New year, new list of expectations for how I'm going to improve myself and my life! (Are you sick of this stuff yet?)
Say what you will, but I'm actually feeling the energy of the New Year in the best possible way. And I'm glad, because even after several viewings of Muppet Christmas Carol, I remained distinctly Grinch-y this past holiday season.
My yearly horoscope (which I check religiously and not-totally-ironically every January) said this is OUR YEAR, Sagittarius friends. Which is exciting for us, because the past several years the stars have been like, "Sorry, but this year is gonna be just okay. Don't get your hopes up."
While the alignment of the universe is promising me fame, fortune, and all my wildest dreams to come true "if I just go for it," I'm still setting practical goals for myself. While I could scare you with the long list of personal problems I hope to overcome (eliminate introverted personality, take over the world!), I’ll spare you (for now).
My beauty-and-fashion-writer self has some plans for the New Year, though. Here’s what they are:
1. Learn to fully accept my body, and every other feature I could nitpick for days
Before post-college adulthood, I never worried about my weight because it was never an issue. I was healthy and I didn’t even get that sad about how I looked outside of PMS week. I didn’t even think I had weight to lose until I moved to New York, instantly dropped 15 pounds, and everyone had something to say about it.
My brother-in-law-to-be affectionately calls it my “whiskey and cigarette” diet which wouldn’t be too far off — the weight loss was a mixture of stress from life changes, adjusting to the pace of the city, and a steady diet of nicotine. I didn’t tune into the changes in myself until my first visit home post-move, and the comments started flowing in: “You finally lost your baby weight!” “Holy shit, do you eat? You’re tiny!” “You look like a totally different person.”
As offensive as the comments were, I liked the attention. I liked the adjectives “tiny” and “skinny” in the sentences that were describing me.
Since then, of course my weight has fluctuated — and in a totally normal way. But when I saw old friends and they didn’t comment on my appearance, or when my family wasn’t worried about my calorie intake, I got sad — if people weren’t acknowledging my newfound thinness, then it must no longer be true, right? (When a friend told me I was back to “looking like I eat what I want without caring,” I had to prevent myself from lunging.)
The comments were constantly swirling around in my head, causing me to unhealthily hyperfocus on which end of the five-pound-fluctuation scale I was on. (Note: This all never ended up in disordered eating or depriving myself — just a hearty dose of obsessive worry with a small side of self-loathing.)
I’m writing this all in the past tense because I am over it. I’m not doing it anymore; it’s exhausting. This year, I’m accepting myself, my body, and everything that I perceive is imperfect about it. No, my teeth aren’t straight, and I hate the way my chin and neck look in profile, and I have man hands, and my hair is thin, and my face gets really red when I’m stressed (and sometimes when I’m not stressed). But I’m freeing myself from the burden of other people’s comments, and from the harsh critique that is my own mind.
It’s a day-by-day process, and requires constant reminders in the form of corny affirmations, but I’m glad to have started.
2. Be more adventurous with my beauty and fashion choices
If I buy one more true-red lipstick, loosely fitted knit top, or muted brown lace-up boot, I am sending myself to time-out. It is time to branch out.
Do I really need to wear neutrally toned, cut-crease eyeshadow with black eyeliner every day? (Negative.) Is a plum-tinted lippie necessary every day of the week? (Of course not!) Would it kill me to mix some bright orange tones into my black and gray wardrobe? (Well, maybe. I don’t look great in orange. But it’s the thought that counts.)
The next time I see a clothing item that I’m drawn to but wouldn’t normally wear, I’m totally going to get it. I want to be that girl who occasionally and confidently sports turquoise platform shoes or purple lipstick. I don’t want to feel like my coworkers are giving me side-eye whenever I decide to wear bright pink lipstick to work. I wanna normalize bold fashion and beauty choices in my everyday, so I’m gonna do it.
3. Actually wash my face before bed every night
Judge all you want, but once I get sleepy, I have a hard time motivating myself to get up and splash cold water on my face. The problem is, this happens more nights than not, and my mascara is ruining my pillow cases. Time for a change.
4. Ditch wardrobe items I no longer wear
Do you know how freeing it is to just GET RID OF the crap that hangs in your closet but never gets worn? Just last week I finally got rid of several sleeveless plaid ensembles from high school that I kept in my closet "just in case." Just in case what? Mid-2000s fashion came back in a real way, and not just to East Williamsburg? It’s not going to happen.
I fully recommend that everyone take part in a New Year’s Closet Purge with me. Here are some items you might consider ridding yourself of: uncomfortable high heels, faded black jeans, any article of clothing that you haven’t worn in the past three to six months (formalwear exempt), anything that doesn’t fit, anything that you look at and think “I don’t like how I look in that,” anything possessing irreparable holes or tears, anything you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to fix but haven’t done so for a year, anything you’ve been telling yourself you’re going to wear but haven’t done so for a year, any old T-shirts that aren’t in your regular sleeping repertoire or that don’t hold sentimental value, any old socks with holes or stains or grossness (get new socks), and any and all animal prints (this is biased).
5. Devote at least one evening a week to some therapeutic, pampering self-care
As a New Year present to each other, my boyfriend and I visited a spa with the works: saunas that melted your troubles away and jacuzzis with power jets that beat your worries straight out of your strained shoulder muscles. It was fantastic. While I can’t afford to visit the spa with any form of regularity, I can improvise this sort of therapeutic self-pampering at home. Aromatherapy oils lathered all over my body while eating mint chocolate chip ice cream comes to mind.
The importance of taking the time to relax and pamper ourselves cannot be overemphasized. Instead of painting my fingernails while writing articles and preparing my lunch for the next day (and then subsequently smudging a nail, and then redoing it), I should just actually sit there and paint my nails. With a candle lit. And soft jazz playing in the background. Drinking a cup of green tea. I think you should, too. Our souls deserve it!
What are your beauty and fashion goals for the New Year?