Hi, my name is Molly and I’m deeply not perfect. I fuck up all the time, I’ve had a ton of shit go really wrong in my life and I often joke that my middle name is “Never Learned a Lesson.”
That’s not even a good joke and I know it—yet I say it all the time. That’s how much work I need to do on myself.
But there have been times when I’ve made a decent amount of money in my life (now NOT being one of them) and I threw a lot of it at self-care and growing experiences. I feel like I can talk about how some of the things I’ve learned are things I need to actively work on in order to be a better person (than the one I am.)
Most of these things should feel obvious. I think that’s a good thing. You should have a general sense of like, how to be a goddamn human being, but they’re also things that are easy to let slip your mind and it’s important to be reminded of them.
1. Staying chill
In this past week alone I’ve had a leisure trip to New Orleans turn into sleeping bedside at a hospital while my boyfriend recovered from an appendectomy, a call from my accountant telling me that I’m basically broke and a complete meltdown after a silly argument with a friend. Life is stressful and if you don’t make a conscious effort to breathe and remember that the only way to get through it is to keep your head down and work, you’ll die. No joke. You’ll shave years off your life and make mistakes more easily.
2. Being nice
They teach you this shit in Kindergarten but after you’re out of your parents’ house and you’re in the real world and life has kicked you in the clit a few times, you start to turn into a little bit of an asshole. You meet assholes who are good at their jobs or have other admirable qualities and you associate their assholiness with their X factor and you wonder if you’d do better if you were a little bit of an asshole yourself. The answer is that you probably will do better if you’re an asshole. For a little while. It’s a great defense mechanism and it can scare a lot of people and that will make it easier to get them to do your bidding. But then people figure out that EVERYONE thinks you’re an asshole and no one wants to be around you because there are a lot of people who are NOT assholes and a lot of them are better than you because they haven’t sunk their time and energy into being something that they’re fundamentally not. So just be nice. It’s easier then having to start over again.
3. But remembering that people pleasing sucks you dry
If I could pay for every dinner for all of my friends forever, I would. If I had the cash, I would buy my boyfriend a new wardrobe every season, my dog would travel with me everywhere I go and I’d fly my family out to Los Angeles to hang out all of the time. I want everyone to feel loved and spoiled and safe all of the time. And I aim for that, I really do. Not to be all, “what can I say? I love too much! That’s my biggest problem! I’m just a selfless lover! Saint Molls for President!” I can be selfish as fuck sometimes, but the other extreme of that is that I’m a complete emotional whore for anyone I love and often fail to stick up for myself/watch my own back because I’m all, “LOVE ME AND NEVER LEAVE ME, PLEASE!”
4. Staying clean
On the outside, yes, but I’m talking specifically on the inside. Watching what you eat, drinking less than you do (and it’s almost always too much if you’re like me & everyone I know), putting down the cigs and the weed and maybe even that disposable pineapple vape because we really don’t know what those things are going to do to us. Again, these are just reminders about things to work on, not anything that I actually think are super easy to do or something that’s maintainable all of the time because honey, I’m a fucking dumpster.
5. You don’t need that
Whatever it is, you almost always don’t need it. You don’t need anymore fucking clothes, you’re good on the $12 block of cheese, no one needs to drink a $50 bottle of wine. This is something that I have to say to myself constantly. I love being a consumer, I’m a totally patriotic babe, but I spend money like crazy until I don’t have anymore and then I am exactly as happy as I was when I had money except I don’t have options.
6. Being honest
For some reason, this can be so much harder than it should be. It’s terrifying to think about letting down people you love with simple truths about yourself and mistakes you’ve made so sometimes it’s just easier to gloss over the truth or let out what feels like a harmless white lie. This is can be a life-ruining defense mechanism. It’s actually just an advanced, more harmful form of people pleasing but it can leave you looking like a psychopath. Try to cut things you’ll want to fib about later off at the pass by asking yourself whether or not what you’re about to do is something you’d want people you love knowing about you.
I don’t care who you pray to, that’s none of my business, but it cannot hurt to have talks with a higher power. Maybe that higher power is YOU—some version of your best self that you can’t always lead with—whatever, just keep a dialogue going about your hopes, your wishes, your gratitude and your dreams. Say it out loud, say it in your head, sing it in the car. Yeah, that shit’s associated with being crazy but so is having no faith at all.
I totaled my car a little while ago and haven’t gotten around to pulling the trigger on a permanent replacement. I returned my rental car before the holidays and when I got back from my vacation, I found myself walking everywhere. It’s not some totally novel idea or anything, but while dragging my feet home from the grocery store one morning thinking about how shitty it is that I haven’t just gone to a fucking dealership and picked out a car, I realized, “No, Molly. You live less than a mile from two grocery stores. You SHOULD be walking to the grocery store. This is what MOVING AROUND feels like.” Get a little sweat going. Put on your sneakers and make a full blown activity out of it.
9. Showing compassion
People are going to fuck up and be weird and do things that you would never do and can never understand. But people also are all kind of little kids inside and totally vulnerable and prone to error. Of course there are exceptions—there are complete psychos out there who feel no remorse—but MOST people are good at heart. Truly. And they deserve your understanding as often as you can give it without becoming a punching bag.
10. Knowing your storyteller
Whether it be some stupid listicle on the Internet or an account of an incident at work, it’s always important to remember that people can only recount their P.O.V. and that everyone has a motive. Sometimes they want to be the hero, sometimes they want to make you the villain, sometimes they just want to stir shit up. Never take anything that anyone says at face value. Always consider the source. Don’t allow your own unique opinion to be tainted by the motivations of others.
11. When to say “no”
Yes, when to say no to other people but also when to say no to yourself. It’s so crucial to find a healthy boundary for yourself when it comes to your relationship with literally anything.
12. Moving on
Once you’ve drawn your boundaries, you need to stick by them and move on. Allow yourself a healthy mourning period, especially if we’re talking about death or the end of a major relationship, but for the love of God, do not consume yourself with the past. Prepare yourself for the next stage of your life by refusing to chain yourself to the past. Talk to a professional if you find yourself hanging on too hard—the sooner you move on, the sooner the rest of your life starts.
13. Know what you have
It’s the easiest to forget what you have when you have it all. That’s why Oprah’s all wet about practicing gratitude—you KNOW she probably got lost for a hot minute and started drinking too much and bitching out Stedman and overspending in insane ways. I’m NOT big on “checking my privilege” but I am big on remembering that I was the happiest I’ve ever been when I had nothing more but an air mattress in a bed bug infested apartment and completely miserable when I was stumbling home from Soho House every night in designer clothing.
Now I’d just like to find some sort of happy medium.