I have never heard a New Year's Resolution that didn't come with a big ol' side of guilt.
Even, like, nice resolutions, like, "I'm going read more!" Generally come with a follow up of, "because I never f*cking read anymore, I'm basically f*cking illiterate."
And I hate that.
I hate that the majority of resolutions are based in this false narrative that it’s possible to hate yourself into a version of yourself that you love.
And this year, because 2020 has been the definition of a shit storm, I feel like we're putting even more pressure on January 1st because we're all itching to get out of this holding pattern we've been in. Which, to me anyway, is insane because us just having gotten this far is INCREDIBLE!
If you’re reading this right now after the toothy blow job that has been the year 2020? You’re INCREDIBLE!
And to drive this home, I wanted to take time to write about a resolution I’d like to make together with you, to lift us up when at 12:01 am we realize that we’re still going to have to wear a mask to the grocery store.
In 2021, I just want us to keep choosing ourselves.
I don't want us to hang the hats of our worth on potentially losing weight, or trying a new diet, or some other way we've decided to torture ourselves, no! I would rather do something that is both very small and very big, all at once.
It's small, because it just takes a moment, but it's big because choosing yourself is often the first step on a journey of the self (self-love, self-confidence, self-discovery...)
And, I mean, after this year, who of us doesn't need a little more self-love?
You know, it's funny to think about self-love as a journey...because...while it is, in fact, a journey...well...
Self-love doesn't have a stopping point.
It's just, like...a forever trip.
But it doesn't exactly have a destination.
Or, rather, it has many destinations. You just don't stay in one place forever.
Even when you reach a moment of what feels like intense clarity, eventually that fades, and then you're moving along again.
I don't mean for this to sound like a downer! I'm more hoping that it's a reminder that if you don't feel like you have it all figured out: Welcome to the Club! No one does. And we're not supposed to. Not for very long, anyway.
You know, there are times where everything seems completely, mind-blowingly crystal clear...but life keeps moving...and what you once saw with total clarity, now it looks a bit different.
To quote the master of all things verbal, Stephen Sondheim, life is just a bunch of, "moments in the woods."
Recently, I was a guest artist for a friend, and taught a virtual theater class for her students.
I talked about having belief in yourself and your abilities when it came to auditions, creating your own material, etc. How self-love is very helpful when in a business that does involve not always getting the role.
And one student raises her hand (which, in virtual class, involves pressing on a button that creates a hand icon to pop up on the screen) And asks, "do you have to love yourself in order to be an artist?"
Of course, I started crying, because...what a question.
And I took a moment, and I said, "no. Because you're always working on loving yourself. Learning to love yourself is a constant in life." I said, "do you ever get home from a party at night, and it's so quiet that the silence feels louder than usual? And you sit down and you put your head in your hands and you think, "God, I hate myself."
A class of virtual heads bobbed in affirmative unison.
"That's where your art is," I said. "And that's where your self love is, too. The things that you feel are "too much," about you, those are the things that make you special. Those are the places where your art lies, and where your most lovable self lives. And life is basically a meditation on finding those moments where you truly know love for yourself, losing the moment, and then finding it again."
Wellness, health, healing, and self love...none of it is linear.
Because the beauty of life (and sometimes the most annoying part of life) Is that it is ever-changing. And, so, what path we're on, the things that work for us, what lights us up, all of that is going to shift with time.
The one thing that must remind constant, however, is the intentional choosing of yourself each and every day. Despite setbacks, despite "failures," despite what you ate yesterday, a key part of living a life you love is waking up each day and choosing YOU.
And that won't always be easy.
There are moments in life when we feel almost separate from ourselves. Particularly when it comes to weight. It can feel like your body is betraying you with it's size. But punishing yourself with a restrictive diet or using exercise as a torture device set to music, is not the way to find peace with yourself.
And here's the place where I wish I could tell you the answer to what way will help you find peace with yourself, but...the truth is...I don't know that, either.
What I do know, though, is that, after this year, your body, your mind, and your soul, do not need another load of emotional weight dropped on it in the form of an oppressive resolution disguised as self-help. What your body, your mind, and your soul do need is understanding, love, and a helping hand to find comfort in a year that has asked us for superhuman patience, egolessness, and...time.
So, if you've been pacing your apartment, scrolling through social media, and biting your nails down to the quick (just me) While wondering what you were going to overhaul about yourself for 2021, this is your permission slip to take your hand out of your mouth, take a deep breath, and decide that your only resolution is to ask yourself what you need, and then take the time to listen.
That's what I'll be doing, anyway.
I hope you'll join me.
Happy New Year,