Bitch, please…

you-say-im-bitch-like-its-bad-thing-darren-wotz-paperback-cover-art

Women’s day sowed the seed for this post. Massive celebrations at workplaces, schools and colleges, articles in newspapers about how this one day brings forth the celebrity in all of us women got me thinking about this post. I probably sound like the quintessential bitch when I decry the whole, “let us throw the light on women, love, mothers, and fathers days.” I detest the concept. I will make that the topic for another post.

For now, I would like to draw your attention to where I digressed from—wait, I didn’t tell you what the post will be about to help you decide if you want to stay or leave. This post is and will continue to be about in the words of teenage mutant Ninja Turtles, “rad” me.

I named the post “Bitch, please…” because I want to turn notions of nomenclature on its head. Much of the documented reference to the word bitch in the 16th and 17th century is with reference to a man and not a woman. For ready reference on the history of the word, go to bitch.

As a young girl, my notion about who I ought to be was primarily a secondhand experience, sifted through the eyes of others. I always tried to fit the mold of the perfect little girl. As I got older, I remember my mother often asking me to ‘behave’ like a girl. What that meant, I didn’t know because no one educated me in the ways of ‘being’ a girl. Climbing trees after boys and hurling pebbles into the gutter to chase away butterflies was not what my mother thought was becoming of a girl. On odd days when I played “kitchen” with my girl friends, I would often see a smile spread across faces. I never gave any of that a thought. When I was a toddler, it was family; in my stick-like, braces years, it was my mother and my grandmother; as a teenager, it was my parents; as a grown woman, it was my extended family and the ones who were not my family who always colored my lens of self. For the years they had on their side, I took it as a given and never questioned why or how or what of these notions made no sense.

The older I got, these differences became more apparent. I had to conform. I began accepting the generalized notions of conformity because it made everyone around me happy. In the end, I began believing that’s all that mattered.

But there is always a moment of epiphany in everyone’s life; and there certainly was one in mine. A moment when a girl turns into a woman and fully embraces her self-image the way it is meant to be.

The more I was asked to conform, the more I reared my head. It became a constant struggle to prove to everyone around me that women can and should merit the same treatment as men. It was not until my early twenties I realized how flawed my own notions of the differences between men and women I carried around in my head were. I was measuring women against men with the same yardstick. The very idea was flawed in itself didn’t occur to me until later.

I owe it in large part to my professors who helped me ask the right questions about gender, identity and female sexuality to break these views inside my head. I finally realized that as a woman, I should celebrate my womanhood for what it is and in my own words celebrate, “the bitch.”

Shocked are you that I would use a derogatory word in the same sentence as celebration? You certainly should be. A rose by any other name the bard wrote. How should it matter what names we give ourselves or what the society demands of us? In the end, all that matters is that you recognize your true worth and embrace your true self.

I take immense pride in my body. I am not what I used to be 10 years ago, but I am certainly more than that now. I see gray, I see wrinkles, but I also see something deeper and something more sensual and beautiful emerging. I am going all out and celebrating me! My life experiences certainly have shaped who I am and I am grateful for everything that has come my way. When you take the reigns of knowing who you are, the power it bestows on you is immeasurable.

I am me! I am everything that is around me! This year will open on a resounding note of giving more of myself to me.

Go, bitch!

Intricately Woven

Facebook plans to buy Oculus, the company behind the Rift headset. I am not going into the hardcore tech details of the gadget or the billions it is currently being wagered for. All those details don’t make for pleasurable reading; too much number crunching for me leads to a brain drain.

I decided to dust off the cobwebs hanging over my writerly muse because somewhere in that article the whole concept of Metaverse emerged as the new prophet who holds the key to a brand new networked world. I then began frantically typing away at a speed I couldn’t quite believe I was capable of. Not because I was excited that in the future of a billion gamers I could strut as an avatar. No sirah. The possibility of being anyone I wanted in a virtual world does not appeal to me. My understanding of the Metaverse concept by Neal Stepheson is rather limited. I am not a gamer, no. So maybe I am missing something when everyone else is pumped up about a virtual world of connectivity sitting on a plump couch.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for networking and I believe Facebook has done its fair share of that. It would be hypocritical to state otherwise. Since you will read this as part of my update on Facebook, I better make good with my words.

I digress. The following excerpt from techcrunch got me thinking, and thinking rather deep:

After the gaming industry has worked out the VR interface kinks (there are a lot) and figured out how to develop credible, fully immersive experiences in a virtual world, it will be time to create something far more profound: the feeling of being “present” with your friends, colleagues and interesting strangers in virtual space.

Virtual reality will be compelling because it will be free-form in ways actual reality can never be. Want to fly around the buildings of San Francisco with your girlfriend? No problem. The Grand Canyon? Sure. Want to have that board meeting in the world’s fanciest boardroom? How about a tropical beach instead?

It gets pretty deep.”

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/28/facebook-bought-oculus-vr-to-create-the-metaverse-or-why-angry-kickstarter-backers-need-to-chill/

Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. When someone says, “creating a virtual world that is profound”, I feel like a tenderfoot in new boots. At the end of it all, it is far from anything real. How does one equate it to the flesh and blood experience of being together with the one you love and cruise around the world? Someone please remove the blind side for me.

Would you trade your first real kiss for the one you could create out of an avatar? Or that feeling of jumping off of a plane for the very first time when the wind literally howls past you and your hair is standing on ends?

The author goes on to say, “Feeling present in virtual reality–your mind believing it is there–is unlike anything else, and that feeling will change the world in all sorts of crazy ways.”

I believe it will and I believe it will for the worse. I have seen countless number of people (including yours truly) immersed in a text when we are out at dinner with a special one, family or friends. Technology has a way of snatching it all away from you. You get happy in your seclusion and that is no way to live. We are social beings, yes, and we must always be cognizant of that. The day we believe and actively pursue anything that takes us away from the quintessential core of being human, we will “change the world in all sorts of crazy ways.”

In an attempt to shake this out of my head I am working on stories in real life. I will be sending out individual emails to all of you in the hope to solicit stories. Please share your most endearing one or your most secretive one or a simple heart-to-heart one. It doesn’t matter. As long as it involves real people from the real world, and it can move people, it will find a place.

If you would like to send me your story anonymously, please feel free to do so via email.