My best friend and I are frequent visitors to the land of self-deprecation. We complain about breakouts, bad hair cuts, and love handles. We criticize our bodies—and our maybe unhealthy lifestyles that contribute to our bodies—with the expectation that the other will pick us up, build us back up.
And so, together we discussed New Year’s Resolutions. Naturally, and along with every other girl living in North America, “work out more” found its way to both of our lists. Honestly, I could work out only twice this year and it would be considered “more” than last year, but still, I was setting my expectations higher than that. I didn’t just want to work out, I wanted to lose weight. The weight, specifically, that I most definitely gained when I made the ever-so-wise decision to make five pounds of fudge this Christmas season.
Come New Year’s Eve, I felt myself in a new sort of situation. I was abandoning my resolutions. Three Cheers for the kiddos who stick to them and use the New Year as a chance to implement healthier habits into their lives, but when I found myself spending time with a group of people—people who I didn’t have many shared commonalities, except for maybe the elementary school we attended—I discovered my real resolution for the New Year: be more me.
I don’t say that in an “I’m the best ever! I should be even more me!” way. I’m not a totally obnoxious human being. But that when I’m in a group of people, I should want to be like me, not like them.
So I resolve to stop sending out “What are you wearing tonight?” texts.
I resolve to start picking out my own Instagram filters, and requiring the feedback of my best friend or mom a little less.
I resolve to not say “I don’t remember” when people ask me what I’m currently reading out of fear that they may look down upon my choice.
Because I don’t want to speak the truth with hints of irony in my voice. And I don’t want to pretend I’m not a (not-so) starving artist. Because the library is one of my most favorite places in the world, but Target comes in a close second. And as much as I’d like to dedicate my Instagram to #VeganLife, today I ate ice cream cake for breakfast.
Because we live behind screens that protect us and they let us choose the image we portray to the world, and I don’t want to show anything but me.
“Be unapologetically me.”
The final resolution I decided upon.
Because I think there’s a difference between changing and bettering yourself. And I want to better myself. In ways that may include going to the gym, but that may also include harping on myself less when I don’t go to the gym. And I want to send out more birthday cards and bake more birthday cakes. Because I think it’s physically impossible to stop eating carbs altogether.
Occasionally, in misplaced rants, I hate on my own body when comparing it to Cara Delevigne and every other model wearing clothes from the Size Zero industry, wearing clothes that will never look the same on me. And I hate on my body not because the size it is, but because of the size it is not.
Recently, however, I had this interesting revelation that likely even a fourth grader could’ve told me had I known to ask: my body can never—and will never—be a size zero or two or even four. It’s not something a diet could fix or some more time at the gym. It’s something that is just not written in my cards. Don’t get me wrong, I do not have—and never have had—specific ambitions of becoming that tiny. But I’ve seen plastered in front of me what the “ideal” is, and I’ve noticed that I’m not it. I think we all have.
But I can’t change my body. So it’s senseless to be mad at myself for a body I didn’t choose. And it’s senseless to feel frustrated with myself when my face breaks out, when that, too, isn’t my fault.
You can better yourself.
But maybe changes aren’t as necessary as we think. Perhaps when the New Year rolls around and we’re all scrawling down all the things we need to change, we should perhaps scratch out a few. Because not everything about us, even the things we might consider “flaws” need to be changed.
So I’m trying to better myself. And I’m trying to love the things I cannot change. Or, at the very least, I’m trying to not hate the things I cannot change.
Because I am me. Unapologetically me—except for when I’m late. I will continue to apologize for being late, as at this point it’s part of my DNA.
All I can try to do—all any of us can try to do—is be the best version of ourselves. To better ourselves. To unapologetically resolve to not change ourselves this year, but instead love who we already are, love who we’ve always been.