5 Things I Don’t Do For Anyone Other Than Myself

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Why is it so hard for any part of our lives to exist without people thinking that they are merely props in an ongoing, elaborate mission to put on a show for the benefit of others? Why are, seemingly now more than ever, our days becoming an endless string of events that will be held up and examined for hidden, approval-seeking motives? Do we really assume that everyone is Photoshopping their personalities, habits, and tastes to cater to whoever they’re sleeping with, or what to be sleeping with (or friends with, or working for, or…) Has social media’s “please look at every waking moment of my life” validation-fest made us completely disbelieving that, despite it all, there are flesh-and-blood humans out in the world, doing things for no reason at all beyond self-satisfaction of some kind?

Or are most people just too self-obsessed to consider the idea that some things simply have nothing to do with them?

Either way, let’s set shit correct about these 5 things. Any halfway decent person whose identity isn’t driven by rampant insecurity does these things – despite what you might think – just for them.

Exercise

Boyfriends do this thing when you tell them that you need to go to the gym/go running/go to pilates class and he’s like, “You don’t need to do that! You look amazing already.” It’s cute when they lie, isn’t it? But it misses the point entirely: I don’t go to the gym for you, sir. My desire to get regular physical exercise is almost entirely based in a desire to zone out, turn my over-thinking brain off for a while, blast music in my ears, channel all the stress and frustration of my existence into something positive, and let all those yummy, happy brain chemicals work their magic to keep me from being a tired, depressed, anxious shell of a human. The fact that, in the process of achieving those things, my ass ends up looking better is really icing on the cake. Please don’t tell me that I don’t “need” to work out. I’m telling you I really, really do – and it has nothing to do with looking good for you.

Have sex

I wholeheartedly (first accidentally typed that as “hole”. Cute move, brain. (accidentally typed “first” as “fist”. Gross, brain.) believe that sex shouldn’t be a selfish thing – no matter what the relationship between you and your partner, you should always strive to be attentive, present, generous, respectful, and do whatever you can – within reason – to make sure everyone’s genitals get properly shaken and rattled. That said, any implication – whether by a partner or society in general – that I’m ever having sex to impress, cajole, or manipulate someone is offensive and incorrect. I have way better ways of accomplishing that shit. If I’m boning someone, it’s purely because I want rub my parts against theirs. It’s really never more complicated than that.

Choose clothing

Not to say that I don’t think about the impression I’m exuding via my sartorial choices (none of us lives in a vacuum; what you wear inescapably presents an image to the rest of the world, and you’re naïve to think your clothes don’t speak for your character), but it’s always according to how I want to feel and be perceived by others. If I’m dressed a certain way, it’s because it looks and feels good to me, and I choose the identity it conveys – not because it looks how someone else wants me to look, or fits the image that someone else wants me to have.

Tend to my eyebrow/nail game

Uh, it’s called Body Feng Shui (that’s not a thing.) Look into it (don’t, you’ll find nothing.) Well-groomed eyebrows and properly manicured nails produce a weird sense of control over my own existence and the universe in general. The calm sense of together that comes from having the unruly parts of your body tamed is inexplicable, yet every girl reading this is nodding her head. Getting a manicure or brow wax can literally change your perspective on everything. Sure, it’s nice when people think we look nice, or look like the kind of put-together persons who find time for more detailed person upkeep in a world where we’re lucky if most people move their asses through a shower every now and then, but those are meager perks on top of the real reason we do those things: It strangely makes us feel like masters of our own lives. We sure as hell aren’t doing that for anyone else.

Choose music/TV/movies

There is a very specific, very powerful kind of “not taking my rings off” ass beating that I feel compelled to deliver whenever someone implies that I’m merely pretending to like something to (per the most frequent accusation) appear “cool” or “like-minded” or whatever. There might have been a time when younger me would pretend to be into a band just because the guy I liked was into them, or claimed to be a fan of a movie that all my friends were obsessed with even if it actually put me to sleep, but I lack anywhere close to the time it takes to put that kind of energy into curating a false catalog of media preferences to win favor with people (who, for what it’s worth, would be musty, old dick skins if they actually judged people based on their Netflix queue.) The older I get, the more my tastes in music, movies, and TV have absolutely nothing to do with what’s popular, and everything to do with what makes me happy. Besides, if this kind of stuff is that significant in your life, you eventually realize that it’s endlessly more fulfilling to build connections with people with whom you have genuine shared tastes, as opposed to faking it in the hopes of forging a connection. TC Mark

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