A LETTER FOR MYSELF IN THE MORNING

Good morning, love - today we talk about self-care and Hugh Grant.

It's no secret that I, being a former proponent of the soft tumblr aesthetic that has haunted social media for the past couple of years, used to be an advocate of cutesy self-care. Imagine daily reminders that no bad day can't be solved by freshly brewed tea, text posts with words of encouragement, and infographics prompting you to curl up in bed with a book once in a while. And mind you, I legitimately believed that stuff worked, even putting my own advice to the test for particularly darker moments. Anxiety wavered with a little journal writing, sad tears became happy ones after a quick 80s teen movie sesh. I went through my days thinking I've found the secret to happiness - oh you're a lil sad? Have you tried staying hydrated?

I have to admit, it's not necessarily bad advice. I can't really shit on the "soft suggestions" side of tumblr when their fondness of reminding people to drink water actually helped me through some tough times. Nonetheless, while I wholeheartedly love this little corner of the internet that is built entirely on positivity, self-care is highly subjective, and it's very unlikely that you can just drown your sorrows with earl grey. 

While proponents of cutesy self-care mean well, their advice is meant to be a breather, a quick break in a fast-paced environment, and is certainly not made to make you feel better for the long-term. Curling up in bed with a book seems like a no-fail way to brighten yourself up, but it's not the best idea if you haven't left your bed in days. What might work for others might not work for you, as we react to negative emotions differently. It's called self-care for a reason, and while there's no harm in taking someone else's advice, there's no one else who knows what you need more than yourself. 

Summer breaks are especially harder for me. Whenever I have school, it's easier to get up and be productive because I'm fueled by my fear of failing my classes, but once it's over, it's like all my systems shut down. Sitting down and not moving, sometimes for hours on end, forgetting to eat, forgetting to comb my hair, brush my teeth, take showers, unless my mom comes home and asks if I've done all those things, and then I remember I haven't. And like every other teenager with no idea what the fuck is happening to them, I turn to the people of the internet, where I've been told that I just need to take it slow. Put myself first, take a little nap, maybe drink some warm beverage. And so I did. I put the fate of my well-being in the hands of hot chocolate. 

As expected - even though I didn't know it at the time - what I was doing was just making it worse. On days where I feel myself get heavier and heavier and I find it harder to do normal everyday things, like eat, the last thing I need to do is take it slow. Most of the time, self-care isn't doing what's easy, but what's best. It's knowing what's best for yourself, and using all your energy to drive yourself towards what's better. It's not drinking tea, but washing all the tea mugs you've accumulated over the week. It's fixing your sleeping pattern, cleaning your room, answering messages that you've been ignoring for days, being with people, getting out of the house, taking your meds, eating something besides cereal. It's not ignoring your responsibilities so you can 'put yourself first', because actually putting yourself first means caring not just for your present self, but the future one too. And your future self will have less of a harder time if you try to be functional as early as now. 

And when your days spin a little faster and trying to be functional begins to take a toll on you, maybe it's the right time to give tumblr's soft suggestions a go. Besides, staying hydrated never hurt anybody. 

Right now I know it will be difficult to follow your own advice, and I don't blame you. Everyday it's getting harder to believe that the world is a good place, but the day you stop hoping is the day your doubts prove to be true. There will always be good things, just not in the ways you expect. It's not as blatant as the bad things - it lies in quieter moments, in held hands and a unified feeling of solidarity. Good things are smaller, subtler, and that makes it harder to eliminate. Need I remind you of Hugh Grant's eerily timely speech at the end of Red Nose Day Actually, which you will shamelessly link below?

(His speech starts at 13:47! But who am I kidding you have to watch the whole thing)

When his character, Prime Minister David, was asked if he was still as optimistic as when he first came into power, High Grant replied, and in true Hugh Grant fashion:

"Times have obviously gotten harder. People are nervous and fearful. And it's not just in politics that things have got touch. Usain Bolt has run his last Olympics.. The Harry Potter Films have finished. Piers Morgan is still alive. But let's look at the other side of the clock. Metallica's new album is an absolute cracker. 

On the deeper side of things, I’m optimistic. Wherever you see tragedy, you see bravery too, where you see ordinary people in need, you see extraordinary ordinary people come to their aid. Today is Red Nose Day and people are giving their hard earned cash to people who they’ll never meet but whose pain and fear they feel and want to fight.

So it’s not just romantic love that is all around. Most people, still, every day, everywhere, have enough love in their hearts to help human beings in trouble. Good’s going to win. I’m actually sure of it."

Right now the world is dark, and the good things - moments that are already quiet and subtle to begin with - are beginning to be overshadowed by violence and fear. It's easy to fall into panic when bad things are happening all over you and you feel like you can't do anything to stop it, but that's where you're wrong. There are people out there fueled by hate, and it's your job to counteract that hate.  Magnify the good in the world, one person at a time. Make love the foundation of everything you do. Love is a free resource - be generous with it.

The sun has risen. Today, we try to be good. And tomorrow, when it comes up once more, we try again.

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