December 31, 2012

What I Won’t be Afraid of Anymore in 2013!

Don’t get me wrong, naked penises helped give me my lovely children and making fun of the Republican party is one of my favorite pastimes.

But to be completely honest, I am afraid of both of them, which is why I make fun of both of them.

Fear is a powerful emotion.

While it protects us from harmful situations in many cases, it also does us harm as it keeps us from enjoying the adventures and joys of life. And I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being afraid, much less about body parts and political parties.

I want to rejoice, be free, be happy, feel eternally peaceful and live without fear in the coming years!

As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said,

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

And yes, FDR did have a penis, but he was a Democrat.

So here’s my list of things I will no longer be afraid of in 2013:

1. I will no longer be afraid of naked-ness, penises and my own private parts included.

While there is no reasonable justification for my fear of penises and vaginas, unless of course you actually take the time to “actually” look at them. I am human after all, and this happens to be on my list of weird fears.

I have heard of stranger fears that would actually infringe on being able to function in life, so I feel that I am actually quite healthy.

For instance, I do not have aquaphobia—the fear of water,  anemophobia—the fear of air or somniphobia—the fear of sleeping.

For your intellectual knowledge files, the fear of naked penises is called phallophobia, and the fear of female genitalia is known as eurotophobia.

By the way, I am not a prude in any case. I have three children after all, and even breastfed them while completely naked in front of complete strangers, but that’s for another article.

When attempting to conquer one’s fear, the first step is to acknowledge that you have it. In my case, it appears that I only have issues with nakedness when it is staring me in the face in real life.

Show me The Statue of David, a photo of amorous lovers and even that of a stripper and I’m fine.

Perhaps it goes back to when I was a naked baby and everyone laughed at me. Or maybe it stems from my high school days when boys took Polaroids of me in the gym locker and shared them with each other. Thank God there was no Facebook or Instagram when I was a teenager.

Or maybe it is because the models in fashion magazines appear to be 13 and shaped like boys, and I make the continual mistake of comparing myself to them—a bad habit that too many American women have to break if they want to stay sane.

No matter what my issue is, I plan to embrace my naked body and even those of my partner without a blindfold on in the dark, and I mean his.

After all, the naked human body is a glorious and beautiful one.

And I am sure that if I repeat that to myself enough times, I will eventually embrace all of my curves, no matter what age that I am lucky enough to be.

“My wife was afraid of the dark . . . then she saw me naked and now she’s afraid of the light.”  ~ Rodney Dangerfield

2. The Republican Party

I come from a family of left-wing, socialist communist liberals, so making fun of the Republican Party is something that comes to us as naturally as breathing, eating and complaining.

But just like my fear of nakedness, I have come to the realization that I scared near-to-death by Republicans.

Oh you ask, why might that be?

Where do I start?

Could it be that nearly each premise they stand on goes against my every natured and nurtured value, philosophy and humanistic core?

Could it be that I fear for the future of the poor, the abused, the young, the elderly, the uneducated, the mentally and physically challenged, the veterans, the soldiers, the disenfranchised, the homeless and the soon-to-be?

The Republican Party Logo

In 2013 and beyond, there will be a new me.

Rather thanmerely” making sarcastic jokes and writing scathing satirical articles about their many disgusting platforms and ideologies, I plan to actively take them on.

By the way, as a political journalist and humorist, this is a really, really big one for me.

But this is the year my friends, the year I will put all of the negative energy that I spend ridiculing the GOP, and do something instead about the issues that I care about so deeply.

Just a few issues include stricter and more reasonable gun control laws, the mental and physical well-being of children across all races and economic classes, equal rights for gays, affordable and equitable healthcare for everyone and legislation and laws that serve veterans as duly as they have served us.

Yes, those are huge and seemingly impossible problems to tackle, but if I fail to become politically active about these integral causes, then all of my words will become part of yet another generation’s dialogue—and nothing more.

There is only one exception.

If either Sarah Palin or Donald Trump gets back into the ring, I just won’t be able to help myself but write a few political satire pieces here and there.

Do you blame me?

All people are born alike, except for Republicans and Democrats.”  ~ Groucho Marx


3. Money

Photo: Bruce Allen

Like many of you, I have issues when it comes to money, and that’s an understatement.

This has to do with not making enough of it, managing what I do have, spending it wisely, saving it, investing it and even thinking about it without some trepidation and all-out-fear.

