chelsea-fagan

Stand naked in front of a mirror for a long time, under unflattering light if possible. Trace the rises and falls of the little ripples on your skin — the scars, the dimples, the cellulite — and think about how much you try to hide these things in your day-to-day. Wonder why you hate them so much, and if this hate stems from somewhere within yourself, or as a result of being told all your life that it’s wrong to have physical flaws. Wonder what you would think of your body if you never looked at a magazine, if you never thought about celebrities and models, if you never had to wonder where someone would rate you on a scale of 10. Look at yourself until the initial recoil softens, and you can consider your features in a more forgiving frame of mind.

Listen to the music which makes you want to both sob and dance with uninhibited joy, and allow yourself to repeat any song you want as many times as your heart desires. Think of the person you are when you have your favorite song in your headphones and are walking down a street you feel you own completely, swaying your hips and smiling for no good reason — remember how many things you love about yourself during those moments, how much you are willing to forgive in yourself, how confident you are for no good reason. Try to think of confidence as a gift you give yourself when you need it, instead of something you have to siphon from every unreliable source in your life. Dance because the music makes you remember how much you love yourself, not because it allows you to forget the fact that you don’t.

Write a list of all the things you like about yourself, even if you think it’s a self-indulgent and narcissistic activity. Start as early as you like in your life — put down that time you won a trophy playing little league soccer when you were eight and then got an extra-large shake at the DQ on the way home, and don’t feel silly for remembering it. Try to understand how many sources in your life happiness can come from, how many things you could be proud of if you chose to. Ask yourself why you so tightly limit the things you take pride in, why you set your own hurdles for happiness and fulfillment so much higher than you do with anyone else in your life. Let your list go on for pages and pages if you want it to.

Touch and care for yourself with the attention and the patience that you would someone you loved more than life itself. Rub lotion in small circles on your elbows and hands when it is cold and your skin is dry and cracked. Make soup for yourself when your nose is running and curl up, with your favorite movie, in a pile of expertly-stacked pillows. Light a few candles and let their glow flicker against your body. Admire how gentle they are, how delicately their warmth touches you — wonder why you don’t let yourself do the same. Soak your feet in warm water at the end of a long day, until they have forgiven you for walking on them for so long without so much as a “thank you.” Listen to your body when it aches to be touched, and don’t be afraid to give it every orgasm that you may have been too ashamed to ask for in someone else’s bed.

Be patient with yourself, and don’t worry if a switch doesn’t flip in you which abruptly takes you from “crippling self-doubt” to “uncompromising self-love.” Allow yourself all the trepidation and clumsy, uneven infatuation that you would with a promising stranger. Try only to be kinder, to be softer, and to remember all of the things within you which are worth loving. Listen to the voice in the back of your head which tells you, as much out of sadness as anger, “You are ugly. You are stupid. You are boring.” Give it the fleeting moment of attention it so craves, and then remind it, “Even if that were true, I’d still be worth loving.”

—  Chelsea Fagan, How To Fall In Love With Yourself

So you have chosen aloneness. You have chosen the security and the relative freedom of solitude, because there is no risk involved. You can stay up every night and watch your TV shows and eat ice cream out of the box and scroll through your Tumblr and never let your brain sit still, not even for a moment. You can fill your days up with books and coffees and trips to the store where you forget what you wanted the second you walk in the automatic sliding door. You can do so many little, pointless things throughout the day that all you can think of is how badly you want to sleep, how heavy your whole body is, how much your feet hurt. You can wear yourself out again and again on the pavement, and you do, and it feels good.

No one will ever bridge that gap and point to your stomach or your hair or your eyes in the mirror and magically make you see the wonderful things about getting to be next to you. And maybe that’s it, after all, this fear that no one will ever truly feel about you the way you want to be felt about. Maybe what you want is someone to make you love yourself, to put sense into all that positive rhetoric, to make it so the aloneness of TV and blasting music in your ears at all times isn’t the most happy place you can think of. Maybe you want someone who makes you so sure of how wonderful things are that you cannot help but to tell them your feelings first, even at the risk of being humiliated. Because you will know that, when you’re telling them you love them, what you’re really saying is “I love who I become when I am with you.

7 Stupid Questions We Need To Stop Asking

1. “Can I use your computer?”

