This is me in Honolulu, about five years ago or six or seven … With my good soul mate and friend Junko and her son. I put it here, because I was probably 25 pounds thinner and I thought at that time I was fat. Just goes to show….
I just found myself writing on Facebook: “I am feeling dissatisfied and out of sorts.” I know this is true — it has been so for days. It put me in such a funk last week I thought I was coming down with the Black Dog (you know, depression.)
But I wonder why. Examining ourselves is hard. And I get the feeling that I do it a lot. But I can easily not engage with things emotionally and stay on the surface of life.
On the level of superficial, surface things, I know why I’m grumpy:
- There are piles of laundry that are never “done.”
- The stuff, everywhere! And I can’t keep up. My kids are clueless, and useless! No matter how many reminders, of the stuff they leave around the house and yard — practically dropping it anywhere they finish with it — it is everywhere.
- There is no open surface in my life – except the kitchen – after I clean it – daily, sometimes twice depending on things in the evening.
- my garage is driving me nuts. my basement is driving me nuts. my bedroom is driving me nuts.
- I can never keep food in the house. My preteens are eating everything that isn’t nailed down. and what we have is never what they want. Now I’m not one to really care about that, them getting what they “like” but it starts to rub me wrong, after a while.
That’s the surface and it’s bad, but then if I go below the surface:
I never see my friends. Rarely have deep conversations with people. Just living on the surface of my friend’s lives and I feel lonely. Did I just write that. I think I’m not sure. Do I feel lonely? I mean, I could choose to pick up the phone. I like isolation I think. But then, internally, I know accountability in friendship is good and deep connections are so life-giving. Yes, connection is important to me and I don’t have it. There is no where in my life, not church, not my kids schools, where else do I go – not the grocery store, that I connect with people. Okay, at Trader Joe’s they are really nice and I always leave there feeling good, because they are quite happy to be talking to you. That is so pathetic.
Another thing. I decided last year, to not buy clothes for myself, for a year. Mostly, cause I’m fairly stupid about spending money and I was wasting away the fortune we did not have on this and that. I mean how many hats does a girl need? And to be honest, since early October I haven’t spent a dime, on myself. I did find myself buying a lot more clothing for Emma. That had to stop cause it definitely defeats the purpose and she’s swimming in clothes. Really though, I haven’t missed shopping.
I worried about what ideas I was giving my daughter about looks. (I blogged about all this in October of last year.)
The other reason that I stopped was because I was tired of thinking and caring so much about image. But that bit hasn’t changed (much) and frankly I’ve let myself go over the last six months. I feel shabby, and dumpy and what was that word that my friend in college used to call me? Frumpy. What a word. I’ve lived up to that of late and I hate myself. And we won’t even go into the weight thing. No, not today. When I say hate I’m talking about the suicide kind of self-hatred, or harming yourself, or anything tragic like an eating disorder. I’m just referring to simple self-esteem. Body image. Naked in the mirror stuff. Can’t find an outfit that feels good to me kind of days.
And then this trip to the Bahamas comes (two and a half weeks and counting) and I start freaking out. For some reason, I have this crazy need to impress and seem cultured and look urban and eclectic and interesting. It matters to me (and that’s a long story from being an MK that I think I’ve written about here before.) So I wasn’t going to buy anything. And then I started obsessing about this awards night banquet that everyone gets all spiffy for and I couldn’t let -it -go.
I looked at my clothes, of which I have an abundance, in sizes 10, 12 and 14 and I don’t have anything for an evening dinner in the Bahamas, not fancy but not too casual. So, I “don’t have anything” and yet I know that if I was saving money for my kid’s transplant or something I could find something to wear in my closet. So it wouldn’t be Tommy Bahama or nicely starched from newness. But it would be just fine. One night. One outfit. Perhaps three total hours of my life. But there’s no transplant needed, and Tom doesn’t care if I buy a dress, he’s getting a new shirt.
So dammit I bought one, online, it probably won’t even look good. Which is okay cause I can return it but every time I think about that stupid trip I get all anxious. Like what’s on the outside is what matters. Tho I don’t believe that, already I’ve fallen back into that kind of thinking. …. If I have a new dress, I will also need new shoes, a necklace, earrings,and a decent bag. Oh, and can’t forget the very important cover up for the cool nights and to cover the flabby size 14 arms….. so I spend the evening last night (while watching Idol among other things) tooling the internet looking for the perfect dress. And even this morning ….
No wonder I feel dissatisfied and grumpy. As a friend just said, (on Facebook not in person, I told you I have no face-to-face friendships any more.) I need to check this more closely.
Identity. Self-esteem. Body image. Eureka! I have ignored the root of my problems with shopping. Wow! I can’t believe I’ve been able to stick my head in the proverbial sand about this!
We all do it. I know we do. Except for those few say 20% of exercising folk, most of us ignore our bodies a good part of the time. Just living with regret, or wishing it were different, or saying when I lose those ten pounds, I will …
Absolutely what I’ve done!
“I will like myself when I’m thin. I know I’m thin inside there somewhere. I was thin(ner) for most of my life and that person is still in there. When I’m thin, I’ll … pursue showing my photography. And take more risks like searching for a publisher for my poetry. And ….blah, blah frikin’ blah…”
Well, isn’t that interesting.
P.S. If you’re one of those actually thin people or in your early thirties (or younger) and you don’t know what I’m talking about — related to your body, just wait. Call me when it hits. I will so be there for you to cry on my shoulder. By then, I’ll be thin. Surely.
This Strange Desire: On Materialism and Image: How it all started, the year without new clothes.