I am part of a generation whose parents did not talk a lot about money as they were hard working and stoic, and felt that it was always their unspoken burden to bear.

My parents were born during the Depression, became well-heeled during the Second World War and always looked forward and not back. They worshiped education and taught my siblings and I that we should choose careers not based upon how much money we would make, but rather on what inspired us, impassioned us and moved us.

As a result, we all became artists and creative types.

In many ways this has been a blessing as I have always followed my creative desires and know that I will never regret that I lived a life that was authentic, creatively rich, and enduring.

On the flip side, I never learned how to manage money and believed it was some sort of strange unknown entity that would somehow magically work itself out, without my partaking in any planning.

Ignorance is not always bliss, and I vow to take more charge when it comes to my own financial affairs.

Frankly, my fears about money have now turned into a calling of sorts, as the fear of not managing my financial affairs is now greater than any naive fears of taking charge.

Three imperative reasons include:
1) My daughters both plan to attend college when they are of age, and I would like to help
2) I want to be 100 percent financially self-sufficient when I am a hopefully-happy old lady
3) Plans of opening a community center for foster care children

So how about it fellow money phobics? Perhaps you will join me on this adventure of financial fearlessness.

“I have all of the money I’ll ever need, if I die by four ‘o clock.”  ~ Henny Youngman


4. Getting a Mammogram

This one is not funny. Sorry folks.

A close family member recently found out she had breast cancer and had to have a double mastectomy, with a third surgery planned. And even after all of that, they still won’t know if they will ever remove all of the cancer.

I also have a young friend with two little boys who has the dreaded disease, and she is now in her fourth stage. I see these sweet young boys, the same age as my daughters, walking around town with a look of stoicism and faces much too mature for their youth as they face the possibility of life without their mother.

As the mother of three daughters, I now realize that it not only about making the right choice for my own health, but my supreme responsibility as a parent, as I do not want to leave them childless.

There, I said it.

Many women fear getting a mammogram precisely for that reason alone. They cannot bear to think about all of the scary and even nonsensical thoughts that loom deep in their hearts.

Who will take care of my family if I get sick?

I do not have time to have cancer, so I don’t want to know.

That would never happen to me, and if it did, I would deal with it then.

I would be embarrassed to have any disease.

My husband or my lover would leave me.

No matter what the reason for your fear, it is now recommended that all women over 40, and women who have a history of breast cancer in their family get a mammogram once a year.

And even though I know that my breasts will look really unattractive in that strange machine as they press and prod it into a pancake shape.

At least I will know the state of my health, and therefore be able to more likely make many more pancakes for my kids in the coming years!

“Every woman needs to know the facts. And the fact is, that when it comes to breast cancer, every woman is at risk.”  ~ Debbie Wasserman Schultz


5. Acceptance

As I have grown older, I have come to realize that much of our unhappiness, angst and suffering is due to the fact that we fear what we already know to be true, in both our heart and our mind.

We often go about our days and our lives trying to pretend that things are different than they actually are; that people we know and love will magically begin to change; and that our indignant refusal to accept what we know is somehow both proactive and productive.

Since I have begun to meditate upon this idea, I have already become more calm, less anxious and dare I say—happier.

This is a very scary prospect for most of us. This idea of accepting reality, people and generally our lives and the world for what they are. And mind you, this does not mean in any way that you should not fight for change, better circumstances or lay about foolishly in a life of blind acceptance.

It simply means that you will accept “what is” at any present time without the constant desire to change it, explain it or rearrange it.

This principle will be hard-fought and may take much practice without ever becoming a natural habit, but I urge you to attempt it in even the smallest doses.

For example, on a recent encounter with a family member whom I “always” fear as this person is toxic and quite rude, I decided ahead of time that I would accept them for who they were, as well as not have any expectations that they might miraculously be any different.

As a result, they barely bothered me at all as I seemed to grin like the Cheshire cat in acceptance of their bad energy while I went about enjoying other people around me.

Similarly, I accepted that today was a clear, sunny and amazingly beautiful winter day and that I would take a long walk outside, with only my own accepting self for company.

This is one fear in which you will have nothing at all to lose and only everything to gain.

And in accepting others, you will begin to accept yourself more in the process.

“Happiness can only exist in acceptance.”  ~ George Orwell


Ed: Kate B.

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