How to Intuitive Vacation: A Step-by-Step Guide for Leaving your Inner Perfectionist at HOME

Normally when I travel, everything is perfectly timed out. I know what activities I’m doing on what days before I even leave town. I don’t waste a single ounce of valuable vacation time planning (I mean stressing) about what I’m going to do, and I maximize my vacation to fit in as much as possible. 

This June, though, I took a vacation to the Smoky Mountains that was a radical departure from my usual travel style: the only thing I planned about this trip was that I wasn’t going to plan anything. No tickets were bought ahead of time. No reservations made.

Instead, I slept when I wanted to, woke up when I wanted to, read when I wanted to, sat outside when I wanted to, and ate when and what I wanted to. Side note--if intuitive eating can be a thing, I think intuitive vacationing should definitely be a thing, too. 

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Give Your Internal Head Coach a Break

Do you know what I’ve been thinking? That it’s absurd for us to expect that we will always be able to find motivation within ourselves. So many of us do this, including us folks who would have the hardest time doing it— those with depression, or mood disorders, lyme disease, mono, and all sorts of other issues that affect our energy levels. And we feel BAD about feeling unmotivated. (Bonus: feelings about your feelings are called meta-emotion. Like, when you feel like a failure for feeling too depressed? THAT'S a meta emotion).

This just seems so futile to me. Sometimes you just CAN'T, ya know? Sometimes you're burnt out and you can't find it in you to go on. You’ve depleted your emotional and mental resources…

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Goodbye, Fab Feminist and Hello, Untrendy!

I’ve embodied the Untrendy lifestyle since I was old enough to stick a finger up my nose during a dance recital while my mother sat shaking her head from the audience. It’s a choice I’ve made before I even had the word “untrendy” in my vocabulary.

When I realized that Fab Feminist was limiting the content I wanted to put out in the world, I started brainstorming a name that would be empowering but not trite. I thought of other brands that I really identified with (shoutout Ban.do and Manrepeller) and realized I wanted to give fewer f*cks.

Fab Feminist couldn’t BE the all-encompassing mecca of intersectional feminism that I wanted it to be. With a full-time day job and a couple side-hustles, I couldn’t put out the content that our brand name lent us to. I couldn’t do it fast enough and I couldn’t do it well enough. When Giuls came on board, we both started organically shifting our focus to mental health: navigating the process of caring for our sad brains and anxious hearts. Amidst that, we’d found our own niche within the broad umbrella of feminism.

After that, changing our brand became the obvious next step. But what to? What was more aligned with our purpose? Big Magic taught us that inspiration will hit you with a Big Idea without warning, and that’s exactly what happened.

“What about ‘Untrendy?’” I asked Giuls one day. We’d been going back and forth about a new name for our brand. I don’t still have the message thread, but I’m pretty sure “Hmmmm…..I like it,” is a reasonably accurate response. Discovering "Untrendy" was like slipping on a pair of cheap, pink sunnies and flipping the hibiscus flowers attached to the frame like windshield wipers, saying, "Ohhhh, yes! This is Untrendy and this is the way I LIKE IT." It felt natural and it felt like us.

We started noticing HOW MUCH OF OUR LIVES was influenced by the secret undercurrent of Untrendy. Like, wearing a midi dress to work without shaving your legs first. Or ordering a glass of Chardonnay. What about Jen Gotch’s dorky-thrift-store-kid-clothes style? Or Racial/Social/Gender Justice Disruptor, Ericka Hart’s photos of her mastectomy scars? Women and people all over the world are living their AUTHENTIC, purpose-filled lives that are decidedly *not* trendy. And that’s the kind of life we want to live, too.

We, the Untrendy, live life on our OWN terms. We set our OWN priorities and live by our OWN moral codes. We don clothes that we feel good in regardless of what the fashion industry tells us is trending. We ignore beauty conventions. We do not dress our bodies to please anyone but ourselves. We speak our beliefs especially when they go against popular opinion. We do not buy into consumerism’s mantra that in order to be happy, you must accomplish X and buy X and do X. We don’t wear Gucci leather belts or ‘smile!’ when men tell us to. We KNOW that to be human is to be sad sometimes or a lot of the time and we don’t hide it. We are UNTRENDY.

We are here to shake up personal development with honesty and humor, offering people the tools they need to live their most fulfilling lives on their own terms.

Paralyzing Perfectionism

 
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This perfectionist started her morning off with a satisfying Naked smoothie. Nothing tastes better than being able to finish off the bottle of your mango goodness in one pour!

I’m sure many of you can relate and might identify as perfectionists as well, at least in some aspect of your lives. Little moments like this are just oh, so magical.But I’ve also learned that a lot of my struggles with procrastination and motivation actually stem from a need for perfection. For me, the biggest one is writer’s block. I find myself spending all my energy procrastinating instead of actually writing and then the day goes by and I hate myself for it.

It took me too long to realize this isn’t because I’m lazy. I know when I sit down to write I can be there for hours fixating on each word to ensure my sentiment is received. Once I discovered that my habit of procrastinating wasn’t due to a lack of motivation but, was a result of my perfectionist tendencies, I became aware and was able to focus on that by trying not to put so much pressure on myself. Sometimes you just have to write and allow it not to be “perfect” (whatever that means) otherwise you risk resenting something that is crucial to your happiness. I was, in fact, less motivated the longer I put off writing what I wanted to.

So, relish in these satisfying moments of fulfilled perfectionism, don’t let it be another thing you’re hard on yourself for, but don’t allow it to stop you from being you. It’s not your identity.

When an Apartment Hunt turns into a Panic Attack.

Anxiety is a f***ing b.

You might feel like you're doing everything right, moving forward with your life and then BAM. You're in the midst of a panic attack.

Sometimes, the cause is obvious sometimes, it's something small, sometimes it's completely invisible. For me, I think it's all of those combined. How can you know which came first? Little things become harder and harder for me. Like doing laundry became impossible. I started feeling incapable of getting ready for work until the absolute last minute. After a certain point it's almost like you're trying to make it harder for yourself, but really it's just that exhausting and everything seems impossible. 

I was apartment hunting with my boyfriend. That's what set it off I think. I had so many tours scheduled and so many unstored numbers of landlords and brokers in my phone in so many different locations in a span of 24 hours. We ended up at the Realtors office instead of the apartment we were meeting the realtor at (which I realized was his fault because he never actually sent me the god damn address and had his office address listed). A fucking waterfall just opened. I started sobbing these disgusting, snotty sobs, accompanied by those deep uncontrollable noises emphasized by gaps of air you only produced when you cried as a child. Why did I schedule all these meetings this way? I guess I spend too much energy trying to cater to other people's schedule to the point where I burn out on my own.

 I feel this immense pressure to always be on top of everything. Yes, it's definitely a bit of a control issue that gets out of control, ironically. But it's these moments (which probably happen a few times a year tbh) that serve as my wake-up call. 

I must be reminded sometimes to re-commit to myself. I don't always have to be the one rearranging my schedule for a stranger's comforts. I don't always need to be the one to move off the sidewalk when someone's also using the sidewalk that I'm equally entitled to. I don't have to always say yes to plans I don't have the energy for, or to make those plans work because I said I would even though. 

I can't see to get out of bed. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and not apologize for being selfish. Because it's not. Selfishness and self-care are very different. Don't apologize for your anxiety or depression. I'm sure as hell not going to anymore. (well, until my next panic attack, that is.)