I am most grateful for the positive feedback I have recevied since starting this cyber-journey. But what I failed to realise is that I actually have ardent readers who are slightly displeased by my recent absense. I therefore have to apologise for my complacency (beautifully disguising down-right laziness). Thank you for the kick up the behind. I shall ne’er neglect you again. So til my return this eve, take care.
Enobarbus, Anthony’s right-hand, pays homage to her beauty and powers of seduction…
“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. Other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes me hungry
Where most she satisfies.”
Another glimpse into her luxurious pomp and gorgeous extravagance in all its force and lustre is presented to us when Enobarbus, in rich poetical prose, describes Anthony’s first meeting with Cleopatra.
“The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,
Burned on the water: the poop was beaten gold;
Purple the sails, and so perfumèd, that
The winds were lovesick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
The water which they beat to follow faster,
An introduction of this nature would almost certainly prepare the way for, and almost justify Anthony’s infatuation with her.
Pride of beauty and regal haughtiness is perfectly illustrated in her conversation with Antony’s messenger who had been tasked to spy on and report back on Anthony’s antics abroad.
“There’s gold, and here
My bluest veins to kiss!”
But like any jealous, insecure woman, Cleopatra erupts furiously at the unwelcome news of Anthony’s marriage to Octavia and only grew content when told that her rival was homely by Elizabethan standards: short, low-browed and round-faced with bad hair. Not much different to women of today, is she?
My morning started with a bang. Literally. I hit the neighbours’ car as I reversed out of my garage. No negotiation, no inching. Just straight on. Bang! And all before my daily caffeine fix. Utter disbelief quickly followed the perfunctory profanity and then the debate as to whether I should take the high or the low road. I chose to seek the solace of gym and face the music later. I hastily scribbled note endorsed my decision.
The tale of the meeting in the car park, on my return, requires to be told. There we stood; remorseful offender, slightly perturbed other half and gracious neighbour, battling to contain our laughter. A slightly scarred Toyota Tazz had dug her heels in and held her own against my 4×2 now cowering in her garage, ashamed of a bumper which features a crater the size and possible depth of the sea of tranquility. Yes, dear readers. You may laugh too. It could quite easily have gone the other way. Tension and arguments, police reports, reams of insurance claim forms and litres of Rescue Remedy. Instead, we laughed as we parted ways. I am blessed with good neighbours – I hope they can still say the same about me.
My eyes then inadvertently moved up to the speaker and found myself wondering whether she would consider buying such a gift for herself. As if reading my mind, she said, ‘but I wouldn’t get it for myself. It’s too expensive and where would I wear it to’. No-ooo! I wanted scream out loud. Get one for yourself too, it’s gorgeous.
Why do we lavish gifts on our friends and not on ourselves? Why do we indulge in self-pity, self loathing and self mutilation. We chew our nails to feed our fears. We drape ourselves comfortably in unappealing, ill-fitting clothes but feel undeserving of fabulosity for ourselves. We absorb sympathy but deflect praise. Stress is welcome, peace isn’t. I know of women who cannot even look at themselves in the mirror because they’re not happy with what they see, while other prefer denying themselves the simple pleasures in life for no other reason but because it doesn’t feel right to have fun. That’s just not right.
I believe that you should lavish love on yourself in abundance because you are deserving. Wrap beauty around your body like cashmere. Wallow in grace as you would bath of fragrant bubbles. Loving yourself is by no means egotistical. It is about acknowledgement. It’s about recognising all that you have done, the road you have walked to arrive where you are today. And Maya Angelou, in her poem, Phenomenal Woman, talks about ‘inner mystery’. That intangible something which says, I am strong, confident and beautiful.
A little monster from my past has reared it’s ugly head, forcing me to face some unresolved issues, head on. Not an easy task considering that I actually don’t handle confrontation, very well. It’s presence has therefore sent me and my stomach acid levels through the roof.
But I am blessed to have ‘angels’ in my life. Beautiful people who form an incredible network of support, encouragement and good ‘ol fashion love. They have reminded me that fears and issues will continue to resurface until I deal with them confidently and lovingly; that fears, as they reappear, will continue to increase in complexity until I grow in statue and triumph over them. And that being at the level of consciousness which I am, I cannot sweep anything unresolved under the carpet in the hope that it will automatically ‘be taken care of’. I owe it to myself to grow – larger than any ‘monster’ – and deal with whatever the past (or future) throws at me. However, there’s also a naughty little elf on the other shoulder whispering rather self-indulgently that to live well is the best revenge. And I have to admit that I am blessed with a good life.