A friend of mine does yoga, like, hang-from-the-ceiling yoga. She posts gorgeous photos of herself yoga-ing outside in the springtime, in stark black-and-white in her house, on her jewel of a porch. She runs marathons and wears a bikini. She is also the mother of teenagers and addicted to Diet Coke.
She’s gorgeous. And I don’t mean pretty-gorgeous, though she is that. I mean soul gorgeous, because she is living her best life. Because she deserves it. Because she does these things no matter what anyone else thinks.
Another friend of mine has a 3-year-old son. She wears twirly dresses all the time. My friend is the queen of doughnuts, a title at which she scoffs. “I’m the queen of fried food,” she says. She aspires to own all-pink kitchen gear, and she always has the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies in her pantry. She moved across country so her son could be near his daddy.
She’s beautiful. And I don’t mean pretty-beautiful, though she is that. I mean soul beautiful because she is living her best life. Because she deserves it. Because she does these things no matter what anyone else thinks.
Living your best life doesn’t mean your life is perfect. Both these women have significant struggles — both are, for example, single moms — and both have serious worries. Their lives aren’t peachy-perfect. They come with rain showers, late nights spent worrying, pee on the floor, and texting teenagers. But these women also know a secret: They can live in those challenging moments. Or they can create their own best moments, the world be damned.
And they deserve to create their own moments. They are amazing, wonderful, spectacular human beings — and so are you. And so am I. We all deserve to create our best moments, to make our best selves, to make our best lives where we are right now, because the perfect time will never come around. There will always be an ingrown toenail to put you off, if you let it.
There will always be a voice — maybe someone on the outside, maybe something inside our head — telling us that we aren’t worthy. Telling us that we aren’t good enough. Telling us that we’re being stupid or immature or ridiculous. But we gather your strength. We step forward. And we do it anyway.
Which is why I bought myself some fucking tutus.
I always wanted a tutu. I had some body-image stuff come up that was icky and emotional and misery-making, and I didn’t want to feel like that. I wanted to love myself. I wanted to feel like I was amazing and beautiful. So I ordered some tutus even though I’ve never been a dancer. I bought them because I freaking love them.
They came in the mail, and let me tell you, they are fabulous confections of puffy tulle that I can wear with a tank top and sandals. Look out, world, because I am wearing a tutu to Target.
Recently, when I was loading my kids in the car, I put on the soundtrack from the musical Hamilton. My sons began to sing along softly. I told them that the only way to sing is to sing as loud as you possibly can because that’s what my heart said. So we sped down the highway blaring Hamilton, and my kids sang along even to the dirty Hercules Mulligan parts. We sang, and we sang loud.
I also started carrying vintage handkerchiefs in my purse and catching bugs with my kids instead of shrieking about them. I put effort into training my German shepherd. I rescue old handmade blankets from Goodwill. I do crafts with my kids instead of supervising. These things take longer than usual. But I do them anyway, and the slow doing of them makes me happy. So do the tutus, and the loud singing, and the general not caring what others think. Because I am living my best life.
You, too, can live your best life. You deserve it. Need a place to start? Find something quirky that brings you joy. Maybe it’s those knee-high gladiator sandals from Target. Or a crop top. Or something with rainbows. Maybe you need to start small with that fuck-me-red lipstick. Maybe it’s thrifting to buy your kids the cutest clothes you can possibly find at the cheapest price possible. Maybe it’s making art with your kids or coloring. Draw a fish. Or a bird. Or a tree. Make it beautiful.
If you say you can’t color or draw or craft, you’re missing the point because this is not about giving a fuck. This is about being happy, about living your best life. It is not about perfection.
Maybe your best self wants to go on a vacation, alone, away from the kids — even if it’s just to the other side of the city for a day. Maybe you want to build a freaking sand castle, or whip up some brownies, or get a pocket dog you can carry around in a freaking purse. No judgment. You do you. Just make sure it’s you and not something someone else is pushing you into it.
Whatever it is, do something that makes you happy. Do something that makes you proud. Do something that makes you love the uniqueness that is you. It might not be the same thing that everyone else is doing. But that’s okay. In fact, that’s perfect. Not everyone does yoga from the ceiling, or hoards chocolate cookie ingredients, or wears tutus. But the three of us do. Damn it, we’re living our best lives, right here, right now, in the midst of the messiness and chaos. And we’re loving it.