Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 171: brutal honesty.

Does it freak you out when I tell you my scary honest truth? When I fess up about feeling lonely or like I've lost faith in my life-long dreams? Honesty is scary. When you let it out of the bag, it acknowledges things you didn't even know you thought. And that you didn't want to believe you thought. Like, for example, my hunch that yoga actually brings cellulite to the surface rather than eradicates it. I didn't want to acknowledge it, because I love yoga, but the other day I had to admit that girls thighs look more rumply after a class than they do going in. This is a truth based in shallowness (or might just be my warped mind inventing things) and doesn't really matter. Anyway. Here are some others. I belong to a group of people who are deficient when it comes to caring for and showing true support for their friends and family. That's a big statement. Note I didn't say they don't care or support at all, only that their care and support level leaves a little to be desired. Let's step that up to a lot to be desired. No matter how much people feel they care about others, in my circles at least, I just don't think people are very good at following through. People let themselves off the hook by pleading no time, no money or the burden of raising children. But last time I checked, being busy, cash strapped and/or a parent didn't mean you had to lose your sense of decency. If you're a human who has ever felt alone or lacking in confidence or in need of a friend, be aware that every other human on the planet is vulnerable to those feelings too. And if you're lucky enough to have found a person who loves you, and you have your cosy nook of happiness sorted - or even if you don't - don't let that be a cue to shut off your receptors to other human beings who might not be so lucky. Don't assume people are doing fine on their own. Take the time to find out and make sure once in a while. I am equally as guilty of practising our new age selfishness (although I'm seriously rethinking this approach) so I can't exactly complain. It doesn't make it any less the truth though. These days, in the most part, we are selfish bastards. Truth no 2: I am extremely (perhaps unfairly) hard on myself almost all the time and am not sure how to stop being that way. I have known this off and on throughout my adult life, and as an adult have been able to identify it as a trait in myself as a teenager. I have always had finely tuned critical abilities, which comes in handy when writing University essays and the like, but isn't such a happy friend when you apply it to yourself, your talents and your self-worth. I was made aware of this second truth today, by two kind comments. One came from a work mate who said he thought I had the ideal female body and that if he wasn't gay he'd be thinking I was really hot. What struck me was my level of astonishment that anyone could think this, and the flood of rebuttals my mind sent washing in of the no you're way too heavy/strong/not petite enough variety. I realised that my body size (which has always been completely normal) has been a constant worry to me as a young adult, something that has tormented me and which I have been, perhaps wrongly, highly critical of. Where's the love? Why can't I give myself a pat on the back for all the exercise I do and concentrate on my good points? The second kind comment came from my singing teacher. She quite rightly spotted my tough perfectionist streak and reinforced on no uncertain terms how much progress I have already made and that I'm doing really well. Again, it just struck me how seldom I actually believe I'm doing well enough at anything. There's always some stupid thing I could have done or be doing better. What's my freaking problem? (See, I'm doing it again. Maybe I don't have a problem. Maybe I'm fine.) I come from an extended family of high achievers. There are excellent brains (teachers, engineers, doctors, professors, scientists, writers, lawyers), people who have achieved through sheer energy and drive, people with special artistic or musical talent, people who are just, well, impressive basically. I don't think my parents ever put any pressure on me to have to be a certain way (except for insisting I went to University, which I am extremely grateful for), but as a group there has always been a sense of keeping your standards up and doing the best you can do. And when everyone around you from parents to brothers and sisters, cousins, uncles, aunties and grandparents, friends at school, their parents etc are all doing amazing things and being amazing, it's hard not to want to be that way too. I am lucky really in how many clever and talented people I have been surrounded with during my life. But it has instilled in me a belief in the need to achieve and at all costs avoid being average. Weirdly enough though, I think my exacting standards often actually stop me from achieving. It's like I'll go, no I'm not in good enough shape yet to be a rock star, I'll put off sending in our demo until I can look perfect in the photos. Or, the production doesn't sound good enough yet, we won't try and get it on the radio until it's perfect. So perfection becomes a reason for procrastination. Psycho. Must do something about that. Okay, and truth no. 3 (because today's (lengthy) entry wouldn't be complete without some musing on boozing): I think not drinking cuts you out of the social sphere. Not drinking socially too, is not as fun as drinking socially. So there, I've said it. It's not something as a born again teetotaler, apparently high on the goodness that is sobriety, I want to admit. But it's true that one, not drinking means I don't go out as much, and two, when I do go out, I don't have as much fun as I used to. It might have something to do with how long it's been since I've touched a drink. I am far enough away from the damage I used to inflict on myself with alcohol, that maybe I can't really remember the un-fun side anymore. I mean, I do still see inebriated zombies in the streets, or hear them brawling outside my my house at night, and thank my lucky stars I am not them in that ugly and undignified predicament. But I would also like, of a Friday or Saturday night, to be able to unwind with a wine and maybe enjoy just a tiny bit of my laughy, flirty side fluttering to the surface again. Being straight all the time just makes you so goshdarn matter-of-fact. But what, at this not even halfway point, is a me to do? To be perfectly honest, I don't rightly know.


  1. Cheer up.
    If it's any consolation at all, I think your blog is good. For a moment I thought you'd stopped doing it, for whatever reason, fallen off the wagon or fallen infront of a bus. So I was glad to the have the daily dose again.
    If you think of the whole thing like a story, imagining the next few months for the moment, it's going to have a start, a middle, and and end. Looking at the early days, when abstenance was new, you felt brilliant, and more so every day. It was like a series of discoveries about how life grows when it's not damped down with sedatives and all the beauty of life comes into focus.
    But with every story there's an Act II. That's the dark bit where the protagonist looses hope and the baddies are set to win. Feel free to adapt the metaphor to suit you. And then against all the odds (in conventional story telling) you will realise why you were doing it in the first place and set your self firmly back on track with a renewed sense of vigour and direction. The demons will be revealed as snivelling toads and crawl away under stones, and you will wonder how you doubted yourself in the first place.
    The good bits outweigh the bad bits, surely?

  2. Thank you Jamie. Your kind and well considered words have indeed cheered me up. I also think there's a good chance you might be right.