I wish someone had told me these things:
- people are going to think whatever they want about you, and you can't stop them. So who cares. Seriously, be yourself and forget the haters. Wear red lipstick to yoga class. Don't own a pair of heels if you don't want to. Keep that exotic stamp collection if it makes you happy. Rethink your worldview if it's time to do soul searching. You do you, and I 100% mean that.
- diet culture is a cash cow that makes bank by feeding you insecurities, self doubt, and body shame - sometimes even in the guise of “health” and “wellbeing” and “body positivity.” You can be body positive no matter what size you are. You can be healthy no matter what size you are. Some people eat butter and chocolate every day and live to be 100. Some people exist on salads and carrot sticks and die at 25. It’s really not in your hands.
- Eat the cake and enjoy the cake and NEVER EVER call the cake sinful. FOOD IS MORALLY NEUTRAL.
- wear sunscreen EVERY DAMN DAY even if it's cloudy and even if you work in a sunless cubicle. Wear it into your hairline and wear it on your hands.
- don’t apologize for taking up space. You have every right to take up as much space as you need.
- don’t apologize for having feelings. You will definitely ugly cry in a crowded public place at some point - maybe often, who knows - and that’s ok. Let it out. You’ll be tempted to shame yourself into stuffing inconvenient emotions, and you’ll think you’ve conquered them. But you’re wrong, and they’re stored in your body, and they won’t go away until you feel them and process them.
- wear shorts even if you hate your legs. Your legs are fine. They get you where you're going, which makes them badass powerhouses that deserve some ventilation.
- you WILL be 40 sooner than you think. And when you are, it's going to be fine.
- take care of your body, it's the only one you'll ever get (until science catches up or whatever). Just because you CAN pull all nighters and get by on cheetos and soda doesn't mean you should. Listen. To. Your. Body. Live in it. Give it the rest it craves. Give it the movement it wants. Give it the food it needs.
- no means no. If your heart says no, it's a no. Stick to it. And if someone tries to shame you for your no, or argue with your no, it's a pretty clear sign they don't have your best interests at heart.
- don’t ever lose your sense of self expression in order to fit an outdated mold.
Your old auntie em.