I just finished a hysterical book – Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to Be A Women’ (I thought I might benefit from some guidance which didn’t involve waxing or implants). I don’t recommend it for bedtime reading as hysterical laughter doesn’t make for sleepytime, but wow.. it certainly got me thinking.
In telling stories about growing up in a working class project in the UK, she focuses on all the things that she thinks she needed to ‘be’ in order to claim herself as a ‘woman’. Aka.. what was expected of her. She finds friends, fancies boys, gets fat, confronts her fashion choices, tries to walk in high heels, gets waxed and drinks entirely too much throughout. The entire book is hysterical, but also raises the question about what women are taught, indoctrinated to think throughout their lives… if we,
– Lose some weight
– Get rid of all our body hair
– Wear the right underwear
– Say the right thing
– Find and marry the prince
– Make friends with the right people
– Buy the big house
– Grow the 2.4 kids
.. apparently glitter will fall from the sky, people will bow before you and you’ll explode with happiness.
or maybe not.
Her point, (and it only emerges in the last chapter), is that women seem to focus on what they ‘are’ rather then what we ‘do’. Few guys talk about each others clothes, body hair, curtains or weight… they’re too busy talking about what they did, what they’re going to do, and potentially lying about how awesome it was and how they ‘nailed it’. Guys focus on doing… girls…. not so much.
So at 10.37pm last night I suddenly had the realization;
‘Holy shit, I’ve spent the last 40 odd years thinking that if I weighted 120lbs, ate more fruit, had more girlfriends, and found a good dude.. well …. actually…. what? I’m happy today (and I certainly don’t weigh 120lbs).’
I guess I was under the impression that these were things I needed to do in order to be happy. Fulfilled. Like everyone else. Normal.
If only I could get my mouth under control, learn how to be sated a single glass of wine, enjoy ‘crafting’ and create the perfect ‘capsule wardrobe’, I thought I’d be done. With what I’m not sure, but somehow, someone seemed to have put a chip in my head which made these things important to strive for.
Well I guess my chip just fell out.
Instead of focusing on ‘being’ I think its time to focus on doing. After all, if I died tomorrow at 120lbs (dream on honey), with perfect highlights, a waxed hoo hoo and a fawning husband… so what?
How much better to go out in a blaze of lights, eating, drinking, wearing, acting as you want, writing things that embarrass your mother, making people smile and whooping as you go (albeit with slightly hairy legs)?
Maybe its time to focus less on trying to ‘be’ something, and focus on ‘doing’ stuff. Doing the stuff I like, no, love. Non of which involves match.com, waxing or wearing navy blue. So tonight I’m off to get a new tattoo, figure out a book plot and cancel my wax appointment.
Actually somethings its probably better do actually get done. No-one likes a handle bar mustache on a chick.