We seem to live in a culture obsessed with the power of transformation. We have TV shows that tell us how we can redecorate our homes, magazines that tell us what kind of clothes and makeup to buy for which occassions, how to lose weight, how to gain muscle, how to make ourselves bigger and better in every way.
Except, I don’t want to change. I think I’m fine, thanks very much. I recently cut my hair shorter, but that’s because it was driving me crazy. I could really probably stand to lose a few pounds, but I’m not overweight and I comfortably eat really good food without too much worrying. When I do shop, I tend to buy the same types of clothes: tailored blouses, jeans, boots, wrap dresses, v-neck, lightweight sweaters, and pretty scarves. By now I know what fits, what doesn’t, and that nothing is ever going to change my Ukranian peasant physique.
My house could use about a month’s worth of clearing up, but it’s fine, too. Not the biggest. Not the fanciest. Certainly not the most beautifully decorated, but a good size for all of us, with a view I love, a kitchen I love, and wonderful natural light. I have the antique furniture that I grew up with, and so far, it’s surviving yet another battering from yet another generation of children.
I live in the same town I grew up in, have the same checking account I’ve had since I was fourteen, drive a car that’s not new but not old, either, and even the dog from my youth is still alive and kicking.
But that’s not to say I don’t embrace change and difference. Of course I do. I’m a fiction writer. But fiction can be scary to write, at least for me. You have to travel really far outside of yourself into an imaginary world you’re simultaneously creating and recalling. For me, it’s almost like an outer-body experience, especially when I’m writing in the first person, and, trust me, when you’ve been at it for hours and hours, and the light is starting to fade and evening is coming on, suddenly it can get frightening. That’s when I’m so blessed to be able to turn on the lights and descend back down to my real life.
I would never tell anyone how to live her life, but, seriously, the next time you’re in a dressing room despairing over your thighs, or on the troll for a new shade of lipstick, give yourself a stern little shake, realize you’re fabulous AS IS, and remember, sometimes it’s not you, it’s them.