Written by Classmate
Fantasy Me is a great cook. She hosts huge dinner parties. She wears flimsy see through lace bralettes and saves the planet with biodegradable feminine hygiene items. She crusades against animal testing and she has beautiful plants scattered around her insanely clean house. She has a huge collection of herbs and spices, and makes mini muffins every weekend for her man. She is also extremely organised, punctual and focused. She is a keen hobby-ist and uses everything in her exploding craft collection. She always remembers everyone’s birthday because she’s such an amazing friend. She also looks perfect and has healthy hair & skin and perfect bloods and the perfect recovery.
And you know what else? She doesn’t exist.
I dawned on me yesterday that I carry around an imaginary version of myself, that is frequently “better” than the person who looks back at me in the mirror. Fantasy Me is perfect. And Fantasy Me is a stick I beat myself with. Real Me is constantly being overshadowed by something that doesn’t even exist. I realised yesterday that I’m constantly cheating on myself in my head with my best pal Fantasy Me.
Real Me is actually pretty sound. At least she’s honest. At least she tries and is living. At least she learns and isn’t too sickeningly perfect and boring to be around. So why do I keep rejecting her? Why do I keep telling her that if she just tried a bit harder, she’d be better at life? Real Me is doing a great job, thank you very much.
I have lots of plants, and most of them are close to dead. Out of a sense of duty (and horror that I lack green fingers), I persist. I buy herb plants that usually shrivel and die pretty fast. Some of he herbs and spices are out of date. I cleaned out a kitchen press the other day and found stuff that was out of date since 2014… We’re in the house since 2015! I threw out bags of green powdery stuff for smoothies because if I’m completely honest with myself it tastes like grass. Fantasy Me makes her smoothies very “healthy”. Real me prefers peanut butter.
I threw out old underwear that I’ve carried around with me for years. That I know I won’t wear. Because they’re ridiculous. And uncomfortable. Are you listening Fantasy Me? I’m a 31 year old woman who values comfort, living in Dublin, and not an 18 year old on the set of SATC.
Fantasy Me is in perfect health. Fantasy Me fudged the truth in the dentist a while ago and pretended it hadn’t been 4 years since my check up. Fantasy Me bends the truth at the doctor to seem like a better little recoverer, and Real Me finds this really unhelpful.
Real Me makes flapjacks. The odd time. And Fantasty Me will have to just shut up while I donate all the cookery and baking books that clutter the house. I’m not going to suddenly turn into Rachel Allen. Please accept that. And throw out that bloody mini muffin machine, you’re never going to use it.
The problem with entertaining a fantasy is that it takes us away from our own life. It means we don’t see what we are, as we are busy lusting after what we are not.
There’s nothing wrong with Real Me, in fact I quite like her. But no wonder she sometimes feels down, if she’s constantly being rejected and told doesn’t live up to expectation. Whose expectation? Who says I need to be a domestic goddess and “healthy” and a genius and super organised and…perfect?
The more we accept ourselves, the more we can open the doors of change. I now accept that maybe I’m better suited to freshly cut flowers rather than living plants. If I keep entertaining that green-fingered-fantasy, then I overlook something important that makes me REAL. I enjoy fresh flowers and kill live ones, so what.
I find myself in frequent Analysis Paralysis as I keep checking to see if I’m living up to my own imagination. No wonder I don’t feel present. No wonder I feel disappointed in myself at times. Not only do we compare ourselves to other people, we compare ourselves to a fantasy life in our own heads.
Real Me would like to get a few things off her chest:
Trivial Pursuit is boring, there I said it.
Diet talk is boring.
I don’t really want to know that much about “current affairs”.
Health food shops are robbers.
I like pop music.
The key to liking my body is to change my thoughts, not my body.
I’m not a great dancer… Yet?
I don’t have the skills for a dazzling smokey eye.
If it wasn’t for Facebook reminding me, I’d forget even more birthdays.
I’m not that tidy.
I’m not perfect.
Love classmate xxx