Unless you live under a rock, by now you’ve watched – or seen enough memes to know – the Marie Kondo special on Netflix. This petite Japanese woman has simultaneously inspired and shamed all of us into getting rid of stuff that doesn’t “spark joy.” So while doing my own household purge, I began to consider the Konmari Method in terms of life and mental health. If we say Thank You and let go of a shirt that doesn’t serve us, why can’t we do the same to friends and activities that leave us feeling like a deflated balloon?
Think of it like this: what events do you participate in that spark joy? That you find energizing and fulfilling? Do more of that! And surround yourself with friends who support and encourage you versus the ones who thrive on drama and negativity. In addition to my yearly resolutions to work out more and drink less alcohol, I’m making a promise to myself to get involved with people and projects that make my heart happy!
In the digital age, social media has us hanging on every like and share. We get FOMO seeing other people’s party pics and spiral into overthinking when a crush doesn’t text us back (but follows all of your IG stories??). Do these actions make us feel good? Hell no! So thank you, next. This year is about trying the new restaurant alone instead of not at all. It’s about staying in for a little R&R on a Saturday night instead of feeling obligated to go out. Above all else, this year is about putting your mental and physical health before your social (media) status.
A hobby I seem to always go back to is singing. I’ve been singing since I was a kid and have performed numerous times, but at the end of the day I sing for me and no body else. Sure, the applause is nice (credit to my Leo Rising), but nothing beats the feeling of pouring your heart into a song that conveys the emotions you can’t quite explain. Maybe that’s why, as I’ve grown older, my taste has shifted from early 2000’s emo classics to jazz standards of the early 20th century.
About five years ago I began singing with a jazz band which transformed into starting a group including my dad and brother, Olive & the Martinis. We recently had a photo shoot to update our website and it’s so cool to see how we’ve all changed. A big difference for me is my body, as I’ve recently embraced my curves instead of trying to fight them. While quite a contrast from my slim collegiate figure, it’s nice to have the sense of self and confidence to know I am more than my physique. I want to treat my body well and keep it healthy, because it allows me to do all those things I enjoy, but I no longer base my value on my ability to conform to society’s very narrow ideals of female beauty. As long as I can sing and dance, garden and create, I’m happy!
So say Thank You to the friends who taught you that you deserve better, because they did not value you. Thank you to the experiences that helped shape the person you are today, because they showed you how you don’t want to live. This year, embrace yourself and remember that no one but you can define your own success. Continue to find ways to bring joy to your life and spark joy in other’s!
Special thanks to Cortez Raleigh (location) & Megan Long (photography).
Wardrobe styling by your’s truly 😉