“Here’s to Michigan untanned, man-from-Glad skin, chubby bodies that keep us warm in the winter, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.”
I’m home, back from a mini-vacation in San Francisco, California. I had a good time but I hated my body while I was there. I was trying to use my intuition to figure it out while I was in the situation. Was I picking up the vibe from my friend who I was with? He was physically very confident, perfectly tanned, toned, and thin. But he wasn’t very healthy really. He just appeared that way. That’s Hollywood. Was it temporary insanity caused by all the flowers blooming in October? Maybe their intoxicating fragrance went to my head. My readers probably know that overall, I love and accept my body no matter what it’s going through at the moment. Feeling that way about myself, it is part of my acceptance and liberality with others. I accord them the same freedom from judgment in my office and in my life. But the projection from the dominant culture out there was so strong that I felt overwhelmed.
I just used the word liberality and I live in Michigan. We are liberal here as it relates to authentic nature. In our culture, a person is not only free to be themselves, but it’s also a social expectation that you will tell the truth about who you are and get to know your neighbor. None of that is the case in California. Nobody cares and hardly anyone looks at you and smiles. The state culture feels like one giant movie set to me where appearances and image are more important than talking to a friend when you need one or making sure you’re getting enough sleep and not abandoning your guest because of your own issues. Here in the northeast, we still have the old-fashioned value of taking care of one another, a reward for hard work and making sure our communities are liveable.
There is something to be said for basic human decency. If California is so liberal, why are there mounds of trash and graffiti on the freeway right next to million-dollar houses? That’s a prison of true ugliness, not liberalism. Your neighbors are suffering, obviously. How can you live right next to them and ignore their need? How can you throw a banana peel out the window but legislate the protection of trees that are on someone else’s property? How can you act so happy and have so many mental health issues such as alcoholism, an eating disorder, and family enmeshment yet there’s hardly anywhere to get help? Why is the fake movie industry more important than human truth in a so-called democratically-held state?
I’m happy to live in Michigan and be from the East. I’ve decided the so-called fake democracy of the West Coast is no longer for me. My area is very pluralistic and we manage to be kind to one another just fine and pick up after ourselves no matter where we were born.