My Muse and Me

Aqsa Mustafa By Aqsa Mustafa - Updated: November 06th, 2018
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What is a muse? A body an artist paints, a beautiful face on canvas? Someone who pulls me on when I feel no beauty on earth is worth my effort and no person singular enough that I take time? Or...none...

A muse? Someone who pulls at the edges of my conscience, who pushes me on when I feel that no beauty on Earth is worth my effort and no person singular enough that I take the time. So who do I look to then?

We women are funny creatures. Sure, we can drool over a handsome man—balance of probability, if you would grant me the space—but when it comes to strength, to hardiness and endurance, there is only to other women that we look to. When we need inspiration, the men seep into the background and remain mere props while we look through the pantheon of ideal women and judge the one for us.

So who is my muse? Is it a famous movie actress, like Angelina Jolie, with all her beauty and sharpness and all-round awesomeness? Or is it Mrs. Faisel down the street who works three jobs on the weekend to feed her three kids? Is it Ellie Bamber with her penchant for ultra-pretty embroidered or sheer or floral dresses, or is it my old chemistry teacher, sharp and sophistically educated, who cannot match black and white to save her life?  

All these women touch me, each and everyone, and then some. It is only an ideal world where one goes outside and finds the perfect woman that they aspire to be, all out in the open just strolling down the street. It might happen in movies and cheesy books, but real life is rarely so lazy or forgiving.   

So, who is my muse, exactly? Well, my muse is me. Yes…I see the wrinkles on your brow and the curl at the corner of your lip. Quite tacky, is what I am being.

But here’s how it is. My muse is the person I want to be. But how do I know what I want to be? It’s simple, really. Each of us has a person in her head, the ideal thing, the crème de la crème of fashion and knowledge, the woman who walks into a room and everyone gasps with awe because they know that this is it, that this is how a woman looks when at her finest. And we all also know that this elusive lady that we drool over, this beautiful specimen, does not seem to have a steady face. It changes every time, or is not clear in the first place. It shifts or dissolves into throbbing waves every time you find a new person you like, a new muse you feel sparks something in you. This perfect woman is never an actual person, rather an explosive mixture of every attitude that ever inspired you, every face that ever, even for a moment, seemed to you what civilisation should be like, what a woman is.

Then why do I say the woman is me? Because here is the last piece in the puzzle of this woman, here is what makes it all clear, what gives this dilemma a face. This woman is what you want to be—no more, no less. This is who you think you should be, if everything was perfect in the world and your life the ideal life of someone with everything on Earth.

The woman has no face. The trick, of course, is to give her a face. Give her your face. The trick is to make her you. Every night, when the crickets cart out their raw legs and strike up a rough melody, when all is dim and you cannot entice sleep to come nearer, close your eyes and develop your muse. Put her in situations you know will bring out the worst in you. See how she would act, make her act like you would want to act. And in all of these plays, make sure to give her your face. This woman is you. Your muse is, and always will be, you. There is no chance that one person out there is everything you have ever wanted in someone. That person exists only in dreams. So give her a home in your dreams and, when all seems lost, turn to her and see what she would do. Strive to be your muse, just like I strive to be mine.

To give you an idea, my muse is a rather short, five feet two, slender girl with slightly crazy hair and giant glasses. But she makes sure she adjusts her hair only to flatter her glasses, thus garnering enough benefits from both to make the most of her looks. She has a health and fitness regimen she follows everyday—this is something she does and I find hard—and she eats everything but excess of nothing.

She is an intellectual like Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)—hence the giant glasses—and finds a perfect night to be one with a classical novel and an absolutely silent room. She tries to be as kind as she is able, but will never take shit if it is not deserved. She wishes to be a role model, to be someone other girls look upon and wish to be like. She wants to one day write and be an all-round queen like J.K. Rowling, to make a difference in people’s attitude towards life, to show that every person is as important as the next and the biggest religion in this world is humanity. She wants to alter the world, just a little, be it directly or indirectly, and she wants to be remembered as someone who was good and kind and smart, and who stood up for what was right.  

She has a stoic personality like Clair Fraser (Outlander), beauty and sass like Jennifer Lawrence, is as blunt and straightforward as Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes but with just the right touch of sympathy and compassion, like Martin Freeman’s John Watson (excuse me as I pull these dream boys into the present congregation of ladies—allow me the indulgence since they are only imaginary men). She is as sweet and kind and bubbly as my little sister, and as adroit and strong as my mother. She is as I-don’t-give-a-flying-shit-about-fashion as my best friend, but yet again as neatly dressed as said friend.

So, that is my muse. As imaginary woman who is so perfect—for me—as to be more impossible than possible. Yet, perhaps, if I strive to be her, if I try to reach for the moon, I am sure to, when missed, fall among the stars.

For, what is a muse? A body an artist paints, a beautiful face on canvas, or someone who brings out the best in you, who plucks the heavens from up high and hand them to you on a silver platter? Perhaps what exactly is a muse is a question the answer to which remains rather if-ish, but what I want it to be is pretty clear.

I don’t have one female muse. I have many. And then again, I have none. Who do you look up to?