Sometimes I read something and forget the context .5 seconds later. Partly due to it not really resonating, or it just being another piece of news that is here one day and gone from my mind the next. And sometimes, it's due to my lack of short-term memory. But, every once in a while I read something and think about it for days, in this case, weeks. I recently shared a Vogue piece published in their living section titled, How I Learned to Stop Being a "Chill Girl" and Start Being Me, and just can't get it out of my mind. So naturally, I decided to write about it.
"Somewhere along the trek between girlhood and womanhood, I went through a phase of trying excessively hard to be the most chill, fabulously blasé person ever. The problem was that I was not chill."
I feel like we can all relate to this, although we don't want to admit it. Whether we have been there or are there, it happens to everyone at some point. It's natural to want to fit in, be part of a cool crowd. But what isn't natural is being anything short of ourselves and what Martine Thompson and I have in common is that we both agree with that. But there are a few elements I feel need to be added to her mantra of chillness. Or un-chillness...Or finding self-chillness.
I wonder what being chill even means? Does this mean you always go with the flow? Does it mean you smoke weed? Does it mean you never complain about anything? I don't really know who defines being "chill" but I do know that I too have struggled with the want to be this undefined chill girl. Sometimes I feel that we go too far to look as if we don't really care, but then I wonder when not caring became cool? And what are the not cool things to care about?
Pause. None of that matters.
It took me a while to realize the only way to feel cool is to just be myself. And I still never feel cool all the time...does anyone?
Surprisingly, the hardest thing to do in life is be yourself because that means you need to find yourself. It means you have to un-become everything you aren't and start becoming everything your soul wants you to be. But that is really scary because it means exposing yourself to the possibility of people criticizing who you truly are and not just a fad that everyone is doing.
I'll let you in on a secret, those people don't matter.
I don't think I've ever felt like I have a perfect life. I've always felt that I am too uptight about this and that, and it stopped me for so long from really being me. It stopped me from writing this blog and it stopped me from sharing it. I actually started this blog, originally named New England Girl, when I was in high school. No one would ever know that because it was only until recently I stopped worrying about what "other people" would think and just worried about what I love to do.
And I think that's pretty chill while still knowing there are so many parts of me I need to find.
Here are some tips from Martine Thompson's article with my experience and love added in for extra help. If you want the full experience of this post read, How I learned to Stop Being a Chill Girl and Start Being Me, first.
"Get Comfortable Saying No"
But also, get comfortable with saying yes...
"Once a people-pleaser realizes the world won’t crumble into smithereens if she says no or changes her mind, it’s a new day. “I’m not crazy about it.” “I don’t like that.” “I don’t want to go.” “That doesn’t work for me.” “I’m uncomfortable.” “I’m not happy.” “Stop.” “I’m going to pass.” “No, thanks.” “NO.” These are all great responses to start practicing. Your friend won’t hate you for choosing a night in alone over partying. The stranger pestering you at the bar isn’t owed a dissertation or elaborate excuse as to why you won’t be giving them your number or engaging in conversation."
I agree with part of this. I think being able to say no is a good thing but I got way too comfortable with saying no at one point that I didn't know why I was saying it. There are times I made an excuse for not going somewhere because I didn't really know anyone and ended up just watching Netflix until 3 a.m. and SnapChat stories of everyone else having fun wondering why I was the one in bed. Then recently, I mean really recent, I started saying yes to going places where I didn't really know anyone. I mean, part of this is because I don't know many people in NYC but part of it is because I decided to switch this habit. I think we get too used to wanting to be comfortable, but allowing yourself to step out of your comfort zone is important. This is how we learn new things about ourselves, likes and dislikes. This is how we make new friends and experience things we never thought we would before. Stay safe, but surprise yourself every now and then.
"Push Through Imposter Syndrome"
Take a second to compliment yourself.
"Ever feel like a complete fraud who’s weaseled her way into opportunities she’s undeserving of? And it’s only a matter of time before your contemporaries discover you aren’t supposed to be there? Yeah, that bitchy little nuisance is known as imposter syndrome. It shrouds you in self-doubt and whispers, “You don’t belong,” while undermining your talents. It’s that worrisome feeling of, Okay, but really, do I suck?...While in the midst of the chill girl routine, it’s easy to put on a brave face and avoid interrogating the root of your doubts. Unpack it! Push through while giving yourself as many positive affirmations as you need, and know this too shall pass. Those hiccups along the way aren’t proof you’re a fraud; they’re confirmation you’re human. Keep going."
I think everyone has moments of self-doubt. It is so easy to think about what you aren't good at and what other people are better at. I think I've felt this most when looking for a job. I question my abilities, wonder why I didn't do more when I could, think about the other people who probably went to a better school or had better grades. But none of that is very productive in becoming your best "cool" self. Someone will always be smarter than you, someone will always be prettier than you but no one will ever or can ever be you.
And don't forget it.
"Get to Know Yourself"
"Funnily enough, once I vowed to live in my truth (whatever that happens to be at the moment) and to invest time in figuring out who the heck I am, doing so in turn made me genuinely more chill. Think of it this way: The same way you’re at ease when lounging at home in sweats or whatever your go-to comfy clothes are is the same internal result when you’re your authentic self. You breathe a bit easier and navigate a bit smoother, which translates into everything."
To know oneself is a life-long pursuit. Realizing what you truly like and don't just like because everyone else does is a challenge. It really is. The honest truth is that no matter what you do in life, you'll probably be judged by someone so you might as well be yourself. Your quirks are what people will remember and the ones who love them are the ones who should be in your life. Anyone else is so irrelevant, you just can't let them bother you. Easier said than done but, practicing that mindset is so important to reaching full self-chillness potential.
"Don’t Apologize for Your Quirks, Embrace Them"
"Despite the allure of chill tricking us into thinking otherwise, we don’t have to morph into something disingenuous for the sake of appeasing others. Stop giving apologies you don’t owe. Rightfully take up space. Know you have something of value to add to the conversation. Know when to shush and just listen. Rustle feathers. Do more things that make you nervous."
There is NOTHING wrong with agreeing to disagree with people, even friends, and even best friends. Never apologize for your inner beliefs and say them out loud. And don't forget that your opinion can change and evolve. So many of my ideas have shifted over time from just talking about them with my friends. New people bring new perspectives and can only make your thoughts stronger and more defined.
"Breathe It Out"
...and let that shit gooooo.
"Stop. Take a breath. Life as you know it has likely ended and restarted your fair share of times, and you’re still standing. It’s hurled unimaginable detours, and yet here you are, still breathing, still pushing, still going... You’ll learn to reckon with a lack of closure and unanswered questions simply being a part of this peculiar, wondrous journey called life. And none of these curveballs will ever require the utmost poise or chill-ness."
Sometimes we just need to let things go. There are times where we can't control what bothers us and there is nothing we can do to make it stop. Just let it go. It's so hard to let things go. Have a quick rant to a friend or write it all down and then stop. Being a salt shaker will never make you feel the chillness we crave.
No blog (like mine) or person (like me) can ever tell you the exact secret to feeling self-worth. It is something we must all find ourselves and come to the realization of on our own time and through our own experiences.
Accept who you are and embrace it. Let go of what was and have faith in everything that will be you...And already is whether you know it yet or not.