Friday, 21 January 2011

Will the real Sarah please step forward...

One of my favourite girlie movies was on last weekend so I recorded it and set aside time to myself to watch it while the boys were playing nicely.

“Steel Magnolias” – I can remember going to see it when it was first out.  There was quite a group of us and we left the cinema deciding which of the main characters we were most like.

I was the Dolly Parton character Truvey but without the big boobs!  Truvey is bubbly, positive and everyone congregated in her beauty parlour to set the world to rights.

I don’t think all my positivity has left me but right now I’m obviously not sparkling as brightly as I usually do.

At the moment maybe I identify more with Clairee (Olymipia Dukakis) recently widowed and looking for a new direction.  She buys a radio station!

Then there’s Ouiser (Shirley MacLaine) who utters the immortal line, ”I’ve just been in a very bad mood for the last forty years!”.  OK maybe I’m not THAT bad but I can understand her sentiments.

I put down my knitting and reached for the box of tissues when it got to the funeral scene.  

I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who’s never seen the film but M’Lynn (Sally Field) stands by her daughter’s grave distraught and angry at this untimely death.  She’s shouting and screaming and wants to know why?

There’s a lot there to identify with at the moment.  

The friends all gather beside her in true cinematic fashion.  It is the love and support they share that sees them through all the bad times and helps each of them face another day.

A couple of days later when I was half listening to the radio there was an interview about the different characters in Winnie the Pooh.

Andrew was always an Eeyore!  We had had that particular discussion many times.  I won a toy Eeyore in a tombola once and it still sits on our bed.

But who am I most like?

Sometimes I think I’m a Kanga, the maternal one who worries and fusses over everyone else.

When I’m in a quieter mood I feel like Piglet, shy and unsure of my place in the world.

Then there are the times when I long to be a Tigger, bouncing with certainty!

We are all totally unique, something we shared with the Treasure Seekers at church on Sunday as we played consequences and drew the most bizarre looking people!

At sixth form, in those days when you had time between lessons to consider such things, we decided what colour we were most like.  I was a pink person but with an orange personality!  Good luck working that one out!

You know I should really change the profile on here.  I’ve decided I don’t like the list of being a mother, daughter, sister ……and that W word!!!

The list is so limiting – so watch out one day soon I will change it.

People have expectations of certain words and because I’m so recently bereaved I get the constant question…

“How are you doing?”

It’s like that other horror when you meet someone new…

“So what do you do?”

What is this obsession with what people “DO”?

Now I confess that I am as guilty as the next person of not being more original but last Sunday at church it got to the point where when I was asked, 

“How are you doing?”

I would reply, “I’d be better if people stopped asking me!”

I mean it really is a stupid question.  My husband has been dead for a little over two months, I’m holding things together for the children and there are sometimes I feel really CRAP!   

The boys are the only reason for getting up in the morning and I have to carry on.  For a lot of the day I’m not the real me but an empty shell.  I’m truthful and I’ll give you an honest answer if you really want one but I have to move on for my sanity.  I’ve found out that if I dwell too much on all the sad stuff I begin to spiral downwards. 

Inside there are little bits of all these “characters” and they are not all fictional.   

There’s the person I want to be, the girl I was at 12 and the young woman I was when I married.  There’s a bit of a Tigger mixed in with a bit of Eeyore and a Dolly Parton character from a film!  If I were to draw it out for you it would look like those consequences people we drew in Treasure Seekers.

I’ve just finished reading a fantastic book, so good it’s in an envelope waiting to be posted on to a friend for her to read!   

It’s called Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  It’s one of those teenage novels that has so much to say to adults too.

The main character is magical and mysterious.  She is completely unconventional and that is her strength.

I’ve taken a great idea from its pages.   

Stargirl has a toy wagon on her bookshelf and in it are some pebbles.  Beside it are a few more.

I’ll let her explain for herself what they are for…

“It’s my happy wagon…It is about how I feel.  When something makes me happy I put a pebble in the wagon.  If I am unhappy I take a pebble out.  There are twenty pebbles in all.”

I thought this was a great idea, I’ve been looking for a simple way to determine how I am “doing” both for my benefit and for the boys to know.

I found a cup and saucer and I’ve counted out 20 plastic “diamonds”.

             In the cup = happy                 In the saucer = sad

The current ratio is 7 in the cup and 13 in the saucer.  All things considered I think that’s pretty good.

Maybe everyone should ask me different questions.  How many diamonds are in your cup today?  Is that more or less than yesterday?  

Realistically people ask because they care.  Having my cup and saucer of diamonds may help me to assess where I am and give a better answer than “up and down” which is a fairly standard nondescript reply.

There are always some people who wouldn’t take kindly to being told “stop asking me stupid questions!!!”

I’m certainly going to try and ask more interesting questions of other people.

Perhaps we should focus on who a person is and not what they do.

           Who are you today?
                A Clairee or a Ousier?
                       A Pooh Bear or a Kanga

                              Maybe even a Stargirl?


  1. A very moving blog Sarah and certainly made me think.

  2. I'm Piglet and my best friend from college days is Pooh. It's how we sign our emails especially on down days.
    Love your post, Sarah xxx

  3. Mainly Eeyore but sometimes Sh1t (sorry Pooh)