A Silent Resolution

Our Christmas tree is still up, the tiny lights filling the living room with a soft glow. Unwrapped packages lay scattered under the tree, and a garbage bag of crumpled wrapping paper slouches in a corner, waiting for trash day.

Amid this scene of a successful Christmas holiday, I’m sad. Post-Christmas blues usually find me, as well as 25 percent of other Americans. I only need to wait it out and focus on some of the plans our family has made before everyone gets back to “the daily grind.” The feeling will blow over sometime in January.

Maybe the sadness materialized because I’ve broken with tradition and made a resolution for 2017. That’s rare. I avoid resolutions because I don’t like feeling like a failure. Typically, a fantastic idea hits in late December, and I decide to lose weight or eat less chocolate (how ridiculous is that?!) Then sometime in the spring, I realize the resolution I came up with several months ago is unattainable, and I revert to my old habits.

But this year, I’ve found a weakness, a behavior I want to fix. I interrupt others, speaking over them as I cringe inside with embarrassment. I could blame it on self-centeredness, or social awkwardness, or narcissism (which, here we go again, makes me feel like a failure, because I don’t like to think I have those problems). But I’ve always talked fast and thought fast, and my amazing family loves me anyway. With people who don’t know me well, I struggle to keep my mouth shut when a thought pops into my head. I’m afraid I’ll forget it. But with 40+ years of living this way, I’m determined to end the rudeness. I’ve had a couple victories in the last week, and I’m looking for many more in 2017.

This thinking about resolutions made me wonder. Do you make them? What were they? If any of them were successful, how did you attain that success? Leave a comment—I’d love to hear about it!

The Naked Truth About Naked Selfies

Last week, Kim Kardashian took naked selfies and posted them on Twitter. I don’t follow the Kardashians, but some of the talk shows picked up the news. I saw the edited version of the selfie and heard there was backlash from it, some of it from celebrities, like Bette Midler and Chloe Moretz. But there was also some defending her choice, mentioning “empowerment” and “using her body the way she wants,” which I’ll get to in a minute.

After some of the celebrities’ comments, Kim responded by mentioning her $40 million dollar paycheck and her popularity, as if that excused her behavior. I was trying to wrap my mind around the idea of a naked selfie tweeted to millions of followers. The idea of empowerment stuck with me long after I turned off the talk show.

Kim’s audience is made up of 18-24 year-olds, young men who find her attractive and women interested in fashion and the Kardashian brand. She has over 41,000,000 followers on Twitter. This is her life. This is what she does. (If looking good was my job, I might spend time checking myself out in my bathroom mirror, too. I just wouldn’t put it out there for everyone to see.)

These selfies are porn. Really. I’m surprised no one’s calling it what it is. Aside from the porn issue, millions of female followers who received an eyeful of Kim’s assets are self-comparing in their bathrooms. They’re learning, “This is what I have to look like. This is how I get attention. It’s okay.” And we wonder why teens are sexting. Dosomething.org says “24% of high-school age teens (ages 14 to 17) and 33% of college-age students (ages 18 to 24) have been involved in a form of nude sexting.” While boys are more likely to send sexually explicit messages, girls are more likely to send nude or semi-nude images.

These pictures aren’t about empowerment. Empowerment means to give power or authority. There’s nothing authoritative about standing in front of your bathroom mirror and showing everyone what God gave you. Anyone with a camera can do it. Instead use empowerment to share the memo “I’m more than just my sexuality. I’m a person of value and it doesn’t matter what I look like.” It’s hard to get the message across when you’re naked.

A talk show host praised Kim for “using her body the way she wants.” Good for her. But just because you want to do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it. Kim claimed she wanted to be known as someone other than a person famous for her sex tape. She should start acting like it.

I don’t have a problem with Kim Kardashian. I have a problem with any person, celebrity or not, who uses pornographic nudity to “share,” empower, or otherwise seek attention. Girls are being sexualized at younger and younger ages. Kim could do girls a great service by using her platform differently: show girls how to be powerful with their clothes on.