Sunday, 30 May 2010

Wearing a Shell

Having a bath yesterday it was like I was seeing my body with new eyes. Folds of skin, extra fat, lines, cellulite - a body that had aged without me noticing it. But does it really matter? Isn't this body just a shell that protects who I am really am, and have always been?

Why this obsession with the outside at the expense of the inside? Why spend so much time trying to change the shell, and ignore the contents? Maybe it's because it is easier to deal with what's on the outside than look honestly at what's inside.

Call it what you like - your soul, your inner being, your personality, what makes you tick - but it is hardwired into us, and when we fight against it we are unhappy. And if you are unhappy, isn't it easier to blame your chunky thighs or your wobbly bum, than admit you are unfulfilled or have fallen out of love. It's much easier to change the colour of your hair than get to the root of why you feel lonely or misunderstood. And going on a diet is a great way to feel you have some control over your life, when inside you feel like you're going into free fall.

When I look at old photos of myself I see a shell that is tall and slim, smiling back at me like she doesn't have a care in the world. But the self I still carry around with me remembers that wasn't how she felt inside.

Modern life has become a series of aspirations, where our happiness is set to be sealed in some future paradise when we are richer, thinner, more successful in our career or living in a bigger house. The single thing few us can be is content in the here and now, in our own skin.

So for now, I'm going to try and worry less about the shell and try taking a leaf out of Robert Green Ingersoll's book:

"Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to make others so.”


geekymummy said...

The older I get the more I realze that true beauty cones from the inside. Happy people are beautiful.

Sandy Calico said...

Love this, Sam. Be happy now, not when you've lost a stone (or six in my case)! x

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