1. Tattooed a unicorn on my arm. I knew most people would think it was stupid. I knew most people wouldn’t get it. But I didn’t really care because it meant something to me and reminded me of a time in my life that’s special. So even though most people don’t get it, and most never will, I tattooed a pink unicorn on my arm and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
2. Shaved the underside of my hair. Even though my hair is fine I have a lot of it. So I’ve always wondered what it would be like to get rid of a chunk of it. And so when my stylist said on a whim, “You should totally shave your neck,” I let myself leap and just said, “Let’s do it.” Now I’m free a layer that I probably never needed, and am absolutely in love with the way it feels to rub the buzzed, underside of my hair. Aside from all of the coloring (more on that later) it’s one of the best beauty decisions I ever made for myself.
3. Canceled plans with the “nice guy.” There was nothing wrong with him. I think he was like, 6’2″ and he made Harry Potter jokes with me and jumped at all of these opportunities to tell me how cute he thought I was. But even though I liked that he was 6’2″ and could make Rowena Ravenclaw jokes and thought I was cute, I didn’t really like him. Even though, on paper, I should have. So I canceled the plans and disappointed him and made it clear that nothing was going to happen. But I also didn’t let myself feel guilty for trying to force myself into feeling something I clearly couldn’t.
4. Left the dishes in the sink. I have an acute paranoia of strangers seeing my apartment and judging me. One of my biggest fears whenever I take a trip is that something will break in my apartment and my landlord will have to come in, and will subsequently judge me if it’s not clean enough. So even though cleaning can be therapeutic, even arguably a form of self-care, for me it can quickly spiral into something almost manic. And something absolutely anxiety-inducing. So when I left the dishes in the sink, and didn’t rush to get the cans off of my desk when someone came over to grab my spare key, it wasn’t out of laziness. It was a reminder to myself that I don’t have to be perfect. And that in being imperfect, I am still okay.
5. Flew to New York in the middle of August. I told almost no one I was going. I packed almost exclusively demin shorts and crop tops. I slept on a hardwood floor and didn’t drink my beer fast enough on the patio so it got all sweaty on the glass from the condensation but was lukewarm when I went to take a sip. But when I went to the Lower East Side and we played the piano together I remembered what it’s like to pause. So even if I was only there for a few days, it was worth it.
6. Slept on my balcony in nothing but a bathrobe. I’m pretty sure my neighbors saw way more than they should have and I probably gave the people across the street a scandalous show. But it was hot and I had successfully put together patio furniture completely on my own and sleeping outside just felt right.
7. Published some things I no longer relate to. It had nothing to do with putting anyone on blast or making sure there was something Google-searchable to validate my own feelings. It was just something I felt like, at the time, I needed to do. It was cathartic. It was, as they (whoever they are) say, ~part of the process.~ And even though I look back on those pieces and the girl who so furiously typed them out on a computer that would only work if it was plugged in and the righthand shift key was long lost and I don’t relate to them or to her anymore, I’m glad she did something that helped her. I glad she made a space for herself to work some shit out.
8. Admitted I can be cringe-worthy. Recognizing, accepting, and learning to laugh at your own cringe is so unbelievably humbling and freeing.
9. Bought a 4-karat ring. It’s an ametrine surrounded by pave diamonds and I’ll probably never have an engagement ring even close to the size. And even though it instantly makes everyone ask me if I’m married when I wear it out, there’s something about saying, “Nope! Just bought it for myself!” that’s so, unbelievably satisfying. I wanted something nice, so I got something nice. And every time I look at this rock that I bought my damn self, I smile.
10. Cried to Dear Evan Hansen in bed. Again. Whenever I feel overdue for a cry (aka: the only time I cry) I put on DEH and just sob. Just ugly, snot-filled, cry it out at the soundtrack and I sit there heaving until I can’t heave any longer. And I might not feel THAT much better afterwards, but I don’t feel worse. So that’s something.
11. Deliberately ignored some things. I have a fear of not having the last word. I have a fear of not responding to an email. I don’t leave people on read and texting back in a good amount of time is something I pride myself on. Even when I have friends who want to only talk about themselves and are never there or interested in being there for me when I need them. I’ll still indulge, still engage. So when I left something alone and walked away, even when I had things in my mind that I COULD say, it was an act of taking care of myself.
12. Made an appointment with an acupuncturist. I don’t know if it’s going to help my back or my sleep or my hands or my anxiety, but it’s worth a shot. And it’s a shot I’m taking.
13. Dyed my hair blue. He said he liked my blonde hair. He said he liked my red hair. He said he liked my highlights. He said he liked my hair dark. He said he didn’t know what to do with a girl with blue hair. So I let Ezra pour that color all over my hair and stopped giving a fuck about whether or not someone else thought it was hot. It’s just for me. It’s just for me.
14. Gave myself permission to just be sad. For a very, very, very long time I looked at being sad as a total weakness. So I would get overproductive and all go, go, go, in an attempt to not let myself just FEEL. Because feeling was weak and feeling was dumb and feeling was unnecessary. So allowing myself to feel sad, to feel let down and just sit in those moments? Pretty rare. But pretty necessary. Even if I hate admitting that.
15. Took 3-hour long baths. And I do absolutely nothing in them. I don’t sext, I don’t shave, I don’t really “bathe.” I just swish around and half watch a rerun of Parks & Rec or two, or three, or six and just…be. I just turn my brain off and just, for lack of a better word, float. And it’s something I never feel bad about doing.
16. Remembered I’m allowed to be human. Or at least tried to. Results tbd.