Tag Archives: depression

Content with Contentment – a seriously underrated state of bliss

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I don’t know about you, but I love newspaper horoscopes.

Even though I am generally quite interested in the politics and reviews and general goings-on sections, after I pick up a paper I  thumb through its inky recesses immediately, looking for the best morsel in the whole thing: Pisces.

It’s not that I really put a whole lot of faith in horoscopes, being as generic and vague as they are (a joy-killing skeptic once pointed out to me that, since there are twelve signs of the zodiac, then that Pisces horoscope would have to apply to approximately one-twelfth of the population…). I just think there’s something kind of cool about something so outrageously esoteric having such an exalted position along with serious news of the day.

It is rare, however, that any particular horoscope really stops me in my tracks. A few months ago, however, one did. I wish I’d cut it out or copied it down, because I felt like it had been written specifically for me.  It went something like this:

Pisces: The Portugese have a word, “saudade”, which does not really exist in any other language. It is defined, approximately, as a “…vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist … a turning towards the past or towards the future.” Get over yourself. It’s time to let it go, and start celebrating what you have.

For whatever reason, this really punched me in the face, and got me to thinking about my life. At 27 years old, I have had innumerable amazing and fortunate experiences. I have sailed halfway around the world; skiied in the Alps; lived in the woods; camped in the high desert; waltzed in Vienna; owned my own boat…. and the list goes on. But somehow, nothing has ever been enough to quell the fierce case of saudade which has brewed inside me for as long as I can remember. Nothing has ever been quite intense enough, no adventure is extreme enough, no relationship perfect enough, no job interesting or challenging enough, my body never thin or fit enough, no living situation exciting or edgy enough. For as long as I can remember, I have lived with an aching dissatisfaction with my life – for absolutely no reason. Not anywhere near as debilitating as genuine depression, but always there nonetheless. Even logic continually failed to cure it. No matter how many times I told myself that ‘there are millions of people out there who have it worse off in every possible way’, I just could not seem to get over that ever-present, background saudade.

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Cry me a river, well-educated first-world healthy-bodied well-loved princess!

 

Until now.

I’m not really sure where it came from, but for the first time in my life, I am really starting to feel content. I realize “content” is not a very strong word, but it’s not a very strong feeling. It is the absence of the saudade. The saudade has, for once, retreated with its murky shadow and left me with this very foreign, airy-fairy feeling of contentment.

I have so much to be thankful for! I have a man who loves me more than life itself. I have a rock-solid family who have and would support me in anything. I have a great career, doing something that is not always exciting and challenging, but definitely can be. I have a car that runs. I am blessed with health and fitness. I live in a place that is begging to be explored. Right this very minute, I am being paid an absurd amount of money to do absolutely nothing – legitimately!

I am not sad to see you go, saudade. I hope your vacation is lengthy, if not indefinite.

 

Paris Hilton and other excellent role models

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Ok, so here’s something I feel really strongly about: the total absence of good role models for young girls. I mean seriously people, it’s beyond pathetic. As if it isn’t hard enough for young girls to figure out what is the right way to be, act, and achieve, you have complete nincompoops like Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, and all their scrawny, useless friends. And whoa, hey, I know what you are saying right now: “Oh, M, you are just jealous of their fame and beauty!” Well, in fact, no — I completely loathe them and all their pathetic, attention grabbing stunts. The worst part is that they don’t even realize the power they have to make a positive difference in girls’ lives. I mean, when I was in grade nine, I was seriously depressed. I looked around me and I did not see one single person who was living the life that I wanted, I did not see one single thing to be excited about. And later on, working with girls of this same age on a sail training ship, I saw echoes of this mentality. I also saw them slowly come alive, throughout the week, seeing that there is a whole world out there, that they really ARE capable of taking the helm (cheez alert!) of both the ship and their own futures. It makes me so sad to see, and I know I am guilty of the same crime, that ridiculous desire to be thin; but if you type in “eating disorders” or “anorexia” or “dieting” you come up with an array – not of useful information or advice or help, but millions of teen girl bloggers offering the latest “thinspo” and self-poisoning nonsense and hatred towards their bodies. I mean, I have definitely had my moments, but I have always, somewhere underneath, known that at least I love and appreciate my body for all the miracles it performs each and every day! A body that allows me to walk, hike, run, ride a bicycle, hug people (and trees – which I have been known to do!) and generally provide this excellent platform from which to enjoy life. Yes, there are things which I still hate about my body! I hate my scar on my belly from my appendectomy 22 years ago, a real butcher job, and I hate how, even though I am not fat really, the scar is like a valley in Fat Land, and makes me never want to wear a bikini! And, of course, there are other things. But I guess I am really fortunate in that I DID find some amazing female role models. My mother, of course, has always been there as an incredible inspiriation, as the owner of her own successful business, a powerful, feisty woman! But later on, I ran into other amazing women, including Charlotte, Sherry, Dianne…. all older women who opened my eyes to the concept of being strong, beautiful, competent, intelligent, witty… all the things that I could ever desire to be. And so, I have made it my mission, in whatever way I can, to be a good role model for girls. I’m not sure yet what form that will take, whether it’s talking in schools or whatever, but I want to get involved and somehow show them that there are better, healthier, more worthy people out there to worship than gongshows like Paris Hilton, that to be pretty and intentionally dumb is not only a crime against yourself but against all women!  

Well that’s my rant for today.

Regards,

M