My cell phone is like the nest of a very embarrassing squirrel. Lots of strange bits and pieces are stored inside — photos and screen shots and notes that make no sense. An incriminating search history. An overload of conversations. Inside those, a lot of nuts.
There exists one group chat within this vast portal of reputation-damning evidence that terrifies me the most. It is titled Pretty Winter (followed by the nail-painting emoji, the haircut emoji, the sassy hair flip emoji, the princess emoji and the bow). As if that’s not bad enough, the chatter itself is a collection of shameless selfies and sneakered feet, either en route to or departing from the gym. There are so many photos of manicured nails. Towel-wrapped heads. Exfoliation beads. Baths. There are shots of pedicures, pluckings, proof of wax.
It’s super lame. If caught while participating and asked what I’m looking at, my go-to lie is, “Porn.”
But it’s also a secret sisterhood.
Pretty Winter began as an effort to not let myself fall into the winter slump. I was sick of feeling like shit on account of my own lack of effort. So what if it’s too cold? This feeling — one of crap — is controllable.
I promised myself the following:
With zero excuses allowed…
– My nails would be nice
– My hair would be clean
– I’d up the workout ante
– I’d do the full face skin routine thing, no matter how tired
– I’d wear makeup without the stigma that I was hiding something
– I’d put energy into my outfits, even on workdays that lacked important meetings
– I’d moisturize like my life depended on it
– And I’d do a face mask every Sunday
In addition: I’d burn candles for no occasion, splurge on nice hand soap when I could, make tea (if you’re not a tea drinker this feels very luxurious) and promised myself that if I didn’t feel like an absolute babe — the definition of which is so personal that it varies in tiny decibels according to the individual — I’d find the reason why and attack it.
Then I got a few friends on board. We formed the chat to hold ourselves accountable and because a space safe to brag is important. In the Pretty Winter feed, another’s boast is both encouraged and encouraging.
Through the worst part of January and February we dedicated ourselves to this seemingly superficial oath of self-indulgence and self-love. What we found is that it worked. It really, truly worked. Routines were established that added order within a world of chaos (nails: every Tuesday, lashes: every other Friday); work productivity increased because the option of skipping [yoga/a blowout appointment/a standard shower] was eliminated. We treated these like important appointments and as such, they could not be broken. That email could wait. Bad days were made more bearable because we kept all dates we made with ourselves.
For me, at least, this was a revelation. It felt like balance.
And if you’re thinking, “Well great. A lot of good this does me in March,” two things:
1) Taken out of context, Justin Bieber offers great advice: “You should go and love yourself” any time of year.
2) Lucky for you, you can name your own group chat whatever embarrassing thing you’d like. “Spring Awakening *flower emoji, salsa dancer emoji, bikini emoji*” has a nice ring to it.