Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Canary in the Coal Mine

I woke up this morning thinking about Paris Hilton. That was my first thought. My second was, HORRORS! I fancy myself a person waking up thinking about the Dali Lama not Paris Hilton! I then began to exorcise my thinking by pondering superior thoughts only to catch myself doing a vanity check in the mirror. For the tiniest moment, I saw Paris Hilton again. Hmmm. This got me to thinking about what would my dream-self be doing hurling a weeping image of Paris Hilton just before wake up (so I would be sure to remember?). Nah, forget about it...

I went about my business of my day, when I found myself on the phone whining to a friend about how awful it is to be so overweight and hypothyroid and blah, blah blah. I didn't get the whole picture of this insane personal diatribe until I was on the treadmill and it suddenly occurred to me why I might be waking up thinking about Paris Hilton. I AM Paris Hilton.

Every year for 9 years, since I became ill with hypothyroidism and gained 60 lbs, I go into a tailspin in the spring when I want to wear summer clothing and I can't bring myself to do it. I had 30 years of dropping my drawers in heartbeat and now I feel ridiculous because I can't accept the fact I'm alive and breathing and lovely (in my way). My inner Paris screams, "that is NOT ENOUGH!"

Certainly after 9 years, I should have found a way to live with this disease without being reduced to an infant every spring! Everyday that I'm upset about my weight is a day I'm not alive. I know this. I have totally transferred my smoking anger to anger about my illness. It has got to stop.

We all are a little bit like Paris Hilton. American pop culture made her in our image. She is the projected person representing the spoiled little American who has the emotional strength of a 13 year old. She's vain, she's spoiled and entitled - she's the American dream gone poopy pants. No doubt, this is what the world sees when it struggles to deal with hunger, poverty, war, genocide, terrors and suffering beyond our comprehension!

As we laugh and judge Paris Hilton, perhaps we should take a look at the popular culture machine that keeps us all from paying attention to the point. Perhaps we should take stock of how we have become like her and do a little personal housekeeping lest we find we are all of us crying and being led away to someplace beyond our personal comfort zone.

For myself, I'm going to put up these two pictures somewhere where I can see them every day to remind me that I am as I ought to be: overweight, angry and privileged. I accept it. It's good enough. I have it better than most....

and it could all change in the flutter of a canary's heartbeat.

1 comment:

The Minstrel Boy said...

did you know that the photographer who took the picture of a weeping paris hilton was the same guy who took the picture of the little burned girl, crying and running away naked from a napalm attack? it was. thirty five years to the day, and almost at the same hour. he was so blown away by the irony of it all that he called the girl (now a wife, mother and teacher) to tell her about it and they had a great laugh together.