The skin on my back is itchy and beginning to peel – a day’s tanning turned to waste and patchworked peach. It is noon here in Rethymno and the sun is fat and hot in the sky. In the interest of being a grown up – and surviving to be an actual grown up – I am attempting to practice both maturity and self-care by fighting all Irish impulses to douse myself in olive oil and throw myself naked to the glare and instead rest demurely (read: pale and sulkily) in the shade. I have been up since 5am – this morning marked our first morning survey and I have foolishly been entrusted with a fancy laptop to transcribe the collected data…so naturally I’m using it to bore you with my personal data instead. Also, someone dropped my beautiful, still-warm Cretan pastry on the ground so it would appear I am now living in a cesspool of anarchic chaos where nothing is sacred so I have no regret and maybe just a slight flurry of revenge in my tapping fingers.
Thus, before I become completely swept away in all things turtle and feta related (my two primary Greek passions) or die of lack of sugary baked goods, I wanted to release this out into the cosmos, thereby cleansing myself of toxic past and stepping forward into zen-filled present.
Here is a long, painful, exceptionally frivolous list of things I should stop doing.
Shortly after I turned 25, and after what has felt like months of over-indulgence in every facet of existence – from pints to chips, pity to narcissism, pastry to sheer complacency, I wrote this list of seeming necessities I needed to vanquish from habit, behaviour and cognitive function in order to survive as a passable human being. Between finishing a postgrad, an internship, a relationship, juggling jobs, moving houses, being a friend, sibling, woman and still somehow being obliged to have clean clothes, hair etc. life has felt like one long, continuous list of late.
Therefore, it seemed only natural to categorise my bad behaviours much the way I plan my daily routine – with a stream-of-consciousness checklist that has little grounding in reality and even less awareness of it.
It goes without saying that, as most of these schedules are rarely contemplated post-creation – let alone adhered to – this memorandum stands an equally meagre chance of resonating with incorrigible Holz either. But as anybody who knows me knows forehead-slappingly well – I find it endlessly cathartic to form strong intentions for self-improvement and then go about my business happy in the assumption that intention equals execution. If any of this resonates with you, I salute you, kindred spirit and fellow wanderer. If it doesn’t, you must be terribly respectable and dull and if you would like to give me coaching lessons I will pay you good price. Either way, please laugh at my pathetic excuse for living so I can at least feel validated by that – a smile at my expense is never wasted.
Noteworthy: In case you can’t SMELL the alcohol off this piece of jibbering tripe, it is important to bear in mind while reading that this was written in the depths of the fear after, if I can remember correctly, one respectable glass of wine mid-week became pitchers of sangria and retch-inducing harassment of a very lovely Spanish waiter under the pretext of “language classes”. I mean.
…Got his number though. Hon the galz.
- Being a lurk.
- Eating in bed.
- Not changing my bedsheets after eating in bed.
- Getting drunk and thinking any vaguely attractive (or unattractive) man is my soulmate.
- Getting drunk and telling any vaguely attractive (or unattractive) man that he is my soulmate.
- Arguing with said man when he tries to subtly imply he’s not my soulmate.
- Drinking more to compensate for the fact he doesn’t yet realise he is my soulmate.
- Proving my worth as a soulmate with vigorous – and, I tend to think, expert – dancing.
- Getting so drunk all I can remember of the night before is talking to men about soulmates/asking the ever-pertinent question ‘do you fancy me, though?’
- Living life via flashback.
- Cycling without protective gear. *No longer applicable due to the ferocious robbing of said bike.*
- Racing through red lights at highly dangerous junctures thus endangering myself, road users and the sanity of my loved ones. *No longer applicable due to the cowardly opportunism of the scum of this rankled Earth.*
- Cycling while under the influence of more alcohol than one 5 foot nothing woman can hold.
- Telling myself I’ll go vegan while eating cheese with my hands.
- Telling myself I’ll go vegan while eating any form of grossly indulgent pastry.
- Telling myself I’ll go vegan as a means of losing weight when I know I have the willpower of a small, spoiled, only child.
- Laughing at things I don’t find funny because I think it’s polite.
- Feeling the need to fill silences with babble because that is my job or something?
- Using potatoes as the punchline of every joke.
