There comes a time when you just have to.
Sit yourself down, put the bullet between your teeth to help ease the pain….and face up to reality. Face up to all those nasty questions you’ve been putting off for so long, rather like the way you lower your eyes so as not to see your own reflection in shop windows or worse still the mirror in the hallway. Can that really be me? Wasn’t I slender and 21 the last time I looked? I am like a child who plays hide and seek with her eyes shut, if I can’t see them they can’t see me. If only it worked that way with those nasty questions, if I don’t face up to them maybe they’ll go away. They don’ t though, they keep finding me in my wide open hiding space……me with my eyes shut.
So this morning as I swam up and down the pool, did acquagym and then lay in the sun for two hours, I opened my eyes, put the bullet between my teeth, careful not to swallow it along with the chlorine tasting water, and confronted my demons.
And what pathetic little demons they are too, once tackled head on they didn’t seem so invincible after all………I may be guilty of having used a smidgen of hyperbole then.
Do I have a right to be happy? Well, ok this one is quite a sizeable demon and I probably should have left it until last but it popped its head up first and demanded an answer. And of course it didn’t get one. Who on earth can answer that? Not if you’ve had a protestant upbringing, not if you are a converted catholic, not if…..
I can feel my eyes lowering again as I look into the rear-view mirror checking on what’s coming up behind me, drawing up next to me, overtaking me. That’s what happens if you stop looking in mirrors to avoid the real you, the 51-year-old you and not the 30-year-old you in your head, you get overtaken by life, by opportunities, you get left behind in the wrong lane.
Back to demon number one. Look straight into the mirror Jones! Happy, to be or not to be? To be, of course. The problem is whether I have the right to be. Sorry folks this little demon is a tough cookie and must be put on the back burner for softening up.
Demon number two. Should I have left work? Had I asked myself this question 15 years ago I wouldn’t be where I am today. I don’t remember actually querying myself on the matter, I just never went back to work once son and heir was born. It was taken for granted and not just by the Italian father. You can’t have a high-powered job and a baby, I didn’t have a baby to see him reared by a nanny, I want to enjoy his baby years, we don’t need the money……..I cringe. How narrow-minded, bigoted, selfish and shortsighted, and I was 37 and can hardly hide behind the excuse of young inexperienced motherhood. But here in Italy my not working seemed the most obvious thing to do.
Now we are at the showdown, me and demon number two. Ah hindsight.
Damn….i think I just swallowed the bullet and now I’ll have indigestion as well as lead poisoning and nothing to stop the atrocious pain of looking reality in the eye. The demons will be back to fight another day and I shall have to find another way of hiding from them. Anyone know any friendly ostrich, I hear they do a great thing with heads and sand……?