lundi 11 octobre 2010

A gift

I seem to have some difficulties finding things to say at the moment. It might be a good thing, as in 'I am too busy to sit down..' but no that's not it. I find that I don't necessarily want to say the same things in english and in french, so I had to find inspiration for my english post. I have lots of ideas but by the time I start typing, the idea is gone or discarded at not valuable enough.

Lately, one thing stands out though : I can't wait to go and see the movie 'Eat, Pray, Love' as I really loved the book. I read an article (Grazia...?) by the author Elizabeth Gilbert on what we women do to ourselves, particularly always comparing and in the process never feeling adequate enough. She mentions how her sister organized a treasure hunt for the neighbourhood kids and one of the mothers complimented her by saying 'You are a much better mother than I will ever be." Elizabeth Gilbert's sister grabbed her friend's hands and said "Please. Let's not do this to each other." (And yes, it was in Grazia, issue 285)

This short anecdote means a lot to me. We are all doing it, aren't we? You have a successful job, I don't. I have 4 children, you say 'I have only 1 (2, or 3).' You play often with your children, I play one game of Monopoly per year. You are on time to pick them up, I am often late. You have never slapped your children, I have. You don't bake cakes, I bake a mean chocolate cake. Your child loves beetroot, mine hate it. Your children speak their native language, mine speak 2. Your children make their beds and tidy their rooms, mine are slobs etc.

Let's focus on the important things. It seems that the 'memory trick' is a good one. When I think of you, what will I remember you by? What do I want you to remember me by :
'Remember how you were always late?' 'Your chocolate cakes were incredible'?

Mhmmm... Can I choose please?

Last year, one girlfriend from my old life in Brussels said to me 'I miss the endless coffees we had in your kitchen, your kitchen is the fondest memory I have of the house you lived in, it was so cosy and warm and comfortable... (we are talking big 70's kitchen in rented house, with dirty white broken tiles and brown cupboards, complete with Ikea stools with screws coming off)
I nearly fell of my Ikea stool when I heard this.

I always felt so inadequate, offering coffee in the messy kitchen because there were always snacks, dishwasher emptying, homework, meals to prepare and I could never spare the beautiful calm moment to sit down properly in the living room and enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee with my friends.

And then this. What a gift this friend gave me. I had given her something she enjoyed and I did not know it at the time. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, nurturing the feeling of inadequacy.
So while I will keep trying to do better, I will also stop nurturing the wrong thoughts, stop comparing, stop trying to measure up to standards that are made neither for nor by me. And that goes for you too.
There you go.

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