Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | November 14, 2005

A little bit louder today.

I woke with a headache at 3:00 am and am absolutely in love with my friends. But today? Ladies and gentlemen,

Sometimes I just feel confused, desperate, out of control. Some days it’s because I shopped too much and have a spending hangover. Some days it’s because I spent several hours panicking about too much to do and showing it by sitting perfectly still. Most of the time it’s because I’m daydreaming.

If you ask me about the things I’ve been through in my life, my memory is notoriously selective. I’ve spent so much time trying to feel something worth feeling, have love worth having, make life deeper and more meaningful in all the little moments than it really is, that on some level, all my personal moments just run together into one confusing mess of pre-adolescent selfish instinct. I am swept away by propaganda and soaring melodies, indulging my vanity, my imagination, letting myself fly away into a world where everything is as I want it. I’ve always fantasized, and all my fantasies have always centered on me. There I am, perfect, beautiful, maybe we can make that waist just a little smaller, there, there it is. I want perfection. I want me to be perfect

The terms have changed, but the attitude hasn’t. It doesn’t matter whether it’s that I want to be the smartest, the happiest, the coolest, the most cynical, the most beautiful, the most stylish, the bravest, the most successful, it’s always the same: I want to be the best.

But the terms are never quite acceptable, and I’ve spent much of my life trying to figure out what was wrong with the fantasy and not what was wrong with me. It’s a way of thinking about the world as if it quite literally revolves around you, a way of thinking that traps you in a swirling mess of uncertainty and strained relationships and credit card debt, books read and analyzed but not understood, melodies followed but not felt, words penned but not objectively, work created without any depth, prayers spoken in imitation of sincerity, views soaked in through the filter of how I feel and what I want, not what they are and where I belong.

I’m still not sure what’s quite so painful about understanding that I’m not the most important thing in the world, but there is something about stepping down that is just so hard for me. Maybe it’s because of the perceived injustice in a world where people like Carrot Top and Jessica Simpson are idolized for their stupidity. They never have to worry about stepping down because they can buy her way out of reality and photo shoot their way out of failure. Even as I’m writing this, it feels as if I don’t really know what I’m saying. I sure as hell still don’t know why.

But I will tell you what I do know, what has hit me in the recent moments where real tears nearly choked me in the recent insights. Where reality has broken through the perpetuated daydream to show me that I am not the monster in disguise I was years ago. I no longer seek your approval or anyone elses. Itís my eyes I see staring back in the mirror. To hell with photo shoots and gossip columns. It’s not a matter of whether or not you’re as bad a person as someone else, it’s a matter of whether or not you are living your own life as you should. Iím taking that with me. For me.

And I’m not, and on some level, all of this – all of this endless self-glorification, self-obsessed googling, even the half-well-written papers and smoothly articulated opinions – is nothing but vanity, pure and simple. Nothing but selfishness and harm. Nothing but validation of things that shouldn’t be validated, like my desire to be everything to everyone. Canít I? I want to be that gal you can turn to for advice, for information, for analysis, the one you can take to the party and not have to worry about, to the bedroom, girl with all the answers, all the makeup and the shoes, all the books, all the subscriptions, all the smiles, all the smarts, all the stuff.

Iím slapping myself in the face and telling you, it is in me somewhere. But you’re not going to find it here. That’s all I needed to say.

I’m glad we had this talk. Much mo’ better now.


  1. Wow. Sounds like you had a big weekend.
    That’s an awful lot of profundity for a Monday morning, especially because it sings so true for my own life and situation.
    So, coming to that realizaion, where does one go from there?

  2. if not here, then where?

  3. glad you’re feeling better…this sounds somewhat familiar ;-)~

  4. So, i’ve struggled a lot with what you say. Life is selfish, self-centered, a way to validate what we dont know. But i think the separation of vanity and self centeredness from everything else can be found in the recognition of it. In someways it will always be “all about me” but realizing that that’s inherently wrong and trying to right it can, incidentally, make it “all about you.”

  5. Wendi – those little pep talks make great crutches.

  6. sounds a bit familiar. I only wish my memory was selective…

  7. We are human ūüôā

  8. (breathe deeply, too)

  9. “The terms have changed, but the attitude hasn’t. It doesn’t matter whether it’s that I want to be the smartest, the happiest, the coolest, the most cynical, the most beautiful, the most stylish, the bravest, the most successful, it’s always the same: I want to be the best.”
    Seriously, it’s like you crawled right into my thoughts about myself. It’s actually freaky how many times I’ve thought the EXACT same thing.

  10. So wonderfully written. I feel your emotion. Greek Tragedy of the West, you are.

    To answer your question, I’ve been studying for that damn exam which is tomorrow. Haven’t been doing much else of anything. Tried to email you, but it got rejected so you may need to de-spam my address. Take care JH and thanks for thinking of me. PT


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