Here in no particular order are the Top 5 Things I Promise Myself Constantly:
1. “I’m going to get up early tomorrow.”
Every night, I make the lofty plan that I will get up early the following morning. I set my alarm for anywhere up to a half an hour earlier than the time I actually have to get up. Sometimes I am too lazy to pack my lunch the night before. Other days, it’s a promise to go for a walk, eat breakfast before I leave, or a determination that I really don’t want to miss that morning bus.
This inevitably leads to me hitting snooze; past even the time that I would normally get up, on occasion. This despite my cats Pavlovian reaction to the sound of the alarm clock; waiting with big, alert, creepy, doe eyes for any sign of life (and therefore breakfast) from me.
I am not a morning person. I have never been a morning person. I am not likely to become a morning person. When I am in a good place with my routine and my internal clock, I can wake up naturally somewhere between 9 and 10. Getting up earlier than 7 feels ungodly. Yes, I know that sounds privileged, but that’s just how it is.
This also relates to me being a night owl. At times, I don’t finish “decompressing” until 10 or 11, and all of a sudden I want to start something. This is generally a bad idea. Like last night, I wanted to try making yarn from old T shirts. I make one ball, but my scissors were unexpectedly dull and I didn’t complete my task until after 2, and then I just laid there for a while staring at the television.
2. “I’m going to exercise, in this form, tomorrow.”
Look, I know I’m out of shape. I’m a body positive individual and all. I won’t tell you that you aren’t okay the way you are. I don’t think anyone should punish themselves to attain what they are told is the ideal. But I know that I’m not the healthiest human. I don’t eat right, most of the time. And I regret nothing about that. I should be more active, though. An object at rest will stay at rest. The laziness just self-perpetuates.
I try to set goals. For a while I was going to the gym 3x a week. There was a time that I was trying to walk as much of the way back and forth to work as I felt comfortable with, going a little further each time. I have tried to set myself up for success. I moved my TV and DVD player into my bedroom, in the hopes of creating a “work out” space for myself where I won’t feel like an asshole doing work out videos. I have a hula hoop, yoga mat, roller skates, mitt for softball. I have the tools.
I accept that I am not a sporty girl. I will never be the “Sporty Spice” of the bunch. When I play cooperative team sports, I am that special kid that gives the team “heart”. I’m not a star player. Mostly, people are proud of me if I hit the ball. But I’m trying and I won’t give up trying.
3. “I’m going to bed early.”
This wraps around with the getting up early. I come from a lineage of night owls. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but both of my parents were always up past “grown up bed time” most nights. I honestly do swear that I do my best work in the wee hours. I wish I had science to back up my feelings on this, but I know consensus has my back, even if I don’t have numbers.
If I had my way, if I was independently wealthy, and could just “be an artist”, whatever that means. If I could “chase my muse”, I’m quite certain I would end up with vampire hours. There was a period of transient unemployment where, indeed, I often did not go to bed until the sun was rising.
I guess I feel like my quality of life would improve somehow if I got enough sleep. They say it helps with depression. I’ve often lived by the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead motto”, even though I know it does no good for me. Honestly, I wouldn’t trade my night time shenanigans for a million dollars. I have more endearing memories from staying up late, like a bad girl, than I ever do from being a responsible adult.
Still, over and over again, I try to do the “right thing”.
4. “I’m going to wear more dresses/skirts/tights/heels.”
I look at fashion stuff all the time. You’d never know it to look at me. I pull my hair back like IDGAF and wear no makeup 85% of my life. I plan outfits around wearing sneakers, most days. But, if you were to see my collection of makeup and heels, you would be amazed. I have eye shadow palettes, and primers, and tints, and things that only the Willy Wonka of Sephora could dream up. I have a box full of sample perfumes, like a fetish. I even have a small collection of outlandish false eyelashes that I can’t even put on by myself. When I was a little girl, I used to love to wear dresses, just to twirl around in them. What changed?
And I have tried. Oh yes, I have tried, to make the commitment to wearing more skirts, tights, heels, makeup. Then I remember why I don’t do these things everyday. Makeup takes time. Time I could sleep. Skirts feel like I am not wearing pants, and that feels weird. I walk like an man in high heels. I have all the grace of an elephant, try as I might. Then there is the working woman’s plight, where you wear different shoes to get to work, to put on the heels while you sit at your desk? This makes me think of Japanese foot binding in a really odd way. Like what is the point? And if I ever become one of those women in pantyhose with the sweat socks and sneakers during my work commute, I hearby give everyone express written permission to kidnap me and deprogram me Clockwork Orange style with episodes of Fashion Police. I get that beauty is pain, but it’s just not worth it. You don’t even want to get me started on tights. I think that the modern hipster has this romantic idea from the idolization of childhood that tights are awesome. I understand; they are warm, they are colorful, they hide days when you don’t want to shave. But you spend all day doing the “pulling up my tights” dance when you hope no one is looking. Or they do that “orthopedic sock” bunch action around your ankles.
Still, time will go by, as it is wont to do, and I will forget. I will think, “Oh won’t this be a super cute outfit. Why don’t I wear this more often?” And then in the morning, I’ll be on the bed with the legs in the air (not in the good way), shimmying and dancing into a pair of tights, or putting on a dress only to feel the flood of insecurity that makes me take it off and throw it in the back of the closet.
I respect and appreciate that these options exist. I am not on a crusade to end them. I am glad that I was born a cis gendered woman. If I want to be particularly feminine on a certain day, I have these items at the ready, and no one will look at me like I’ve grown 2 heads. I also don’t think you have to use these items to feel feminine. Maybe it’s a color or texture that does the trick for you. Maybe lace patterned combat boots make you feel like a girl, I’m perfectly okay with that.
I guess I just feel like it’s part of a me I want to be, and maybe that’s not accepting the me that I am. Although, that person is still want to change at a moments notice.
5. “I am going to work harder.”
Ah, “work”. For the sake of technicalities, let’s remove this concept from the idea of employment. I have this notion that I don’t do enough. I am not all the things. I have this voice that beats up on me . It says I should really do this or that. This voice makes lists that are insurmountable. It’s not that I don’t have the ability to do amazing things. I am in no way physically disabled, other than being short and fat. And I’m smart too. But I have my finger in too many pots. I’m in 35 places, in my head, at one time. Laser focus is not ever really going to happen for me.
Sometimes I think if anyone every knew me, all of me, and knew how many balls are up in the air in my head, juggling, they would be astonished. But I don’t really share everything with everyone, because I’m afraid I’d be boring after it was all out. So I let out a little at a time, like a balloon.
Sufficient to say, I think this little nagging voice is incorrect. Maybe I’m not perfect. Maybe I’m messy. Maybe I take a while to get things done. Maybe I have hundreds of unfinished projects, and ideas. But my heart is just going to keep on beating; that’s not going to change until it does and then none of it will matter. When you see me, usually, I am trying to be the best person I can, at any given time.
I guess this post lets the reader know that I am hard on myself. Too hard on myself, most days.
Still, I think people can relate. I think everyone probably has a similar narrative. Maybe not the same drives. Maybe you keep trying to quit smoking, or you intend to organize your photos. Maybe things like this are hardwired into the human DNA, because we wouldn’t go anywhere without goals. We’d all still be primates sitting around scratching our butts.
So in conclusion, I guess I’d say the lesson today is “All Things In Moderation” and “Don’t Stop Trying”. But really, keep on loving yourself and don’t lose sight of the real.