July 2, 2009

So I’m sitting here outside on the patio, it’s 9pm and I don’t really know what I have to write about, for possibly the first time I started this blog only a couple of days ago!  I’ve got Amerie on my ipod, my parents are speaking loudly (read: arguing) in the living room and I need a quick escape.  So here I am.

I suppose today the only recurring theme that’s come up is tenacity.  Watching both Wimbledon women’s semi finals between the Williams sisters and their Russian counterparts was an exercise in tenacity.  I’ll start with the second match first:  Venus Williams v. Dinara Safina was a masterclass in tennis where Venus, clearly the best women’s tennis player around at the moment, barely broke a sweat while outplaying and outclassing her opponent, puzzlingly the current world number one both upon entering and leaving the semi-final.  I suppose that’s why labels aren’t always as important, and statistics don’t always tell the whole story; Safina, the world #1, was by far the weakest player in today’s semi finals.

The other match was far more interesting : Serena Williams v. Elena Dementieva.  The longest Wimbledon women’s semi final for 15 years, Dementieva threatened to win the match multiple times, only to fail to capitalise upon the match points every time.  After getting very irate at the television and at the biased commentators who could barely remove their tongues from Serena’s backside, I said “Blonde (Dementieva = too many syllables) deserves to have won already; if she hasn’t won by now, she isn’t gonna do it.”  And I was proved right, though Serena Williams came from behind so many times and was lucky not to have been dismissed in the second set, let alone the third.  But at the end of the day Serena had the belief in herself (both tennis players were extremely skilled so I’m not going to say who was “better”), while Dementieva ultimately let her nerves get to her and prevent her time and again from capitalising upon the breaks she had made for herself.  Serena was definitely lucky to have gotten through to the final (and she certainly does not deserve to beat her sister, unless something drastically changes), but she got through because of her tenacity.  Even when the going got really tough, she didn’t give up and kept playing and playing and pushing through to the victory.  She demonstrated more self-belief than her opponent and it brought her through.

About an hour later, my mother and I were having a conversation, I can’t remember how it started, but it got along to the notion of not giving up on oneself.  At first I told my mother that although I would never give up on myself, sometimes it is easy to feel like giving up on yourself, to stop believing that my new job will ever give me any hours during this recession, to believe that my uni course might fall through, to feel like my singing and my university degree and my weight loss and muscle buildup has all been for nothing.  I think that everybody feels weak at times, and I think that we are only human; weakness is an understandable feeling.  As much as I try to display an icy, strong and flawless public persona even around my friends and family, there are cracks that I know exist; and I try to accept them and patch them up one at a time as much as I can.

Once my mum got annoyed because she thought that I meant I wanted to give up on myself (which wasn’t my meaning at all), I explained that I wasn’t going to give up, but just that sometimes success isn’t as simple as how much effort you put in.  Other things happen around you, life sometimes leads you in another direction through its myriad events and coincidences.  You can only control your life to a certain degree; I believe that outside factors can make you stumble, divert your planned course and force you to take a moment out to regroup.  It doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean that things don’t happen as easily as you expected, nor the way you expected them to. (Look at me: Oxford languages graduate, one year later I’m going back to university to do a Careers Guidance course that I’m not even sure that I will be able to afford…) My mum understood and agreed, and we then went on to discuss how my nan says that we shouldn’t buy nice / designer things, because the money could always be useful for something else more “necessary”.  My nan isn’t wrong, but me and my mother both agree that sometimes life is too short to be forever wanting something that you continue to deny yourself.  I’ve told my nan before that she is in a position financially to have near enough anything she wants, where there are thousands of people who dream of owning even one little slice of Gucci or Armani (or whatever your poison happens to be) and never get round to affording it.  And there’s also a difference between spending recklessly on luxuries without taking care of the bigger picture, and treating yourself to something that you’ve earned with your own blood, sweat and tears, that will make you happier and is within your grasp.  Sometimes I feel I have to justify why I have a designer watch, ring, necklace, tshirt, sunglasses, but I don’t have to justify anything; at the end of the day, I can afford those things which make me happy and indulge my fashionista persona, and I can still afford to pay my phone bill, my transport, my rent, my gym membership.  I’m not earning a lot of money, but I’m not living beyond my means.  And now that I have Prada sunglasses, I did it once and I won’t go back to aspiring to that. I won’t surrender that dream that I made reality.  I will only keep moving forward.  In a roundabout way, that is the definition of “tenacity” to me.

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