I almost puked when I saw it. My massive face. It’s probably not healthy to have quite such a visceral reaction to the sight of your own visage, but there we go. It was like the moon. Somebody, right here at the paper, the tykes, had put a really big picture of my face alongside a piece about my play, and I almost puked when I got handed a copy. I was mortified that people would open up the pages and see it. I wanted to issue an apology for my face and for having a piece about my stupid play. I wanted to stop doing plays, because plays are stupid. Because anything humans do that isn’t sitting in a cave hiding from mammoths and waiting for the next meal is stupid. All this stuff we do, what is it? Stupid.
And of course all of this is perfectly ridiculous. Get over it Hasler. No one cares. Quite right. And after I’d stopped mentally giving myself the birch like a mediaeval monk, I did get over it. Because even punishing myself was making me want to vomit too.
I suppose it’s only natural to have feelings of gross self-effacement. I know in this age of self-based psycho-analytic enlightenment we’re supposed to accept ourselves and like ourselves and all that, but we don’t really trust people who actually do, do we? There’s something shifty about people who like themselves. We want to know how they do it, but we don’t want to ask. Because asking is a step closer to trying and if we fail then that’s one more thing to dislike isn’t it?
The piece in the paper was about my play. Tomorrow is the day it is being published and the first day of the tour. A big day for me. I should be happy to shout it from the rooftops, happy to be in the paper, happy that someone wrote a nice thing about me. But I just feel like a twit.
Maybe it’s an English thing. Maybe we’re culturally predisposed to see our face in a newspaper and want to screw it up. Or maybe it’s just a human thing. Maybe we’re genetically predisposed to seeing our face in a newspaper and want to screw it up.
But I think we owe it to ourselves to try and hurdle over our innate dissatisfaction with ourselves. Because otherwise it’s a long old slog to the end of life if we’re not happy in our own skin, in our own company, in our own heads. We sort of have to be a better friend to ourselves to make the journey nice. Be kind and accepting. See the good parts of ourselves like we see the good parts of other people. Allow ourselves to celebrate our achievements.
In addition to liking ourselves we occasionally have to push ourselves too, because we seldom have benefactors to do it for us. We have to take up the things we are passionate about and wave them like flags, because if we don’t we allow them to stay hidden. And that is sad. Because the world is nicer when we all share our passions outwardly. That’s what gives life colour.