"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I try not to ruin my mood with idle thoughts of luck and fate. I don't like the idea of luck or fate or God. It gives me less control over life.

This is in no way meant to be taken seriously, but I've often wondered whether certain facts about me have affected my life.

For example, my pacemaker. I used to fancy that because my heart didn't work properly it was somehow repulsive, like I was a faulty good, a cracked gem next to a perfectly cut and polished one.

Another curious fact about me is that my due date was February 14th - auspicious day, no? But, being the typical unglamourous me, I missed it, came early, on some other unglamourous day. Hit and miss...my birth sounds a lot like my love life.

I am dreading Valentine's Day. As much as I hate it, I hate the flowers and the heart decorations put up everywhere, as if to say 'niner-niner' to everybody who's alone on this day where we celebrate love on the anniversary of a priest being stoned to death.

It's a human instinct, isn't it, to want to be loved. It's a pretty sucky instinct. If you think of all the pain and inconvenience and abused cartons of ice cream, it's a pretty stupid instinct. Because with the inherent desire to love and be loved, there is this inherent desire in others to take advantage of that.

It's very easy to say that I shouldn't be affected as I am, by hormones and love songs and romantic novels. But I am. I'm a girl, I'm a human, just smarter than some. I'm not ashamed of how I feel. It's what I want, just like lots of people want lots of other things. There's nothing wrong with that.

One thing I love about Pride and Prejudice, one of my favourite novels, is that Elizabeth Bennet is a modern, feminist character who has the same goal as we all do - falling in love. Love is not something silly and feminine and weak, love makes you stronger. Love is not a goal only for those who throw the women's rights movement out the window, and I hate it when people think I'm a hypocritical feminist because I do dream one day of falling in love and getting married and having children. My feminist beliefs have nothing to do with that oh-so-unreachable dream. Not all of us want to die old maids, you know.

I don't think society moves in sync with our human clock, our wants and needs at different times. It is neither socially desirable or acceptable, or indeed, compatible with the wants and needs of the male sex, but for women our mothering instinct manifests itself now, whilst we are still legally children. Our want of career is ever present, but if we give in to our human needs rather than our social ones, then our careers are often ruined, simply because of a lack of understanding and sympathy of the human life.

But still, Valentine's Day. I'm not going to go out, I'm going to study as much as possible, and I will not listen to Taylor Swift or watch Pride and Prejudice or read The Time Traveller's Wife. I don't think I can take it.


Adelaide Dupont said...

Very interesting.

Society is out of sync with our clock, our intuition. It either speeds it up when we're not ready, or it slows it down.

Interesting, too, about feeling like an unpolished, uncut gem. Our bodies can be incredibly symbolic: it's hard to remember that they are living machines, like watches. That's what a pacemaker is: a watch in and for the body.

The movie that I use when I think about luck and fate is probably Sliding Doors.

Things like birth and love life are very organic on the surface. And like anything organic, they are subject to depreciation.

"Our want of career is ever present, but if we give in to our human needs rather than our social ones, then our careers are often ruined, simply because of a lack of understanding and sympathy of the human life."

Hope you have a great alternative Valentine's Day. You have the other 364 days to satisfy your desire and need.

And while the desire to take advantage may be inherent, the awareness and consciousness of it may not be. Which is why "calling" is a much-misunderstood feminist strategy.

One of the things which is most attractive about love and desire is the way it allows us to let go of control in what can be a very regimented and routinised life.

And it's great to see that your desire for love doesn't negate or cancel out your feminist principles. Yes, love made Elizabeth Bennett stronger. She already had a powerful intellect and a penetrating awareness and insight.

(Colleen McCullough's The independence of Miss Mary Bennett is a great recommendation from over here).

Adelaide Dupont said...

Just a reflection on luck and the way I use it:

I seem to see it as synoymous more with "honour" or "privilege" than I do with "fortune" or "chance".

It does have the generic idea of "anything which isn't mine/I'm not entitled to more or less than anyone else".

I had reason to think about it - really think about it - in June 2010.

That's what happens when the Disingenuous Liberal helps me sharpen up a concept.