Monthly Archives: May, 2018

The Change Will Do You Good

Here’s a confession. When I uprooted my life and moved to Massachusetts in 2015, one of my assumptions was that everything I needed to change in my life would automatically change. I would be thinner, smarter, more outgoing. I would not repeat past mistakes, I would learn how to manage finances better, every fault would somehow “magically” course correct, because for the first time in my entire life, at the late great age of “fifty something” I was moving out of my area code, my comfort circle, my known world.
After all, I had long been a believer in the theory that if you shift just one jewel on the kaleidoscope, everything else would shift along with it. I really believed that with all my heart. I espoused it to other people. I even had it on a magnet on my office door. So, you know I meant it, right?
But the reality is different. There’s a French phrase, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” which means, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
There was so much I wanted to change. It’s not that I didn’t have a happy life. I did then, and I do now. But I also struggle, like many people, especially I think, women, from that feeling of not being good enough, of somehow being remiss. Of not being a good enough daughter, sister, friend, boss. And life has a funny way of reminding you not to get too confident. It feels like whenever there is a triumph, quick as a wink, there is a corresponding mishap, or even failure, to make sure your hubris is kept well in check.
Also, and I hate to talk about this, but maybe it’s time, I still struggle from an incident that happened ten years ago. That was when a person I loved, respected and trusted with all of my heart, basically told me I was a fat, ugly, untalented waste of a person, who had done nothing with their life. And completely walked out of my life. And I know that’s not all true, I swear I do. And it had more to do with, well let’s call it, him, than me. But, there were enough shards of truth in there to devastate. And a decade later, it still hurts; try as I might to forever erase that event from my mind.
Why am I writing about this? Well, for one thing, I’m struggling with self-image. Always, and again. And I don’t think I’m alone. And I think it’s important to own who we are, and how we feel. If you encounter me, at work or play, you might see a confident and cheerful woman. And that’s absolutely true, I am generally cheerful, and I can be confident, sometimes even overconfident. But as I said above, I also struggle, both with feeling inadequate and also anger at myself for not doing more about it. If I feel unattractive, why aren’t I dieting and exercising and wearing makeup and doing whatever it takes to feel better? If I don’t want to repeat past mistakes, why am I behaving exactly as I have done in the past?
At the end of the day, we have to love ourselves. But even more importantly, we have to be as kind and as forgiving as we would be to anyone else we love. And while I believe it is very important to own our faults and to take responsibility for them, we can also own our strengths and merits. I know I am far from perfect, who would even want perfection? And while I can always improve, I am a good daughter. A good sister. A very good friend. And probably, a pretty good boss. I need to lose weight, but I’m far from hideous, children do not run from my presence.
So, I need to stop. Stop listening to the unkind voices, the ones in my head, my ears and my memory. And I hope those of you who might relate to all of this will join me. Let’s love ourselves and be good to ourselves and each other. Even if every single thing doesn’t magically change overnight, we can turn that kaleidoscope just a teeny bit and see the jewels in ourselves start to shift.
The end, for now