1. PEOPLE WHO HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER ARE GREAT. BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE ONE OF THEM.
'If I could just [blank], then I could finally get my shit together.' My success/happiness/sanity [insert your own seemingly unattainable goal here] has always been on the other side of something. A bank account balance, goal weight, change of scenery. A prime time booking, a guy, an antidepressant. A lottery win. I've always had this overwhelming sense that all these things needed to come together simultaneously for me to ever have a prayer of being a normal, functional adult. I was wrong. Adulthood (term used loosely) comes no matter what you think or do. And 'normal' is complete bullshit. So if you, too, are waiting to have it all together: STOP.
2. YOU’RE NOT BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE BRUNO MARS SAYS YOU ARE.
Any more than you’re a doctor because you watch Grey’s Anatomy. No amount of pop songs are going to change how you view yourself, just like no amount of McDreamy reruns are going to land a scalpel in your hand. You have to do the work. And that means digging deep to find out what does make you beautiful, in your eyes – not Bruno’s. Not Hollywood’s. Not society’s. Not your mom’s. Yours. And that can be so unbelievably, excruciatingly hard. I know. But there’s these teeny, tiny, specific things that make you beautiful that have nothing to do with anyone else or what they see, say, think, feel, do. They’re yours and yours alone. Right now they may be smothered under a mountain of crap from the media, celebrities, toxic people in your life, and every story you’ve ever told yourself of why you’re not beautiful. Grab a shovel.
3. IT’S OKAY TO FEEL LIKE GIVING UP.
On life. On love. On faith. On yourself. No one tells you that but it’s something you need to know. Every single time I’ve wanted to give up I’ve made things infinitely harder by convincing myself that there was something wrong with me because I wanted to give up. On life. On love. On faith. On myself. There is nothing wrong with me and there is nothing wrong with you if and when you feel like giving up, in the past, now, or in the future. Those feelings need to be dealt with, yes. And you may need some help in doing so. But are they abnormal in any way? Nope. Anyone who tells you they’ve never wanted to give up on life is either 9 years old or lying to you.
4. THE GUARANTEE OF CHANGE IS THE ONLY THING THAT …NEVER CHANGES.
I am self-admittedly the absolute worst at change. I fight. Scream. Kick and plead and beg (literally). Medicate. Eat. Drink. Sleep. Cry. Self-harm. Self-destruct. Hand over anything to avoid change: my power, my dignity, my self, my body, my future, my past, my dreams. For two decades I’ve handled change in all the ways you’re not ‘supposed to.’ And it’s exhausted, depleted, damaged, and broken me. So here I sit, humbly and scared shitless, committing to trust in change.
5. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL.
The ideal female body type portrayed in the media today actually, physically belongs to a whopping 5% of women. If you happen to, God forbid, not be in that 5% (hello, welcome to the club), there’s a pretty good chance you struggle/have struggled/will struggle at some point with your body. 20 million+ females in the United States alone are affected by a categorized eating disorder or disordered eating (EDNOS, Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). Why do we have unhealthy relationships with food? Because we have unhealthy relationships with ourselves. Why do we have unhealthy relationships with ourselves? Several reasons, countless ones, but in large part because you cannot fit an entire population into 5%. You have to refuse to take the fall for a media presence that puts billions of dollars per year into keeping you stuck in a danger zone striving for one size that DOES NOT fit all. Refuse for yourself. Refuse for your daughters, nieces, girlfriends, sisters. Refuse. Refuse. Refuse. Out loud.
6. YOU DON’T HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.
You just have to actually believe in it. God. The Universe. The Big Boom. Synchronicity. Chanting. The Afterlife. Buddha. The guy on the corner dressed as a hot dog. Doesn’t matter. Find what makes you feel supported. Find what brings you comfort, brings you strength, and allows you to pull through. And most importantly, let it shift naturally. Because it will. And that’s okay.
Don’t sit still inside the fear. Please. You are okay. I promise. Keep moving.