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I admit it, I love guilty pleasure chick flicks. And one which fully engages all of my angst-driven feminine drama is the 1981 film, "Mommie Dearest," starring Faye Dunaway as the legendary screen star, Joan Crawford. The movie was based on the tell-all book written by the star's adopted daughter, Christina Crawford.
It's now become a part of popular culture. We've heard one of the most famous lines repeated in jokes and commentary. According to the book and film, Christina endured a traumatic rage episode in which her mother, having a meltdown, snaps when she sees a wire hanger in Christina's closet. I guess only satin and lace hangers were acceptable. Whatever that represented to Ms. Crawford, she became unhinged, shrieking the now famous line, "No wire hangers ever!" From there, Ms. Crawford throws all of the dresses out of the closet, onto to floor and proceeds to beat Christina with the wire hanger, all, of course, in an emotional upset. There was crying and screaming from both mother and daughter.
I know, fun times.
So, why am I mentioning this? The wire hangers made me recall an article I read on the fashion industry. Stay with me now. The question asked was concerning why models had to be so thin for the clothes the designers made. The answer given? Models were to be the clothes hangers;
Quotes on "purpose" from the book Alcoholics Anonymous (aka "The Big Book"):
All changes made over the years in the Big Book ( A.A. members' fond nickname for this volume ) have had the same purpose: to represent the current membership of Alcoholics Anonymous more accurately, and thereby to reach more alcoholics. ( p. xii )
To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book. ( p. xii )
A scene from an episode of the final season of "Mad Men" captures a self-doubt moment beautifully. The exchange is between the protagonist, Don Draper and that of his protégée, Peggy Olsen. She recently turned thirty years old and, like most of us, life had not turned out how she expected it would. Peggy has a moment of self-doubt, one to which Draper responded…
"I worry about a lot of things. But I don't worry about you."
Worry. We have a lot of it in life. We worry about our jobs, our families, our place in this world and our recovery if we struggle with addictions, disorders and compulsions. We worry, even though "fear not" is mentioned by God numerous times in scripture. We cannot seem to help it.
So, where does all of this worry stem from? How about from a thought? Check yourself and see if you have ever thought some of these things about yourself.
"I'm nobody special…"
This is a biggie, hitting our core identity and our value. Most of us have encountered lying thoughts about ourselves here. Bullying, abuse and peer pressure often lead us to believe we're worthless and unwanted.
Who can say, "I have made my heart clean;
I am pure from my sin?" Proverbs 20:9
Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.' . . . Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 1 Peter 1:13-16, 22-23 NRSV
I am an Army mom. My wonderful son is a combat MP who has served in Iraq and who, with his company, is returning there this summer. Being an Army mom wasn't something that I chose for myself, but it is something that I embrace because it is what the Lord has chosen for my son. When my first son was away on his first tour, I met many other military moms who were intensely worried for their children's lives. Many asked me how I could be so calm when my son was in harm's way.
Now, I'm no saint (except for the wonder of being a follower of the Lord Jesus). But I am practical and I try to embrace the heart of God as much as I can. So, I am able to walk calmly when my son is in Iraq or my husband is working hurricanes for FEMA because there are certain realities of life which American society has tried to erase and unfortunately which the Church has pushed away.
The first reality is that the only guarantee in life is death. Everyone dies.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper. But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13
Pinocchio - the adorable little story about a marionette who wants to become a real boy. It touches on this real theme, as well as the power of dreaming and the ability to love.
And yes, there's also the lesson about lying, hence Pinocchio's growing nose every time he tells a fib.
And that reminds me about the often chaotic journey of recovery when it comes to our addictions, compulsions and issues.
A lot of us having growing noses, don't we?
Addiction - related issues are subtle, tricky things which seem to sneak up on us from "out of nowhere." A lot of us may not look "the type." We may not look like such creatures as an alcoholic, a drug addict or a person struggling with eating disorders. We may appear to have "normal" looking noses, so to speak.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
Recently, I caught a documentary about the Japanese film director and animator, Hayeo Miyazaki. He's creator of anime feature films including, "My Neighbor Totoro" and "The Wind Rises."
Anyway, during this documentary, Miyazaki talked about his father and the impact he had on his world view:
"Being welcomed instead of being chased out probably shaped the way this man looked at the world."
The power of this statement hit me. Looking at this man's countenance, his joyful and peacefully optimistic demeanor shouts the sentiment loud and clear.
As I've been in recovery from both my disordered eating/image and abuse issues, I've had to look long and hard at the state of my heart. It's unflattering and painful to do so, yet quite necessary.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24
Change is a constant in life. And, with my recovery work concerning disordered image issues, this principle has become abundantly clear.
