Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Being ...

This past few days (weeks/months/years) I have mostly been distracted from writing ... thinking about 'being'.

I am much indebted to Caitlin Moran for this insight! The few evenings and (stolen) mornings I have spent reading her text have been far more enlightening than years of therapy (cheaper too). For a long time I have accepted that I am something of a dreamer, as well as an expert procrastinator but it wasn't until I got to the end of Moran's brilliant, somewhat confrontational and incredibly humorous book, 'How To Be A Woman' that I was able to really understand how my infinite capacity to think about BEING rather than actually getting on and DOING is the thing that most categorically holds me trapped in a world of underachievement.

Moran manages to balance a brutal honesty with a gentle compassion for her younger self and every other woman of the western world who has ever, even once, been confused about how to negotiate the contradictory demands and subtly coded confusions of being female; concluding that the fundamental barrier to success for us all is in our distraction with worrying about BEING when we really need to just get on and DO IT!

Just as I did as a teenager, I daydream, debate and deliberate regularly on what kind of a person I want to be; what kind of a wife, mother, daughter, friend, colleague and, increasingly, what kind of a writer I want to be.

I'd quite like to be the kind of wife Jerry Hall's mother advocated: 'you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom'. I think this sounds fun and although Hall said she would take care of the bedroom bit herself and pay someone to take care of the other two, I do quite enjoy a bit of cooking. I'd like to be a 'good' mother but it seems to me there is little agreement of what this actually constitutes. We didn't have a 'naughty step' in the early years because we lived in a bungalow but I do have a relatively short fuse which, I believe, can't be wholly ignored when we consider (fingers crossed) that the 15 year old can be honestly referred to as a 'good lad'! As for being a good daughter, I have to admit I am still trying and the older I get the more effort this seems to require and the relationship maintains its inherent capacity to confuse me. I'm quite a good friend, it's probably the role I understand most and, as a woman of a certain age, anybody who doesn't agree has gone now. The colleague aspect of my being is complicated. When I worked full time as a teacher, I was much clearer about my roles and responsibilities and, physically, emotionally and intellectually draining though they were, they were quite clear cut. I am now something of a 'leader' but I work part time with an amazing group of (mostly) women who are more than capable of leading themselves and everybody else around them.

As for being a writer, well ... this is the critical bit. This, for me, is about nurturing the potential for me to forge future achievement and success. I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. It is a dream, an ambition, that has distracted me from my 'real' life for the last twenty years. I have slowly (ok VERY slowly) begun to explore and come to terms with what BEING a writer means. Could it be that if I had spent as much time actually getting on with it as I have pondering what I will wear and say at the 'awards', I might have actually written something worth reading by now? Moran's right, I need to stop worrying about being a writer and just get on and do it!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Couz, love your blog! I haven't really thought much about what I want to be as a wife, mother, daughter etc because I'm convinced the more I think about it the more I'll mess it up. So I'm chillin' in those areas. BUT thinking of myself as a writer is an entirely different beast. I've been writing for my own entertainment and professionally for a very long time BUT I still battle to think of myself as a writer. I feel guilty for spending time in my dreamworld because the thought that I must be neglecting something more important niggles away in some self-destructive recess of my brain. Maybe this is why we think so much rather than do - perhaps we should be more selfish? It's taking me a long time to realise that writing may just be my real life and not just something I do once everything else is out of the way.