GWAS Short & Sweet (Carrie-ing on edition)

Join Girl With a Satchel for a cuppa and chinwag every Monday morning...

Often over the weekend I'll mentally torture myself chew over whatever blog posts I've put up during the week – there's usually one that leaves me cringing on reflection. Like wearing something trendy that Does Not Suit You (billowy, pillow-casey prairie dresses, anyone?) only to look back in horror: what the feck was I thinking?

Such posts generally occur when I forget to check in with my Christian values ("the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control"), even though while writing them I wrestle with the uncomfortable feeling that something is amiss.

Like Sarah Wilson, who confessed in her most recent Sunday Life column that she squashes self-doubt by shoving food down her gob, I too often ignore my conscience/gut feeling/lack of peace by attending to my face with food. Instead of just sitting there, all meditative-like, waiting for peace to wash over me before I commence, I gun it and gobble like a little piggy. Silly innit?

I felt this way posting about Sex and the City 2. I did think it was shockingly bad, yes indeedy. And many of you agreed(y). But I do also think that perhaps it was a little unfair to our (fictional) friend Carrie Bradshaw, on whom so many hopes were pinned and dashed in a (two-hour) flash. "Little Black Dash" responded to that post in this way:

"Maybe they were all just admitting to things that aren't perfect or attractive or moral that some women feel? Yes, there were some cringe-worthy moments but I also thought there were some fairly honest (even if it was a bit forced) moments that made me feel something and made me think... just sayin'."

One of the things I loathe most about the "female condition" (a state too often fed by the glossy media) is the judgement – from both self and other women. The Carrie presented to us in the film disappointed on so many levels – the palpable dissatisfaction with her lot life, the incessant (and unnecessary) shoe shopping, the inability to voice her concerns with Big, the searching for approval, the sneaky (regrettable) kiss with Aiden, the seemingly vacuous, superficial existence, the crimped hair (now we're getting picky), BUT... throw a girl a bone.

Golly gosh, I know I haven't got it all sorted out, strive as I might (see evidence here). And I know there are a lot of women out there who could probably identify with Carrie's sense of falling short of the perfect life (because, ping!, we are human).

I had the pleasure of speaking to a beautiful woman at church on Sunday – an extremely intelligent dentist who shared some of her struggles with me. While she's long since let go of the fear and anxiety that once controlled her, she still wrestles with control and perfectionism. And she's in her 40s. Sweet relief. I found we both covet peace in our lives – the sort of inner assurance, contentment and joy that lets you shine and not be a bitch (like Carrie can be) because you are desperately trying to control everything within your grasp but you can't because – grrrr – you're not in control. But while "letting go" comes more easily for some, we really have to work at it.

You can't lose weight without changing your exercise and eating habits – so too, you can't hope to be more content without practising contentment. This is absolutely how I found myself in a state of anxiety a week or two ago – I let myself go (spiritually speaking). A gorgeous and wise friend of mine (who has fabulous taste in shoes) responded in this way:

"Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Life’s too short and you need to nurture yourself a little more than most. There’s nothing to be scared of. Even if you do make the wrong decision – who cares – it’s not like you can’t ever make a right one after that to get back on the path you want to take."

So, to all the girls/women/ladies/mothers who identify with Carrie or this girl (with a satchel): it's okay. But perhaps if we stopped and took a few moments to replenish the spiritual stores, we'd find that, whee!, we are actually quite content and can Carrie-on; no superfluous face-stuffing, shoe shopping or self-flagellation necessary.

"Many of us race from one thing to another, driven by our need to accomplish, yet never feeling fulfilled or stopping long enough to appreciate our worth in God's eyes. Lasting fulfillment doesn't come from reaching another goal or deadline... What makes you think you can fulfill God's purpose for your life without taking the time and effort required to build a relationship with Him? Without fresh fire in your soul you will burn out. Another credential and another trophy won't cut it. Only God can restore what all your striving has depleted. God will never ask you to do anything that replaces what His presence alone can do. In His presence crowns lose their lustre and human accolades become meaningless. (See Revelation 4:10-11.)" - The Word for Today, June 6

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel


Rachael said...

Wonderful post.

Vari L said...

Great post! Really enjoy your blog.

Vari @ Buttercup Ink xx

Rochelle said...

Great post, though you absolutely should not feel guilty about your SATC post. The film was an abomination in many peoples' eyes (mine included), and there's nothing wrong with applying critical thought to something as superficial as a movie. Especially this one.

Don't be so hard on yourself. xxx

Laura said...

Well said. I think we all need to hear this. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog Erica, please don't be so hard on yourself! xxx

Susan said...

Erica, one of the things I enjoy most about your blog is your amazing self-reflections, and how you communicate them. Often, you articulate the discussions women have with themselves in their heads, and you demonstrate that it's not a bad thing to look back on an action and not entirely agree with yourself. While I don't think you should feel guilty about your SATC post, I do appreciate the fact that we can read your blog and hopefully apply a bit of reflection to our own lives - in a good way! So while I love the mag talk the most, thanks for the 'other bits' you include in your blog.

Anonymous said...

I, too, enjoyed Sarah Wilson’s article (hers and Mia Freedman’s columns are the main reason I buy the Sunday newspaper).
I had no problems with your SATC2 review, Erica, even thought we had differing opinions on the film, but I admire that you acknowledged that you weren’t 100% happy with the piece. That takes a lot of courage and it’s not something I think I could do. In my opinion, there was no need to “torture yourself” over it – or any of your other blog posts, for that matter. I love this blog and can’t fault it.
Self-doubt is a funny one. I’m usually a confident, proud girl and have the courage of my convictions 90% of the time.
But I do agree that taking time to “check in” with your values is something I sometimes forget to do, due to my hectic work/blogging/social/personal life. I don’t think I have developed enough of a blogging “voice” to stray from yet, but I do definitely feel I’ve compromised my personal integrity in certain situations. I think this happens when you take on board other people’s views on issues instead of staying true to yourself.
Often, with aforementioned hectic schedule, we forget to take time out to reflect, even during such a simple thing as meal time.
You also mention “judgement” in your post; I’m not so much concerned with judgement from others as I am with judgement from myself.
While I don’t necessarily share your religious beliefs, that’s probably something we all struggle with.
As Mr. Big would say, “you did good, kid.”

Mostly said...

GWAS, can I just tell you how much I enjoyed this heartfelt post. It was all kinds of lovely; reassuring and reflective beyond the issue of reviewing SATC2 (by the by, I read your review, and though I haven't seen the movie, I thought your review was honest without being harsh).

More like this please!

Mostly xx

Erica Bartle (nee Holburn) said...

Ladies, you make it all worthwhile. Thank you for your generous words. Very humbling. :)