I try hard to be present in the moment but I can’t. Despite my body being present in the here and now my mind is too busy studying myself. I am too self aware. I am talking. Words are coming out of my mouth. Coherent sentences are being formed about topics I am interested in, issues that I am passionate about, books that I have read, opinions that I hold but I am too concerned with how I will be heard. When I’m listening I am too concerned with how I appear when I am listening. When I write my thoughts I am too concerned when how I will be read. When I read my words I immediately cringe because I feel that my feelings are unjustified, my thoughts are scattered, lacking flow, depth and sincerity. When I post my work online I have to fight the urge to take it down because I doubt that I am in the position to write for I think my life is dull and I am gauche. Despite experiencing love, being educated, having a family, travelling to a few places I feel that I still lack the authority to write about it, express it, be someone that others can turn to on the topic. My 30 years of experience I feel isn’t enough. It cannot begin to count yet therefore I should not write because I do not know the topic well enough I hear myself saying. Any compliment about work that I have produced meets me with unease and discomfort, these kind words of praise on twitter are not meant for me. I am just waiting until someone discovers the truth about me and exposes me as a fraud. So I beat them to it. I don’t give them a chance to criticize me, I leave writing up to those who I think do it best. And I read their work. Support them and let them succeed in the realm that I want a take up space in. In a realm that I know in my heart that I can own, I do not make myself known. When I am eating, I am aware that I am eating. I can feel the food in my mouth but I can’t taste it on my tongue because I am concentrated on not spilling it in my lap. When I’m laughing I know that I am laughing and am concerned with how I look when I am laughing. In the midst of all this self doubt I am limiting myself. Letting myself simmer in mild neurosis and I am self aware of that too. I just want to be like how everyone else appears to me and I am aware that I want to be like how everyone appears to me.
Others appear to own themselves, the environment they are in and the space they take up. They’re the captain who not only looks perfect in the uniform they wear but can also fly the plane. All of this is ironic because as I speak about appearance I know that I am an appearance to all those that appear to me, those that I want to be like. But I can’t. I am deeply flawed and can’t entertain the thought that others that appear to me are also deeply flawed beneath their beautiful polished surface. I may look like a captain to them but if they put me in the pilots seat I would not know how to fly the plane whereas they look like the captain and they know how to fly that plane! So I assume. And I am going to leave flying the plane to others because I cannot see myself anything like those sort of people that appear around me.
I need to break out. I have to break out. I have began to realize that everyone is only as they seem to be and they only appear to to me as such because I have created them to be such in my head at my expense. Each time I give up and let others succeed I am preserving the difference between me and them, the insecure self portrait that I have painted of myself and the secure portraits that others have sold to me. Having been too caught up in myself I took a step back and realized that those who I admire are just as deeply puzzled at life, take massive shits that stink up the bathroom, have doubts, insecurities, regrets and sometimes take the shirt they threw into the hamper out, iron it and wear it. I let myself turn my insecurities into internalized proofs thereby validating the pictures that others have created of me. It is now up to me to take this self-awareness that I gave the power to control me, limit me, make me dizzy with doubt to do the polar opposite.
You know when you’re in conversation with a guy over dinner or coffee, or talking to a him during a movie and you’re having such a good time. As your conversation progresses you begin to believe that every word that is coming out of your mouth is so fascinating and thought provoking because not only are you talking (naturally of course anything that you talk about it bound to be interesting because you’re talking about it!) but also because he is looking at you equally enthusiastic as you are telling your story? His eyes are beaming wide, his lips are pursed together in agreement and you could almost feel that he is compelled by your views, you could almost see the readable thought bubbles appear above (and a little to the side of) his head with little follow up questions and anecdotes that he cannot wait to discuss and share! He looks into your eyes and nods occasionally almost as if he’s found enlightenment and about to have a mental orgasm. He drops eye contact with you and looks away but only to dig into his spaghetti with his fork (eyeing it as he turns his fork around and around to make the perfect spaghetti twirl, lowering his head and bringing his fork to his mouth while totally regretting ordering the spaghetti because he lost 15 seconds of looking at you) or take a bite or sip his coffee (which he’s not drinking in dire desperation to stay awake while listening to you but because the taste of Irish cream flavored coffee on his toung complements your voice that falls on his ears). But for almost the entire time his eyes are fixated on your lips as they move revealing an excitement in your smile as you explain in detail how much you love Karan Johar’s witty, charismatic personality and sense of humor and not to forget his beautiful smile but think he could lose the velvet maroon jackets because it makes him look slightly like an Indian Hugh Hefner, recalling funny events that happened at work or react with outrage over parts of your story (of course anyone would be annoyed if your burger came dressed with regular mayonnaise when you specifically asked for low fat). He cannot help but look at your lips as his ears absorb your every sentence. You feel this confidence, this self assurance and fearlessness as you speak your mind because not only is what you have to say super interesting but you have your favourite lipstick on that just makes you feel like you’re on top of the world! (ladies you know this feeling). Lipstick has super powers (really, I kid you not). Inside this simple looking rectangular shiny case is a stick of creamy pigment when applied to a womyn’s lips makes her feel like she can conquer the world. This is the lipstick effect.
Just two days ago I had a crappy day at work not only because I loathe my job (and feel that I am way too intelligent and stupid for not quitting and overqualified for) and didn’t want to be there in the first place but because I wasn’t feeling very well. I did however make it through the day and when I finally finished work I was ready to leave the bank but didn’t feel ready to go home just yet. I wanted to go shopping but couldn’t because I promised myself I wouldn’t buy anything for one whole month (in addition to my no cookies and chocolate diet, the theme is resisting temptation). My material desire argued with my reason for a good 4 minutes but I couldn’t fight my temptation so I went to the negotiating table with myself, I told my reason that was very much against driving to the drugstore that I would purchase something only if it was 5 dollars. That was my limit. My reason caved because reason likes to travel and cannot argue against a possible 5 Aeroplan points. So I drove to Shoppers Drugmart and went straight to the cosmetics section and GUESS WHAT? Lipstick was on sale! (It was $5.49 but of course I was gong to pretend that it’s still within my limit because 49 cents is closer to 5 dollars than it is to 6 dollars AND it’s only 49 pennies which I have in my penny jar) Trying my very best to stay away from shades of plum which I always find myself drawn to I removed a shade of purple (closer to blue) from the slot and coloured the side of my left hand to see how it would look on my skin and I was SOLD.
My little material journey of mine to the drugstore is an example of the lipstick effect. In economics is a theory that when a society or individual is facing an economic crisis, consumers are more willing to purchase less costly luxury goods instead of purchasing expensive luxury goods. Of course this is just a theory but it is rumoured that after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the USA lipstick sales doubled! I needed something inexpensive that made me feel good. Feel better for making it through the day and furthermore I just wanted to feel the high of swiping my plastic credit card and bringing something new into my life. I must say that I have my doubts about the theory of gravity but the lipstick theory should be declared a fact.
On side note: I wore the lipstick to work today. Maybelline Whisper line shade 85 makes me feel happy, confident and (like the name) berry ready to take over the world!