It's five a.m. and I've woken up with the very odd question burning in my mind - 'What is the meaning of life?' It's because I'm feeling a little directionless, unmotivated, unhealthy and exhausted. 'What's the point of it all?'
I have much to be grateful for - a loving husband, five quite nice children, a comfortable house, food in the pantry bla bla. My health. In truth, just having all of those things makes me one of the luckiest people on the planet. To be listless and unfulfilled is just plain ungratefulness. I know that and yet I can't help but feel like I'm living in some kind of Matrix - like it's all a big illusion. Beneath the happy, happy, joy, joy family life I feel an undercurrent of discontent and a disturbed suspicion that nothing is quite as it seems.
I read the newspapers and see that we really do live in quite an ugly society. An eighteen year old boy was recently randomly punched to death on an innocent night out. People murder their own children. Stand-over men. Lying politicians. Women are still being stoned to death...primarily for being women.
In the twenty-first century, we Westerners pride ourselves on our evolved social conscience. We are an enlightened people. Civilized and polite. We do not tolerate racism or sexism.....what a load of crap!
Our society is still consumed by sexism and racism, we just pretend it isn't. Underneath the designer suits and the Jimmy Choo shoes we are all still savages. We don't even exercise our free will but are infected by the media and the pack to believe whatever is fed to us. Humans are completely duplicitous and fake and it is this that fills me with a constant simmering dread.
'Brokeback Mountain' can win Academy Awards but we still argue about gay people's right to have a legal union with their beloved chosen partner.
We say that we are not racist, that racism is in fact illegal, but our Indigenous people in Australia and elsewhere are appallingly over-represented in prisons and health statistics.
Feminism was supposed to have liberated women and we are now 'allowed' to compete with men in the labour force, run countries and have equal voting rights. But we are still viewed by a majority of men and other women as inferior objects. We are lying when we say otherwise. A woman is defined by how she looks. We are forced by society to wear painful shoes that do long-term damage, we must dye our hair with toxic chemicals and plaster make-up on our faces. We must strip ourselves of body hair and splash on perfume. We must work and do the lions share of housework and childcare. We must accept that our non-sexist mates will ogle younger, thinner, prettier things because they are hard-wired that way.
Cops still target the 'coloured' guy when looking for suspects. We still make comments like 'It was the token black Oscars' when Denzil and Halle won the gold statues in 2001. When Barrack Obama became President, all we could talk about was the colour of his skin.
If deep down we are all still full of hatred and fear of the 'other'....what hope is there? The whole sexist, racist thing is just lip service. We're living in a crazy Stepford Wives movie. Like in Monty Python, 'It's only a model'.
How can we become authentic? I can't change the world but I can change me.
I look at my first published book, a memoir 'One Way or Another' and I suddenly realise that even as a teenage girl I felt the dangerous undercurrent of hypocrisy in my life. Being brought up as a Catholic I had plenty of opportunity to witness this hypocrisy up close and personal. When I became a rock and roll groupie it was out of defiance. It was my own little rebellion against a society that still viewed women and girls as sex objects. As a backstage tart I saw that up close and personal as well. But my 'collecting' of rock-star bed notches was a form of pay-back. I figured I could give as good as I got. If we could be used and discarded by musicians, I could use and discard them back. My promiscuity was a choice and a sexual protest. Of course though, I didn't have the centuries of sexual superiority behind me in order to pull that off and found myself continually heart-broken.
As I dyed my hair the other day, covering the ever-spreading grey, I was struck by the stupidity of it all. I was covering up the real me. Pretending to be something, someone other that myself which was a sad way of saying 'I'm not good enough'. I have now made the commitment to myself to never dye my hair again. Rebellion. Protest. And that scares me because it will be an acknowledgment of my age and we live in a society that no longer respects the natural ageing process. Our society is consumed with the need to fight against nature.
I don't know what the meaning of life is. I actually don't think there is a meaning other than to treat yourself and others well. Survive. Procreate. Love. But I think if there is something to strive for - some nirvana, some spiritual awakening - it is simply to be authentic. If I let myself be myself and let others be themselves there should be no boundaries, no 'others'. Just tolerance. We need to stop fighting reality and embrace it.
I'm sick of feeling inferior and somehow 'wanting'. Too old. Too fat. Too grey. Too emotional. Today I am going to be real. Really, truly real. Honest. Tolerant. Loving. It's Sunday. If the meaning of life really is 42, as suggested by Douglas Adams then I'm four year past the meaning of life. Oh dear. My husband is 42. Maybe he is the meaning of life.........perhaps I should have a cup of tea and then go back to bed. This is way too much 'thinking' for a Sunday morning.