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Responding (or Not) to Body Shaming or Cat Calls

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Someone posted on a Facebook forum, describing a humiliating experience she went through today. While bicycling (and then locking up her bike), a gang of young men made increasingly aggressive cat calls and noises at her. She usually finds it easy to ignore them, but it disturbed her more today. She wrote to the group partially because we can empathize and maybe we might have advice on how she could have handled it differently.

My response apparently struck a chord, because just a few hours later, it now has DOZENS of “likes” on Facebook. I thought maybe some of you might like to consider this, too. Here’s what I wrote to her.

Here’s the thing: NONE OF THAT WAS YOUR FAULT. It’s not your fault they taunt women. It’s not your fault they taunt fat women. AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH ANY REACTION YOU CHOOSE. You get to choose what you do. Regardless whether you walk away or turn and face them or say something or not say something, YOUR CHOICE IS NEVER WRONG. We’re not to be blamed for walking away, or being silent, or speaking back, or speaking up — because the confrontation was never about us. **HUGS**

Remember, what matters most is that you get a chance to take back YOUR CHOICES from the pressure of society or family or friends or media or strangers. It’s entirely up to you if you want to smile, or if you want to exercise, or if you want to travel alone, or if you want to pursue a specific career or education, or if you want to be in an intimate relationship, or if you want to change relationship status, or if you prefer to be alone at this time, or if you want to eat this instead of that, or if you prefer to…. You see my point?

While there might be limitations in your life that are outside your control whether that’s a medical condition or a learning disability or a minority status that affects your very day-to-day existence, and others may have privilege that you don’t have access to, what you DO HAVE is personal autonomy. There are many decisions which are *entirely yours* to make.

And if you ever need an ally to support you, please feel free to consider asking me to be there. Because it’s very possible I would be honored to be there to support your right to make your own personal choices.

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Word of the Year for 2016: Habits

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I am not a person who works on the schedule for “Resolutions” on January 1. Many of you know that my two rules in class are, “No Pressure, No Shame” and “This Body, This Day.” It’s about living honestly *here and now* as much as possible, and trying to be at peace with “what happens, happens.”

However, I have also selected words that characterize where I am headed into a calendar year. One year it was DANCE, the next was FOCUS, followed by CREATE, and I started 2015 thinking about MASTERY (with a sub theme of COLOR!). Not sure how much of my theme words shaped 2015, although my October craft theme was “Finish the UnFinished Objects.” And I feel good about how that turned out.

Now I look at 2016 and I have some ideas about the year, most notably the word HABITS. I see some specific plans for the habits I want to shape and adjust and encourage. Paired with my top two rules, I think that I am looking forward to 2016.

I just wanted to wish you all a wonderful evening, however you observe December 31. And I hope that I will see many of your throughout 2016… A habit of seeing friends and family in person, whenever I can. 💛💚💙💜❤💖

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