They don’t need you all up in their shit. They don’t need you typing a single letter into the YouTube search bar and getting prompted to go on a journey through all of the “announcing to the parents we’re pregnant/engaged” happy-cry videos that they enjoy watching in their private leisure time. A person’s laptop is their sacred sphere of masturbation and hate-stalking and messages sent to crushes while drunk at two in the morning. It is not for public consumption. Besides, everyone knows you just want to check your Facebook and dick around for a few minutes. There is no need to make someone sweat bullets and reconsider every digital decision they ever made over that nonsense.

2. “How much did you pay for [insert object here]?”

Maybe if you’re really cool with the person and you have a distinct, practical reason for wanting to know the cost of something, it could pass for an acceptable question. And yes, sometimes you can’t help but vomit up the question “How much didthatcost??” when you see something that looks 50 shades of unaffordable. But talking about money is the conversational equivalent of shaking hands after not washing them in the bathroom. There is no reason for you to know about how much that purse cost, even if you really want it or are incredibly suspicious as to how this sweaty plebe managed to get their hands on it. You do the classy thing, wait until you get home and Google the shit out of it.

3. “Still on the job search?”

You will know when that shit is over the second it happens. Trust. The unemployed person will burst through your window covered in rhinestones and throw confetti all over your living room, followed by a banner that says in glittery bubble lettering, “I got a job!!!” Until then, it’s not over.

4. “Don’t you know that [insert junk food here] is bad for you?”

I want to know exactly what part of the human brain motivates people to say this shit. Because let’s be clear, there is not a human alive who goes up to a pretzel stand at the mall while out doing their shopping and orders a jalapeno cheddar twist with nacho cheese dipping sauce and a lemonade slushy and thinks that they are doing their body a favor. We all know that shit is bad, and health is not why we eat it. We eat it because it tastes like dreams and affection and a warm blanket on a cold night and makes us temporarily forget that we have to go wander under the oppressive fluorescent lighting of Pottery Barn for two hours to help a friend do her wedding registry. The only reason you ask someone if they know that it’s bad is because you are a jealous little bridge troll who wishes they could be eating that stuffed-crust pizza, and will accept the paltry substitute of ruining it for the person who actually is.

Haters.

5. “Eww, why do you like [insert band/genre of music here]?”

I LIKE CELINE DION BECAUSE SHE IS AN AMAZING SINGER AND HER GOD-GIVEN TALENT TRANSCENDS YOUR CONDESCENDING JUDGMENT.

6. “Still single?”

Yeah, that’s what you do when you see a bleeding axe wound in the middle of someone’s chest, so gaping and raw that you can occasionally see the overworked muscles of their barely-surviving heart moving with the last bit of energy their struggling body can muster. You grab a handful of emotional sea salt and you rub that shit in until your hands give out from exhaustion.

7. “Why are you so quiet?”

There are only one of two legitimate answers here:

1. “I am generally a fairly introverted person, and I have a hard time being really outgoing in new social situations, so I am trying to just hang back a little bit and observe until I feel a bit more comfortable. And your questioning of my behavior only further confirms my suspicion that my inability to just ‘be cool’ in the way others seem to makes me stick out like a sore thumb and gives me further reason to not even try stepping out of my comfort zone.”

2. “I am in a bad mood for reasons I’d rather not discuss, even though I am trying my best to remain normal and be around other people. The best way of handling this, for me, is to just be a bit more quiet than usual as I take things in and reflect on the things which are troubling me. But now that you’ve taken the opportunity to point out how weird I’m being, I guess that means I’ll have to either go home to be sad in private or force myself to put on a show of being happy when I really just want to cry.”

And both of these make you look like an asshole.