- Weighing myself in an obsessive yet slightly comic way – after a glass of water, lunch, using the bathroom. Being a jack-on-the-scales ain’t good for the soul, bruv.
- Telling people intimate details of my previous relationship.
- Having long, insightful, meaningful and, most importantly, imaginary conversations with said ex-boyfriend.
- Using quotation marks for “ex” any time I refer to said previous lover. This is a real thing. He is not in any way, shape, form my boyfriend. I am horrendously single.
- Living in elaborate denial about the end of that relationship.
- Imagining him with other people. Let it go, masochistic and wildly presumptive idiot.
- Going back over previous flings and wondering how many of them are still available/would be interested in me.
- Wasting time on Instagram, Facebook and my very uninteresting hotmail account.
- Being too scared to check emails that are not scary at all.
- Being too scared to open important-looking documents or deal with any of the realities of adult living.
- Not responding to friends’ messages and then becoming so paranoid about my lack of response that I am further incapable of responding because too much time has passed and realistically we’re not even friends anymore.
- Conveniently forgetting that lots of people don’t respond diligently to my missives and I find it in my heart to understand.
- Creating alternate realities for people and projecting all of my insecurities onto them.
- Assuming everyone else is happier/generally better at life than I am.
- Making long, complicated exercise regimes in my head that I have absolutely no intention of ever actually executing.
- Eating dinner while I’m making dinner.
- Telling everyone I have no money while funding outrageous projects and booking weekends away to beat the band.
- Using the ‘treat yoself’ slogan as a personal mantra.
- Eating late at night.
- Giving out about all of the horrific, twisted nightmares I keep having yet refusing to give up eating late at night which is the cause of the bad dreams in the first place.
- Keeping chocolate in my bedside locker which proves irresistible at potentially unwise hours.
- Being too lazy to perform minor, everyday tasks ie: not getting out of bed to take off one’s make up, telling myself I’ll have one, quick nap before brushing my teeth and/or getting into my Pyjamas.
- Putting off hand-washing my pretty clothes. They are so pretty and I want to wear my sexy smalls but hand-washing – who has time for this?
- Not wearing clothes because they involve ironing.
- Not wearing clothes because they’re in my wardrobe which is in the hall and therefore a whole 4 steps from my bedroom.
- Thinking that 4 steps is too much of a leap to get a fricking pair of pants.
- Not wearing white because I know I’ll get it dirty straight away and again, washing, ew.
- Being a bad member of my family who flits in and out as she pleases.
- Not using nice products because their too “nice” and must be saved for special occasions. I am not a seventy four year-old granny – the Queen will not be coming to visit, nor, to my despair, will George Clooney.
- Hoarding gone-off or expired products because they were too “nice” to use and now are too “nice” to throw away.
- Saving scraps of fabric and art supplies, telling myself that I’ll somehow take up crafts and upcycle all my clothes.
- Forgetting I do not know anything about sewing/any of the skills required for upcycling creations.
- Worrying about money when I am a privileged, fairly middle class white girl. I have no problems.
- Forgetting that money is something that can be made with relative ease and will still exist in the future when I am better able to control my use of it.
- Despite previous point, learning to budget is imperative.
- Learning to stick to a budget would also be helpful.
- Not rewarding oneself for one successful day of budget living by splurging the rest of the week’s stipend in one night.
- Watching the very worst television not for entertainment but because I am too overwhelmed by the choice of internet TV to be able to commit to anything good/longer than 20 minutes.
- Allowing myself to be complacent about things I have the power to change.
- Choosing ignorance and the protective mantra of “being too busy” as a means of excusing myself from contributing to the many crises, plights and pitfalls affecting humankind.
- Feeling the need to interrupt absolutely everybody with witticisms, sarcasm and inappropriate comments, thus completely derailing their story and generally being an asshole.
- Thinking that telling enough People about my intentions, Goals, objectives, is the same as achieving them.
- Remembering this only when others have pointed out to you that you promised them the same personality makeover the previous week.
- Spending hours compiling non-sensical lists, fretting over punctuation and assonance when, in reality, what does any of this mean? Who cares?
The incorrigible, insatiable, overweight, overbearing, overly critical, over zealous, ever graceless,
Got to go burn and blister now – I’ve practiced abstinence long enough and nobody puts Baby in the shade.