Dressin’

Is there an AA, but for online shopping? Sign me up. I have decided to do a no-spend month in January, but perhaps declaring that has been a bit too stressful, since I’m going completely ham on December purchases. It doesn’t help that I’m starting a new job where I can actually dress nicely every day.

A huge part of my self-care routine has to do with clothing and accessories. For the past 11-and-a-half years, I have worked in the service industry (with the exception of a few months during my grad school internship). Service industry means dress codes, some of which have been more permissive than others. Even when I was a store manager, the one who set the dress code (or, y’know, abolished it entirely), it was a coffee shop, which meant coffee spills, smells, sweat, and mop water. You’d be out of your mind to wear anything nice.

On the rare occasions I’ve gone into my various workplaces on days off, people usually ask, “Where are you going today?” because I’m (apparently) all dressed up. I get it—these people are used to seeing me in t-shirts and leggings, with little to no makeup on. But, in the immortal words of Steve Harvey, “They call me ranch, ’cause I be dressin’.” Clothing, at least in my adult years, has always been the way I express myself. I have to admit, my outfits can be a little eccentric (last night, for instance, I strolled into a family dinner wearing big hoop earrings, a pink utility jumpsuit from Madewell, a faux fur leopard coat, and leopard-print flats). PSA—the $16 ballet flats from Target are the most comfortable flats I’ve ever worn, and the cheapest. 

I know the stupid aphorism—don’t judge a book by its cover. But in my actual life, I found this to not be true at all. The way a person presents themselves says quite a lot about who they are! Just not in the way you might think. For instance, I step out into the world in lipstick (which I’ve worn every day for 12 years), a cool outfit, and styled hair because I want to project confidence, which internally, I struggle with. My house is very clean and organized because my mind isn’t. I work hard to be my aspirational self. Sometimes it fails (my professors, in particular, have seen right through the veneer) and sometimes it succeeds (my friends are often shocked when I open up about my mental health struggles). A variation of the outside-in philosophy, which was played on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for a laugh, has worked for me. Organizing my home has helped me stay on top of more quotidian tasks (like, paying my car insurance and stuff). Getting validation and support from my friends has helped me seek it within (and get into therapy!)

Okay, this is getting a bit dark and long-winded, but what I’m trying to say is that fashion is important to me. I love to buy things, wear them, donate them, and give them as gifts to friends. This holiday season has taught me how much I love giving—curating special and useful gifts for the people in my life that I love.

No-spend January is going to be tough for me. But hey, I’m up for a challenge. I’m trying to view it as an opportunity to get really creative with things I already own. So instead of my usual Sunday Kind of Love post, where I chronicle all of the things I’m lusting after on the internet, I’m turning inward. Thanks for reading!

*

Okay, okay, okay. I will post one recommendation. The Schitt’s Creek Christmas Special, y’all. That show is the best thing I discovered in 2018.

schitts-creek-christmas-special.jpg

Oh, okay, one more. The Weezer sketch from last week’s SNL. I died.

Advertisements

Sunday Kind of Love xiv

tumblr_static_1ahxvwgfplxcw4ggwo84wscog_640_v2

This week was very hard for those of us suffering from depression. Rest in the sweetest peace to Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain—advocates for women and inspiring individuals. Check on your strongest friends—some of us hide behind confidence.

If you need help, know that some of us ache for you, and know you. Please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Read this article to learn more. We love you. We want you here.

We shouldn’t have to lose our idols to open up the conversation about mental illness and suicide. I know the above gif might seem a little flippant, but we have to normalize and destigmatize talking about mental health. Talkspace is a great resource for the uninsured or those too busy to commit to regular therapy appointments.

***

On a more positive note, I wanted to share some of the more positive things that have been running though my mind this week:

I need every single goddamn thing on this entire page immediately.

This is the best scone recipe on the planet. People love them.

Very excited to check out the Turf Tavern while I’m in Oxford.

I’m reading The Golden Compass, The Weirdstone of Brisingramen, The Dark is Rising, and The Lord of the Rings for my Oxford class and it’s been such fun to dive back into these fantasy classics. I’ve already finished The Hobbit and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Michael and I are rewatching The Office from the beginning and holy guacamole is the finale emotional. I don’t even care if this is an unpopular opinion: American > British every damn day. When Michael showed up I *screamed*. Dwight & Angela’s wedding song is a string arrangement of “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

The new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is out and *very Metallica voice* nothing else matters.

I’m absolutely buying this rice cooker, bringing my total of pink appliances up to…five?

I want this SO SO SO SO badly! Liz Phair is my queen.

I’m thinking of getting this kit because maybe, just MAYBE, I’ll actually start food prepping.

***

Sayonara, mis amigos!

xoxo,

c

Risk

I submitted the following to the Man Repeller Writer’s Club for January 2018. The prompt was to write about one or all of the following in 500 words or fewer:

What’s a risk you took that you regret taking?
What’s a risk that you’re glad you didn’t take?
What a risk you wish you took?
What’s a risk you hope you take this year?

***

I have been on this spinning blue orb for more than twenty-six years and I have never taken a single risk. Or, at least, it feels that way. I’ve never bungee-jumped, taken a transatlantic flight, publicly declared my love to someone, or gotten a tattoo larger than a postage stamp.

That’s not entirely fair. I’ve done some stuff. I dropped out of college (more than once) but ended up in graduate school, and, I mean, I got married. But, in the moment, these seemed like the safest options, hardly the risks they purport to be. I had played it safe for decades because the threat of the unknown was too daunting.

So, when I started therapy, I didn’t think much of it. It didn’t seem like a risk, because when I’d tried it before, I hadn’t learned anything. I didn’t do the work, I didn’t stick it out. I’d go once, maybe twice, declare it useless, and forge ahead with my life. But by the time my twenty-sixth birthday appeared on the horizon, the nihilism and hopelessness that had characterized my adult life became too overwhelming to bear. My panic attacks increased. I was drinking every day. I was unmoored from reality in a way that was jeopardizing my health and my marriage. And worst of all, I had no fucking clue what to do with my life.

IMG_0558.JPG

        And then I met Tanya. Her office was at the end of a long hallway in one of the campus’s newest buildings, which had the sterile vibe of a hospital ward. Her lime green loveseat reminded me of my childhood bedroom. After some sessions, I’ve fallen apart and failed to put myself back together for days at a time. I’ve arranged toys in a sand table and choked on my own tears. I’ve made resolutions, reported successes, and admitted failures. I’ve shown up drunk—she’s seen the worst parts of me up close. And most importantly, I’ve learned to trust another person with my real thoughts, my inner monologue, not just the bullshit performance everyone else sees. The chasm between how I see myself and how others see me is so much wider than I could have ever imagined. Vulnerability is a trip.

Tanya ends every session with the same line: “Remember what we talked about.” Sometimes, that’s the hardest part—remembering that I deserve to be happy, that I’m a good person. That I don’t need to constantly self-flagellate, or be polished and perfect every moment of the day. That I’m allowed to say no.

It’s been the greatest, shittiest, hardest, most wonderful six months of my life. Well worth the risk of actually getting to know myself.