so wingman is sick. and i ask him where? he says his head. and i ask him how does it feel? he says his head 'feels sick.'
now. that may seem simplistic as he is 10, but i've always taught my kids to tell me exactly 'where' it hurts and 'how' it hurts. in words that are easily understandable by everyone. detailed description, however simplistic.
like the word 'stomachache' doesn't always cover what is actually going on. the stomach is a broad area to a child. where? point to it. how? do you feel seasick? do you feel like you've been punched? does it feel pinchy? or growly?
same with the word 'headache.' etc.
i learned that if they could tell me exactly where and how using language they understood then i could administer the best remedy. biggest complaints first and go from there. basic parenting.
okay, i have a point. i'm getting to it.
so his head doesn't hurt, it doesn't feel fuzzy, it just feels off. 'sick.' which i understand. even if i can't put my finger on it. he's not warm enough to worry about a temperature, he feels fine otherwise. but the BAD disposition percolating the last few days coupled with the glassy eyes this morning and his complaint leads me to believe we're on to something. so i sent him to bed and started a big pot of homemade chicken soup.
if he had said, 'i have a headache,' and if i had left it at that, he'd have some children's pain reliever in him and we'd be doing school. but that's not 'healing.' and being asked exactly how you feel and describing exactly how it feels is powerful to a person. to be asked. to be heard.
the beauty and power of language.
i was thinking about this as i pulled out the chicken. pasture raised, kosher, no antibiotics, etc. the words printed on the package gave me a specific view of the chicken i held in my hands. they told me that because of how it was raised, when this chicken sat in the pot for an hour with covered with water and a bit of vinegar added before cooking there would be more minerals and calcium to draw from the bones creating a healthier broth. and that because of how it was raised this chicken would produce more gelatin and give the soup more of the healing oomph that gelatin provides. everything from fighting the common cold to fighting delusions. a one stop wonder of healing! (that is, if you believe what you read about gelatin and pasture raised meat and chicken soup and if you're not a vegan or vegetarian ;) )
i make this soup with love. and when i tell wingman, 'i will make you a pot of soup' and when i hand wingman the bowl and say to him, 'i hope you feel better soon' he will feel the love in the soup and he will hear the love in my words. and that as much as anything will work to heal what ails him.
the power of language to have the power to heal.
which brings me to my point. i swear.
the duke told me the other day, chuckling, that his friend said to him that cupcakes are just 'slutty muffins.'
which is actually pretty funny.
but to which i said
'i don't like that word. slutty.'
'well, i don't either. i just thought it was funny.'
'it is. but you understand how derogatory the word slutty is, right?'
'yeah. i mean, i don't use it or anything.'
'but you did just now.'
okay, i wasn't trying to be a bitch about it. (aaannnnddd. there's that word. bitch. a whole other story. sigh. oh language, you are nothing but trouble some days.) i told him i thought it was funny. and i'm inappropriate A LOT. i get offensive humor. to a point. i laugh. but only UP to a point.
i am also 40 years old.
the duke is 14.
so the other day if i had just laughed at the joke and left it at that then the chances of 'slutty' becoming part of the duke's lexicon would be higher than it is today. and he didn't ask for my opinion, but he got it. because i am a woman and because i am his mother.
and because language has the power to heal. as much as it has the power to hurt.
the duke is just figuring out how the world works. how being a 14 year old boy works. figuring out how what we SAY shapes how others SEE us. how what we HEAR & SEE shapes how we VIEW the world. language. words. images.
he's figuring out how this puzzle fits together. and how girls fit in at all.
and what drives that process? parents, friends, media.
okay, parents and friends have a LOT of influence, but let's face it, the media wins this race based on sheer face time and the ability to catch and release our young people more times in a day than any other thing or person can. to 'hook' them. over and over and over again. in just one 24 hour period. HA! yes. i just used a fishing reference as metaphor. perhaps successfully. i am as surprised as you are.
anyhow, this is for most of our young men and woman. not all. but most. and the media is driven by numbers and figures and bottom lines. and the bottom line is that because of this, the portrayal of women in the media is more often than not not terribly positive. and oftentimes downright exploitative.
and if the young men are getting most of their information about women from the media how is that going to work? because you and i know what's out there. this is in no way a new conversation. what's out there is what's always been out there, only getting more outrageous. more intense and shocking. condensing women to boobs, hips, lips. and no argument from me that these are indeed intriguing female qualities, but they are NOT AT ALL ALL THERE IS to a woman.
but how do the young men find this out? how do they get the other side of the story?
which brings us to the joke about the slutty muffins. which, is, like i said, pretty funny...but...
all right. i have a point. i do. and it's this. i think that language is very powerful. and i think young people need to be more educated about the world around them before they just fall into using certain words. that the images presented to our young people should be less condensed and more balanced. homemade soup made with love vs. canned soup: just add water. how is that food? to nourish and heal and grow? okay, i'm falling into judgment and more bad metaphors, but you get the picture.
these days it seems our young people are way more sophisticated than they are mature. maybe it's always been that way, maybe i'm just old. but i'm willing to bet that's not entirely the case. and i'm willing to bet it's creating a huge deficit of actual understanding. about members of the opposite sex, the same sex, about who we are. as individuals and a collective culture. about what we are capable of. all of us. even the ones with the boobs, hips, lips.
so. when the duke came home yesterday i showed him the following video. (props to my friend jodi for directing me to it.) because it has nothing and everything to do with the joke about the slutty muffins. because it's timely and it's a continuation of a long and developing conversation. because women are so intelligent and so capable and so beautiful and so fabulous and they are almost always more than what the media tells us they are. and i know that. and you know that. and i want my son to KNOW THAT, TOO.
so we continue the conversation. the one that begins with 'say, MA MA.' and continues with 'hot! ouch!' and 'please.' and 'thank you.' and 'i'm making you a pot of soup.' and 'i don't like that word.'
it is in that spirit i bring you this installment of your moment(s) of zen. it's a bit long, but well worth it when you get a spare 8 minutes. and if you happen to know a young woman or young man share it with them, too. (though, in fair warning, there are images that could be considered inappropriate viewing for teens in some families. the images are in context, but they are there. so. proceed accordingly.)