(Why yes. I did get made up as a zombie and do a photoshoot.)
Who am I now? That's something I've been mulling over. I want to be many things. Many of them are reliant on being a fully able, fully healthy person, with unlimited funds. Those are the wants I bring out when I want to beat myself up. The unattainable. The ridiculous. The ones that I only want because I can't have them.
Self-flagellation and I are firm friends. Even when we haven't seen each other for months or years, when we get together it's just like old times. As if nary a day had passed. We take up where we left off and joke about all the ways I've failed or cocked up in life.
In my more sanguine moments I realise that I am being a dick, which goes right against my "don't be a dick" policy on how to live life. Somehow being a dick to myself is okay, because it's me.
Don't be a dick, Michelle.
Say it 10 times and repeat at need.
Times like that I need to play this song (on loop and loud),
and list off all the ways I am pretty damn fabulous. Because I am. I just need to see it and embrace it.
Since being sick I've thrown off a lot of the usual constraints society places on us. Life's too short and energy too scarce, to waste it on filling a role designed by others. Coming from a pretty conservative family it's taken a lot of years, and soul-searching, to shake off the behavioural straight jacket that I was wrapped in at birth. It's been a little step here and a little step there, to find the pieces of me. To feel okay in my own skin, not the skin everyone else says I should wear. To realise my opinions are mine, and they are okay. That I don't have to spout the ones I was taught as I grew up. That I can speak my mind. That I don't have to apologise for being me.
At 41, am I still rebelling, or is it simply that I don't give a crap anymore? A little bit of both probably. I definitely don't have all my shit together, as evidenced by many of my latest posts. But I'm telling myself that is okay, and slowly I am believing it.
I realise as I type this my circle of friends and family, although small in number, represent those who take me as I am. Those who read the blog are the same. They are people who like me for me, in all my mixed up, slightly left of centre, contradictory glory, not despite it. They don't tolerate my difference, they are here because they like it. And that is a gift. One for which I am very grateful.
So thank you Amanda Palmer for making this song (and Map of Tasmania, because that never fails to crack me up. Whoever thought that little Australian phrase would make it's way into any song? NSFW for those who haven't seen the clip before.)
I need to start believing, that when I wipe away the crap I cover myself with and polish up the picture of me,
I am exactly the person I want to be.
I've included all the lyrics below rather than just selecting a few, because all of them sing to me and I think they'll sing to many others.
In My Mind