Friday, February 23, 2024

I am learning to love my wiggly butt

March 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Parenting From Balance©

I am still thinking about a comment made by a little boy recently, about whether a certain lady with dark skin was “some kind of brownie, or something.” And I am just wondering why and how I might react to a comment like that. I guess I would react to it, if somewhere in myself I had that same belief against myself. In other words, I am sure I wouldn’t react to the “brownie” comment, since I don’t have strong negative beliefs about my value as it pertains to the color of my skin. Call me fat, on the other hand, and my blood pressure begins to rise, my self doubts creep in, and I jump to my own defense.

When my son sings me his favorite morning song, that sweet, innocent, laughing voice can really get my self-judgment going. I guess I should be honored that his made-up lyrics were inspired by me: “Linda has a wiggly butt! Linda had a wiggly butt!”

Of course I have biases, some more deeply etched than others. Some I have made a lot of movement on. I admit that my current biases are against fat, rich, and disabled, and are a result of a variety of my own fears. I am busy examining them so I can be freed from them (and then, in turn, the world can be freed of my perpetuation of them.) In the past I also had “less than” biases against people more degreed than me, and “greater than” biases against people from less developed cultures.

And before I lived overseas and become the foreigner, I also had a “stupid” bias against people who could not express themselves well in English. Until I became one of them. In one 16 hour flight I was instantly transformed from the upper echelons of one society, to the dregs of another.

(In the US, you are pegged in 1 or 2 minutes by your ability to communicate, and I have always been pretty able. But my mother didn’t let me get away with that. She was proud of her children, but she also had her own biases. She would go right down the line introducing us: this is Gail, a teacher; Glenn, a business owner; Wayne, a business man; Judy, a marketing executive; Craig, a lawyer; and Linda. She studied English. Doesn’t she speak well?)

My biases are my shackles. They blind me, and they keep me from experiencing everything that is available to me. I want to run free through this toy store called life, and I cannot as long as I have prejudices and biases.

In Japan I had my first ever experience at being less than upper middle class. I was classless in Japan. It was a kind of prejudice, kind of like a cultural “time out:” I was not treated as less, but certainly as an “other.” I was not part of “the group.” I was often objectified for what I was.. for the parts of my whole. My eyes, my English language, my otherness, even my thought process…

During my first year I worked in a marketing agency for a well known marketing consultant — the man who made walkman a worldwide sensation. I found that in Japan, everything is inside out. Even statistics are comprehended differently. In a land where individuality is a borrowed word for lack of the concept in the native language, statistics were strangely compiled in an incremental way. Where I would use a line graph to show trending among groups of people, for example, in Japan they used bar graphs and analyzed each person separately. I became a wonderment after I shared that revelation with my company workers.

In Japan there was less crime because the culture was homogenous. The society was harmonious , and everyone there had common rules of engagement, and understood each other well. Which is probably why we have so much crime in the US. Because we are a social laboratory, an experiment. As confusing as the tower of Babel, we are a multi-culture mix trying to communicate across the space of No Common Ground. We really have an amazing country.

And it seems that we are coming closer to establishing a common “rules of engagement” in this country. With the spread of non violent communication, and the Four Agreements, it seems that we are coming closer to a space where we can establish common ground and common understanding. Even movies are now touting the benefits of non violent communication. Recently, in a Hollywood movie “Shutter Island,” the lead character remarked about the patients at a psychiatric institute (to paraphrase): “‘All these people need is someone to listen to them. They just need to be heard. And through being heard, they will hopefully arrive at a place of taking responsibility of their actions. They will do away with the blame. And thus they can live life fully, here, and in the now. In the present. In reality.”

And therefore, maybe we are creating a new world order, as they say. Or at least, we might establish some peace and acceptance.

But this has to start on a very small level: with us. In the words of Dan Millman, we are mentoring all of the time. And we do so with every action. It isn’t something we can fake. We can start addressing our personal paradigm shifts by first watching our words. Our words are pearls, strung together from thoughts, and they creates the reality we live within. So it is a great way to reposition our consciousness: by paying closer attention to our every word.

And to help this happen, we can start to pay attention to our own judgments. If we really examine them closely, we can often see that our judgments can be turned back to ourselves. When we judge someone else harshly, we are most likely harboring that same judgments against ourselves. So we can start the whole world shifting by giving ourselves the love we want our child to have. As desiderata says “be easy on yourself.”

So I guess what that means is that I need to love my wiggly butt a little more. Tonight I decided to start singing along with my son. And while he sings, I do a little wiggly dance, and laugh with him.

Linda Shannon

Riviera PlaySchool in Redondo Beach, CA

A Mindful program for the ‘Whole Child,’ inspired by the best of Attachment Parenting, Reggio Emilia, Montessori, Waldorf and Compassionate Communication.

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