Playing intellectual

Playing intellectual

There are 5 books on my bed: 2 novels, one business and 2 psychological/philosophical. I’ve read both novels in one week. Actually, I didn’t read them, I devoured them. After reading the novels, it’s like my senses are sharper and my mind is elevated. I love being lost in other people’s lives, imagining what they look like, what else is happening in their lives that is not captured with the novel. How else could have the book ended? What could be happening after the book ended?

There is a “should” tapping slowly in my mind. “I SHOULD be reading more intellectual books”. The other three on my bed. I should be investing in my intelligence, not my imagination. (Like the two are disconnected…) 

I came across an old article about my ex-boss. She was portrayed like s super-woman: successful business woman, caring mother and an attractive female. I read this article a while ago and today I was only looking at the photographs. On one, I saw two books on the table next to my cheerful, beautiful ex-boss. I haven’t noticed them before. I’ve recognised the first book, a book about leadership development. I’ve read it because a colleague said it was my ex-boss recommendation. And it was a really good book. The second book I didn’t recognise so I googled it. It was a modern philosophical book. I looked at my bed, at my 5 books and thought “I should read the other three books. Look at her, she is so successful and smart. She reads heavy books and not light novels, like I do.”

It’s so easy for me to criticise my choices. I haven’t read the article again, I just looked at the photos. I haven’t read the article because I knew I wouldn’t like the way my ex-boss was portrayed in the text: there was a hint of snobbism and “only the image is important, not what’s beneath it” kind of vibe between the lines and in some sentences it was portrayed as such, direct and open. If I read the article, I couldn’t be so critical towards myself and wouldn’t have this wish floating in the back of my mind “I would like to be her”. I wouldn’t like to be her. There are sides of her I don’t like. I don’t want to care about the surface and judge people based on the level of their power in society (measured with money and their network) and I wouldn’t like to be divorced, living far away from my family and friends. 

I know she is both and neither: a perfect super-woman and a superficial snob. Both images are in my head, my projections how she is really like. The truth is, I don’t know her that well. The article about her was just a boost for my self-criticism. A boost to make myself feel bad for the choices I make. Choices that make me happy. Choices as benign as what books to read. 

Self-criticism is so easy, so masochistically appealing. Forgiving myself and showing respect to myself and honouring my choices is hard. It’s something I am not that familiar with. And it seems too peaceful, too healthy, too far away from my grasp. It is so easy for me to judge others, to judge myself. It’s hard for me to acknowledge that someone is good at something, that I am worth something.

Everything I think or say about someone is a reflection of me. Of what is important to me and how I look at myself. And the truth is, it’s ok to read whatever makes me happy, whatever brings joy to my hearth and what boosts my imagination. There will be time for heavy books and today is not that day. Cheers to creative novels, written in clear, simple language, portraying colourful images in my mind! 

Note to myself: I love the choices I make and my life the way it is, both being imperfectly perfect.

Written with love,

Chiara

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