‘She lied in all the usual ways.’
–Charlotte Wood, The Weekend
It’s funny, the lies we tell ourselves. We don’t intend to; the lies are happenstance, and they serve a purpose. They propel us through complex lives where we clutch at narratives to understand ourselves and the people we love.
I’ve been very unwell, and I’ve had the time to read quality literature again. It’s a sad truth that I’ve mostly read easy and fun fiction for a long patch. Cognitive and emotional overload does not readily accommodate dense texts and lofty themes. Life has provided enough of those over the last few years.
I left the blog six years ago, in the belief that I must give my other passion a guernsey. I’ve worn the guernsey and it’s threadbare, but still much loved. To thrash the analogy, I’ve gone hard on the field, and I’ve finessed my skills. I love the game, I love my team-mates, and even the opposition, who have challenged me and helped me to grow. I’m tired, and injured and I need to step away for a season. While I heal, I’m working on training my mind to be still. I’m working on the dissolution of ego, a thoroughly privileged pursuit. I’ve learnt to crochet and spend time in the garden. I’ve started to turn towards old passions and pastimes I’ve neglected.
So, the quote: ‘She lied in all the usual ways’.
I happened upon two novels, Imperfect Women by Amarita Hall, and The Weekend By Charlotte Wood. I was struck by their similar themes about womanhood and friendship. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a shift in the way that women ‘mask up’. The MeToo movement was a collective cry of: “We will not lie for your convenience or comfort anymore”. I think there comes a time in a woman’s life when this realization strikes; when we’ve given of ourselves so that we’re careworn but keeping up appearances. We hear the catch cries: ‘I’m fine’; ‘I’m just so busy.’
For some women the realization hits early, and then they watch from the sidelines, free from the scrap, but frustrated or saddened by peers who carry the load, whose guilt propels them to be more and do more, unrelentingly. I’ve resolved to stop ‘lying in all the usual ways’, insofar as I will no longer be a martyred version of myself- I will help others where I can, but I will do away with the thoroughly feminine patterns of self-sacrifice and unrelenting high standards, so that I can crochet in peace.