I recently came across some beauty tips, published in 1908; they include the following from Amy Ayer's, Facts for Ladies, Cora Brown Potter's The Secrets of Beauty and Mysteries of Health and My Lady Beautiful, Or, The Perfection of Womanhood by Alice M. Long. I've included them, along with their original 1908 sales pitches.
First, there are the meat facials...
"Many Parisian ladies, in the secrecy of their own chambers, on retiring at night, or some part of the day, bind their faces with thin slices of raw beef or veal. For several years a popular lady has used this remedy to feed the tissues of the face, with remarkable results. At thirty-eight she has the complexion and skin of a girl of eighteen."
My Two Cents...
I don't care how young you look; you still smell like meat. Last time I checked, that was not a fragrance made by Chanel. Plus, let's get real. How many ingénues do you actually see with beef on their faces?
God created the sexes equal and yet they each have different temperaments, personalities, and behaviors that compliment one another. The best way to love the woman you married is to understand those differences. Your wife likes it when you express your feelings to her, rather than keeping your feelings bottled up. She wants details from your heart and mind, not curt yes and no answers. You’re not with the guys anymore when you come home from work.
A woman feels closer to her man when he talks about himself and can openly discuss issues within himself. Tell her what is bothering you. Don’t hold stuff in and get resentful over it. Emotional and psychological infidelities are caused from the lack of emotional intimacy between couples. Always keep the communication lines open between you and your wife. This will keep the marriage intimate and active. When couples stop talking, that’s when to start worrying.
I don’t care how long you have been married your wife still wants to hear the words “I love you” every single day. Many wives want to be held by you for at least one full minute every single day. She wants to be “shown” your love for her by your manly protection of her. Do not be intimidated to exert your God-given headship position in the marriage. That is what God made you for. This is actually the proper way to love and care for the woman you married. Be her man so she can be your woman.
Do you love the man you married? What is a priority in your marriage? Is it doing whatever you want by living the way you want and getting what you want when you want it? Or do you and your husband both agree or disagree on important issues and problems that affect the marriage? When we disregard our husband’s protection and decisions for us then we are basically living our own life. This surely doesn’t mean that a husband has the right to disregard his wife’s feelings either and do whatever he wants. It works both ways.
Do You Reject Your Husband's Feelings?
When we get married, we’re not daddy’s little girl anymore. Well we are, but we now have a new responsibility-to be a good wife to our husbands. When we get married our life is now with our husbands. Most men want to be respected for their position as the man in the marriage. Loving your man is regarding him with respect and reverence just because he is your husband.
I do realize there are many good wives out there who treat their husbands with respect, but I think there are just as many who don’t. Loving the man you married is not about getting your way all the time. It is not rejecting your husband sexually or in any other way. Just because a woman doesn’t feel like having sex doesn’t mean she should deny her husband. This works both ways too.
Are You Respecting the Man You Married?
Respecting the man you married is not constantly nagging and complaining to him over minor issues and circumstances going on around the home because you feel the need to control or have power over him. Some wives do this often and don’t even realize they are doing it. Husbands don’t even realize this is happening. Then we wonder why our man strays from the marriage. Is it because we are devaluing our man’s position in the marriage? I should think so.
When you feel yourself wanting to gain some aspect of control over certain issues, stop and ask yourself, “Is this really worth arguing with my husband over”? Take a deep breath and relax. Understand that there are, and will be, many, many things you do not have control over. The more we believe that we can change something to fit our needs better, the more we get disappointed when nothing changes.
Fragment Number Eight
The Bill Wilson that many do not know became an "evangelist" almost immediately after he was discharged from Towns Hospital, having had a spiritual experience. For example, Lois Wilson's biographer wrote:
- The doctor [Dr. Silkworth] always allowed Bill to share his God-experience with some patients, hoping somehow it might help... Dr. Shoemaker [the Episcopal rector at Calvary Church] encouraged Bill to spread the message of change and spiritual recovery to others like himself. Bill took the preacher at his word. With Lois's full support, he was soon walking through the gutters of the Bowery, into the nut ward at Bellevue Hospital, down the slimy corridors of fleabag hotels, and into the detox unit at Towns with a Bible under his arm. He was promising sobriety to every drunk he could corner, if they, like he, would only turn their lives over to God. [See William G. Borchert, The Lois Wilson Story: When Love Is Not Enough: A Biography of the Cofounder of Al-Anon (Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2005), 170.]
In fact, Rev. Sam Shoemaker wrote to Bill on January 22, 1935, commending Bill for his witnessing to Frederick E. Breithut who became known as the "chemistry professor." Shoemaker wrote: