Sunday, 19 July 2009

the shadows of self-doubt

The school holidays are upon us, rain has - according to England's natural 'sod's law of weather' - taken the place of sun and I've not posted for, gulp!, two weeks. But because I believe that someone out there might, from time to time, take a butcher's at my blog ["butcher's hook"= look, cockney rhyming slang for those not in the know] and perhaps even appreciate my writing, I'm compelled to make sure I don't leave you dry in the mouth and unfulfilled. (As if!)

...and there you have it: "As if!". In two words, the very English tinge of self-deprecation. Self-doubt, even. Ahhh... the British! - that art of auto-irony, sarcasm, jest poison-tipped with truth: who really wants to admit openly their self-image is flawed? Self-deprecation is like masturbation: relieves the frustration, but in secret. Hmmm. I rather like that simile. Or is it a metaphor?

So: I like to hope that my words are worth something. I want to view myself as someone who writes and even has a mini-market for it (in the absence of a book deal or the talent to write a bestseller). But, folks, I dunno. When the weather starts to waver and the year grows longer in the tooth, and I've still not achieved even close to my potential and my dreams...well, I slack off writing my blog and buy handbags instead. And eat far too much ludicrously expensive chocolate. And don't have enough sex. Or rather don't have sex at all. And curl up into a little, hibernating, ball inside, waiting for autumn and blustery winds.

How we view ourselves affects our confidence, our life journey, if and how we fulfil our dreams - or don't. How we view ourselves...secretly, deep inside, the ego's reflection on that mirror in your head, mate. You know: that person you've lived your whole life with and the tiny voice you wordlessly chat to, late at night?

No, folks, think about it, I'm not nuts. Admit it: what you know you shouldn't do, but do anyway. The person you'd love to be but aren't quite (or quite yet). It's all a dichotomy between reality and perception. Forget reality shows, this is the real deal. This is Your Life - and mine. And his, and hers. The movie inside your head. Inside my head. All of us. Who you want to be. Who you really are. Mind the gap.

Me? I'm someone who loves to throw parties. Who sees myself as wildly social (but can be self-absorbed and selfish and curt with those who love me best). Who'd like to be as perenially elegant as my late Grandmother, but doesn't always make the cut and secretly loves slobbing around in those old pyjamas. Who sees myself as a bit of a 'creative', but a frustrated one, hence this blog. Who'd love to have watertight integrity, but sometimes tells white lies, most dangerously to myself. Who hides new clothes from my husband under the bed and pretends I didn't spend the money. Who spools a mini-movie in my head of great success... BUT! STOP! Help! (I think), Wannabe Alert!

Granted, my mood does sway with the weather. Maybe it's a primordial thing. And the 'holiday' season's taken on the veneer of end-of-summer at the sea, when the full-blown self-content summer warmth's already a memory and the winds start to foretell the autumn chill-to-be. Nights are becoming longer, even now. Barbecues more risky. The decay of heat makes me introspective and unnerved. I feel my life slipping by with the march of the seasons, another summer passing. And I'm still not living the person I picture myself to be, in my inner eye. Mid-life crisis?

A treasured old flame recently wrote: "I've often agonised about losing my true, self. But it's at times like this that true friends can help to point out the continuity, and thereby motivating and worth doing. So, thank you." But, really, all an old friend can do is placate that secret voice. No-one can really reassure anyone, deep inside, unless they are capable of reassuring themselves.

All we can do, folks, is to keep on comparing that inner movie-reel with reality. And do our best, with the tools we have, to make a change. Not hibernate. Not curl up inside. Not agonise and ask anyone else for reassurance. But face up to the discrepancies, ask some raw and pertinent questions and strike out to take action.

Not living the life you want? Not being true to yourself? Somehow, you can change all that. And only you. That's why I've decided to re-ignite that feeling of summer, that feeling of power, and make daily changes to move towards what I dream of becoming, what I want for myself. This lifetime. Not the one in my head.

As I wrote to my friend: "YOU know who you are. Bugger the rest."

Out of hibernation, whatever the weather!


  1. I do look with anticipation at your blog, it's among my favourites!
    Your words answer to what I'm feeling today, I will try, but some mornings it is really difficult.

    Anyway, I can't believe that you used (and I recognised) the cockney rhyming slang, my professor at university made it as the topic of my whole second year of my bachelor, and I've been hating him since. ;)


  2. Thanks Laura, really appreciate the appreciation!!
    As for cockney rhyming slang: my fave is "trouble and strife" (=WIFE!) and, nice for my Asian relatives, "gentle persuasion" (=Asian)! I wonder, wherever did you do your degree?!! sounds quite a blast actually. Helen

  3. Nice site. Please visit my site, too.

    Greetings from Austria


  4. good girl, stiff upper lip and all that. BTW, I'm never dry mouthed and unfulfilled, Husband sees to that.

  5. Wow, thanks for appreciating the appreciation! I did it in Venice (Italy), it was called "Lingue, arti, storia e civiltà" (Languages, arts, history and civilization). You know, I think the third year was the best, we had to learn to recognise all the different English accents of the world. We heard someone speak and we had to tell where he/she came from! Laura

  6. How fab to have found this blog - I'm gonna keep watching ...

  7. Yes we do regularly look to see if there's a new posting.. if not, now I'm wondering if it's because you're buying handbags, eating chocolate or declining your husband's amorous overtures.

    I rather like the following thought for life slipping by:
    "Life is not measured by how many breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

  8. Laura - I studied in Italy too, and lived there for 5 years (I'm fluent in Italian, as well as French. Good German, Spanish, bit of Italian. Bit of Telugu (a South Indian language). So anyone wanting to leave comments in their own language can if they wish!) Your degree sounds really interesting, language being undeniably bound up in art and society.

    MH - lucky you. Don't ever get a coil fitted then. Kills your sex drive...

    Anonymous - THANKYOU!!! keep visiting...

    Moni - will do. Grussgott!

    Liz - Thanks so much for your thought. Totally agree. You've sparked my next posting (cheers!)

  9. Sorry folks meant bit of Japanese (second line down). But please don't post in Japanese. I can get round the shops and have a basic convo but no more than that!!! Helen