 By CHELSEA FAGAN

Of course, you never really forget anyone, but you certainly release them. You stop allowing their history to have any meaning for you today. You let them change their haircut, let them move, let them fall in love again. And when you see this person you have let go, you realize that there is no reason to be sad. The person you knew exists somewhere, but you are separated by too much time to reach them again.
—  Chelsea Fagan, How We Let People Go
Perhaps most of all, though, you deserve to be okay. You deserve to know that a day in which you can just barely get out of bed because you are sad, or sick, or simply not ready to see the outside is not the end of the world. You deserve to know that moments of weakness do not make you fundamentally weak, only fundamentally human, and that sometimes we’re not going to be effusively happy, and that is okay. You deserve to be happy just existing and not constantly holding yourself up to a standard of fake smiles and forced cheerfulness. You deserve to not beat yourself up when you do not reach perfect acceptance of your body, your personality, the love you receive, or anything else that may come your way. Though you should know that you are worthy of these things, learning to be happy just in a kind of stasis with yourself is a long process, and you should know that we are all working on it.
Of course, you never really forget anyone, but you certainly release them. You stop allowing their history to have any meaning for you today. You let them change their haircut, let them move, let them fall in love again. And when you see this person you have let go, you realize that there is no reason to be sad. The person you knew exists somewhere, but you are separated by too much time to reach them again.
—  Chelsea Fagan, How We Let People Go

And most of all, I want to do nothing with you. I want to spend a Sunday at home, me in my corner, you in yours, reading or working or writing, silently in our spaces. I want to be so together that we don’t have to say anything at all, that we can just watch it rain and drink our tea and occasionally look at one another and smile. I will wonder why I ever thought that Sunday was for running errands and cleaning and getting things done one after the other, when it is so clear that spending them silently across from you is so much better.

I want to have every bit of Sunday with you, every Sunday, because you are simply too good to end on a Saturday night.

—  Chelsea Fagan, I Want To See You On Sunday

1. Stop reading comment sections on articles which you know are only going to make you angry and disappointed in humanity.

2. Stop engaging with said commenters if you do go down and read their Hitler-referencing drivel. Arguing with anonymous trolls will not get you anywhere.

3. Tell people all throughout your life how much they mean to you and how much you love them.

4. Dare to kiss someone first when you want to kiss them, instead of waiting agonizingly for them to make the first move.

5. Start making your own granola when you get a little time to keep in a jar or Ziploc bag for your breakfasts/snacks. Homemade granola offers perhaps one of the best effort to long-lasting deliciousness ratio out there.

6. Pick a physical activity which you don’t absolutely hate, so you can do it regularly. (Or at least find a podcast you love which makes jogging bearable.)

7. Delete phone numbers in your contacts list which you know you should no longer be texting while drunk or answering calls from.

8. Donate a little bit of your time to doing something for the good of society — even if it just means picking up a little bit of trash that you see and throwing it in a recycling bin, or starting a compost, or making a lunch for the homeless in your neighborhood once in a while. Focus on making the first step towards being more useful with your time.

9. Forgive someone you’ve been holding a grudge against long after they’ve apologized.

10. Decide what you actually want sexually, and start making an effort to communicate it effectively to your partners, instead of living in disappointment.

11. Stop watching terrible reality shows that you know only make you more of a shallow, simple person.

12. Go to see more movies alone on weekend afternoons, especially ones which make you cry and/or feel way too many #feelings.

13. Forgive yourself for dating people who were wrong for you, even if you knew they were wrong for you from the get-go, even if they ended up breaking your heart.

14. Take a chance on a date you normally wouldn’t accept, just to see where it might go and learn a bit more about what you like and don’t like.

15. Remind yourself often of how young you actually are and how much you have ahead of you.

16. Have crepes with Nutella and bananas and/or strawberries for breakfast once in a while. (If you haven’t done this yet, your entire body hates you and you just don’t know it.)

17. Eat lunch in the park, instead of at your desk or in a crowded restaurant, whenever you get the chance.

18. Learn how to do minor repairs on your clothes, such as replacing buttons or fixing a small tear, and keep a needle and thread with you when traveling or going somewhere important. You never know when you might need it.

19. Dance more by yourself in your room, to whatever absurd music you like to listen to when you’re alone.

20. Sing louder in the shower.

21. Accept that, in many situations, you are going to be the one who ends up loving more, loving longer, and loving more painfully. Know that this doesn’t make you a bad or faulty person.

22. Start being more selective about your online presence, and to whom you give the privilege of learning your stories.

23. Send handwritten cards to thank people for things, instead of just a thank-you email. Taking a moment for a handwritten card truly make all the difference when it comes to saying thanks, and makes people feel like you really appreciated them.

24. Make a concerted effort to remind yourself of the parts of your body you like, and what you can do to treat your body better and make it more energetic.

