There is a day for everything!!! I kid you not. March 14th is National Potato Chip Day. November 7th, Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day, and my personal fave, that happens to fall on my birthday, Dec. 13th, National Ice Cream Day! But there are dedicated days and weeks that I take more seriously and they are steadily increasing year after year. In fact, I need a calendar to keep track of all of the special days, weeks and months that pertain to reversing the cultural trend of convincing people to hate their bodies and adopt destructive behaviors. Of course I wish we didn’t need any of these days, weeks or months. Because when you really examine them, it is a sad state of affairs and pathetic reflection of our culture that we need to be reminded to:
- Love your body (Oct 19)
- Reject diets (May 6th)
- Prevent eating disorders (Feb 20-26)
- Adopt the ideology of healthy weight awareness. (Third week of January)
- And improve yourself (the entire month of September).
But let’s take a look at the one coming up on October 19th, Love Your Body Day.Does this day mean I should love your body? Or, does it mean I should love my body? As Bugs Bunny would say, “Ain’t language a stinkuh?” I am in love with language. If I could choose one super power it would be fluency in every language. In effect, I would have the ultimate Zoo Key that I could use to communicate with people in every culture.
Remember Zoo Keys? They were plastic keys, usually in the shape of an elephant, that were inserted in “talking boxes” around the zoo. When you turned the key a voice inside the box would tell you all about the animal. Without the key, if you were not visually impaired, you only had your eyes and perhaps your teacher’s or parent’s limited knowledge about the koala. But with the key, you knew Kool Hand Koala’s name, his country of origin, and that he had the hots for his cage mate, the lovely and kurvaceous Koolata. The mystery of the koala was solved thanks to the special plastic key that only some people were fortunate enough to own; and assuming, of course, they knew English.
But my love of language isn’t confined to the spoken word. It extends to the written word that has its own nuances and delightful mysteries that can be wonderful and pesky! For years when I was reading the name Hermione in the Harry Potter books, in my head I heard “Her-me-own.” My own name commands the same response from many people. When a reader sees my name written, Deah, they hear in their heads, “Dee-uh” assuming that it is like Leah with a D. It is in fact Day-(like the opposite of night) uh. Once someone knows my name, when they see it written, they can hear it in their heads as Day-uh as I now hear “Her-miney.”
These discrepancies inherent in “written pronunciation” are also, unfortunately, the cause of many arguments in the worlds of blogs and email. How many of us have gotten into arguments because what we wrote is not read with the lilt in our voice and twinkle in our eye that was there when we hit the reply key? Written language as a medium can be painfully two dimensional and it takes a true wordsmith to effectively convey sarcasm, empathy, and gentleness through their writing. Processing disagreements should never be addressed via email for just this reason and writing a blog on controversial topics demands hyper vigilance if one doesn’t want to be misinterpreted and potentially alienate their readers.
But auditory double entendres can also be delightful to play with. For example:
“I really hope you pull this off.” Or, “You are the last person he wanted to see.”
Depending on the context of these statements they can have totally different meanings ranging from hurtful and rude to sexy and logistical. “I hope you pull this off,” can be supportive, or brashly seductive. “The last person he wanted to see,” is fine if a doctor is scheduling an appointment with you, but not so great if the doctor is saying they don’t want to see you ever…at all! I know there are people out there who insist that words are “just words” and shouldn’t make such an impact. But are they just words…as in words of justice or fairness? Or just words as in merely or simply? Either way, thankfully, there are enough people who take words seriously, and understand that the context of words is vital for understanding their intended meanings.
There are those special times when either interpretation can be positive. If someone writes me a note and tells me, “I just read your blog.” This could mean that my blog is the ONLY blog they read, or that they just finished reading my latest post. Both are really good news. I love when that happens. So let’s take a look at the upcoming Love Your Body Day. Some read this and believe it is a directive to love their own body. “I love my body I love my body!” Today is the day that I, “Love my body!” Others read it and take it to mean that they should love someone else’s body. “I love your body, I love your body!” Today is the day to acknowledge that, “I love your body!”
Either interpretation in this case, reminds us to take a day, (which really should be EVERY day) to respect and appreciate each others’ bodies and the diversity of bodies and NOT give in to the prevalent message that is fed to us every day, that unless our bodies conform to a very narrow standard, they do not deserve our love.
So until there is a paradigm change and we mark our calendars that every day is Love Ourselves Day, bodies and all, let’s celebrate on October 19th. Spend the day appreciating your amazing body for everything it is doing, 24/7 to allow you to live the life you are living. Say thanks for the wonderful body that allows you to touch the world in your unique fashion that helps make the world a better place…and then when you wake up on Oct. 20th, try it again and the next day and the next day…