Perhaps I’d be better off pulling up a chair at a crammed Starbucks on a Monday afternoon, seeking out the perfect girl to share her story. But instead, I’ll let her find me.
I’m going to start by ripping apart those renew subscription cards that come inside every beauty and housekeeping magazine.
Not because buying another pair of gardening shears is a particularly awful thing to do or because the first step to a dangerous dirt path to disaster is a weekend of healthy calisthenics, pumpkin-patch-picking style.
Really, those are tiny. Insignificant. Minor little voices sitting inside our already-clogged noggins that say to do more, be more, try more.
All the while, they want us to take less.
Less self-love. Less ice cream. Less free time. Less clutter. Less, less, less.
The world has told us that we are to fill ourselves up by pushing everything out—all the mess, the bad, the memories we don’t have room for anymore.
We make way for new ones in college, right?
New friends to love us in the here and now. New classes to fill our already-tight schedules. New jobs so we can pay the Dominoes delivery driver when he rat-a-tats on our door because we are so new, so filled, we have no time to cook Grandma’s favorite stew.
But we forget how much comfort we’ve sacrificed in doing that. We forget the coping mechanisms we discovered in high school—the healthy ones like ranting to a best friend at our locker before class or spending Friday night lapping the football stadium perimeter with a hot chocolate while boys in mud-stained spandex fumble the ball for the third time.
Those seem far away, pitiful even, and we choose instead to hold it all in.
Hold those searing problems, those almost-tears, those aching hearts and the first signs of a panic attack welling up in our chests when we think too much about the Big, Bad Future.
For some reason, there’s a comfort in holding these all in, as if they might evaporate inevitably through our pores, rinsing off in the dank shower stalls where we’re unafraid to expose our true selves.
I am thinking that won’t happen.
It’s great in theory. Don’t get yourselves wrong. It seems almost plausible for those of us who are so far wrapped up in no longer admitting we have problems and choosing instead to coat our skin with misery.
That, my dears, is like coating your skin in maple syrup.
It’s sweet and smells amazing and tastes delicious, but man, that’s going to rip off some hair and maybe chunks of skin to leave your body looking like a sunburned mess.
It’s not worth it.
I know you might want to believe it. So do I, some days, but it’s not.
Please do me a small favor instead. Pull up a chair next to mine. Bring your favorite Starbucks drink.
You can tell me all about why you love Caramel Frappuccinos and Iced Peppermint Mochas and I can tell you about being comfortable in your own skin.
Enough so that your legs don’t jitter beneath that round fake-wood table because you’ve taken twenty minutes to just Be.
Enough for you. Enough for me. Enough.
And maybe those Starbucks dates will become routine until you’ve taught me about every beverage on that menu.