On my last night as a teenager, I marched into the bathroom and cut my hair. The uneven cuts and trashcan filled with hair seemed so perfectly teenage, but the way that my curls hid the crooked snips and made it look like I knew what I was doing felt very decidedly twenty.
When I emerged, it took a lil while for anybody to notice. I was reminded that the significance of the haircut only existed for me. After a while I was comforted in this: another addition to the list of moments that I secretly soak in but go by unnoticed for everyone else. Something to smile about: a hidden good luck charm to keep in my pocket. I find the need to insert my own significance in such moments to counteract anxiety and to find comfort within chaos.
When I was in high school, I thought I was only depressed because I lived in a small town. My freshman year of college, I thought I was mostly “cured.” Looking back, I was putting myself in unhealthy relationships and not allowing myself to fulfill my personal potential. Now, I’m grappling with the fact that my depression and anxiety seem to come from inside me, triggered by external factors rather than produced by them. Everything in my life should be adding up to a personal high, but instead I’ve started feeling more unstable than ever at times.
This month on Pop Culture Puke is all about COMFORT: favorite pieces of pop culture you come back to again and again, the fear of stepping out of your comfort zone, a song that always cheers you up, taking care of yourself, being content in your current place in life, allowing yourself to be lazy, pop culture icons you look up to, etc. SUBMIT your work!
My personal inspiration for this month, other than my DIY haircut, is Yeezus by Kanye West, which I listened to constantly to get through my senior year of high school; mix CDs, journaling, organization, paying special attention to mental health, Nicki Minaj, whose confidence and talent makes me feel big; sitcoms, small animals, Coastal Grooves by Blood Orange, which I come back to again and again; food, Chance the Rapper, whose songs are almost all both comforting and empowering; Parks and Recreation, which is the TV series version of a hug; nature, the familiarity of movies that are constantly playing on TV (how many times have I seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding?), and Casablanca, which makes me feel like napping in front of a fireplace for some reason.
Finding comfort in things isn’t just a way to feel better; it’s crucial to survival.