25. Don’t saddle yourself with unreasonable expectations about what you’re going to be able to accomplish or sustain over the course of one year, but push yourself to make the small, doable steps towards your goals.

26. Don’t judge your success or your failure over the course of the year by your waistline.

27. Be honest with yourself about which friends are not challenging or encouraging you in the right ways, and which friends may even be bringing you down or preventing you from doing the things you want to do.

28. Remind yourself to be proud of your accomplishments, even if you’re not used to congratulating yourself or savoring your accomplishments.

29. Keep the plans you make with your friends, even if it means going out of your way. Understand that a time when most of you are unmarried, independent, child-free, and within drivable distance of one another is something which will not come again in life, and take all the advantage of it you can.

—  Chelsea Fagan, 29 Ways To Make 2013 Better
Alone is walking along a street, just you and your city, taking things in that you often don’t take the time to appreciate when you’re busy with other people. It is allowing your senses to be your company, talking to you with a million different voices of how good this smells or how wonderful that feels. It is taking the time to soak in your surroundings, instead of just existing blindly within them.

Lonely is seeing something so beautiful that you feel your heart cannot contain it all by itself, that it is going to burst from the radiance that it is longing to express. It is wanting to turn to someone, anyone, and say “Look at that. Isn’t that wonderful?” and realizing that, as with so many other memories of late, there is just no one there to share it with.
Of course, you never really forget anyone, but you certainly release them. You stop allowing their history to have any meaning for you today. You let them change their haircut, let them move, let them fall in love again. And when you see this person you have let go, you realize that there is no reason to be sad. The person you knew exists somewhere, but you are separated by too much time to reach them again.
—  Chelsea Fagan, How We Let People Go
I am jealous of your bedsheets — the ones you wrap yourself in over and over when you are unreasonably cold for the season. I am jealous of the people who get to pass by you in the metro and who will never know your name. They don’t know that they are lucky, that their shoulders touch someone wonderful…
So you have chosen aloneness. You have chosen the security and the relative freedom of solitude, because there is no risk involved. You can stay up every night and watch your TV shows and eat ice cream out of the box and scroll through your Tumblr and never let your brain sit still, not even for a moment. You can fill your days up with books and coffees and trips to the store where you forget what you wanted the second you walk in the automatic sliding door. You can do so many little, pointless things throughout the day that all you can think of is how badly you want to sleep, how heavy your whole body is, how much your feet hurt. You can wear yourself out again and again on the pavement, and you do, and it feels good.
No one will ever bridge that gap and point to your stomach or your hair or your eyes in the mirror and magically make you see the wonderful things about getting to be next to you. And maybe that’s it, after all, this fear that no one will ever truly feel about you the way you want to be felt about. Maybe what you want is someone to make you love yourself, to put sense into all that positive rhetoric, to make it so the aloneness of TV and blasting music in your ears at all times isn’t the most happy place you can think of. Maybe you want someone who makes you so sure of how wonderful things are that you cannot help but to tell them your feelings first, even at the risk of being humiliated. Because you will know that, when you’re telling them you love them, what you’re really saying is “I love who I become when I am with you.
—  Chelsea Fagan, For When You Think That No One Will Love You 
Of course, you never really forget anyone, but you certainly release them. You stop allowing their history to have any meaning for you today. You let them change their haircut, let them move, let them fall in love again. And when you see this person you have let go, you realize that there is no reason to be sad. The person you knew exists somewhere, but you are separated by too much time to reach them again.
—  Chelsea Fagan
Of course, you never really forget anyone, but you certainly release them. You stop allowing their history to have any meaning for you today. You let them change their haircut, let them move, let them fall in love again. And when you see this person you have let go, you realize that there is no reason to be sad. The person you knew exists somewhere, but you are separated by too much time to reach them again.
We are all full of ghosts, people and cities we no longer visit but within whom we felt incredibly alive, and there is no reason to pretend they never existed. I wish I could hold those ghosts closer even, telling them that I forgive them for any indiscretion I may have at one point tried to scrub away with a ball of steel wool. Because trying to erase someone completely only makes their presence in your life more pointed — they are an intruder, they are violating your emotional restraining order and reminding you you cannot escape them.
—  Chelsea Fagan, How Do You Move On?