By Anne T. Donahue
I, like all of you, have realized that I have control over nothing. I can’t control the pandemic, I can’t control idiot politicians, and I can’t control other people or my neighbour’s loud, barking dog. This smoothie I’m drinking? I don’t even really control that: I ordered it from McDonalds, and while delicious, I taste much more mango than I do pineapple. (Which is actually a delightful and wonderful surprise, proving not having control over things is actually a blessing.)
And yet, I pine for the days where I believed I could micromanage my and everybody else’s existence. And while I know the belief that I can somehow fix and improve everything that exists on this planet is very problematic and weird, I have chosen to compromise with this logic. Reader, I have chosen to find little ways to control our advancement into spring because this winter is breaking me. (See: has broken me.) So this is my guide to engaging in the smallest, most useless activities as to make spring feel closer and to make you feel less like you may perish.
Absolutely cull your wardrobe
Get rid of it. Get rid of it all. Have I spent may nights trying and re-trying on pieces in hopes I could make space in my closet or feel productive in a way that isn’t really? Is the trunk of my car filled with donations to take to Value Village? Did I, before getting ready today, re-fold my sweatshirts because when you look into my tiny closet they weren’t “pretty” enough? Do I refuse to part with my oversize men’s plaids because they are the only summer jacket you, I, or anybody needs?
To all of this: yes. I can’t stop culling. I can’t stop looking at things I wore two years ago and think, “This belongs to a woman who had yet to fully collapse in on herself.” I can’t stop holding up a top while thinking, “The fuck was I wearing crop tops for? I hated them on me, and they hated me wearing them!” I can’t stop declaring how much I’ve changed and grown and evolved, and then realizing that there are no short-sleeve shirts left and I have nothing for a nice warm day and oh my LORD what have I done.
And then I make lists.
Make lists of the clothes you now need
Lists are the result of you being the master of your own destiny. Look at all the things you need! Look at them! Now price it out, and don’t go bananas. Stick to a budget. Factor in shipping. Realize the smarter thing to do is thrift when it’s safe to do so, and maybe splurge on a nice fitting pair of jeans. Like a Levi’s. Or one of those 1969 special addition Gap fits. Preferably on sale, actually. Because who can afford to shop full price? (And if it’s you, do not tell me, don’t you dare.)
Oh, oh do you think I mean health? Do you think I’m trying to talk about being healthy right now? Wellness? Absolutely not, I would rather be smothered in dry toast. When I say “wisely” I mean “aware of what you are eating.” And by “aware of what you are eating” I also mean “eat what you genuinely want and enjoy it and then remark to yourself, ‘I am wise for doing this.’” That is when you are in glorious control. Because fuck, man! Against all odds we are all alive right now! Everything’s awful, and it’s somehow getting worse! There’s no time to do anything but fill your body with food that makes you genuinely happy. I don’t care what it is. But I do know that when I ordered fries and gravy last night, I felt like Laura Dern in Big Little Lies yelling, “This is my house and I live here!” I was in control and feeling alive.
Except I was at my parents’ house and I was bragging only to the cat. Also, I chased it with a salad I’d found in the fridge that absolutely gave me minor food poisoning.
Organize your books
Yes, that’s exactly where we are. We’re sitting in our homes, reorganizing our books, and planning for a spring and summer where we can read them outside and treat them the way they deserve to be.
So arrange them in a way that doesn’t make them look like homework. Donate the books you know you’re not going to get to or you started but didn’t connect with. (You’re not a bad person if you don’t finish books! Not every person can read every book! Read what you want! It’s fine! Stop worrying! Everybody’s busy but also very bored!) Make some sort of book-system organized by genre. Put the books you’ve had the longest at the top. JUST DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR BOOKS. They like you and want to hang! Plus, they’re the fastest way to avoid being on your phone (which is something I am starting to hate so much) or to avoid watching too much TV (is it possible I hate 80% of all shows? Yes!). Then, you can buy more books. And plan for your spring and summer together, somewhere outside, with plenty of water.
Anyway, today’s another snowstorm. So good luck to us all.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!