By Ashley Lister
Just to go off at a tangent here, I’d like to mention that this is my thirteenth post for Oh Get A Grip. This means there are a dozen previous pages of pith, perception (and something else beginning with P) for readers to peruse should they enjoy the writing style of my post today. And I mention this here, at the start of a blog about self-love, to show that, whilst I’m comfortable with most aspects of myself, the one part of my personae that embarrasses me is the fact that I’m superstitious.
Thirteen is a number that gives me the willies (and not in a good way). If a short story I’m writing ends on page 13, I’ll edit and trim until it’s down to twelve pages. If I’m due to begin a project on the thirteenth of the month, I’ll postpone or prepone, just to make sure I’m not inadvertently hexing the prospect of success. On Friday 13th I shut the computer down, don’t talk to anyone, and try to stay in a darkened room for as much of the day as possible.
“How interesting,” I can hear you yawn. But what has this got to do with self-love?
I’m not just superstitious about the number 13. I don’t walk under ladders. I won’t light the third smoke from a single match. This is the thirteenth sentence of my thirteenth blog. I never leave shoes on the table. I do rituals if I spill salt. I don’t walk under black cats.
There are times when I disgust myself with this stupidity. Superstitions are irrational and based on archaic presuppositions. When I ‘knock on wood’ for good luck or to avert misfortune, I know it’s an action that has its precedent in the ancient worship of trees and nature. When I refuse the third light on a match I know it’s a habit that (according to popular rumour) was a practical necessity in the trenches of World War One.
I cross my fingers. I have a horseshoe nailed over the back door of my home. And I’ll wear garments inside out throughout the day if that’s the way I accidentally put them on first thing on a morning. And I mention these things to show how self-love, particularly in my instance, can be blind.
I’m not sure if it’s right to say I love myself. I certainly like myself but I’m not yet sure if it’s love. I’ve only been seeing myself for 44 years so it’s early days in the relationship and I’m not sure I’m ready to make the commitment. Also, the phrase ‘loving myself’ could either sound like an admission of conceit or masturbation and I don’t want to take this post in either of those directions.
I mention these superstitious foibles because I like myself, despite my superstitions. If I met someone who was so superstitious, I’d likely proclaim them as a crackpot and distance myself from them completely. I’d make jokes about them behind their back and I’d probably go out of my way to make their life uncomfortable by scheduling important meetings for each Friday the thirteenth. Maybe I wouldn’t be so mean but it’s almost certain that I would have little time or patience for someone with such irrational beliefs. And yet, I tolerate these personal peccadilloes because I know they’re a part of who I am and I sincerely like the person who I am.
I’m now going to cut this blog short, for fear that, when printed out, it might turn out to be thirteen page lengths in duration. And, even though I know that’s irrational, superstitious and stupid, I kinda love myself for being that way :-)