I’ve been thinking about my private delusions of perfection. Its geometry is coil-like and embedded in my torso where it squeezes upon my vital organs whenever I find myself ‘less than’. Yes, my friends, I am hungover and pondering about life. I’ve been told that I’m very hard on myself – unhealthily so, I believe at times – and I feel it always comes back to expectations. I expect a lot of myself. I don’t allow myself mistakes, and I’ve bred myself a beast of paranoia over the years which I battle with all the time. It’s a toxic mix, because of course I will do many things wrongly. I will look at these musings later and gripe over their ‘wrongness’.
Like everyone, I must feed the good in myself, hone in on the better moments, the smaller things that go unnoticed but remain excellent. It’s too easy to be 23 and worrying all the time about where the next job will come from. Being happy is much harder. It takes concentration, awareness and acceptance of yourself and others. None of these are easy, especially for a dreamy type like me. I have many better versions of myself in mind and none of them are remotely realistic. Fantasy was my teenage life-raft, and I think we all have a bit of Walter Mitty in us at one point or other.
You may be reading this and think that I’m unhappy. That’s not the case. I just have something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while now, and now is the time. I suppose I’m afraid of fluffing it up. So be it.
As part of cheering myself up on a day like this I’ve decided to post a poem I’ve always regarded as ‘finished’ – maybe somebody I respect told me it was ‘finished’. There’s nothing like a second opinion.
The scenario is imagined, the story universal – the jilted girl finding her feet again. I’m cheering for her.
When he left her, she took the
Map off the wall and thought of
All the places they would not be together.
She walked down streets, glimpsed
Into windows, not of shops, but of homes
Where things belonged after they had been sold:
Jars of sweets, mirrors with battered frames –
Under dust and sunlight, marked with
One word: possession – so certain a thing
In monetary exchange.
He spent the summer rotting under her skin,
Never washed away by showers
But there, and there again, and by
The staircase calling to her to hurry up.
She sprayed herself with her perfume –
His perfume, or the one he had gifted her:
The things he wanted her to taste of.
“This is mine, and no one else’s.”
She adored every note it played upon her:
Marine, in its fresh water floral,
Heavy, at times, in its musk.
She knew when it was gone
There would be no other gifts –
Its scent wouldn’t dress her neck,
Or scarves she wore;
The fragrance would no longer cling
To her smooth, bracelet-covered wrists, or twist
Like a memory in the air she passed through.
Instead, it greeted her redolently in perfumeries:
Places where aromas were bought and sold,
And any woman could smell as sweet.