Where are you? Are you there Ev?

Where are you? Are you there Ev, I can’t see you? I can’t hear you? Where are you?

Over the last twelve months I have experienced a sense of loss, I’ve felt lost but not physically lost like I’ve taken the wrong turn but mentally I feel lost with a teaspoon of numb. Not the lemon and sugar a pancake deserved. Everyday I have found myself asking three questions, Who am I? What am I? Where am I going? This feeling has been combined with a never ending feeling that I am not good enough, full stop. What are you not good enough for Ev? Everything. Success in the workplace, nope not good enough. Entering into a remission, god no, definitely not good enough. Do you see what I’m talking about now?

Around a month ago, I made the decision to end a chapter. I’m not sharing the finer details because it’s not fair and such a life change deserves closure, for me this place serves as closure. Once you’ve read it, it feels like it can be put to bed. So, let’s unpack.

Where are you Ev?

In the last week, I watched Gone Girl. When I say, watched, I actually mean re-watched. I adore the film and the book, so much so I wrote a post here. I can’t make out it was my first viewing either. Another flaw, I re-watch the same films/tv series while bathing. To give those who live under rocks, a top line summary here you are, Amy Eliott Dunne, wife of Nick Dunne goes missing and the rozzers start asking whether her husband has something to do with the craziness. But, you’ll have to stream on Netflix/Disney Plus to know the ins and outs of the film. In the film, Amy Dunne is seen driving, (spoiler she drives) as she drives her voice over accompanies the scene in which she speaks of the cool girl. Now, I’ve seen the film so many times, the ending and the plot twists are no longer jump scares but I can’t quote it word for word, so please excuse my GoodReads copy and paste below. The line Amy speaks resonated with me, because in the process of finding love I resonated with the Cool Girl sentiment.

Amy Dunne says,

“Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl. Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”

I never considered myself to be the sort of person who would delete, block and delete but I did. And it wasn’t even a hard action to master either, it was as easy as tapping your iPhone on a card reader. I didn’t regret the action, in fact the action reaffirmed my power. I took back the control, I thought I had lost. I would like to add, that these actions are filled with emotion because while you’re coming to terms with a chapter ending you’re now removing all trace of that life. Social media, phone and emails. I feel like blocking and deleting is a scary thing to consider, but I knew it was a way of protecting myself. For me, having memories feels a rather damaging elephant in the room. It would be like Madonna writing her auto-biography but missing a chapter about the cape incident at the Brits in 2015. An event which she can’t escape but needs to address as by not you’ve got a caped elephant in the room. The art of blocking is effective, previously I’d have kept people who had wronged me because it was nice living my life for them to see – but actually it was me watching as they got married had children and lived their lives to the fullest. The only person being hurt was me.

I have for the last month started an exercise called ‘everything they hate’ which sounds very much like the title of a book an influencer would write and later reveal was stolen from a leading therapist, if I say so myself. The exercise involves no actual exercise, but it is an activity. And yes, while you read and digest this I am wearing a previously disliked piece of clothing while watching a series disliked. Every day, I wear, say, listen, do, watch anything they hated. It’s been a month, and everyday there is something new which is something quite unsettling in itself. The daily exercise has left me realising just how much I had stopped doing/wearing/listening because heck I thought I would be valued more for sacrificing. I’ve reclaimed trousers and shirts that I had put to one side because they were unflattering or unsexy according to that previous version of myself. I ask, how did I allow an earlier version of myself run away?

While wearing and eating old favourites feels like a running joke, I’ve had to upgrade and increase self care to form a support system. I am trying to walk 5K a day, not run because I don’t run and how many happy runners do you see? While walking, I listen to an audiobook or podcast – recently I listened to The Emma Guns podcast, where she interviewed Sarah Jessica Parker which was a quick soundbite but one that was worth the long introduction for. I have never been a SJP fan and I was never a Carrie kinda fan in Sex and the City but I was interested to hear how she approached the subject of mental health during a time where our emotions are exposed and dissected in front of us, every, single day. SJP used a thinking practice she applies ‘Feel it, park it, move on’. I had to stop walking and write it in my notes because I had to return home and ask how I could use this elsewhere in my life.

I’m going to drop the mic now, but i will return to the practice SJP seems to use to keep sane.

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