Contemplations on mortal existence

As a femaIe person, body image has been something that I’ve always been so aware of – at points to a destructive degree. Men and women alike are privy to such an absurd inundation of gender norms and standards of one’s appearance from the time we are born until we are about 60 years old —- when society stops giving any kind of shit what one looks like, man or woman. (and soon forgets about the individual’s existence what-so-ever). Many of these messages on what kind of body we are supposed to have are on a subconscious or even subliminal level, so deeply ingrained into language and behaviour that they even may go under the radar of highly sensitive feminists. But the majority of the manifestations of appearance norms are so blatant and obvious yet they are rarely even questioned and are simply accepted as the status quo. I must say, though, that since the time that we were teenagers (ohhhhhhh wow, I’m feeling old), I feel as though the discussion around body image has shifted and open dialogue has become much more visible, creating room for more body types to be seen and accepted. But perhaps this is just a refocusing of my own comprehension of the world rather than a change at-large. All I can say is that in many ways I’m glad I’m no longer 16.

Now, as a 27 year old, I feel like I have a moral conundrum about my body. On the one hand, I believe in accepting all body types and allowing myself to age in whatever way ageing manifests itself. But on the other hand, I feel that it is important for me to maintain my health – and body – or at least attempt to do so. To me this doesn’t mean aspiring to the societal standards of beauty, but feeling good and strong in my body and taking care of my body in a thoughtful way are somewhat priorities for me, even if I’m not always good to my body. (I should probably exercise more, get more sleep, drink less, stop smoking weed…. but then again I should probably move out of the city, and to create the ideal-ideal life would just mean that my life is curated and that’s not really living.) At the same time, I feel hypocritical about attaching so much value to my physical person. I feel like it’s so important for girls to see their worth in other things than their bodies, and so it makes me conflicted and angry even that I spend so much time and invest so much money into doing things (exercising, exfoliating, moisturizing, all kinds of procedures…) that reinforce this idea that our bodies are our worth.

I know, I know, we still live in a reality where our bodies are by extension ourselves, and taking care of our bodies means that we have a better chance at living long lives with less risk of sickness and other incidents that may kill us or prevent us from living out our lives to our greatest potential. And so this is why I am torn between the corporeal realities and pressures we face and the philosophical and figurative world of letting go and using energy to focus on other things.

I do contemplate the consequences of a world where we are immortal or where we are detached from our physical selves (like the movie Surrogates). I think that fear of death can motivate people and that knowing that there is finality has great significance in people’s decisions. And I think that the plot-line of every individual’s life is special in it’s own unique way. If we all existed forever, we would eventually know and experience everything possible and things would get boring.

Whatever. I guess what’s really important is some kind of balance. Sometimes it’s good to pamper yourself. Sometimes you have to push yourself to do things you don’t enjoy because it will pay off in the long run. Sometimes you eat an entire container of ice cream, and that’s okay too.

But you know what’s good? Doctors. Everyone should go get tested for HIV and screened for cancer regularly. Because what’s worst of all is leaving the world before you’re ready to go, when your body revolts against you and you give up on fighting for your life and succumb to what’s easy – just letting go.

Mope Mope Mope

Man, Becky.

I have so many thoughts re-reading your post. But first, let me mope a bit to you. I think it’ll be cathartic. I’m sorry if this blog just turns into a Clarissa-mope-fest. I’ve been feeling quite sad for the past few weeks about where I stand in comparison to my peers. I know I keep reiterating this, but it makes me so sad that I haven’t found my partner yet while so many of my friends have (and Jason completely ignores me now). I feel like we are getting older and I want to have a family one day and I want to be with someone and time is running out. I’m so glad I’ve had these two years to explore friendships and DC, but I’m getting to the point where I miss having a boyfriend. I want that security, connection, and to be able to build a life with someone. I’m happy for my friends who have it, but it makes me feel a little lonelier.

Similarly, I’m feeling a little behind on the career front. Clare is going to nursing school, Gina is going to law school, Laryssa just graduated from grad school. I haven’t even applied to grad programs, more less know what I would go for. Also, I’ve had so many job interviews, Becky, and so few offers. It’s exhausting and bruising to my ego to get rejected so many times. I have gotten a good number of interviews. But why once they talk to me do they not think I can do the job?

These past few weeks it’s been hard to feel motivated. I haven’t even been applying to that many jobs. I haven’t been spending time thinking about my future, or working on my present. Instead of taking drugs to numb my fear of challenging myself and becoming the person I want to be, I just hang out with friends and do activities. Whenever I’m feeling like I’m not good enough, instead of working on myself, I’ll organize something. I’ll hang out with Evan for hours, or do something with Danielle. This weekend was literally nonstop fun and activities. I got off the plane from Dallas, went to Danielle’s for a party, went to a bar with Evan and his house, slept over at their house, woke up and hung out with his house, played ultimate frisbee in the park with friends, ran home to make my costume, went to one Halloween party, then another, slept over at their house again, played tennis with Evan, hung out with him and Danielle and Michael…I have so much fun and I love my friends. But sometimes I think I love them too much. I don’t focus on myself and my future. I push away my problems and overdose on stimulation to forget about myself.

I have so many journal entries from throughout my life that are fluttering around. Since I was 10 or something, this is what I would do: find a relatively blank notebook and write a journal entry on a random page. I’d use that journal for a few months, and then get bored and find another relatively blank journal and start writing on a random page. Then, if convenient, I’d journal on my computer. Then, I’d pick up a random journal again. I have so many of these partially filled journals scattered around. And so many entries on the different computers I’ve had throughout my life. I really want to go back to my high school computer and read my entries then. I want to do something with all these entries. Compile them in a book called “Love Notes,” to see how our expectations in life wax and wane and transform as we grow and experience new things. Not use all of the entries, but just the salient bits. What do you think?

 

Anyway, I agree about your comments about horoscopes. I think the only thing we can do is go through life honestly and with an open mind. I recently am in love with that Maya Angelou quote, “when someone shows you who you are the first time, believe them.”

I had an interview today, and last night, my friend Nik showed me this website called “Crystal.” You can look anyone up (as long as they’re on Linkedin) and learn about what they are like and how to treat them during interviews or sales pitches. We looked the women up that I had my interview with, and the site said, “this person doesn’t like sarcastic jokes,” “likes data driven responses,” and a host of other rather serious attributes. I went into the interview so nervous that they would be cold, suspicious, and unfriendly — but they were so down to earth, and even cracked sarcastic jokes! Sometimes, I think I need to focus more on just doing what we believe is the right thing, rather than searching endlessly for the “why is that person that way,” and just accepting them however they are and do what is right for me.

Anyway, I love you, and I can’t wait to hear about you.

 

Happy almost birthday!

 

xoxoxox