I’ve got stonewash grey tight jeans, white Adidas high tops, a navy hoodie. Straightened long dark hair (flipped over to the side), minimum makeup (saving my face for tonight). A handbag over the crook of my arm, iPhone clutched in hand.
I stop to take a selfie. Cue pout.
I went running this morning, did some planks. I’m going to the library to study (digital advertising). I’m going out dancing tonight.
I could be anywhere between 14-40, living in New York, Paris or Sydney. It’s so iodine, so middle of the road, so zeitgeist.
Yet the whole thing makes me feel so normal. I feel so in-line with my generation, so strangely connected to what I’m “supposed” to be doing. It’s unreal.
I’m usually covered in children, toddlers, stains and shouting. This week we had nits and intestinal worms (not the first time for either). Broken stuff, shouting. Running from A to B to drop and pick up children, guitar lessons and after school clubs. Food smells and grubby floors. Chaos, total imperfection.
Selfies and straight hair and my i-Phone and looking hot make me feel in control for the first time in a long time. Belonging to the external world, having value in the external world through objects and the image they project of me. Objectification total.
Of course, the world that gets played into is manipulated, highly consumer and very external. Does nothing for my soul. But habits and routines that ground us in their repetitive simplicity – in the feeling that we are all doing it – they reassure you.
It reassures me to have clean, nice smelling clothes, to have material things that are unbroken, that are mine. I feel I belong to myself.
In this world, where does parenthood lie? Where do chaos and bad smells and mess and parasites and sleepless nights and never going out lie?
It lies at the other end of the value spectrum. It has no value in this external world, it is worthless, just an impediment to the real stuff, the stuff we want and are taught to want.
And so we feel trapped and impeded and held back by our kids, they become another thing to manage, to get done so we can get on with living, and run the risk of making them feel worthless and annoying.
Objectification of the self, objectification of life. Sweet illusion of control. We cling onto it sometimes, like a raft before going under into the (inevitable) undercurrent of chaos again.
Today is an exceptional day.