Posts Tagged humanity
It’s not that I don’t like being told I’m beautiful, but I am unnerved when the compliment comes too frequently. In too short a space of time. Particularly, from a single source.
There aren’t really guidelines for how frequently is too frequently. It’s just a feeling. And I’ve felt more unnerved more frequently.
I’ve been asking myself why. I am grateful to be beholden as beautiful by others – it is no trivial compliment – but why does hearing that they do unsettle me?
It’s not that I don’t believe that I am beautiful. In fact, during my ponderances, I discovered that I do see myself as beautiful. Not pretty or cute or attractive. I. Am. Beautiful.
“Do you know how beautiful you are?”
I recently dated a man who asked me this. I’d heard the question before, but this man asked me almost every time we saw each other. And we saw each other at least two or three times a week.
“Do you know how beautiful you are?”
Each time, “Thank you.” And in time, when the intensity of his gaze made it evident that it wasn’t a rhetorical question, that “thank you” was not a satisfactory answer, and that he really wanted to know if I really knew, “There are a lot of beautiful women in the world.”
That wasn’t really a satisfactory answer, either. And so I keep coming back to why. Why does being told I am beautiful too frequently – however frequently that is – unnerve me?
Like for many things, there is likely many reasons. But there is also this one…
Our physical appearance is the first thing that people see – in the most literal meaning of the word – when they see us. Yet
it physical beauty is among the least unique of qualities that any one person can possess.
Mondays, you’ll find me at ASU ICA (Intercollegiate Athletics) all day, workin’ with several student athletes on developing the student side of that equation. Mondays, you’ll also find me riding the bus. When I first chose to make public transit a regular affair, a tweep or two less inclined to engage such activity tweeted cautions. Indeed, there are all sorts of colorful people who use public transit.
Like Tweety Bird.
86 years old. Veteran. Father of 2 daughters. The eldest is 56 years old with various mental disabilities, but employed by the U.S. Postal Service. She’s soon to retire to go to school to be a lawyer. The youngest is 54 years. Tweety doesn’t claim to be 86, but claims 30 with 56 years of experience. Which makes me 29 with 1 and 1/2 years of experience.
Member of all the clubs. I counted 5 that he listed, but can only remember a few: American Legion, VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), Pulaski Club. That makes him Polish too. Pulaski Club of Arizona is located at 44th Street and McDowell so Tweety walks 2-3 miles a day so that he can dance Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
Hit by shrapnel from a rocket during war (don’t know which one). Took 20 years to find a steady job. 50 jobs in those 20 years. Several of them in D.C. including at the Congressional building, Smithsonian Institution, and National Gallery of Art. Never fired, just let go. But each job change meant an increase in pay. He’s drawing 3 retirements and a pension. Somehow, I always thought these were the same thing.
Tweety wants to write 3 books. The first to be titled “How to Survive 5 Marriages”. 5 divorces without paying lawyer fees or alimonies. The second about his career. Served in all 4 military branches, but was wearing an Air Force ball cap. Claims he only associates with those who rank above him. Not sure what to think about that. His rank: sergeant. The third about his life philosophies. Respect women and treat them well; the worse you treat them, the more they’ll cost you. It’s not what you know, it’s how you apply what you know. If you have a way with words, you’ll find you’ll get what you want. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I’m thinking he could probably cover these and many others in the first 2 books.
There’s creativity there. Taught woodworking one semester. Has written poetry, maybe still does. Plays the piano at a senior center. Can’t read sheet music, but can translate what he hears through his fingers.
And faith too. Living the good life, simply thru belief, faith, and love. The Lord doesn’t give you what you want, but almost everything you need and in his own time. Tweety doesn’t preach the Bible, but everything he needs is in there. Another 80 years to live cause the Lord has 80 more years of work to do through him.
Yes, there are all sorts of colorful people who use public transit. If you choose to interact with any one of them, you may just come across someone not otherwise encountered in your regular routines.
Just over two weeks ago, I discovered PostSecret. In minutes. I was curious … intrigued … fascinated … riveted. I still am…
As I read PostSecret’s secrets … as I read these Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives … I am astounded by the “scared and angry and hurt and selfish” in the world.
And I hope … I hope to never forget that it is no small privilege to contribute to another’s joy.
Of these 272, 31 pertain directly to population growth. But the thing about this 11.4% that made them stick out so dramatically was the call by the Optimum Population Trust for each man, woman, or couple to have fewer children as a way to curb the toll we are exacting on our Earth’s natural resources.
Everything we manage to achieve for the natural environment is being wiped out by the nearly 80 million extra people each year who need to use up space and resources.
The most effective personal climate change strategy is limiting the number of children one has. The most effective national and global climate change strategy is limiting the size of the population. Population limitation should therefore be seen as the most cost-effective carbon offsetting strategy available to individuals and nations. – Population-Based Climate Strategy, Optimum Population Trust, May 2007
Ahhh yes, population control, but with an interesting spin.
To rip the phrasing of Jonathon Porritt, the essence of OPT’s campaign: Do your bit for addressing climate change by having fewer children – or even no children.
Let me be clear that Mr. Porritt expressed a “love” for the OPT campaign. I am making no assumptions as to the thoughts, world views, or underlying meanings that motivate his affinity. But consider that same campaign from a young couple’s perspective. Or as I am not married, from that of a young woman who hopes to one day marry and have her own family.
Is it humane to ask me to not have any children at all? Is it humane to ask me to have only one child? Forget about fairness, I’m talking about humanity. And what are the arguments you would use to convince me of such? The ones that have already been made?
Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment. – Sir David Attenborough
It is environmental illiteracy and a complete lack of forward thinking to ignore the need to halt and then reverse population growth in the context of climate change, congestion, unaffordable housing, and resource depletion. – unattributable (2007)
…we owe it to the rest of the planet to stabilise our own population. Producing lots of extra Brits…is a selfish strategy both economically and environmentally. Not only will it increase overcrowding and congestion [it will] put huge extra strain on resources and…intensify our impact on the Earth’s ecosystems. – David Nicholson-Lord, research associate, Optimum Population Trust (2006)
Living in an orgy of unrestrained consumption and economic growth accompanied by population expansion that ignores the carrying capacity of local environments will lead to disaster. – unattributable
Each of these is limited to the impact on environmental resources, but does nothing to address my desire, what may even be my human need, for companionship, family, and love. What happens to me if I put these aside and “take one for the team”.
I don’t doubt that our Earth’s resources are rapidly deteriorating, but what’s the timeline? Will it cease to support my children during their lifetime? During their children’s lifetimes? And if I am passionately concerned about sustainability, could I not pass those values on to my children such that they continue the cause?
I ask all these questions, but what I really want to know is why those who speak about population control via birth rate control don’t couple their arguments with a pro-adoption campaign. Don’t tell me not to have children, but rather, tell me that we already have more children in this world than we care for. Share the story of those who need a home. And help me connect with a child who, just like me, needs family, companionship, and love.