Nobody knows what they want out of life. Not really at least. Not honestly and openly. All your angst about what am I going to do with myself and am I worthwhile person and maybe I should be doing something that’s better, more useful, that makes a difference in the world, that I actually enjoy, that doesn’t run me ragged and so on and so on? That’s not just you, that’s everybody. And those people who seem so happy and so together and how come they get to do what they love and it’s not fair that they know what they want and how to get it and how come I can’t figure anything out, what’s wrong with me? Nothing is wrong with you. That’s life. Those people don’t really exist, they’re just better at pretending. They’re just better at hiding the fact that their job that they love so much and their life that is exactly what they said they always wanted is still pretty shitty, exhausting, frustrating, unfulfilling, a waste of time and energy, not exactly what they wanted but hey maybe it will be someday, baby steps, a stepping stone, ladder climbing, close enough, but still a not so infrequent source of unhappiness. Nobody’s got it all figured out and even if they do and you don’t it doesn’t make them better than you, smarter than you, more deserving of happiness than you are. It just makes them different people who want different things, with different goals and desires and benchmarks for what makes you a person of value and substance and besides they’re boring to talk to most of the time anyway and when you ask if they’ve read any good books lately they sigh all righteously and say they’re just much too busy to spend time reading for pleasure as if reading a book was some kind of childish indulgence that serious people with real jobs and important lives and let me see if I can pencil you in schedules simply can’t be bothered with and that’s supposed to be like a good thing and an adult thing and if only they weren’t such important people with important grown up things to do then maybe just maybe they’d be able to make time for a bit of light reading. I’m just saying, they can take their great lives with their super important and fulfilling careers and all those kudos and atta boys. I’ll be over here with a glass of wine and a good book and we can both be miserable about our existence in our own, wholly separate ways.
Idealism is a long road to a dead end that will loop around in a circle and send you back out the way you came. Not that you shouldn’t be idealistic. That’s all well and good and maybe you get some things done along the way and some kid decides they want to be a doctor or a great scientist because you encourage them and told them they’re smart and good and deserving and they can do something someday and maybe they go on to cure cancer or solve the global food crisis and that’s totally super and we all owe you a big thanks for your optimism and giving nature. But eventually you’re going to get a little older and notice a little more how institutions and society and the whole damn world is set up to hold certain people back and there are exceptions to every rule and thank god for that and while it’s great that you go in every week to help teach kids how to read or show them that there’s someone there for them who wants them to succeed and do well, eventually you’ll notice that none of the clocks in the entire school work at all and that’s such a small thing but an important thing and how hard can it possibly be to have some working clocks and you’ll realize that idealism is less about making the world a better place and more about making yourself feel better about the state things, but at least maybe some kid gets to learn how to pronounce the word “complicated.”
Don’t buy Honest Tea’s Pomegranate Red Tea with Goji Berry. You don’t even know what goji berries are and you’re definitely too lazy to bother looking it up but you still think oh goji berries, I bet those would be good for me, but you don’t fucking know. Goji berries could be poisonous for all your lack of science and weird plant knowledge and maybe this is Honest Tea’s attempt to slowly destroy the part of the human race that doesn’t know from goji berries and besides even if you did know what they are then really shouldn’t you know better than to drink this because goji berries don’t even taste good or maybe they do, you wouldn’t know, but something doesn’t taste good and it leaves a bitter flavor in your mouth and makes you thirsty for water and like shouldn’t cold tea quench your thirst? Just stop being roped in by all things pomegranate, sure the juice is tasty and yeah isn’t the color pretty but it’s not worth the effort and the mess because you can never remember what the trick is for opening them in water so all the seeds float to the top or however that’s supposed to work. Just stick to bananas or some other simple fruit.
You look fine, and even if you don’t look fine, it’s your body and it’s nobody else’s business how you look and everyone can just shut up and go to hell and all the haters can fuck off. If you want to exercise more, exercise more. If you want to eat a little less, eat a little less. If you don’t, then don’t. Live your life and give yourself a break and don’t obsess over dimples in your legs or how can your butt sit higher and yeah you should be able to grab up hunks of skin because it’s skin and body tissue is this real thing that you can touch and pull and hold in your hand because you are a real person with real physical properties who takes up actual physical space and that’s okay because you are not a hologram that someone’s hand would pass through if they reached out to touch you and you’re allowed to exist so stop letting people and societal expectations and your own self esteem issues erase you and you diminish you and make you feel like maybe everything would just be better if there were less of you, or no you at all. Stop thinking that wouldn’t you be prettier if you could just x, y and z because you’re totally fine just the way you are, you’re better than fine even. Sure some people are going to be prettier than you, stronger than you, better than you at all the things you’ve never been very good at but wish you were. Some people are going to make more money and drive better cars and have nicer houses and live better lives and you’ll tell yourself you don’t care about any of that but wouldn’t it be nice if you could at least be prettier or thinner or have nicer boobs or a flat stomach and maybe if you really could just x, y and z someday their life could be your life, but the truth is that even if you did x, y and z there’d just be a whole new set of letters after that from some alphabet you don’t even recognize because when you stand naked in front of the mirror or when you compare yourself to every other woman that crosses your path or smiles up from the pages of a magazine or the computer screen or dances around on tv, well the alphabet goes on forever and there’s no such thing as pretty enough. So stop fixating on it. Stop worrying about it, or at least try to stop worrying about it and realize that you have a great sense of humor or an awesome laugh. You’re good at applying mascara so that it never clumps or you know how to put on eyeliner so that it’s totally straight and not everyone can do that. Or maybe you’re really good at walking in heels or you can run long distances or math is easy for you and other people struggle with math for their entire lives. You’re a great cook, you always win at poker, you totally understand fashion and dressing for the season, you know how to dance, your eyes are never closed in pictures unless you wanted them to be, you can get drunk without turning all red and splotchy, or you turn all red and splotchy every time you get drunk but it doesn’t matter because you’re the life of the party so no one notices anyway. Or maybe you’re super smart and you understand how the world works and you know that this fight, this desire to be more pretty, more fashionable, more everything than what you already are is an ongoing battle and it doesn’t matter how often you tell yourself to give up the fight and just be happy, the fight will always be there because the world is designed to make you feel like this, to agitate you and distract you and make you feel like you’re worthless and undeserving so that maybe you’ll be too occupied with the size of your thighs to notice when people try to take away your birth control or convince you that you’re not capable of making your own decisions. But you are capable and you’re great and you’re good at what you’re good at and you look like what you look like. No one could ever hate you as much as you hate yourself and maybe it’s worth it to at least try to stop being your own worst enemy.
When you are sad, do not put on sad music and formulate a list in your head of all the reasons you suck as a person. Put on Robyn or Florence and the Machine, make some mac n cheese and dance around in your kitchen wearing nothing but your underwear because fuck it, sometimes that’s all you can do. But don’t forget to turn the lights off. When you live in a rowhouse where the people who live on the street behind you can stand in their kitchen and watch you across the alley that runs between your houses, always remember to turn the light off when you dance around in your underwear. Or don’t turn the light off because damn the man. It’s your life and you can live it however you want. Do what you have to do to be happy.