Sunday, February 25

Sunday scribblings - I'm puzzled


If only I was thin. An image of an impossibly tall and skinny model striding down the catwalk wearing beautiful wide legged trousers and a sexy jacket sets me off on another “why am I so fat?” tangent. Despite the fact that I’m about to turn 38 I still compare myself with these androgynous freaks of nature. I still believe that if I could only wear those clothes, like that, I would be happy. I wouldn’t want anything else.

If only I could dance. Last night we went to a dance performance. Rambert Dance Company performed four exhilarating pieces, and I was at the edge of my seat marvelling at their bodies’ fluidity, like molten mercury they folded into each other, effortlessly and gracefully. And best of all, all the time smiling, almost laughing, their joy so infectious that by the end of the performance the whole audience was grinning. We came away on a real high, yet I couldn’t help feel a disappointment in myself, in my own limitations. If only my own body was supple, if only I too could leap effortlessly through the air, then I would be happy.

If only I had my own room. In the Saturday paper there is a feature every week called “writers’ rooms”, which shows a photograph of an author’s room along with a short editorial on what’s in it and why. Living in a small one-bed room flat like we do I am obsessed with this feature. To have a room of my own is currently an unattainable dream… and so I pore over the details; the books on the shelves, the light pouring in through the windows, the arm chairs, reading lights… the achingly modern office chair set against a gorgeous antique desk, photographs and drawings, paintings… inspiration. If only I had a room like this one, like that one, oh, then I would be creative, really creative. And I would always be happy.

If only I had long, beautiful hair. Lucy at work, Lucy and her perfect long golden hair, beautiful and thick reaching halfway down her back. Sitting next to her my Michael Bolton haircut no longer feels wild and uninhibited. It feels plain stupid. I know that if I only had beautiful hair I would feel beautiful and I would therefore be happy.

If only, if only, if only… it puzzles me that I’m still so infantile as to think “if only I had this, if only I could lose 5 more pounds, if only blah, blah, blah… then I would be happy”. Sure I don’t wish for impossible riches or a lot of material things, but why do I put so much importance on superficial things like my looks? Why do I put off writing just because I don’t have the perfect space to do it in? Why do I fail to make the most of now?

The photo is from Stand and Stare, choreographed by Darshan Singh Bhuller, performed by Rambert Dance Company.

25 comments:

Judith in Umbria said...

You puzzle me. First, I could be your mother and I don't yet feel old, so why do you?
The tall model in the trousers was supposed to inspire you. She inspires me to want to grow taller. Then I would be thin, too. If you need to lose 5 pounds, that seems easy to do. I need to lose a stone. Do my diet with me.
A great haircut is ALL! Wash and shake, yeah! Somebody else's hair is a disgusting thought....
When I watch dancers and skaters I truly believe for the time that I can do it. Hahaha. My legs twitch.
I have a house of my own, so I know how that is done, but I don't recommend it.
Actually, you know, you write in your brain.

All this stuff is other. It's February. Terrible month, full of gray and damp. Come April you'll re-read this and wish you could rip it off Google and burn it. Trust me.

paris parfait said...

Most of us can identify with your words; few of us are actually achieving our potential. The trick is to keep trying. As for that writing space of one's own, I long for that too - my cramped writing corner doesn't have enough light or space. But I'm grateful I have this and hope to manifest my dreams for a bigger space of my own, healthier body, etc. etc. It's up to us, after all to make things happen.

Bearette24 said...

I think everyone hates their own hair...Lucy probably thinks hers is dull and yours is exciting.

Bex said...

I find myself saying these kinds of things all the time. If only I was a mom....If only I owned a house...If only my nose wasn't so weird looking.

My mom always tells me I need to be happy with what I do have. Grrrr, I hate it when she's right! lol

Kamsin said...

We seem to live in a world of advertising and magazines constantly telling us we will only be happy if we have this that and the other. The thing is I bet the tall skinny girls, the ones with gorgeous hair (others tell me I have nice hair but I have a very love/ hate relationship with it) etc. etc. aren't very much more happy than anyone else. They're probably thinking if only... something else their life is missing. It's silly really when we live in a nation which has sooo much, and there are probably many around the world who envy our lives.
I try not to compare myself with others, it takes so much energy and brings so little reward.

Waspgoddess said...

Judith: Oh, you are a wise woman. I think I feel stuck in no-woman's land. I'm no longer young, but I can't accept that I'm approaching middle age either... But I think you're right re February, lots of people seem to be down in the dumps at the moment.

I don't think I'll regret my post though, because I see it as part of the process... of letting go. Being this open is an amazing feeling, I have never even admitted some of these things to myself before. God, I know a lot of this moping and complaining sound rather pathetic, but it feels so fantastic to let them (the thoughts) out, and hopefully let them go.

Tara: I think it's sad but very true, so few of us feel that we are achieving our full potential.

Bearette: I looked at your photo and you have the most beautiful hair... so curly and lovely (and I doubt Lucy dislikes hers, she's always flicking it around).

Bex: it's so hard to appreciate what we have sometimes, isn't it? But that's what I really want to work towards. Things could always be much worse.

Kamsin: Happiness has to come from inside and comparing ourselves with other people won't ever do any good... I think I should be more immune towards the barrage of ads though, I work in the marketing industry and so should really know better.

strauss said...

I am intriged about the writers room, sounds interesting. I find rooms and how we decorate them or at least fill them, to be quite intersting, it says alot about a person, just as looking at anothers book shelf does the same thing.

gautami tripathy said...

You love yourself the way you are. We can't be like anyone else. Because we are we.


gautami
Puzzled

Tammy said...

The "only ifs" can really bring us down but if we think about the good we do have and choose to be happy it may spark a flame.

KG said...

It's amazing how powerful negative self-talk can be. I think we all engage in this but you're right — if we channel our energies into positive pursuits, the negatives do slip away.

I've definitely gone through negative periods in my life where nothing at all seems right. I've found that two ways that really help me be more positive. You said you're in the process of letting go, so maybe these will help you on your path:
1. Affirmations every morning. Write out 5-10 positive things each morning, and read them before going to bed at night.
2. Dancing for fun at home. Turn on your favorite music and just boogie! Let yourself go and feel the music. Clear furniture away, too — I always get so into my dancing I bump into things. ;) This is liberating and fun.

What do you think?

Regina Clare Jane said...

We are all like this- especially women- there is so much pressure on us from the very beginning! Don't be too hard on yourself...

Concetta said...

Ah, dear. It's easy to want and dream. But as you dream, don't forget to enjoy what you have - especially your gift of words.

Try to find your space inside you, and celebrate the unique gifts that make you who you are.

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~Anaïs Nin

With love,
Concetta

Nicole said...

i believe this is a cycle so many of us are involved in. we want so much and the things we want are normally not obtainable for us.

it's struggle to live in the now. it's hard to be happy with what we have or how we look, buy we must continue to try..

i think that secret i mentioned before, about being comfortable with how we look could also apply to being happy with what we have.

if anyone can whisper this secret to us, please do! so many of us could use it.

Frances said...

After reading this, and the post you wrote for your Photo Hunt I think you are doing quite well with your writing even though you don't have that room.
You did a great thing for your mom - I think you're fabulous.
Thanks for visitng my scribble.

tania said...

is it something like what i refer to as "one thing syndrome" where we think having this one thing would make our life better. and when we get that one thing, it still doesn't make us write more/feel prettier etc, so we have to come up with a new "one thing"

i suffer from this often and watch in frustration as others let nothing stand in their way and do what they want to do, feel good about themselves etc. but when we recognize this about ourselves, and realize that no one thing can be a blanket cure, it gets better i promise. plus it sounds like you get an awful lot done and that everyone else thinks your beautiful and talented the way you are.

luckily, i think once i started belly dancing the thoughts about me being beautiful only if i were different completely faded. but i guess giving yourself the permission to be half naked and do sensual dance in public tends to make you realize how hot you are just exactly the way you are :)

My Marrakech said...

I am slim with longish hair and the kickboxing has made me limber. I have a nice little office. But I have so many if onlys myself. So, so many. I know what it is like to walk in their dark shadow and I send you my support in solidarity:-)

Caro said...

I do the if onlys sometimes also.

But then I count my blessings, they are many. :P

Caro said...

Of course this doesn't mean I wouldn't love to look like a supermodel. LOL

GeL (emerald eyes) said...

Dear Waspgoddess,

(I always write my comments *before* reading the comment thread by others so my feelings about anyone's post are uninfluenced.)
I was immediately struck that your writing is as fluid as "molten mercury"(mmmm- wonderful choice of words!) as we are led into the dances of self-doubt and yearnings that plague many of us. I admire your openness, sentences from your heart cascading onto this page as lovely as the tresses of hair you admire.

Many, many will tell you or advise you that you "should" shut off your feelings, question the insecurties you feel, or "look to a brighter day." I say, bravo for you to have released introspection freely onto these pages. One can only become a butterfly if one is brave enough to recognize what is bothering herself.

We all endure or struggle with self-doubts and dream for better times. Some people deny such; others are simply of a different nature and are more accepting of circumstances but that fact emphatically does not make "them" better than you- only different.

To have read these pages from your heart, knowing none of us hold the key to your puzzles is brave and I hope cathartic for you.
Hugs,
GeL

meredith said...

Those "if onlys" get me puzzled sometimes, too. It's a struggle, but we have to find ways past them.

Edvard Moonke said...

I know what you mean, I often feel like that too. Just remember we love you just the way you are! :-)

Ryan Velting said...

Very interesting post here.. Very very similar to something I wrote a while back titled "What is True Happiness?"

Although I am in a little better state than I was at the time I wrote that, I still see, and struggle with many of the same things. All superficial. All, for the most-part, very unimportant when looking at the big picture.

Thank you for the post here and making me think.

Ryan

Judith in Umbria said...

But I think you are young. I felt old when I was young. I am much younger now than I was at your age. It tempts you to limit yourself, in an effort to slide into the aged skin you are assuming. Try not to do that.
If all of these ladies haven't read "Unless" I recommend it. There is a lot of thought in it about the place women are allowed in our world.
Can you find a carrel or a quiet room in the library for writing?

acumamakiki said...

i identify with much that you write here, especially putting off your work because you don't have the perfect space and wanting to lose weight.

daisies said...

oh wow can i relate to this post and i did turn 38 a couple of months ago ... and if only i had a room of my own like virgina woolf says is necessary and if only i had more time to write and make art and if only i could lose some weight and everytime i see dancers, i wish i could dance because then my life would be perfect ..

but i bought myself a laptop so the world could be my room and that is working well and i'm bellydancing even though i suck, its fun and the weight, well, it will take care of itself i think, heh heh ...

i think your hair is super cute :)