In the great scheme of things I’m pretty much dissatisfied with everything I do, I own, I wear, I feel, I AM – basically. I am the personification of all that I think is off-beam with a person. And yet, if I‘d just met me out on the street I would probably think “Awww bless (‘cos I do think that… a lot – ask Luisa at work) she’s was alright, bit dithery, bit airy-fairy but on the whole, pretty harmless.”
I was never A-grade at school, let alone A-star (who the heck thought THOSE up and … why? Isn’t A enough?) and I can count on one hand the number of A’s I got (I did get an A+ once for an English composition – which idea I actually cribbed from a magazine of my brother’s, but in the words of Louis Walsh, I like to think “I made it my own”. And the minute I came top equal in French I decided I was going to be a French Teacher when I grew up. But I didn’t. Become a French Teacher OR grow up. Mainly because my following year’s French lessons were taught by the Francais equivalent of Adolf Hitler in a skirt accessorized by fierce Dame Edna glasses.
Anyway, my point is, I have never had the firm belief that I am doing the right thing, wearing the right thing, saying the right things, (don’t even get me started on WRITING the right things). I am constantly looking over my shoulder, in a manner of speaking, to make sure I’m standing in the right area to not upset anyone. And ask anyone I know, I am ALWAYS clamping my hand over my mouth and saying “Oh god, I didn’t mean that to come out the way it did – I didn’t offend you did I?” because I have – to quote most of my teachers throughout my schooling – “no courage in my own convictions”. Actually I’m not even sure I have convictions let alone the courage to stand by them.
When my friend used to call by for school in the mornings, I always had to have exactly the same things in my bag as her. If she’d got her PE kit, I had to take mine (even if I didn’t have PE that day, bizarrely). If she’d got her summer sandals on, I had to race to change into mine, similarly winter boots and even hair toggles (remember them?). It must have been a kind of ‘fitting in’ thing. If I looked like someone else then I wouldn’t stand out – or if I did – then I could always say “but look, I’m the same as Julia”. (Not always Julia you understand).
I’m the same now. I stand in the queue at a till in Sainsbury’s and my eyes scan the food of the person in front which shonks along on the conveyor and I think “Oh my god, I should have got some of those/that” and a small panic starts to rise. Especially if it’s a Be Good To Yourself or anything else healthy. And my purchases start to scream Heart Attack on a conveyor belt. I am killing my family and they should be living with this person in front.
I do the same in the street. I see someone wearing a pair of shoes/jeans/top that I think I should have. Of course I should – why the hell am I wearing this/these stupid things, when it’s patently clear that I should be wearing those there?! De-er! Why do you think God invented Catwalks and Kate Moss?
I’m not so bad with the house, though. I don’t care that we have two sofas that don’t match and an armchair that clashes with both of them. I don’t want stripped wooden floorboards anymore than I want coordinating curtains and duvet covers. In fact I’ve always liked pretty much an eclectic mix where my home is concerned. So why can’t I just relax when it comes to the essential ME?
I give my self the hardest time imagineable. Maybe I think I should continue where my parents left off?