On Body Tattoos and Piercings

I’m showing my age in this post. It will not win me any fans.

Yesterday at the grocery store the young man who checked my groceries out had tattoos on both arms from elbow to wrist and face and ear piercings in more places than I would have thought possible.

He was a nice, personable young man. He provided good customer service. I enjoyed the transaction. Still, I couldn’t get past his tattoos and piercings.

I hate tattoos.

Anywhere on the body.

Always have.

Always will.

I hate piercings.

Anywhere on the body except the ears.

I like pierced ears, on both women and men.

I even like multiple ear piercings, although I’m told it’s not good to have piercings in the cartilage, as some people do.

I pierced my own ears, with an ice cube, a cork, and a needle, when I was in college. OUCH!! The holes came out uneven. I’m considering having them redone professionally.

Back to Tattoos: I do have a few friends with tattoos, but I like them, anyway. (The friends, not the tattoos.)

Unlike my friends with their one or two tattoos, people these days get their arms, legs, and other body parts totally tattooed.

I think the only people who should wear tattoos are Polynesians. Polynesians look good in their tattoos. Their tattoos have class.

As for all the non-Polynesians with their totally-tattooed body parts, I want to ask:

What about your body made you think it would look better with tattoos?

When you’re old and your skin has turned to crepe paper and your tattoos are sagging into your wrinkles, will you still be glad you have them? Or will you wish you had never done them?

Back to Piercings: Why do you like to adorn your eyebrows, nose, lips, tongue, nipples, belly button, whatever, with studs and rings and whatever?

When you’re 80 years old, will you still enjoy having those studs and rings in your tongue and your lips and your nose and all those other body parts?

Just wondering.

Peace and joy to all tattooers and piercers anyway,

Marjorie Beck

Thanks for reading my post.

I Like You, Too! Wanna Follow Me?

A bunch of people are liking some of my blog posts recently.

Far Out! (She writes, showing her age.)

Thanks to you all. It makes my day to attract new readers.

If you like my posts, I hope you will decide to follow my blog. I may do the same. (Follow your blog, not mine.)

Peace and Joy,

Marjorie Beck

In Our Thoughts and Prayers

Continuing the religious theme of the last post . . .

As an atheist, I don’t pray.

And I don’t particularly like to hear the words “in our thoughts and prayers” because it so often seems a tired cliche people trot out when they hear something bad has happened to someone somewhere, so they don’t have to do anything more substantive about it. When I hear that, my reaction is usually, “Yeah, right.”

I have had people pray for me, though, in my presence, and it will probably surprise you that I don’t mind it. In fact, I’m often touched by it.

Here’s why:

Usually the person is someone who I know is secure and genuine in his or her faith;

The person respects that I don’t share that faith;

The person has a kind and loving personality and genuinely cares about other people;

And the person genuinely cares about me.

If all four factors are present and the person wants to pray for me, I accept and appreciate that show of care and kindness.

Proselytize me–No Way. Do it again, and I’m done with you.

Pray for me–Sure, if you’d like to.

We all need acts of care and kindness, of whatever form.

Peace and Joy,

Marjorie Beck

Thank you for reading my post.

Good Words: A Blog Mini-Feature

From time to time I run across funny, profound, or inspiring sayings I like, and some of them I’ll share as “Good Words” on my blog.

I’m not the least bit religious, but I really like the powerful image of  this one:

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

George Iles

 

On Springing Forward. . . and Falling Behind

When I was younger and in the grip of undiagnosed depression and anxiety, I was obsessed with time. There was always too much of it before an anticipated event, like a birthday or Christmas Eve or the junior prom, too little of it during the event itself.

I wanted to control time, and I couldn’t.

When I was very young, of course, time was not that important to me. It passed very slowly. Summer vacations from school went on forever, and it was glorious. As I got older, time sped up.

This seems to be true for just about everybody as they pass from childhood to adults. When you’re very young, it doesn’t occur to you that someday you might die. As you grow older, you become more . . .and more. . .and more. . . conscious that you certainly will.

As an adult, I particularly obsessed on the semi-annual time changes from standard to daylight saving time and back again. In the fall, I was delighted to fall back to standard time and get an extra hour for the day. In spring, I mourned the loss of that same hour all day as we sprang forward to daylight saving time.

After I retired, time slowed down again. With fewer obligations, I have become less time-conscious. Today’s change to daylight saving time bothers me not at all–except for having to reset the oven, microwave, and my car.

I am one of the growing number of people, though, who think we should ditch these semi-annual time changes altogether. We don’t really need them, they mess up people’s circadian clocks, etc.

Some states are doing it already, but it needs to be nationwide. Standard or daylight, I don’t care. If you do, speak up! Contact your congressional representatives.

In the meantime, I wish you peace and joy and all the time you want.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Marjorie Beck

Laughter & the Original Virgin

I try to find a reason to laugh each day. Faith Hill

You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself. Ethel Barrymore

I laugh a lot at myself these days. I laugh a lot in general: I don’t have to find a reason. It just comes.

That wasn’t always the case.

When I was younger and in the grip of depression and social anxiety, I didn’t laugh nearly as much as I do now, and I almost never laughed at myself.

It was too threatening to acknowledge that I’d done or said something wrong or stupid or embarrassing. This was especially true when I was in high school and college.

One day in my college freshman English class we got on the subject of folk songs and on how to determine a particular folk song’s “original version.” Having discovered folk music in high school, I considered myself an expert in this area. I raised my hand to make the point that, by the very nature of folk music constantly morphing and evolving, it was virtually impossible to determine a folk song’s “original” version.

Only my tongue slipped, and it came out “original virgin.”

Now, this was 1963, and we were a little more prudish and private then about language. At the word “virgin,” my fellow students erupted in peals of laughter. My professor was laughing so hard his face turned deep red, and he had to lower his head to his desk until his laughter subsided.

Meanwhile, I sat through all this mortified. Not only had my very important point about the nature of folk music been lost through my slip of the tongue, but also I had said the word “virgin” in public in front of other people who were essentially strangers.

I sat staring straight ahead, stony-faced, dying of shame, pretending I was not hearing all the laughter around me.

That was the way I dealt with making embarrassing mistakes in public back then. Don’t acknowledge it in any way. Hope nobody notices. If somebody does notice, still don’t acknowledge it.

Twenty-two years ago I began taking antidepressants, and my world changed. I found my social confidence. I found my laughter. I especially found how delightful it is to laugh at myself.

If that “original virgin” slip happened today, I probably would be the first one to start laughing. Like my professor then, I might laugh and laugh until my face turned deep red and I had to lower my head to my desk until my laughter subsided.

Joy and Peace, and Always Keep Laughing,

As Erma Bombeck says: If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it. 

Marjorie Beck

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Speaking of Insensitive Things to Say. . . .

It seems when people we know suffer a loss or a tragedy, a lot of us have absolutely no idea what to say to bring comfort.

For example, when your beloved companion animal dies, friends with no companion animals in their lives may say, “You can get another one.”

Or my personal favorite,

“It was only a cat (dog, rabbit, ferret, parakeet, snake, whatever).”

When I hear that, I want to smash the speaker in the mouth. My companion animals are my family. How dare you diminish their importance.

When I was younger and struggling with my own undiagnosed depression, I was one of those people who did not know what to say to others suffering a loss. I was so focused on my own misery it was difficult for me to feel true empathy for the sorrows of others. I said a lot of stupid things.

Here’s another of my favorite insensitive things to say:

God will never give you anything more than you can handle.

To me, this is total bullpucky.

First, I’m an atheist; I don’t believe in a god.

Second, if I did believe in a god, I wouldn’t believe in some divine puppet master who capriciously flings down suffering on some and good fortune on others just to see how they’ll handle it.

Third, whether or not there is a god, this is a condescending and patronizing thing to say to someone in pain. It doesn’t help at all. Don’t say it.

Through the years I have learned a lot about things to say and not to say to people in times of trouble. Sometimes I still don’t know what to say. In those cases, I’ve learned the best thing to say to suffering people is nothing at all, but just to be with them.

Sit with them. Give hugs. Hold hands. Take walks together. Let your presence show you care and you’re there for them. And if they want to talk, listen. Just listen, and don’t try to talk them out of their grief with platitudes. Just be, and let your presence and time work its healing.

Thank you for reading this post, and if you like it follow my blog and you’ll get notices of new posts.

Peace and Joy,

Marjorie BeckMarjorie Beck