I love watching The Golden Girls. I have seen every re-run approximately 473 times. Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, Sophia, and I go way back. They’ve gotten me through many sleepless nights and boring Saturdays when I couldn’t muster the strength to get out of my pajamas. They’ve nursed me back to health just about anytime I’ve ever been sick, and have never forsaken me when I’m hanging on the edge lunacy on my fourth day snowed in the house. They each have the distinctive personalities that almost any woman can identify with. Every female of any age in America knows which Golden Girl she is. Here is where my recent revelation rears its ugly head…
I thought I was Sophia. She’s short and sassy with witt sharper than a butcher knife. She has a wisdom so evident that no one can help but ask for her advice. She’s a bit quirky in the most un-annoying ways possible and owns whatever room she is in. She’s in charge by default, and can argue anyone into a corner by simple nature of the way things roll off her tongue. A master of dry humor, and uncharted charm, she cannot be denied. She’s my inner golden girl…I thought once upon a time.
Lately, however I have noticed some things I’m not sure if I like about myself. It’s strange because I have certain qualities I know I need to let go of, but I’m just afraid to do it. I’m almost ashamed to publicly admit this particularly ugly part of my personality because I don’t want it to damage my credibility or motives as a writer. I don’t write to impress. My writing actually has little to do with this needy part of my personality….everything else just does.
So, the realization started sinking in when I was routinely watching an episode of my beloved show. Blanche came home early from a class reunion, obviously distressed to the point of madness. After some poking and prodding, the other girls coerced Blanche into telling them what was wrong. She then went on about how great all of her old girlfriend’s looked before declaring she was upset because quote, “I was not the center of attention and nobody said I was the prettiest.” Light bulb, Lorna!
I’ve never been terribly pleased with the way I look no matter how many compliments I get, and measure about 98% of my self-worth on my physical appearance. I want everyone to fuss over me wherever I go. I actually need (in order to avoid a Chernobyl-meltdown) to be a main attraction wherever I go. I want everyone to think I’m the smartest, most interesting, prettiest, most charismatic, near fatally alluring person they’ve ever met (I’m only slightly exaggerating for effect). I’m vain…and not just a little. Maybe the accolades shoot an unnatural amount of Dopamine to just the right spots in my brain…I don’t know, but when I know I’m at the top of my game, I dig it. When like Blanche, I happen not to be the center of attention and no one says I was the prettiest, things get rough. It’s bad….I like to charm and I live to captivate, and not an ounce of it is based on conceit…it’s just a drug of self-justification I cannot give up. That’s a freaking issue…
Now for the really sick part….I’m afraid if I start letting go of the vanity I will stop caring, and therefore will lose my abilities to be compelling. I’m not a Sophia…I’m a Blanche in a Sophia’s clothing!!! What will it take for me to be okay with the fact that there are rooms I will not own, conversations I can’t hang with, and people who will not be drawn to me? I wish I had the answer and could end with some profound statement of self, but I can’t do it. Even now as I write this, I’m terrified that being this candid will flush my blog following down the toilet. What I’m hoping, is that maybe someone else out there can identify and knows what it’s like to hold one’s self to impossible standards. It’s a strange thing really, how our own standards hold us hostage. Mine have me completely by the balls.
Really, writing is the only place I ever escape myself. When the words in my head shoot out of the ends of my fingers and onto the keys I lose the ability to lie, hide, or bullshit. Maybe this one place is where my sanity lives. Maybe that’s why I do it. I like what is poetic, and believe too much in happy endings. If I write, I know that eventually it will all get worked out, with all the grey areas becoming black and white. I suppose this tragic flaw of mine, I will one day figure out too…just not today. Alright, inner Sophia, come out, come out wherever you are….