Monday, May 30

VAIN

On Saturday I went to see my hairdresser, a tall blonde woman who always wears sneakers. It’s a new place, crowded with good looking people, and when I see their beauty I am able to relax. My hairdresser always asks me if I want tea or coffee, but if feels as if she’s asking me something profound. Luckily she never asks me about my life, my current job, my holidays. She washes my hair while she’s completely silent, and this is what I like. For a while I felt vain for investing in my own beauty, and even wondered if it was still there. But in a way I am investing in self-love, which is essential, even if your beauty fades.  

Sunday, May 22

EMBARRASSED

Today I went to a concert in town, given by a friend of mine. We hadn’t seen each other in twenty years, and since he was not divorced but happily married, I sort of wondered why all of a sudden he invited me. While trying to find my seat in the dark a big woman shouted: “Margot, it’s me, Carmen, remember, do you remember me?” Indeed I remembered this woman from high school. We weren’t friends, but perhaps she vaguely admired me. She had gained about fifty pounds, but smiled as if it didn’t seem to bother her. She seemed strong and relaxed and started asking me about my life: “So where do you live now, in which neighborhood?” I gave the correct answer, it was a rich neighborhood. Questions about my current job followed. Luckily she didn’t ask me if I had children, and I didn’t ask this question back. Before the concert started I checked if my phone was switched off. And suddenly I realised the somewhat awkward truth: I wasn’t embarrassed about not having children, I wasn’t embarrassed about not having a relationship or not owning a little red corvette. I was embarrassed about my phone.  


Saturday, April 23

SELF-LIBERATED

Yesterday someone on the news said: "Prince showed us what it’s like to be self-liberated, and it’s very sexy and hot." While growing up Prince meant everything to me. His music and the world he created with his music were my connection to something larger than life, a promise of a better future, the escape from dull suburbia, sex blended with spirituality, the possibility of being completely understood by someone, the loss of guilt and shame. In fact I have only seen him in concert once, and of course I fainted after a few songs. Two strong men carried me to the first row, someone handed me a chocolate bar. And then it started raining. By that time we were all dancing, completely delirious and wet, nothing seemed to matter anymore. Prince described his music as 'inspirational' and said that you must let your gift be guided by something clearer than yourself. Please try to look sexy as you are guided by his light.

Friday, April 15

BIOGRAPHY

Apparently, this was Nora Ephron’s biography in six words: ‘Secret to life, marry an Italian’. After two divorces I guess she did marry an Italian. I’m very fond of Nora Ephron, even her short stories mean a lot to me. I guess if I had to write my biography it would be: ‘Secret to life: don’t get married at all. Don’t get involved with any guys, no matter how they look or what they do or what they say to you.’ But that’s already more than six words.


Tuesday, April 12

RELAX

Yesterday I tried to relax, while having white wine and some tapas at the beach. Lately I haven’t been good at relaxing, feeling as if some natural disaster could happen any minute, that I will receive a phone call from a friend who tells me: ‘Yes, Margot, it has happened. The tsunami you were expecting has finally hit my house.’ Some people looked tanned and in control of their lives, I felt I wasn’t one of them. After two glasses of wine the waitress approached me. She wore a bright pink T-shirt and dark glasses and looked slightly intellectual. I imagined she worked on her Phd- thesis at night, something about gender equality in South-Africa, and that working as a waitress was just a bit of fun for her. ‘That guy over there would like to buy you a drink,’ she said, while pointing to an older bearded guy. There was no judgement in her voice, not even a hint of surprise. I looked at the guy, smiled, then turned my face to the sun. As long as bearded strangers were buying me drinks I could relax.       

Friday, April 8

CRAZINESS

Sometimes I wonder if life has made me slightly crazy. It seems logical that life itself will have a certain effect on us, that the pain we experience will change our bodies and our minds a certain way. There are rituals which only exist to control my craziness: checking if the door is closed, five times in a row, wanting complete silence on Fridays, talking to a cat as if he understands. A friend asks you why you keep all your old grocery lists and you answer her you like to read them now and then. There’s a soothing rhythm when you read those words out loud: ‘two rolls of bread, a pint of milk, some crackers, fruit and vegetables.’ On the bathroom door she finds small notes with texts which don’t make sense to her. You tell her you need to relinquish three things: the need to control, the need to be approved, the need to judge. There’s a poem about this on your bathroom wall. Your friend nods as if she understands. True friends accept our craziness.  

Sunday, April 3

IMAGINE

If you were my lover this is what I would tell you. Imagine you are standing here in front of me. I’m so close to you that you can smell me, my breath, my perfume, my sweat which still reminds you of the smell of a young boy. You think you know me but you haven’t touched me yet. My face has changed and I look so much older than you thought I would. My hair has become dry and thin. You think that touching me will change things, but it never does. I will still be that person that you cannot reach, and it is probably the only reason that you still desire me. You tell me something I don’t want to hear, that your life is like performance art. That everything we do in life is like a dance, someone approaching, the other one pulling away. Now there is no escape. I am alive, I have no excuses anymore. My beauty has faded, but you haven’t told me this. You stretch out your hand so I can hold you. And this is what I always do, this simple act which gives me joy: I hold your hand.