Let me name some of the things I’ve done in the last week that I would die if you were actually around to witness. Blasting Lizzo through my apartment and (trying to) twerk with a spatula in my hand. This wasn’t the cute, prancing around scene you’ve seen in a rom-com, either. It’s horrendous. I have a glass (or three) of wine during this party for one and put on my favorite dress. Passersby therefore witness in a floor-length glitter gown, looking at myself in the mirror like I’m Emma Watson, not Emma-from-Minneapolis-who-is-also-tipsy-on-a-Tuesday night.
Or there’s when (yes — same week!) I’m ugly-crying and singing Taylor Swift with the windows down on the way home. Only to have a car full of beautiful men pull up right next to me. I swear God was shines down on me as I pulled away just quick enough to escape their (now three in one phone — thanks Apple!) iPhone cameras.
I go on walks and talk to myself like I’m in conversations with people I can’t deal with in real life. I make a kissing face when I watch make-out scenes and don’t even realize it until I’m kissing the actual air. I eat cereal in the middle of the night pacing around the borders of my purple rug. Yet somehow these moments — like when I take my pants off only seconds after walking through the door — are a sweet release from the rest of the world. It’s like an intimacy with myself that makes me shudder to think about anyone else being around for.
I’m sure it’s easier to indulge odd rituals and embarrassing habits as a single person who is enjoying alone time more and more as I get older and learn about myself. But we all have these quirks. And we all have a weird shame and urge to hide them. Yet I hope as you read this, you too are sitting in an evening gown on the couch with a glass of wine in hand, looking classy just because you can.
I used to squash these things about myself. I’d just throw in a little dance move while I made dinner. It took months to move into a full-on party. I think it’s because I didn’t know how to give myself grace. How to laugh at myself and not take things so damn seriously. I could win a contest on psyching myself out and getting way too into my own head every single time. There’s no competition.
But what I realized, thanks to therapy, medication, and getting fed up with being so damn stressed out, is that sometimes you have to say, “Fuck it,” and do whatever the you want. I thought more about it, and I realized that what kept me from full out attacking a burrito or giving twerking a shot was embarrassing myself. While I was by myself. That internal, critical voice was talking and I hadn’t even bothered to notice how irrational it was. Who am I to take life so seriously?
Leaning into these oddities has gone hand-in-hand with more self-love. I’ve found that the more I’m able to let myself go when I’m alone, the less I care about doing it around others, either. While I can’t say my dance moves have improved (in fact, they’ve likely gotten worse) I can say they make an appearance more often. The loss of filter in my private life has bled into my everyday routine in the most fantastic way. The more authentic I am, the more I’ll receive an authentic response from those around me. These awful dance moves have even gotten my parents hooked on Lizzo — and that’s a small victory within itself.
And I can say that while a drop in my stomach appeared as that car rolled up next to me cry-singing Taylor Swift, I was also able to keep singing. I just rolled the windows up. While in the moment these things are ridiculous, I think they’re equally as profound. Resisting the urge not to squash them has been such a joyful discovery over the last few months. It’s a conversation with myself that I’m not afraid to have out loud anymore. And I don’t give a damn if the person passing me on the sidewalk sees me talking to myself.