on being private in public

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,

back in high school we had to learn the whole poem by heart, and it’s still with me. today i find it more and more unquestionable than when i was a teenager though. the parts we play differs not only over time, but also depending on where you are, and with whom.

personally, i often feel like i’m living in an eddie murphy film. you know, one of those really crappy ones where he himself plays all the parts.. it’s simply amazing i’m not schizophrenic. yet.

I begun writing this blog post several weeks ago, but I couldn’t get the words right without sounding snotty. How can I even begin to explain my life to someone who only sees me playing one role? Do I even want to, that’s another question. Not really, to be honest, but social media, this blog included, makes it hard to stay private. But by blogging or uploading photos myself, I can at least to some extent control the picture people have of me.

However, a few days ago, I read quite the interesting text on being a woman. How, in order to stay sane, you need to play three parts: peasant, princess and priestess, and it dawned to me, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m not at all starring in a b-rated movie, I am just taking this being a woman thing to a level of my own.

According to the theory, the problem with most women is that usually one part is stronger than the other two, mostly it’s the peasant that’s too heavy. Not letting your inner princess come out to play, nor listening to the wisdoms from your inner priestess, will put a heavy layer of stress on you. Having found some sort of balance between these three, it dawned to me – this is the secret behind people telling me what a strong woman I am.

I am a peasant. Not only do I have a fairly normal 9-5 office work (with normal, I of course mean nutty), I also have a house that’s more or less falling into pieces, and I’m taking care of it all by myself. I own hammers, lawn mowers, loppers, paintbrushes and a bunch of other tools, and I know how to use them. I know I’m a good shot (so does the woodpecker that pecked on my bedroom wall at 6 AM once, but that’s another story), and I know how to take down a tree. I furthermore know I’m a damned good cook, and the best food, I make when I use what I find in the backyard (or in the gardens of my neighbours’ – ping Dmitri!) .

I am a princess. I own eight ball or evening gowns (I think. I’ve lost count), and I use them regularly (as in once a month or so), never the same dress two parties in a row. No dressing code makes me uncertain, no table setting nervous. I know how to get ready for a dinner at the Jockey Club in only fifteen minutes (in a public restroom at CDG airport, mind you…), and I know how many kisses on the cheeks to give people depending on which European country they come from. The whole of Europe is my playing ground, and jewellery previously worn by my grandmothers have a special place in my hand luggage at all times.

I am a priestess. I am a powerful mystery, with knowledge I don’t always even myself know I have. I am an observer, I silently learn the hidden secrets and agendas of people around me, I often work in the background without anyone ever knowing I had a finger in it. I am most comfortable two steps behind, whispering helping words to the one standing in the spotlight, but I am not afraid of stepping up and taking charge if the situation calls for it (and for some reason, when I talk, people seem to listen).

I am exactly the person I always knew I was supposed to be, all those years of being bullied in school.

Thinking about it, I should probably thank the bullies for making me feel like I never fit in. Like the odd one out. You (if you by any chance are reading this, you know exactly who you are) all played an important part in the making of me. Please know that I have long since forgiven you for all the nasty remarks and sand-filled snowballs. I hope you lead happy lives, I sure as hell know I do.

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