As some of you know, I’ve begun taking some classes in a last-ditch effort to pursue a degree. At this point I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that I want a degree to memorialize my efforts.
Some might say that I’m too old. And that’s okay. I’ve already written your name down on my list headed “People to Never Associate with Again.”
Some have been encouraging. You know who you are and on which list you occupy some space. The header is vague, rather lengthy, and also has sub-headings, such as “Except on Wednesdays”.
Part of the requirements of attendance is active participation in the discussion group for each class. I’m taking two, so I alternate between Humanities: Culture & Change and Introduction to Psychology.
So far, I’ve been partial to the Psych classes, although I don’t think this is the place where I volunteer myself to be a case study for those budding psychologists out there. They would have a field day, certainly, but it would also be a cruel joke. Nothing beneficial can be learned from the study of ‘me’ that wouldn’t require following their own detoxification protocols afterward.
Maybe it’s the water.
But as fascinating as I’m finding both classes to be, and in spite of how much I’m learning in each, it’s the most recent topic of discussion in the Psych class that has me wondering if I can re-program, if not societal views, then maybe my own family. Or maybe it’s just my family with whom I can practice.
The topic of discussion was perception; more specifically, what constitutes beauty in today’s world. The images displayed in the magazines have women starving themselves to levels of medical intervention, and has guys sweating it out in gyms in an effort to look like Soap Opera Guy. But since that’s what we see every day, Hollywood’s preferred image, both of these groups are trying to defy their own nature in order to conform to social norms, or our collective societal perception of what constitutes glamour.
There was a time and a place where I would have been considered beautiful. Unfortunately, I do not live in that era. However, after discussing this topic with the group, I’ve made some decisions about how I can re-construct and therefore re-define what is accepted as beautiful.
I’m going to litter my home with pictures of fat old ladies. Maybe I can make copies and place them in various places, next to the magazines on the tables in the offices I visit, in the laundry places, in the schools and in the grocery stores. Maybe if I’m successful, I can beat down the fake Hollywood projection and institute some real norms by which regular people can judge.
If successful, I might even get an ‘A’ for my efforts. At the very least, I will have done my part for humanity.