Thursday, 19 October 2017

Keep It Small, Girl

Often, it seems everyone else has so much life – to live, to give – whereas I lack that vital spark. Obviously, my body keeps to its own regular rhythm like the tick-tock of a wall or bedside clock and my heart beats, somewhat silently, but beating all the same like a slow winged creature, of the sort a natural world documentary deliberately puts in slow motion so that we, the viewers, appreciate the sweep and curve of its feathers. It looks so effortless, just like our own autonomic functions which only trip up when we fail to care for them properly or focus on them to such a degree that they jump out of sequence. Flutter and miss their timed spot.
That slot when I could have done something, anything, I feel has gone. And I say that personally, because friends that are older (and much wiser) than me are still doing what I consider real living. Heading out there and giving things a go. Holidaying alone or dating. Participating in supposedly what life is all about, in all the life there is on offer. Some get those kind of kicks through or from work. Once I guess I did too, when the spirit hadn't left me or I felt this was what you had to do to get on, but that now feels like another lifetime. A different person did that.
And although I'm not unhappy or discontent, those comparisons always start. You think you'd reach an age where you'd be beyond that, and mostly I have as I certainly care less about how I look and dress, though I think a date would be mortified should I suddenly decide to re-enter that playing field, yet still these feelings of inadequacy creep in when you least expect them.
I know I've let things slide and removed myself from scenes that no longer held my interest to return to my core: that firm point of being I'd denied or temporarily forgotten about, but now there's very few pursuits I enjoy which require another. That suits me, in the sense that I like my own, often quiet, company, and yet, frequently I'm reminded of the disadvantages. By others, though not of course with any intent, just in passing. What others do is fascinating; sometimes there's common ground as mostly as a species we associate with those that are similar, but then there's also those dissimilarities which occur due to age, experience, taste or differences in character. I like hearing of these exploits, thinking I could never do that, be that bold, but it does leave me feeling, an hour or two later, somewhat lacking.
Why doesn't it motivate or inspire? It can, but the sensation is so fleeting that it's gone before it can be acted upon, largely because dreaming up a plan and then putting it into action are two very separate things. A plan can take months to materialise and by then I will have lost that buoyant energy or nerve, so that what will likely come to pass will rarely be the happy event I envisioned. Also, I know deep-down, though I might be reluctant to admit it, I'm not that person, even if I thought I was or fooled people that I was at one time.
I feel more true, and yet my quietude keeps me somewhat contained, either to my flat and my books or to brief exchanges in the street, in shops, and in the library which can leave me feeling awkward if the question is asked, as it always is: what have you been up to? Whereby I fumbled around as if someone's suddenly turned out the light or a bulb has blown, and try to switch the conversation back around to the enquirer who obviously has much more to say. I'm sure some mistake this as secrecy; the case, however, is usually that my world is unchanged since I saw them last. I haven't been anywhere nor do I have anything planned. Nothing exciting has happened. And if anything untoward has I'm less likely to report it, unless our friendship is in that zone where nothing needs to be withheld or censored.
I never, however, mention my inadequacies. Why I'm doing so here has perplexed even me? But then this is just one-sided talking, as well as, possibly, an attempt to understand why I analyse myself in the way that I do (not that I ever get very far) and hold myself up against everyone I come into contact with too! How can I be enough for anyone else if I'm not enough for me out in that big, wide, baffling, and over-exhilarating world?

Picture credit: Woman With a Fan, 1919, Amedeo Modigliani, stolen from Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris