‘The garden should fit its owner or his or her tastes, just as one’s clothes do; it should be neither too large nor too small, but just comfortable’Gertrude Jekyll
‘The one charm of the past is that it is the past’Oscar Wilde
Recently I’ve been looking through my old journal-style diaries from the past 20 years, and to be completely honest apart from the occasional important memory of note I’m absolutely mortified at the repetitive patterns of self-absorbed thoughts and feelings skimming the surface that seem to have carried me through life thus far.
Shockingly there is little textual content of any real consequence to remark on, or to recall with even a modicum of pride. Instead I’m like a broken record regurgitating a continuous litany of woes, producing page after page of lamenting in longhand, a multiplicity of myopic miseries droning on and on ad infinitum.
It’s embarrassing to read back over such singular insularity. I mean, I know they’re all my diaries, written exclusively for my eyes only, but even so… I always remember them as being my precious personal space for writing unhindered and unregulated whatever matter of vital importance was on my mind at that moment. Words to guard well for posterity, or so I thought.
So where are all those wise pronouncements and reflective insights I was expecting to see? More to the point where has all this constant wittering on about vacuous bullshit come from? Was I really always so momentously preoccupied with my hairstyle, my clothes, my weight above all else? Was I always so unhappy in my work, wherever I happened to be working at any given time?
I can’t help but cringe at the reality of reading back over such revealing records. It seems that overall on the whole my daily life was neither as good nor as bad as I remember it. And there is a recurring irrelevance to the regular topics I seemed to find so important to focus on time and time again, leaving my everyday normality registering nothing of note on any scale of social significance.
Distressingly it seems in retrospect I’m not actually the kind of deep-and-meaningful person I thought I was at my core, and have in fact in essentials proved myself to be just as shallow and narcissistic as much of the rest of humanity… how depressing! However I suppose there is no point in shedding tears of dismay over the disappointing internal world my historical diaries have divulged.
So the time has come for me to move on from all these embarrassing old wordy memories once and for all. I finally need to lay my past to rest and look ahead to the unwritten future, unencumbered by the rotting entrails of emotional baggage that follow me around like a fomenting feast of frustration and futility, eating away at me. Because ultimately what’s done is done, and thankfully the one charm of the past is that it is the past… 🙂
‘Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’Lao Tzu
I truly embrace the theoretical philosophy of life inherent in Buddhist ideology, but oh, how I struggle to fully imagine what it means in practice! ❤
The other day for my April A-Z letter ‘Q‘ I posted a few images of quotations carved into paving stones in Inverness town centre. One set of wording in particular has stayed with me, so I looked it up online and to my surprise found it comes originally from the Bible.
There are of course many different versions/ translations of the Bible, and although I’m not at all religious these days I grew up knowing the King James Version, so here is that particular translation of the quote I liked so much:
‘Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it’Song of Solomon Chapter 8, Verse 7
‘Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative’HG Wells
‘Tries hard but could do better…’
Fandango has asked a really thought-provoking Provocative Question this week – he asks:
‘Are you the same person on your blog as you are in real life? Do you like yourself more in the virtual world than you do in the real world?’
What a cool question! All I need to do now is work out how best to answer it. Who is the Ruth who blogs here? Hmmm…
I think my blog me is just a normal everyday part of my general public persona. You know, the polite friendly smiley person who is a trusted work colleague or something similar – much more than a nodding-acquaintance-in-the-passing, but not anywhere near as intimate as the kind of relationship as I might possibly share with my closest friends and family who know all the deepest darkest skeletons in my closet and have seen me at my absolute worst time and time again and continue to love me anyway.
I do sometimes share quite private stuff about me on my blog, but carefully, thoughtfully, and hopefully while still maintaining a bit of dignity and reserve. Because at my core I have a life-long fear of not being good enough, which leads to me being a people-pleaser at heart, which in turn brings me to a frustrating tendency always to try to blog with care so as not to offend. And as a result of that in-built caution I’m very aware of differences in societal norms between bloggers, and therefore how much that cultural awareness (usually) plays into the overall attitude and tone of my posts.
Over the years across other blogs (long gone now) I have shared insights into my life-long struggle with depression, and none of you can fail to notice I’m not at all religious and my politics veer way more to the left than the right. I can be quite strongly opinionated at times, and so struggle hard not to be overly judgemental of others when I do find myself having an online rant. Most of my posts are therefore probably relatively bland and ordinary and harmless in content, and I do try to keep my blog as a positive creative space, although that’s become increasingly difficult to stick to in the current global political arena.
And what do I think of her, this virtual Ruth who blogs here? Generally I think she’s OK, and most of the time we mirror each other’s views in perfect harmony but sometimes I want to push her into being even more honest in what she writes about the stuff that really matters to her. Sometimes I think she skirts around the edges too much, paddling cautiously in the shallows instead of just diving in deep and to hell with it. Sometimes I think she’s just too reserved, too polite, too people-please-y… and at those times she slightly disappoints me. Sometimes I wish she was braver, and cared a little less about what other people thought of her. (But to be honest I think like that about me irl too…)
So what can I say – this persona that appears on the pages of my blog is most definitely me, but I suppose only one part of me. She’s the virtual equivalent of me with my hair done and make-up on, in the smart-casual clothes I wear to go out in public. The confident adult me who understands how to behave well, how to respond appropriately for my age. The careful adult me who is concerned about what other people think of me and always acts accordingly.
So there we are, and here I am, having concluded that I probably feel pretty much the same about the blog me as I do about the real me – basically ‘tries hard but could do better’ 🙂
Keep calm and colour in…
From fake news to foreign virus, with Europe as America’s fallguy in this global crisis – forget it, fuckwit, you’re way more than a day late and a dollar short with your sudden show of pseudo-statesmanship… That ship has long since sailed, you’ve well and truly missed the boat with this one, and the rest of the world watches and waits as your scuppered administration finally starts to sink.
We were listening to the radio at breakfast this morning on the results of yesterday’s US election ‘Super Tuesday’, and the discussion moved on to Michael Bloomberg’s bittersweet win in American Samoa on the back of such dismal failure everywhere else. The reporter likened it to Bloomberg losing a fortune in the main casino, only to win a handful of loose change on the slot machines on his way out! 🙂
‘The afternoon of life is just as full of meaning as the morning; only, its meaning and purpose are different’Carl Jung