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Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Smile Files: Music

In Celebrities, Dancing, Singing, The Smile Files on September 24, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Me in 2005.

I’m one of those girls that you see in the movies. No. Not the leggy blonde with the knockout figure and big boobs that point to the sky. The other one. You know, the embarrassing one with the big laugh. That one.

I’m Bridget Jones sitting in her flat, wearing pyjamas, singing All By Myself at the top of her voice and guzzling red wine. I’m Susan Sarandon belting out Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (into a hairbrush, of course!) while dancing around her bedroom with her kids in Stepmom. Yep. I’m THAT cheesy.

There’s a funny thing about me. You can always gauge my mood by whether or not I’m playing music. Of course, if I’m depressed there is nothing like a sad song to hit the mark. But in general it’s not the type of music that I play. It’s the fact that I’m playing it at all. When I feel deflated, for me music doesn’t even exist.

If I’m in a good mood, I’m my neighbours’ worst nightmare. It’s playing in the background on the rare occasions that I do housework. It adds atmosphere to the house while I’m surfing the Internet or doing something that doesn’t tax the brain. And it’s a great way to get myself in the mood when I’m tarting myself up for a date or a girls’ night out.

But, to be honest, I don’t need an excuse to play music. Many times I turn on the iPod because I want to have a party in my living room. I want to grab my wooden spoon or my polka dot lint roller and sing while prancing around. I don’t just want to move like Jagger, I close my eyes and pretend that I’m sharing a microphone with him.

And when a slow song comes on – like a good old-fashioned Patsy Cline tearjerker or that Penny and the Quarters tune, You and Me from the movie Blue Valentine – then I slow dance, with my shadow I guess, because there’s no one else around.

I know you’re cringing on my behalf right now. I’m cringing for myself because I can’t believe I’m sharing this with you. This is probably the most intimate thing that I’m going to reveal about myself, because it is private. It is silly and if someone ever walked in on me while I’m dancing around in my vest and pants like an idiot I would be mortified!

But guess what? It’s one of those simple things in life that bring me pleasure. And I don’t think you need to be Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones’s Diary or Tom Cruise singing You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling in Top Gun to experience it. If it makes you smile, just do it.

So, in honour of all those geeks out there, click on the link below and join Cher, Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci, grab the nearest hairbrush and sing The Shoop Shoop Song from the Mermaids soundtrack. Go on. You know you want to. I promise not to look.

M x

The Curse of Perfectionism

In Bipolar, Exercise on September 12, 2011 at 3:18 am

I have a problem. All of my life I’ve wanted to be perfect. On the surface perfectionism sounds like it is anything but problematic. Who could fault someone for trying to achieve his or her personal best? Surely this is what our parents and teachers taught us to strive for? Work hard. Do your best. That’s all anyone can ask of you.

But, for me, I always wanted more. I’ve never wanted to blot my copybook. In fact just one stain would make me want to toss the whole thing away.

I’m not making an analogy. I’m being absolutely honest. There are days where if I write the date or the words “to do list” on the top of a blank page of my notebook and accidentally make a spelling mistake, rather than cross the offending typo out, I will rip out the page, tear it up and throw it away.

This doesn’t mean that I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I don’t insist that the tins in my kitchen cupboards all face forward or that my books are stacked in alphabetical order on my bookshelves.

My version of perfection is the “Oh fuck I’ve blown it, now I’d better go off the deep-end” type of perfection. Like a dieter who falls off the wagon because she has had one cookie and then proceeds to eat the entire pack – plus a giant bag of potato chips, a burger, fries and that milkshake she always denies herself – I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl.

I guess that’s why I have bipolar. It makes sense. I’m either saint or sinner, virgin or whore, lazy or incredibly busy. I can be a sloth, sleeping hours of my life away, doing no exercise for months and then transform myself into an exercise fiend, clocking at least nine hours at the gym in one week.

I can spend weeks knitting hats, blankets and scarves for family and friends furiously click-clicking away. Then a few months later, I will groan at the thought of being anywhere near a ball of yarn.

(PS This doesn’t translate to my work. I’m grateful that my bipolar has never affected my ability to earn a wage. If anything my bouts of mania propel my productivity. If I get depressed, I take myself off for a walk at lunchtime just to get away and clear my head.)

It’s outside of work that my battle to be perfect often impedes me; paralyses me.

So, it’s no surprise that after having verbal diarrhoea and uploading multiple posts within the first month of The Moody Cow, I have since been silent.

Oh dear. I didn’t write two pieces a week on a Tuesday and Thursday like I promised myself that I would. Oh the shame.

What my silence over these past few months has taught me is that doing something, anything, no matter how little, is often better than doing nothing at all. And if in my quest for perfection I muzzle myself it is an exercise in futility. Writing one sentence a week would have been far more productive than bemoaning the fact that I haven’t written anything of substance for months.

I don’t know if my quest for perfection is a “bipolar” thing or a “Marissa” thing or if it’s something that plagues us all from time-to-time. All I know is that it has sucked the life out of me for far too long and rather than be perfect I want to be productive. Progress, not perfection is my new goal.

M x