It was Friday night around 9 p.m., and I was walking around campus by myself. I do this all of the time. And no, I’m not wallowing in self-pity or lonely. I’m just deep in thought about what my perfect life would look like while kind of wanting a cigarette, but trying to convince myself why that would be a bad idea. My perfect life is warmer or colder (depending on the current season) and involves being able to dance however I want to in clubs without strange men grabbing my body or cornering me demanding my name (it’d been a rough Thursday night). I would be prettier, thinner and have more fabulous clothing. I would make my own money, own a dog named after a “South Park” or “Archer” character. I would go backpacking all of the time because look how in tune with nature, athletic and low-maintenance I am. Basically, I would be as perfect as I could be without getting plastic surgery because JUDGEMENT you should really just love yourself, amirite?
That night, I had an epiphany in Beinecke Plaza, as everyone should. “I am not perfect, I will never be perfect.” There, I said it. The thought echoed against the marble edifices. A flock of pigeons may or may not have flown away in the background. Okay, I’ve had this realization before, but it never came with this particular sick idea: I feel like I have to be a different person for me to like me. Pretty much every teenager in the history of teenagerdom has thought, “I have to be another person for another human to like this despicable ball of hormones and hair, WAH.” I’ve made progress with that, still not completely there, but that’s a subject for another View. I’ve even gotten to the place where I love myself, i.e., I want the best for myself and would never intentionally cause myself harm. I just haven’t had that moment where I look in the mirror and pull out a Colin Firth line: “I like you, just the way you are.” I have this idea in my head that if I don’t like me, I will constantly try to be better and do better. You know, displeasure as a motivator. Looking at it now, it sounds like I’m trying to house-train a puppy, except I forget the part where I give myself fake bacon for not going potty on the carpet. So I decided to take myself on a date. I decided to give myself a treat. TREAT MYSELF.
I took myself to the Yale Bookstore, perused the bookshelves before finally deciding on Mindy Kahling’s “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” and a bag of kettle corn. I spent the night reading for pleasure, which was very thoughtful because I know I enjoy reading for pleasure. It wasn’t the best first date, it wasn’t the most romantic, and I didn’t make a huge effort or anything, but I enjoyed it. Tomorrow, I think I might take me out again for gluten-free pizza and some movie about sociopaths staring Matthew Goode. This might be the honeymoon period, but I’m starting to dig me, you know? When I laugh at my own jokes, it’s so freaking adorable.
I know I should love myself, and I’m beginning to learn how to be kind to myself, compassionate with myself. I don’t have to be the model of virtue to have integrity, honor and courage, whatever. I’m going to be a hypocrite. I’m going to change my mind. I’m going to gossip. I’m going to arbitrarily hate absolute strangers to make myself feel better. I’m going to do the wrong thing. I am human. Being imperfect and being okay with it will (hopefully) not make me a slacker, or apathetic, or a bad person. It will (hopefully) just make me happier. I am starting to see me with myself for the rest of my life.