What Does a Whore Look Like?

As I stared in the ladies room bathroom mirror, I pulled out three far too long eyebrow hairs and deposited them into the garbage.  I glanced at my cleavage and reveled in how I still got it going on in the décolletage area.  Then I re-applied my red lipstick.

Some might say I look like a whore.  Hey now, hold up. That word is offensive when taken in the context of sweet little ol' me, right?  But when you think of cleavage and red lips and blonde hair, what do you think of?  I think of joy and fun and beauty.  You can pry my red lipstick from my cold dead hands.

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Whore?

I don't always wear make up, or red lipstick for that matter, but when I do, you can bet it's a choice I'm confident making.  I wear what makes me feel good.  I've been told I wear too much makeup or that I look better without makeup and guess what? I can make that decision myself.  I can decide each day how I present myself to the world and because I wear makeup, it doesn't make me a whore.  Because I don't wear makeup it doesn't make me a slobby stay at home mommy.

Names, judgements, grouping entire masses of people into categories doesn't work.  Because each person - if you get to know them one on one - has a story.

If you judge a person based on the way they look?  If you insult people due to their physical appearance?  That tells me more about you than it does about the person you are talking about.  Once I made that shift, that knowing ultimately that you have no other recourse than to make yourself feel better by mocking others appearance, I just pity you.  Try harder.

What does a whore look like?  Think about what you mean when you call someone that.  It's such an ugly word and connotation and so often has nothing to do with the person you might be describing.  When I hear that word, I have a picture in your head of a befallen woman hard on her luck out in the street bedraggled and poor, desperate for money, so incredibly sad, quite probably addicted or alcoholic, but not necessarily.  You might see me.  You might see you.  Red lipstick does not a whore make.  A down on their luck woman not necessarily at her most hygienic is no whore.

What does a bum look like?  What does a homeless look like?  What does a drunk look like?  It could look like any one of us given the right set of circumstances.  ANY ONE OF US.

Be careful with the words you use to label.  Be careful who and how you judge.  Be careful who and how you condemn.  Try love and compassion and empathy.  Try keeping your options and views open to people other than those you know. Again, think of what kids are hearing when you describe somebody as a retard, as a whore, as a slut, AS A TERRORIST.

You may tell me once again I need to lighten up, they are just words, and you don't mean anything by them.

When I hear someone say "lighten up", I hear defense.  I hear somebody trying to justify their use of a thing.  So no, I don't need to lighten up.  You will not diminish my words and my voice by telling me to lighten up.  You will not. Because only I can allow that to happen and I choose not to.

If they're just words, let's try harder to use better ones.  I am all for calling out assholes.  Asshole is a good solid word.  And there are plenty of people that good solid word applies to.

Now a woman prostituting to make money, SHE IS WORKING FOR HER MONEY.  I know prostitutes I would characterize as more honest people than several big shot executives I know.

I don't need religion to tell me to choose kindness, I just need to live in the world that has been cruel and see the suffering and choose to want more and better for people.  But even that Jesus guy people are so fond of - and I believe he was a pretty decent guy myself - he hung around with prostitutes and undesirables.  Because he was pro-human of all shapes, sizes and colors.

"Whatever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me."  Jesus

What does a refugee look like?  Dirty.  Bedraggled.  Poor.  Sad.  A child.  A woman.  A mother, a father, grandparents.  A teenager at the brink of becoming a compassionate person or at risk for believing that people aren't kind and that, at the core, he is not wanted.  Oh my heart.

What does a Christian look like?  What does a Muslim look like?  What does a person of color look like?  What does a human look like?  Look in the mirror.  

I need to choose love, to choose kindness.  Each and every day.  I need to block out many who choose hate.  Who choose fear - continually.  In the midst of so much hate in the name of religion, I need action and love and empathy rather than just prayer.  I write as a form of action.  As a form of defense against the hate.

When you are far away, behind your keyboard or safe in your home behind locked doors, you can easily rationalize saying THOSE PEOPLE.  But I would bet if you were to sit on a park bench with me, maybe even with my children, you would take a different view.  You wouldn't see a raging alcoholic, but that's what I am.  You would forget that you are sitting with someone who has been in psych wards and living on the street and has done terrible things in the name of survival.  I am not bad.  I am a human being who has made  mistakes but doing my best to do right today.  Could I screw up again, YES. ABSOLUTELY.  Would you throw me away and say I am garbage?  You tell me.

I once was lost, but now am found.  All I want to do is help others be found too.

See also:

What it feels like to be an alcoholic

I am not racist, but...

Can people really change?

Reeks of Compassion

The words we use matter

The Scent of Sadness

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