I really do have to call most of my thoughts “fleeting.” When I walk with Abby, especially in the afternoons, my mind is free to wander. Sometimes this results in wonderfully creative ideas, especially if I’m working on a piece. Then I come back and the writing just falls into place.
Sometimes, my thoughts are deeply (or shallowly) philosophic. And often I think, “Oh great – I’ll have to write about that!” Then, of course, by the time I have finished work and sit down to write my blog, those thoughts and ideas are long gone. Can you just hear the whoosh as they fly past?
But I had some good thoughts today – thoughts that made me feel strong and happy. First, I thought about shame, which I think is rather similar to guilt. We feel ashamed when we do something that violates our image of ourselves. I can think of two or maybe three things in my life that I am ashamed about. And I know it is shame, because I would have to trust someone very, very much to talk about those incidents. And these are not big things – not even remotely – but these are times I violated the image of who I want to be.
At least I am telling myself the truth about this – and I suppose that’s something. I can do one of two things with this information: either change my behaviours to align with who I want to be – or admit that I am not who I think I am and just go with it.
I choose behaving in a kinder and more honourable manner.
I also thought about myself and my relationship to relationships. One of my issues is thinking, on some level, that I am too old to be appealing. But I could have had (and probably did have) the same thought 10, 20 and even 30 years ago. What is my shelf life? What is my best by date? Ten years from now I will look back and think, “Oh my gosh, if only I had known and been aware of how young and attractive I was.”
I do want to stand proud and strong in the beauty that is me. I’m not saying this is going to be easy. But I certainly want to aim for it. I think it’s hard to do this in a virtual vacuum. As a society we idolize young women. We airbrush the tiniest lines and imperfections. We have no time for the beauty of older women. When I was young, I got a lot of feedback about how pretty I was. Now I have to rely only on myself for that feedback. And it’s not enough for a girlfriend to say, “you’re pretty.” There has to be some desire in the other’s eyes (meaning a man). There has to be something genuine.
Why do I need this? Shouldn’t I be able to derive all of this from my internal sense of worth. Well yes, maybe. But I’m not there yet.
Generally I still see myself as I am reflected by others. I suspect that’s true for most people. We simply don’t exist in a vacuum. And maybe that’s okay.