Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Voice is Here

After blogging for over two years, I left what felt like my first truly “negative” comment the other day. 

I’ve second guessed myself a lot since then. As both a blogger and an avid blog reader, I’d decided from the start that if I didn’t have anything positive to say, I would not say anything.

Knowing that it does take some effort, if not downright courage, to put oneself out there by publishing a post, I’d vowed to take the high road. I have tender feelings myself and want to show respect for other blogger’s work. After all, there are MANY people who are more than willing to express their criticisms, so my voice is not needed when I disagree with a blogger’s position, I felt.

Even if I differed vehemently with someone, I didn’t want to be part of the snarling pack. Acts of kindness, paying it forward, Little Miss Sunshine—that was me.  Not rocking the boat, damn it, being the nice girl. Argh. I can be such a wimp. But I’d rather err on the side of wimpy, than to hurt someone’s feelings or stifle someone’s right to express herself. That was my choice.

But a post by an “expert” on HuffPost50 got me riled up. Reading along, it was all good until about half-way through when the writer paused in her advice to midlife women about diet and exercise. She said something that made it all very personal to me. 

To paraphrase, she actually repeated that ancient and hard to dispel notion that anyone who is overweight or out of shape is … lazy, sluggish, unenlightened AND lacks the passion needed for healthy living. Find your passion, and the weight will fall off easily, she claimed.

She just said I lack passion.


Whoa. Passion?

Calm down, I told myself. It’s just a blog post. Be kind. She’s misinformed, judgmental, holier-than-thou, yes, but let it go.

I tried to dismiss my outrage.

I failed.

I commented, as calmly as I could, in a few sentences, ending with the charge that she had just added one more voice to the chiding chorus, to those who wag fingers at midlife women struggling with their weight.

We hold down jobs that while perhaps aren't deeply fulfilling, keep the bills paid. Or, laid-off, are looking for employment in a workplace that openly discriminates based on our age and our looks. We may commute for hours, care for elders, children, spouses, homes. 

We’re trying to get another year out of a 15-year old car, or keep enough cash on hand for the bus. We do not need one more rebuke, one more expert telling us we are too stupid or too lacking in passion to be the same dress size we were 20 years ago. 

Because our clothing size is the only issue we have to worry about, right? I ended with note that she had “not advanced the dialogue on women’s health issues.”

Not particularly proud of my anger, fearing I was being a bit Joan of Arc, I hit “post” on my comment.

I don’t plan on making negative comments a habit, but maybe there is something to the notion that at menopause, some women find their voices (thank you, Magnolia Miller at The Perimenopause Blog). 

I think it’s happening to me. My voice. MY VOICE IS HERE.

It’s been a long time coming.