Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Five @ 5

I really want to bring these little posts back. I took a couple months off from the blog because I was recalibrating as a human, but I think I'm fully calibrated now. Ish. You know how it goes. So, hi. I missed you, you five people who read these. I love writing on Friday. I love Friday in general. It's always my most productive day at work, I get to teach for two hours after work, every other Friday is payday, and the following day is Saturday - my favorite day. I am going to keep these shorter, though. Here are 5 things that are in my head:

1. I go back and forth with my feelings on Elizabeth Gilbert. I have phases where I love her and think she's a brilliant, soulful, real AF genius. Then I have phases where I read her words and think, "Sure, lady. If I had a pile of money and a book deal I'd pack it all up and go find myself in Italy, too. Ugh." I'm in a good phase with her right now, and I'm about three-quarters of the way through her book Big Magic. I started to underline and highlight things in the book while reading it the other day. Then I started to realize I wanted to highlight nearly every single sentence, so I stopped entirely and just decided I'd read it twice. It's described as being about "creative living" but really it's just about being a person, being alive. It's focused on creativity, but it's not all about the arts. It's about going after whatever it is you're passionate about whether that be ice skating or raising goats or really anything at all. The thing I love most about it is that it talks about pursuing your passions vigorously but not necessarily quitting your day job to do so, and definitely not considering yourself a failure if you never become famous for whatever you want to pursue. It gives you permission to do your thing and just be happy you're doing your thing. It convinces you that the world needs you to do your thing. I recommend you read the first few pages and see how you feel. If it bugs you, put it down and try again in six months. If you love it, devour it.

2. Tried this recipe and hated it. Tried this recipe and loved it.

3. I pretty firmly believe that anyone who would want to own an assault rifle shouldn't own an assault rifle. Does that sentence make sense? It's early. I think if you want to own an assault rifle and you're not going off to actual war, then you have a problem and should not be trusted with things like, say, assault rifles. Can we ban assault rifles now?

4. Spring is coming and I'm searching for the perfect white t-shirt. I used to love the Banana Republic V-neck. They changed it and made it into something so thin you could pretty much see my veins through it. Then I was into the Old Navy v-neck, but they changed THAT and made it super boxy and gross. I want a trim, fitted, polished, crisp, white v-neck t-shirt that isn't as thin as tissue paper. Help me, internet. Seen any good white Ts lately? Let me know. I'll order five of them immediately. Love a white t-shirt. 

5. What are you all doing this weekend? Tomorrow morning I'm having a playdate with my fantastic friend, Erica. We are going to take two classes at North End Yoga and then eat large breakfasts to balance things out. I adore Erica. We met in a class in college we both found kind of dull, and have stayed in touch over the years through the magic of Facebook and a mutual love of a good manicure. We also both love words and animals, and we both ended up becoming group fitness instructors in our 30s. She teaches at the Energy Barre. You North Shore people should go take her classes. Tomorrow night Prom Date and I are going to have dinner at Grotto in Beacon Hill. Their beef tenderloin is one of my all-time favorite Boston meals, their service is solid, and their space is subterranean and super dark and I'm PUMPED.

Happy Friday, you guys.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Self-Love

Today is Valentine's Day and I want to talk about self-love. Several years ago I was having a very bad day. I'd been dumped. I was on Cape Cod with three other women for a "girls weekend" and I really didn't want to be there but they'd talked me into going. As predicted being on the Cape made me feel like shit. One moment stuck out to me as being the shittiest, though. One of the women told me from her perch on the couch as I sat on the floor in tears that all I needed to do was love myself and then all the other pieces would fall into place and I'd be happy and find the right man and everything would be great. Hair flip. Wine sip. She said it like it was nothing, like it was easy. Just love yourself. Oh okay. Thanks. I'll go do that. BRB. Was she wrong? Not entirely. But loving myself was proving to be really difficult for me and continued to be difficult until very, very, very recently.

For a long time I genuinely thought I loved myself. When I saw something I wanted I bought it, ate it, or drank it. I felt sorry for myself when people were mean to me. Wasn't that it? Wasn't that me loving myself? Why wasn't my life getting better like Hair Flip Wine Sip said it would? Why did I feel anxious and like shit all the time? 

This year I took a closer look and oh wow. No. I did not love myself. If I loved myself, I wouldn't have gone on that trip to the Cape. I knew I was going to have a lousy time. Out of the three women I went on that trip with two were okay, but one of them was really cruel and passive aggressive to me and I knew being around her was going to make me feel worse. So why did I go? Why did I remain friends with her for 8 years? Why did I exclusively date men who disliked me to my very core and were horrible to me? Why didn't I have a dentist? Why didn't I own winter gloves? It really hit me: all those times that people told me I was mean to myself, all those times that people told me I just needed to love myself? Yeah. They were right. I was a total asshole to myself and I needed to fix it.

I think a lot of the time when people want to focus on self-love and self-care they immediately book a massage or a vacation or take a personal day from work, I started my self-love project by booking a bunch of doctor’s appointments. I wanted a clean bill of health and I'd go from there. I went into my doctor’s appointments prepared to advocate for myself and it felt really good. I wanted my questions answered, I wanted good referrals to specialists who were actually going to call me back, I wanted more than a cursory glance and a "see you in a year." I got a physical and made sure it lasted a solid 30 minutes, I didn't rush through it sheepishly because I felt bad for taking up my doctor's time. I did a ton of research on birth control options and found the safest, most reliable one for a woman my age and set it up. I badgered my way into the dermatologist and had her look at all my weird moles and cut two of them off and biopsy them. I relentlessly called psychiatrists and finally found someone who would see me and got medicine for the anxiety I'd been struggling with for 15 years. I quit drinking alcohol and that blew the roof off of things. Then I got started on my apartment. I got a hamper. I moved my toaster to a part of the counter that made it easier to use and it made me love my kitchen again. I got rid of mugs I hated and books I never liked and pictures of assholes I'd dated. I got batteries for my alarm clock so I'd stop sleeping with my phone every single night. I moved my now-useless wine glasses out of the huge cabinet and filled that cabinet with food. Then, I dove into my finances. I sat down and spent a long time looking at my credit card statement online and for the first time in my adult life (sad, I know) I truly understood what I was doing to myself by carrying around that debt and I made a plan to pay it off as quickly as I could. 

Isn't this all so exciting? Nope. It's pretty boring. It's not a massage, it's not a vacation. It's better. It's so so so much better. I stopped taking care of myself years ago because I just didn't give a shit. I felt awful and I got used to it. I stayed down there. I gave up. I passively bought myself sweaters and Ubers to work and pedicures and bottles of wine and $28 hamburgers at the Four Seasons and called it self-love because self-love was trendy and those things sounded good on Facebook, but it was far far far away from loving myself. 


I am in a relationship now and I'm very happy. (I love you, Prom Date.) But I am equally happy that I'm FINALLY back in a relationship with myself and knowing and loving myself fully for the very first time. Happy Valentine’s Day, all.