The other day I bought the January issue of O, The Oprah Magazine because AK wasn’t feeling well and the cover featured Oprah posing in an emerald green dress next to a lion, and I thought it would make her laugh.
|It's all about me-ow.|
But of all the magazines you can impulse-buy at the checkout counter, it’s one of the best. It takes books seriously. It features women of color regularly. And even though Oprah’s always on us to be our best selves, it turns out that the resolution-oriented articles in the January issue are pretty sensible.
I have a complicated relationship with self-improvement. I think our (American? female?) obsession breaks us down and gets us to buy shit more often than it lifts us up. On my blog and in my life, I want to be the voice of You’re good enough. Life is crazy. Have a cookie and a good cry. Yet there’s something charming and innocent about seeing every new day as an opportunity for self-actualization. I just don’t think that Scandinavians think that way, you know?
|Bread and bread. And bread.|
One of the magazine’s tips: Start a resolution on a Wednesday when you’re not overwhelmed by the Monday-ness of Monday. So here goes [ed. note: I wrote this post last night].
I mean, I’m not really making a resolution right now. I’m making a meta-resolution, which is not to get derailed by my own perfectionism.
|The perfectionist in me wants better punctuation in my screw-it message.|
That’s just basic common sense, and yet I read it with a kind of wonder. Other people have screw-it syndrome too? My sister has long accused me of beating myself up for having basic human emotions. I always think that I am worse than everyone else and that I should be better. Neither is true. I’m just not that special.
During the Thought of the Day at Homeboy this morning, Fr. Greg talked about cherishing the moment. The root of the word cherish, he said, means “to hold.” We should hold good moments and bad ones, simply turn them over and look at them.
|A thing I would like to hold.|
So I guess that’s my overly abstract, not-quite-the-new-year resolution (Oprah and company also recommend warming up to a new habit): more cherishing, less saying of screw it. I’ve made similar resolutions before, and even as I type this, I know that what I really want is to trick myself into being perfect by accepting my imperfection. Like some kind of secret back door to perfection.
I’ve been working on an essay or a memoir chapter or something about perfectionism, and I keep circling it, not quite sure how to describe a problem I’m still in the middle of. But I’m not a perfectionist about the essay itself, because I’m much more well adjusted in my writing life than in the rest of my life.