“Now is the time for guts and guile”

Elizabeth Taylor

(image from www.cosmomovieawards.com)

These great, empowering words came from Elizabeth Taylor. They are the base from which I am currently drawing my strength.

When Euan proposed last spring I began a chick lit novel about the run up to the wedding. The proposal seemed so perfect that it inspired me to get scribbling for a competition. I’m not really a chick lit kinda gal – unless you count Austen – but for my Masters dissertation I wrote about women as writers and consumers, and alongside the Austens and Brontes, Eliots and Woolfs I felt I must cover chick lit and Mills and Boon. So I read lots of them and dissected their style and formula. And last spring I started scribbling.

Naturally, I didn’t get the book written before the competition deadline. I was busy throwing engagement parties, trying on wedding dresses, and considering venues. But it seems to me that the opening chapter I wrote back then could be a great opening chapter to be continued with my life now. So I’m back to writing. It won’t be quite the same as I initially intended – the wedding will not be the big finale, and the honeymoon will not be the epilogue. But it occurred to me that very few happily ever afters end with someone being strong and independent. So I plan to see whether that’s a possibility.

The original working title was Orange Peel, but my step-dad suggested Changing the Labels over the holidays when he saw me (somewhat spitefully) removing Euan’s name from the tags on all the Christmas gifts I had already wrapped and put under the tree. And I think it works well. I hope it will chronicle my label change – from “in a relationship” to “engaged” to “single”. I also hope to change the way I see these labels in the future. A lot of my self-esteem was caught up in my relationship status and in my having Euan. He made me feel valuable. I’m going to have to build that up from nowhere now, to prove my value to myself and others and grow into a person in my own right. I’m rebelling against every reassuring thing I’ve been spoon-fed over the last months, the ‘you’ll find someone better’, the ‘don’t worry, the right fit is out there somewhere’, the whole theory that we need someone else to complete us. After all, I don’t want to spend the next few years of my life looking for someone else. I want to spend them learning to enjoy me.

I was walking the dog through my parent’s village while at home and thinking how desperately I wanted to live somewhere like that. And I realised that if I want that dream to come true I have to make it happen. I want a nice country cottage with a good size kitchen. I want somewhere to display my tea sets in the dining room, somewhere to store my cook books and a full spice rack in the kitchen, and somewhere to display and store all my bags and shoes in the bedroom. And if I want that I have to strive for it.

Of course, the loudest voice in my head is the one screaming “I don’t WANT to strive for it, I want someone to help make my dreams come true, someone to share them with”. But hopefully, with work, that voice will dull to a whisper. And if or when I find someone to share them with, well, that’s when I’ll allow it to gain volume once again.

Today’s high point: doing something about finally getting some burlesque lessons. Or possibly writing this post.

Today’s low point: coming out of lunchtime meeting, a little deflated and automatically reaching for the phone to call Euan.


7 thoughts on ““Now is the time for guts and guile”

  1. I didn’t start reading your blog until about a week ago, and as such I never knew you with Euan. You are a whole person to me just as you are, and I find your blog to be one of the most interesting I have read in a long time. I love that your posts are as much about your life as about fashion. And I adore how open and honest your are. It makes you seem more of the whole person you really are.

  2. Thank you so much Erin, what a lovely thing to write! Aww – you’ve made me all tearful now!

    So many of you have been so supportive of late on here. I really do appreciate every comment I get, and it’s warming to think that there are people out there willing to offer words of encouragement to people they have never before met in the flesh.

    What a lovely bunch of bloggers you all are!

  3. You don’t need to prove what a brilliant, caring, capable and competent person you are to the people who know you. But if you want your dreams to come true you have to believe in yourself!

  4. Do have or know where i can find any information on the dress she is wearing, i have seen this blue one as well as a gold one, i want it.
    thanks in advanced

  5. Hi Caroline,

    I found you blog today while searching on the your title for this entry. It came to me actually from a Sex in the City episode and I felt I needed that strength to help me with my failing marriage; feeling that there is nothing I can do anymore to make this work.

    Thank you for your sharing. It is comforting to know that this pain is felt by others. Your voice screaming “I want someone to share it with…help me with my dreams” echoed my exact thoughts as I struggle against the impermanence of life and the inevitable letting go of the person I thought I would spend my life with.


  6. The relationship you have with yourself is without doubt, the most important of your life.. Revel in it! I am new to your blog and think you write wonderfully, I’ll be back for more.

    P.S. You have nothing to prove to anyone, you are valuable in your own right, as you are, right now! For you have added value to my life and to others (comments above). Your view of yourself and your own life are the only ones that count. Drown out the voices of others, Caroline. Your wonderful as you are!

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