Royal Ascot

by theodotdoron

One day, we will have our own horses participating in this race, I know it. Maybe two, or three, or even four. Until then, we will have mastered the Arabic language and mingle with the few sheiks who are always present at any horse racing event. For now though, we are sitting in the ranks, over looking most of the field, surrounded by the hoi polloi getting more and more drunk.

On the way we stopped at Victoria Station. Unprepared as I could be, all I brought was a pair of heavy black leathered boots. Brilliant. To a hot summer event held only outside under a clear sky. So, I venture out to find some flip-flops. I find the perfect pair, matching my outfit of a white pencil skirt and a blue and white striped off the shoulder top. Looking quite swell, darling.

Only, I feel rotten. The most beautiful surroundings, crowds in colourful outfits swooshing past, holding champagne glasses and cheerfully chat away about absolutely anything and everything. And here I am, knots in my stomach, discomfort taking hold of me and being a complete idiot to my man. Great! In order to salvage the situation he ascends on one of the many stands to get me a cupcake.

Never will he find those, I convince myself. A terrible day just got worse. Yet, only a few minutes later, amazingly swift concerning the present multitudes, he returns with a slice of red velvet cake in his hand. I am ecstatic, yet not for very long. Wolfing down the cake I am shocked at my inability to overcome emotion with reason. Here I am, in the most beautiful surroundings eating the finest foods, and yet, reason can’t trump my deeply ingrained sense of being miserable. 

And suddenly, it dawns on me. What has kept me from enjoying the spectacle is a false believe that has cut deep tunnels into my inner being, and has lain dormant there for far too long. The conviction that things are only good and enjoyable if they are of a utilitarian nature. Only when pursuing something outside itself, chasing after a purpose that is to be fulfilled can I feel a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and ultimately, fulfilment. 

In this way, I am a slave. A slave to purpose. I need things to function as something, I want there to be a use I get out of experience. Any event lacking this leaves me unsatisfied. The reason for that is a very sad state of affairs, one which in essence is the impression that I only hold value if and when I produce something. Yet the word of God teaches the exact opposite: Each and every human being holds intrinsic value, no matter how productive or unproductive they are.

For that very truth celebrations are held in high regard in the ancient Jewish traditions. A party is a place where one can simply “be” without having to “do” something. Out of such gathering alone flows fun, another one of those things counted amongst those things that fall under the umbrella term of “pointlessness”. That is why God is identified with Joy. And beauty. Those things just are good in themselves. They serve no purpose outside themselves and somehow seem to possess the ability to rip one out of the streams of time, if only just for a moment.

So, sitting there, cake in hand, new flip-flops on feet, I notice for the first time that I truly hold myself to be of little to no value unless I “do” or “create” something. Lies hurt, and this lie not only hurt me, but also my husband, for I very much ruined this gorgeous day with this deeply held, yet false, conviction. No amount of cake can cover up this stench. I go away saddened at my own state of being, yet also hopeful that when returning to this marvellous place I will have turned into this most wise person who recognizes the fact of intrinsic value not as something merely theoretical, but as imprinted on her heart. For no amount of cake, clothes, or even horses can make up for missing out on the treasure that is buried in this gigantic truth: you and I are valuable, no matter what.