Once upon a time, there was a girl who thought all rainy days should mean a free pass from having to perform life; that they should be spent with good music, warm coffee and a little whimsy. She loved when the sky stayed dark after the sun should’ve already bathed everything in sepia light, and everything remained saturated in a soft gray blur.
It was what she always imagined London to look like, a place which she desperately wanted to experience while splashing around in bright yellow rain boots. On these imagined-London-type days, she would run outside in bare feet, turn her face up to the sky and laugh aloud. She’d do silly things, like make blueberry muffins (the just add water kind) even though she hated them, because she had run out of chocolate chips and just wanted the house to smell like warm batter.
She wouldn’t wash her hair or get ready aside from swiping on some lipstick and making a full pot of coffee, which is of course essential for productivity. She’d drink three full cups.
But she wouldn’t be too productive, at least not in the dreaded sense of the word, because the rain made everything smell green, of possibility and rejuvenation.
. . .
So I’m sitting here as I write this, barefoot in the kitchen, the smell of uneaten baked goods wafting through the air, in lipstick and messy hair that no one will even see, contemplating what it would be like if we loved ourselves like we do our favorite characters in books or Netflix shows.
They are flawed characters, all of them, regardless of which show/book you’re considering. Do you know how I know? Because flaws are like a handle for humanity: something we can grip onto and recognize. My favorite kind of hero is always an antihero – he or she is typically the most interesting and the most nuanced. Every fiction class I’ve taken preaches that flaws are what make a character three-dimensional, and, essentially: lovable.
What would it look like for me to love myself as much as I love the oftentimes deeply flawed characters that I’ve written, read or watched on tv?
Save it for a rainy day. I love that phrase. Except I’ve sort of changed it to something more along the lines of, “save it for every rainy day.”
And the ‘it’ is really simple: just the joyful stuff. I’m sorry if that’s not eloquent – but it’s succinct (and that’s sort of an accomplishment for me). Do the joyful stuff that makes you feel loved. Practice self-love.
Some of my most fulfilling moments I’ve ever experienced have been with that girl, the one I was talking about earlier, with the distaste for blueberry muffins and penchant for procrastination, when she knows herself well enough to know what will be energizing and comforting and good for her own soul.
She was, and is, me. In case you hadn’t guessed.
I can get extremely down on myself at times, and for a whole list of things – a list that I tend to add to daily, just to reread over and over in my mind, each time like a kick to the ribs.
And I guess that’s why I sometimes need a rainy day, like an earmarked page in a book – a reminder of something good, something revelatory – to love myself. To remember to make myself feel loved.
For me it’s embracing ridiculous whims – whether it’s rain dancing or lipstick or gross but delicious smelling blueberry muffins (which are not chocolate, but look like chocolate – which is so messed up). Whenever I indulge in something offbeat, I can seriously feel the giddiness welling up inside me, and feel how it evaporates the knot of anxiety, stress or monotony in my stomach, like an Alka-Seltzer tablet in water.
In a world that tends to value perfection but also stress its impossibility, being a little foolish feels like radical self-love.
If I were writing myself into a story, I wouldn’t want to be untouchable and indistinct like an impressionist painting – I’d rather be recognizable, reflective of the world and people around me; the ways in which they’ve damaged and/or grown me. I’d rather be detailed, if flawed.
Please love yourself. Write self love into your schedule like you do a fitness class or work project. Don’t always wait for a rainy day. But if you do, be sure to make it a really, really good one.
As a side note, would it be bad to feed blueberry muffins to a stray neighborhood cat? Asking for a friend.