Hey there adoring fans (Aliza Sollins)!
It all started around my 4th year of taking dance class (the first 3 years were spent focussing on not peeing my leotard). I was 7 years old and my dreams were finally coming true. I had officially been transferred from the blue studio to the pink studio. The blue studio was for the less talented kids that were only there because their parents forced them to take ballet when all they really wanted to do was take karate, or soccer, or go home and shave their barbie heads. The pink room was for serious dancers. To be honest, I really only got moved up because I was good at headstands (our reward for being good in ballet class and not peeing our leotards was that we got to do 10 minutes of acrobatics at the end of class and I was a headstand prodigy) and got recruited to be the star of the pink room’s prestigious “Acro team.” Once on the acro team, I kissed the blue room of barbie head shavers goodbye and was on my way to becoming a famous dancer. Except, now I was a little fish in a big pond. I was the smallest and least coordinated girl in my new dance classes, where everyone could do headstands, and pirouettes, and time steps. I had 2 options, I could either go back to the blue room and drool myself silly, or I could work hard and become the best pink room-er there ever was. And as you can see by my urine free leotards, and (unpaid) Equity card, I picked the latter. So here I am a few decades later and still at it. Still trying desperately to be better. And the awesome thing is, I am better. I’ve been working really hard to get things going in the right direction and it’s paying off. The not so awesome thing is that I still find myself getting angry…at myself!
What happens once you achieve the better part of doing better?
I’ve done so much work on becoming More Successful Sarah but am still left disappointed. Why? Well, I’m no doctor (unless you can get a PhD in head-standery) but I figured it out. My brain has just been programmed to see myself as always falling short. It makes perfect sense really. Being in the entertainment industry means facing rejection on a daily basis. Plus, every magazine I read gives me 27 tips for losing weight, or 97 moves for flatter abs, or eleventy billion sex positions to better pleasure my mate implying that my weight, ab flatness, and my current 2.5 sex positions aren’t good enough as is . It’s no wonder I can’t accept the possibility that I’ve already done a good job at anything when the world has been telling me there’s always a better way.
Which brings us to yesterday…
I went on a mission to buy some lotion. I really wanted a few bottles of Victoria’s Secret Strawberries and Champagne because it smells like a mixture of strawberry ice cream and losing my virginity. On the downside, I knew that Victoria’s Secret used terrible chemicals that were bad for us and probably tested their products on baby bunny corneas. On the up side, they always have sales where you can get 117 bottles of lotion for $11 that also includes a free VS bowling ball bag…winner! So there I was, on my way to get my Straws and Champs on when I walked right by the store Lush. I peaked in just to see (pocket some free samples) what they had to offer. I was greeted by an adorable employee named Jaime who told me all about their products. Did you know that Lush only uses natural and organic ingredients? Did you know that the sh*t they don’t use like banana peels get put into a compost, then the compost gets sent to some scientists who turn those banana peels into energy, and then that energy is donated to people in need?? Now, I have no idea how energy is made, or donated, or given away, but I figure if there’s a little homeless boy in Kenya running around with a Toms shoebox full of energy, then Lush has got a pretty great company going on. So, I spent $22 on the lotion, chatted with the adorable employees about the power of positive thinking, daily mantras, and organic hair care and even got invited to a bird and squirrel rescue charity event.
Jaime, my adorable sales clerk.
Ruth, on a mission to save bunny eyeballs.
A fun night right?
Within 5 minutes of walking out the door I had a panic attack. 22 dollars on lotion! Who am I? Mark Ruffalo? Plus, I spent so much time chatting about bird and squirrel rescues that I didn’t have time to pick up my groceries and ended up buying a $12 grilled salmon dinner and completely forgot to purchase toilet paper! Then it clicked. My brain was on auto-pilot and punishing me for the choices I made because it assumed that I should have made better choices.
What the f*ck! I had made great choices! I finally got some lotion, which I needed, supported a company that is making the world a better place, nourished my body with a healthy meal, got to chat with some pretty cool ladies about life, and still had time to pick up a roll of toilet paper on the way home. What a great and productive evening!
Once I realized what my brain was doing, I took a minute and acknowledged that buying this lotion, eating a salmon dinner, and eventually remembering toilet paper equals a pretty great day and not a downward spiral towards my inevitable life as a hobo. Then I went home, slathered my self in my new goo and took some time to write down all of the things I was proud of accomplishing in those 24 hours. I had 14 things! Including talking to my Dad on the phone for 20 minutes, writing a kick ass newsletter for my improv company, and making this awesome flyer for our Oktoberfest party.
I titled the list Night Time Affirmations: The Reasons I love Myself Today…
(insert barf here)
PS: I keep this notebook on my nightstand to write down weird ideas that I have in the middle of the night. If you look closely you’ll see that one of my ideas was: how I feel about youths wearing their pants below their asses must be the same way my grandparents generation fealt about homosexuality. Not my best work, but sometimes you gotta get the bad ideas out to make room for the good ones. Now back to the point…Acknowledging the positive things I did for myself yesterday was surprisingly empowering and something I realized I should probably take the time to do everyday. By adding positive daily actions to that little notebook before bed each night, I hope to re-program my nogin into being proud of my accomplishments, and to stop reacting negatively to everything, because although there is always room to do better, sometimes you just need to sit back and acknowledge that you’ve already done your best.
Hello, my name is Sarah and I used to be a self hater, but now I am a self lover.
And I’m also still really good at headstands…