When I hear the word slouching it reminds me of two spectacular women. The first is my grandmother who told me not to. The second is Joan Didion and her book of essays; Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I had a real affinity towards Joan Didion when I was a young woman and again recently when we both burst into the fashion scene. Hers came in the form of the ground breaking Céline ad and mine with the debut of Accidental Icon. A young Danish blogger, Christina Dueholm, in an early post about my blog, posted photos of Joan and I side by side.
We are also known for rarely smiling. I think it may have something to do with the fact that although our personal lives are fairly well lived and full we both have an eye that sees the other(side) of life and an ear that listens to stories of those who live it. She enters this world through her writing and I through my academic work and career working in social work. Although Didion was a California girl, she loved New York as I do. To her, “New York was no mere city, it was instead an infinitely romantic notion”.
As I step out to welcome spring I am remembering another essay from that book, “Self Respect”. In it Didion states that people who have self-respect also have character; that which she defines as, “the willingness to take responsibility for ones own life”. It is this trait that allows us to take risks, to do the things that are uncomfortable and that we do not want to do. It is this trait that allows us to make something we want more than just a romantic notion. This last week I did something that made me very anxious, something I never did before. It was something that if it worked could be really important in getting closer to the reimagined work life I desire. As I make myself let go of safety and slouch into a Spring filled with exciting opportunities, re-reading the essays in this book remind me of all the possibilities and hazards I felt the first time I read it. So I will listen to my grandmother and to Joan Didion, no slouching when it comes to living in life.