Athenian Goddesses

29Oct09
This is me collecting my 1st prize win at Writers Week 2005

1st prize Writers Week humorous essay competition

Friday lunchtime and why is there never enough time? I try to avert my eyes as I sidle past the rows of enticing glossiness. But somehow I can never resist a fleeting glimpse of Utopia. Athenian Goddesses smile mockingly at me. Look at me, I am not having a bad hair day or my stomach isn’t gurgling from a night of over indulgence. Here I am posing on a sun kissed beach with no visible sign of mother hood apparent when I display my bikini clad concave stomach.
Guilt consumes me when I read about how her children just merely lodged themselves in her lithe body without causing her the merest inconvenience. They popped out and spluttered their first breath while she was already conniving to slip back into her size eight jeans. What a glorious existence they must have , being placed on this earth to merely torment us poor less fortunate mortals.
The clouds of self denial are evaporating around me. The time has come to relinquish the pretence. My tumble drier isn’t really the culprit to be blamed for my ever shrinking clothes. Another style queen is pouting at me her skinny hips adorned with a skin tight pair of hipsters. She is not a teeny bopper so my theory that, ‘the more mature mom,’ is bound to have more sizeable hips and a few wear and tear bumps doesn’t quite hold up.
The family gatherings are the worst. The last time I saw Auntie Maeve I was childless and damage limitation was not a word in my vocabulary. Now even with my black body skimming garments I still can’t hide the signs her beady eyes are scanning me for. ‘You have put on a bit of weight have you?’ The triumphant glee exudes from her voice. Brought down to earth now am I not? A gnawing reminder that I am not going to escape my genetic inheritance no matter how opposed I am to it. Why couldn’t she have said, ‘congratulations on your promotion, well done for buying the new car or your house is a credit to you?’
She has thrown the truth at me and now it has an external voice. The inner insecurity now has sustenance. There is no joy left now, the aroma of the freshly baked sausage rolls or the crispy coating on the southern fried chicken or even the sparkling bottle of white all suddenly devoid of pleasure to me. All I am conscious of are the rolls of fat on my inner thighs wrestling with each other as I haul my bulk towards the door.
Driving my car is a tortuous experience. It is a tranquil evening with the scarlet sun still peeping out from beneath the crimson clouds. No good. My spare tire protrudes limply over the strained belt on my trousers and my loose unfettered skin is the true evidence of my over indulgence.
Home to face my wardrobe. I sort through the dwindling few items that haven’t been stuffed in the drawer or moved guiltily to a less conspicuous place so their wanton redundancy won’t torment me. In desperation I reach for my
Consolation jeans, spacious and comfortable they will redeem me.
Deep inward breaths, sweat glowing on my forehead but they are on. I face my enemy, a brass full length mirror. Where am I? There is some imposter staring back at me. Her round pale face, her eyes encased with purple tinted lines, her double chin hiding her once slender neck. Heaving misshapen mounds are struggling within a too small bra. This unfortunate woman has no waist only unfathomable mounds of sagging white flesh, with embroidered veins protruding forth.
The back view is worse. Two misshapen cushions with the foam peeping through causing large uneven crinkling on the skin reaching all the way down to the knees. Where have I gone, why can’t I be allowed to see myself the way that I still feel?
What is today’s mother supposed to do? There are four persons to be gotten up every day, dinners are eaten on the run, a boss who makes me sell my soul when I enter the premises and pretend that I don’t have a life outside his four walls.
My home is beautiful if somewhat empty, my children have everything except my time, my husband shares the bills another unwilling participant in our infinite quest, where is the time to be an Athenian Goddess in Celtic Tiger Ireland?

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