in a situation when I would have to defend my little one's life, I didn't know if I would have the adrenaline or stamina to be able to do so. I've been healing and getting better each day, but I still had that question eating away at me every time I thought of doing a partner run. 

I hate it when fear binds me, so I took a chance and decided that it was time to start that tradition, once again. After all, I had been running on the treadmill for the last month or so, and I thought I was ready. Well...I got off to a slow start. Pounding on that pavement with all that weight, really placed a huge amount of pressure on that bad knee. Every step I took felt like an ice pick chipping away at my cartilage, and I began to doubt whether this had been a good idea or not.

Little one was simply happy to be riding a skateboard with handlebars she could maneuver in different directions. Several times I reminded her to stay within a few feet next to me, and several times, this little person failed to listen to those rules. I probably shouldn't have done this, but I eventually gave in and allowed her to explore a little further out as long as I could keep an eye on her. 

Coming back home we were on a down hill, and she sped down that hill oblivious to the speed she was going. Call it woman's intuition, but I knew instinctively something was about to go down. Sure enough, she tripped over something and careened into the asphalt. She was about 50 feet away. I noticed her reaction when she fell: nonchalant, as she sat up and dusted the gravel off her hands. That was...until... she took a look at her knee. And then... that SCREAM! I had never heard a more blood curdling, frightening wail than the one that came out of that child's mouth. Oh my God! There's a bone sticking out of her body, was my immediate reaction. What- was- I- THINKING letting her go off ahead of me?!! I'M THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD! 

Suddenly, I burst into a full sprint. I felt no inflammation. No pain. No fatigue. In fact, I ran faster than I had run in a very long time. My peripheral vision blurred as I zoomed down that hill, feet on fire that transported me back to my high school years, doing the 100 meter dash. I had one goal and one goal only: Get to that wailing kid who looked like she was about lose unconsciousness, as I was sure she was suffering from massive blood loss by now seeping out in buckets. 

Within seconds I caught up to see how bad the injury was. I had two feelings: Relief and disbelief. I was relieved it was merely a superficial wound, and incredulous to the fact that this kid had quite the flair for the dramatics and the lungs to back it up on top of it. But this was her first official skate board injury, and seeing all that blood oozing through her scraped up skin really scared her. But, I was proud. No, I wasn't proud that her super sonic shriek nearly gave me a coronary, nor that she fell and hurt herself. I was proud of the fact that when the time called my body for a fight or flight response, my body agreed.  It didn't shut down or give up. That's progress. 

I hear women question themselves all the time whether they would really have it in them to use the tools they learned in self defense should the time call for it? I know, because I do it myself too. More so now that I am out of shape, once again, and I have so far to go to get better. Why do we do we punish ourselves this way with those thoughts? What I learned from this experience was that despite the insecurity, despite the doubts, my body is instinctively wired to do what women were born to do best-- protect their loved ones. 

Having been in Krav Maga for about five or six years now, what I really appreciate most of all about this Israeli self defense, is the mindset that it's given me. It taught me that despite the odds, you don't give in, and you don't give up. I can't get too cocky and say that this is 100% fool proof at surviving an attack, especially when there are so many extraneous variables. In fact, I pray that I never find myself in that situation. But what I do know now is that at least my body will respond to doing what it's been trained to do all along, despite the consequences... Fight! 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Three Simple Rules to Beat Trump at the Polls

Dear Future- Next- President to Be,

Want to beat Trump at the polls? Here's the magic formula:

1. You Need a Plan!

Whether you think it's a good plan or a bad plan, it doesn't matter, just come up with something...ANYTHING that resembles a CONCRETE plan as to how you're going to run this country. The people are tired of the same old, obscure political talking points, elaborated by generalities. For example: If they ask you about immigration, don't just feed us the same, old B.S. that we need a comprehensive plan that will work for everyone. People want to know what your REAL stance is on immigration and what you want to do about it.

2. Be Yourself!

Whether it upsets people or not, don't worry about who you are going to offend. Speak your mind and let people know who you are and what you stand for, because love him or hate him, we know what to expect of Trump. People want to know the real you, not someone whose handler has coached you to make sure you do plenty of hand-shaking and baby holding.

and finally...

3. Make it Easier on the Working class!

Any plan that promises to simplify the tax code and help the middle class will have a resounding and positive effect on tax payers and families, ALWAYS! Let's face it, people are tired of the IRS and their complicated rules. Politicians have been promising this for years, with no actual plan as to how this is going to be done. Hard-working families have enough on their plates already than stress over how to decipher the tax code, and nothing attracts more voters than knowing that their lives are going to be made a little bit easier by not having to feel like they have to take a course on tax law.

That's it! Three. Simple. Rules.

Trump is leading in the polls, not because he's a like-able guy. Many find him to be arrogant and rude. He's still an enigma to me, and unless he plans to clarify as to how he's going to deport masses of people without violating the constitution, that approach brinks on dangerous grounds. But guess what? I know where he stands. 

The people want a person who is going to look them in the eye and say, "This is me. Love me or hate me. This is who I am. I'm not a carbon copy, cookie cutter molded, politician who is here to appease lobbyists, special interest groups, or other countries. I'm here to put America first, just like other countries put themselves and their interests first.  My priority is to help the American people get back on their feet and give them a sense of pride for the hard work they've done to feed their families, all in a good day's work."

And that's why he is resonating with the American public. So my advice to you, dear candidate, is simply yourself and think outside the box!