An Apology to Ruby Wax

Last week I gathered in the London Jewish Cultural Centre with about sixty other people and bargained with my mind to open itself. Who knows, I thought, there might be something in this. And if not, we’re close enough to the door to escape early to the pub on the corner. My mind was most definitely not open, it was barely even ajar, and so I could not have been more surprised by the next hour if Freud himself had made a ghostly appearance.

The smartly dressed woman with the trademark cackle who sat in front of us was not the “Brand Ruby” I had expected. Instead we met an intelligent yet vulnerable woman, who was not afraid to share herself and her story with a room full of strangers. We met a woman whose eyes hinted at depths of suffering, despite her outwardly chic appearance. We met a woman who had crawled back from rock bottom and turned her genetic lottery card into a winning ticket. A ticket not for money, but for the accomplishment of making sense of the darkness and helping others find their way towards that same light.

At times I, similar to many of my fellow “1-in-4″s in the room, glimpsed snatches of myself on that stage. At times I felt almost as if I was facing a woman who was, quite possibly, one of the few people on this earth who “get” me: a thought contributed by one audience member who volunteered “you know me better than my husband of 25 years”. For an hour I felt less alone and more understood than I have in years. And all without me speaking a single word. I found the comfort and solace others find in a church. The air hummed with solidarity, empathy and shared but unspoken pain. When you spend your whole life pretending you’re “fine” moments like that don’t come around very often. And when they do you grab them and wrap yourself in them like a giant snuggly blanket.

I don’t know why I’ve resisted Ruby for so long. When I discovered her illness, active campaigning and studies I dismissed them as publicity. I scoffed at the idea of the firecracker I remembered from TV being capable of serious depth and despair. And for that I am truly sorry. Depression doesn’t operate on a class system. It doesn’t care if you are famous. And I more than anyone should know that the public you might be so very different from your true self as to be a totally different person. My perception of Ruby was based on limited media exposure many years ago, a person she herself admits was brash and aggressive, a symptom rather than her personality. This perception led me to dismiss her contributions as unworthy of my attention all these years later. Now I find myself looking forward to a quiet day when I can curl up with her book and spend another few hours in the comforting company of my newfound kindred spirit

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An Apology to Ruby Wax

Beauty is in the eye of the holder

If I think about my friends and work colleagues, the people I encounter regularly in my life, I would rate most of the people as “nice” looking, with perhaps one or two exceptions filed in the “beautiful” box. In my entire life I think I have probably encountered no more than 4 people who are truly perfection (here I define perfection to be traffic-stoppingly stunning looking). For most of us, glaring at them on the pages of our weekly fashion mag is the closest we will ever come to these specimens of perfection. We are unlikely to bump into them on the street, unless we regularly shop on Rodeo Drive that is. And yet 97% of women in the UK are dissatisfied with their appearance. The media’s constant hailing of these paragons of beauty is one of the main causes of our sorry state of self-loathing (nothing new there!). The question I ask myself though is this: why are so many of us allowing ourselves to be devalued by so few?

Think about it: how many of these “perfect” individuals do you know? As I look around me on the street I see all types of people: attractive, unattractive, slim, fat, tall, short, quirky, classic, the list goes on. And it makes me think: maybe we are the “normal” ones! We all know multiple Marys, Johns or Annes, not so many Catherine Zetas, Angelinas or Brads. These people are the outliers, the genetically gifted anomalies whose very existence demonstrates the wonders nature is capable of. When genetics and evolution waltz under a waxy moon in the house of jupiter and the cherry blossoms are the exact hue of pink and you add an eye of newt, they are what you get. And it’s wonderful, but it’s certainly not usual. 

Beauty will always be celebrated, and I think it should be. In the same way that I admire a artist’s greatest painting or an architect’s greatest building, I can admire nature’s great works of beauty. None of those, however make me want to be a library! We put these individuals on a pedestal and expend both money and effort trying to replicate the gifts they were born with, which is no more possible than trying to change our race or how many toes we grow. In reality we should expend no more energy than that moment of longing we feel reading a great book, that we have not the capacity to create something so inspiring, or that small regret we feel listening to a beautiful piece of music, that we weren’t born with the ability to compose. We easily dismiss our failures in these arenas of beauty as due to being born without or without a specific gift. Why then are we so harsh on ourselves when faced with physical beauty? After all, one could argue that, with enough practice and tutoring, anybody could sculpt or compose. 

In recent years I have come to realise that I am beautiful in my own way. I’ve not changed physically, I’m still the same ol’ me: my hair still refuses to behave, my legs are still wonky and I still have giant feet. What has changed is my perception, both of myself and of “the beautiful people”. These days I don’t look longingly at magazines and curse my genetic luck. Instead, I wish the people in them luck, both in being able to succeed with the face they’ve been born with or in being able to succeed in spite of it, whichever applies. And you know what, with all the time and energy I’ve saved, I just might write that book I’ve always thought about…

Beauty is in the eye of the holder

Weekly Writing Challenge: Miley Cyrus PUT IT AWAY DEAR, WE’VE ALL GOT ONE….

This is one of the funniest pieces of writing I’ve seen in ages. And so bloody true!

Phoenix Fights

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Sigh….

I do an opinion on this having seen a clip from the awards on the news, and to be honest?

The key thing that made me turn it off was sheer cringe making, arse clenching embarrassment.

Not because I was shocked;  The most shocking thing about it was the size and colour of her tongue, she looked like she had macroglossia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macroglossia) and couldn’t contain it all in her head at once.

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Put it away love, purlease, or at the very least buy a scraper and change your diet as from the look of it, you may be suffering from a little constipation?

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You may think I sound a little uncharitable and scathing but I tend to get really bored and irritated by people who try to shock.  Madonna in particular used to grateon me something rotten.

Back in the not so distant past, when I…

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Miley Cyrus PUT IT AWAY DEAR, WE’VE ALL GOT ONE….