Ladies, We Need To Talk About… Mental LoadCulture, Books
Inside the invisible, intangible work we do to keep your household...
The days are stacked against what we think we are. Jim Harrison said that. And as you read this today, your day is probably stacked against one exhausted human who is counting down the hours until she can switch on her Out Of Office and have a gin and tonic knowing that she doesn’t have to revisit her inbox for two solid weeks. The woman who will return, though, will be different. She will be motivated and motivating and interested and interesting. She will be the type of woman who runs every morning and meditates twice daily while maintaining inbox zero and her ideal jean size. She will deliver presentations with ease and never fumble her words in meetings and not need three coffees a day to function. She will require one. She will not be your current self, but your ideal self; because it is a New Year after all, which allows her to finally arrive.
I know this woman all too well because I think about her all the time. I will be good and confident and everything will fall into place once I am her. And as terrific as aspiration and ambition and striving is for our progression in this world, it also whispers something else. If Harrison – the American poet, novelist and essayist – was correct and the days are stacked against what we think we are, we currently don’t think we are enough. Our days, therefore, are stacked against our lack of enoughness. This issue has been quietly bubbling away in my mind for some time, but stayed put at the forefront earlier this month. I read Bri Lee’s book, Beauty, and in it she writes about the professional woman’s increasing obsession with an unattainable standard of physical perfection. She referenced Heather Widdows book, Perfect Me, which explained the idea of the dual self. There is the ‘self’ we are currently, and the ‘self’ we aspire to be. “Working towards the aspirational self with the kind of commitment I had been showing necessitated a disdain-borderline-revulsion for my actual present self,” Lee wrote. In order to reconcile her own perfectionism and self-worth intertwined with her appearance, Bri wrote, “I didn’t need to ‘let myself go’, I just needed to let that self go.”
You’ve hit the glass ceiling. And our paywall.
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