Thursday, June 15, 2006

Lisa’s Self Pen Portrait (with stripes to follow subject to Blogger)

Clare did a wonderful piece of writing that I could never hope to live up to matching, but which I identified with very strongly. In fact, you could probably read hers and get a sense of me identifying with it (if you know me off-blog).

If not, this may give you some sense of me. But please note that despite having an A-level in art, I can't draw - and certainly not with MS Paint - so no self-drawn picture I'm afraid....

Pen Self
Lisa is looking forward to doing less over the summer months but knows that in practice she probably won’t. She always takes on far more than she can ever complete but still finds herself drawn to spending (wasting) time doing things that others might consider unimportant. She tries to keep everyone happy without always paying attention to herself (although she still feels guilty for how much she does try to please herself: she remains as contradictory as ever).

Sometimes Lisa wonders if she took a little too much to heart the Pulp lyric: “why live in the world when you can live in your head?” but then she remembers that reality is far more ridiculous and extreme than almost anything in her head. Besides, she has had more than her fair share of reality thank-you-very-much, and cherishes the small delights of occasional escape.

She is less than 4 months from 40 years old and is far more anxious about that than she thought she would be, despite older friends saying 60 is the one to worry about reaching. She tries not to regret what she has done in her life because at least she has lived occasionally beyond her expectations for appropriate behaviour and making smart choices. She constantly worries about everything and wishes she were more decisive. She likes order and is geekily obsessive about storage but usually lives in chaos.

She has a solidly Germanic nose – well, it looks like her father’s – which she hates, but she would not dream of doing anything to change it. She also has a very gammy front tooth thanks to a dodgy bit of dental work many years ago. She has saggy eyelids that make wearing eye make-up something of a practical joke on her by the cosmetic industry; combined with dark panda circles under her eyes (though not usually bags) she always looks tired. Unsurprisingly she does not feel her face is her best feature – “Monday’s child is fair of face” my ass - and consequently spends far more time behind the camera than in front of it… Otherwise, she is pretty okay about her body and is grateful that by comparison to just a decade ago she now has a vaguely visible pair of boobs. She knows that there would still be room to hold a party in the front of most dresses she tries on, and that her love of chest-focused t-shirts is something of a poor-taste joke by her on male company. But she is happy to laugh off any criticism since she can at least still fit into UK size 10 clothes (though some of her size 8 items are getting a little tighter than she is comfortable admitting). And she loves her legs (apart from her weak ankles and inability to wear any footwear beyond slippers without some socks or tights as otherwise she gets blisters). She still treasures getting admiring glances from under-12s and recalling that an American student used to compliment her on her “amazing hosiery”. Her stomach is getting a little more flabby than she would like, but given how idle she is, she is unlikely to do much about this till the summer vacation kicks in: and besides, she loves her food and eats like a pig.

Her hair is naturally mousey brown and more than 10 years ago, she started occasionally dying it various shades of red/auburn, which she feels suits her temperament much better. Reflecting her aforementioned idleness, she hates shaving and plucking and only does her arms and legs when she absolutely has to, which is essentially when it is too damn hot to wear sleeves or anything more than ankle socks. She wishes that she had been born as Katherine Hepburn circa The Philadelphia Story (with a wardrobe of that character to match). She loves dresses and if she finds one that fits and flatters her, will tend to buy it regardless of whether she has an occasion to wear it (because you never know…). Mostly, she looks back of pictures of her between the ages of 12-23 and squirms with embarrassment at her terrible taste in clothes and thanks the day that she re-acquired the confidence to dress quirkily that she occasionally had at 6th form. Still, she both loves and hates it when people stare at her dress sense (depending on who is staring and why). And she’s always been rubbish at following ‘dress codes’. What is wrong with green and purple? Stripes Rull Okay!

Lisa always blames her desire to please people on being an only child, but that is probably just a bad excuse and she is equally capable of mightily (if unintentionally) pissing people off with her behaviour. She is compassionate to the point of emotionally torturing herself for not being able to make things right for everyone. She tries to believe she holds herself back, but can often be too open for her own good. She puts herself down too easily, hates herself for doing so and says “sorry” more times a day than is psychologically healthy. She hates to let people down, but often feels she does even when it is not her fault. Having sympathy for the underdog – been there, done that – she finds that other underdogs gravitate towards her and she feels bad when she has to find the guts to say ‘no’ to their needs for her own safety and sanity.

If she cannot break the ice fairly quickly at a social gathering, she can easily shrink into herself becoming increasingly silent and unable to join in the conversation. Consequently, she likes it best when she is not the centre of everyone’s attention but is at least the centre of someone’s attention. She can be incredibly shy, which confuses those who do not know her well as they expect that someone so loud – in voice and dress sense – must be both confident and extrovert. She easily lurches from “look at me!” to “oh god, they’re looking at me”.

She loves giving to people – time, comfort, gifts – more than she likes receiving (although she does like receiving, especially surprises) but worries that she might not be being true to the nature of the Emersonian gift. She spouts lots of metaphorical platitudes and aims for empathy but wonders if she is just talking bollocks. She has frequently been told that she is one of the fastest talkers ever, and like Michael Palin leaves trails of three-legged donkeys behind her. She loves making people laugh, even if it is at her own expense – and sometimes especially if it is at her own expense. She loves to encourage people to not dismiss their feelings and experiences, and always tries to make sure she offers a safety-net of support to them if they should fall. She hates to see people drifting along in life and not taking their chances, but accepts that you cannot make decisions for people, only support them in the decisions they do eventually take.

Lisa worries that when someone compliments her that they have misunderstood what she is really like. She hates to do anything wrong and has to fight being defensive when criticised (she usually fails at this!). She can often see all sides of an argument, which leads some to think of her as a liberal fence-sitter with a well-splintered arse, but she is passionate about her opinions. Nevertheless, she hates making choices – particularly about the little things in life like sandwiches. She can be intimidated by the prospect of change, but is also enthusiastic about things when change has occurred (it is the process of upheaval that unnerves her).

She longs to make a difference to others. She believes in the value of education and learning for their own sake, and in the difference that education can make in people’s lives. She has never found writing for academic purposes easy, but she is pleased that she managed to get so far through the academic system without many seeing that she was paddling frantically beneath the water surface. She loves passing on her knowledge and enthusiasm about her academic subject to others, but she is far more comfortable when writing a polemic argument or personal stories.

She admires those with talent and finds intelligence and wit very sexy; she also likes good hair and slender physiques but these do not distract her from being passionately in love with her partner Neil. Besides, anyone who can put up with her crankiness that much has to be amazing. She is constantly delighted by his love, patience and sexiness. She also loves his playfulness and incredible breadth of knowledge (you definitely want him on your trivial pursuit team).

Ultimately, Lisa is driven by her emotions – good and bad – and would not have it any other way. Romantic and hopeful, she tries to live life happily (despite her Eeyore persona) and hopes to make other people happy too.

Hopefully she can manage to post some stripey style pictures of her before the end of the year subject to Blogger playing ball....

2 comments:

Clare said...

I think we are twins separated at birth.

This is lovely, thank you for joining in.

Rob said...

Great post. I'm in, but won't be posting until some time next week.