Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Beyoncé Factor

I was completely blown away by Beyoncé's amazing performance at Glastonbury at the weekend. She looked incredible of course, strutting her bronze, womanly curves in gold sequins and teeny tiny little shorts.  And her voice was astounding. But it was more than that. At the top of her game, she exuded talent, confidence, energy and fun. Her songs are about strong women, not afraid to give and take love, but sure enough 'ain't gonna put up with his shit if he treats her bad, girlfriend'. She was thoroughly entertaining.

Then it hit me: blimey, she and I are the same species. We have all the same base equipment. And other than her talent for singing, we were born with the same potential. Yet I have never felt so different to another woman in my life. It's easy to say, oh it's OK for her, she's a superstar, but she didn't get there without self-belief, determination, hard work and stepping out of her comfort zone time and time again.

She made me think about my own potential. I'm proud of many of the choices I've made and I know I'm good-enough at lots of things, but this woman is in a league of her own. Am I pushing myself enough? Could I reach similar dizzying heights of my own in my chosen field with more effort? Could I have thighs that could crack a walnut?

Well, I think the answers are no, yes and only if I give up cake. But I will take a leaf out of my new role model's book and set my bar higher. I'll have more self-belief, determination and courage. And more fun. Yes, definitely more fun. In fact, I pledge here and now that before my next big birthday, I will learn the whole 'Single Lady' dance routine and perform it at my party. I just need a couple of willing volunteers. Anyone.....?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Light days and dark days.

It's been a strange couple of weeks since I last blogged and I feel unusually reflective.

My darling daughter celebrated her 13th birthday last weekend. I have to confess to feeling a double sense of pride: firstly at the smart, hilarious, loving, feisty beauty she has become, and secondly that I managed to get her to this age alive. We had a rocky start - my own mum said I was the most difficult baby she'd ever known (cheers, mum!) and that DD1 was even worse. She cried day and night for a year. Looking back, I think it was frustration. She has always been more capable than her years and I think she was a toddler trapped in a baby's body. But we made it and she's amazing. She makes me feel ancient when she tells me to stop bopping to music in shops "Oh, my god, what are you doing,  mum?", yet she keeps me young by making sure I'm up to date with all the jargon when I ask, "So, sweetie, what exactly does 'it's reem, innit' mean?"
Last week I felt like a complete grown up when I realised that, after three fun years, I'd outgrown Facebook. Whilst once it had been a constant daily companion keeping me in touch with friends and providing entertainment on lonely evenings, I now found status updates annoying when they consisted of insensitive boasting from those still with cash to flash, endless links to music that I dislike or have never heard of and the most irritating of all: 'Dave is checking in at Tesco' announcements. I realised this kind of humourless brain clutter is like empty calories: lacking nourishment and sophistication but hard to resist. The final straw came when I received a link from one of my usually intelligent friends asking a quiz question: "Do you keep your ketchup in the fridge? Y/N?"  It had to go.

I've been struggling to find the motivation to write too, not least of all as my mum is very ill. We thought she'd beaten this evil disease but it's returned. My best friend's beautiful sister, just a year older than me, is also struggling with the same disease. As a freelancer, I don't have the luxury to wait for the motivation to return so I sit in front of the keyboard and write crap, delete and repeat. At least I'm trying, I justify.

This all boils down to mortality: some are at the beginning of their journey, others are battling for it not to end prematurely. I'm sitting in between both camps right now, giving help when it's needed and trying to make sense of it all without being able to change outcomes. For someone who is a natural born 'fixer', it's a difficult place to live.