Monday, February 12, 2007

relating to people

"Went to buy some shoes today- so that I feel like a normal human being. Didn't work- oh well. Bought some shoes- still feel like I can't relate to 99.9% of the earth's population. Hmmm, why did I think buying shoes would make any difference?"
It's funny, this thing of relating to people – naturally as we go through life we encounter all sorts of people in all sorts of situations, and sometimes we are open, generous, sympathetic and warm, and other times we close ourselves off because of some prejudice or vulnerability or hostility we harbour. Sometimes when we want to be part of things we can't force ourselves out, because we're scared of it not happening. At other times, we buy shoes or something, like Nat. And we either fit then or we don't fit.

Do I relate to other people? I think I do, but I don't think that rationally. Just as Natalia has decided that she can't relate to 99.9% of the earth's population, I have decided that I can. I think I am like everyone else, and hate the idea that I’m not. No idea why I think this, or why I tell myself to think this, when it plainly isn't true, when it's impossible. The truth is that rules don't apply when we talk about our way of interacting with the world, or at least the only rules that do apply are largely self-imposed, although I suppose that if you're grossly overweight or outrageously attractive there are certain societal restrictions which are hard to fight. But if I relate to people it's largely because I choose to; I'm sitting on the train, for example, listening to some kid talking shit, trying to impress his mates. I didn't have friends like his when I was a teenager, nor want them, and nor did I talk like him or think like him. But I don't feel alienated listening to his bragging and machismo – I feel affectionate towards him – I was totally different, but still a boastful and arrogant kid in many ways. I remember wanting desperately to impress too, so he's alright by me, even if I would have hated him then.

Talking of the grossly overweight and the outrageously attractive – I watched several programmes about stick-thin models and diet-culture last week, some good and some bad. It's hard not to feel awful for teenage girls and the bodies that they are supposed to emulate. I saw Sophie Ellis Bexter on TV on Sunday. I like her a lot, and not just cause I think she's tasty – she's had a lot of criticism about her looks too, specifically the shape of her face, but she's bright and engaging. She's got, I note, the most amazing legs you'll ever see – they're magnificent in a kind of Darwinian sense; each one is about six feet long and absurdly slim etc. Obviously these freakish pins are a kind of miracle, not something you can work towards, but I couldn’t quite figure out if she was making things worse by wearing a miniskirt and allowing the popworld cameras to linger over them at every opportunity – nor of I was betraying my values by being happy to look at them. Any teenage girl who sees them is liable to just give up and head straight for the comfort-eating stash. On the other hand, why shouldn't she make the best of a great figure? It's a hard one, especially when you’re talking about a celebrity who you know is clever and thoughtful, rather than one equipped with not much more than an attractive face/body. I dunno. Anyone?


Anonymous said...

how i relate to people depends on my self-confidence. when im feeling on top the world i feel like i can relate and get on with anyone. but its difficult to sustain self-confidence and the mornings when i wake up and everything seems gray are the days when i fail to tolerate and understand other people.

Kat said...

what the hell, one minute you're talking about relating to people and then somehow you end up fantasising about ms bexter's legs .. are you a male by any chance? ;)
and if it is true that she's got perfect legs than I find relating to her all of a sudden a lot harder:P all i associate with her anyway is a video to a song called "murder on the dancefloor"? can that be right? didn't strike me as too thought-provoking. bah
and about relating in general .. i am getting better at it, but i'm still undecided whether the thought that i'm like everyone else is giving me comfort or driving me mad. it's probably both. can't fully accept that i am a human i guess ..