Actually it can be bad for your health. Well, don’t people say, as you wander through some complicated quandary over a cup of tea, or six……..’You think too much Whatever-your-name-is!’ as if that sorted it out for you. And that is how you respond. You nod, chuckle, or try to, at your own sillybilly-ness, and wave farewell, still puzzled and slopping with tea, and now with a label on your forehead that says I Think Too Much.
This knowledge adds to your problem. What you need now, you tell yourself, is a bell to ding as you plod miserably towards the frozen goods, to find something for supper. After all, aren’t you a leper of a woman among all these bright bustling ‘others’ with purposeful step and cheery lipstick? How could you have got it all so wrong for so long? And, didn’t your old mother, now frozen boned and 6 foot under, always tell you that thinking too much is really self pity? She never felt it. No time for that. She had to win two wars all by herself and that’s no task for a moaning Minnie whose self esteem forgot to leave the birthing ward with her and whose brain goes into cramp every time anybody asks a really difficult question such as ‘Would you like tea or coffee?’
I should have learned by now, you tell yourself, remembering all those wise words of advice you thrust on your daughters whilst they faced their own dilemmas, sounding just like your own mother and just as ridiculous. After all, what did you know about ‘popping’ or ‘tweeting’ or ‘shots’? I would have said, in order, balloons, birds, guns. But I would be wrong on all three counts. And that makes me the fool. Not because I don’t know what these new descriptions mean, but because I pretend its the same as in my day and it isn’t and never can be. What we old folks need to do is look to ourselves.
On that note, back to you over there mooning over the McCain chips. I have some ideas, based on my own search for self-esteem, which has been 60 years in the lower end of poor.
Yes, yes, I know I LOOK confident, but so do you when you put on your slap and pull on your sensible kit even though you just know you look fat in that pair of crimplene slacks, and will look as exciting as a poinsettia in June by the time you have lugged all those heavy groceries back up the hill.
I’m just a mother, a granny, a housekeeper, we tell ourselves.
Poppycock I say. Burn your crimplene slacks, as I did my dresses, although don’t do it, as I did, in a cane waste-paper basket. Way too dangerous.
And who invented crimplene anyway? I have never worn such an uncomfortable aberration of fibres; fibres that can set off an 80 kilowatt spark whenever anyone gets too close, which is probably its whole purpose.
Whilst thinking too much, I consider that once we women become mothers, we are thus defined in the eyes of the world. It gets worse at that glorious time when one of our own children gives birth to their own.
Now, we are Granny.
What happened to my name?
I know I should consider myself fortunate to be called anything as long as it’s not ‘Old Bag’ But what, I wonder became of me? Who am I, who was I once?
During the scary crimplene-burning process, I realised that I alone must dig deep inside to re-locate my self-esteem (yes, it was there all along only nobody said) and get to know it, to tend it with care, regardless of the smirks from those who much preferred me with none. I am not defined by my husband, my children or my grandchildren, nor my friends, nor my neighbours, nor my peers., and I can have my own opinions. I must begin to look at who I am, at what I believe in, at how I respond to something, to anything, and to bravely find my own voice and speak it out into the world.
I have no idea how to do it, but didn’t someone once say that stepping out into a fog is better than watching it through the window?
That way, at least we can cause some havoc.