jeanine fritz

T here's a slightly creased square of paper leaning against the mirror in my bathroom, held up by a couple of little green army men. It was put there by a dear friend I've had since high school, who'd been trying to share with me this idea she'd stumbled upon. She finally resorted to scribbling it down, marching around the house looking for a suitable spot, finally deciding to stick it there, by the soap and the pile of hair-bands, in the hopes I'd read the message each morning and benefit in the same ways she had from it.

In thick, black Sharpie, scrawled on the note are the words, "I accept myself, unconditionally, right now."

I just got up about a half hour ago. And I'm staring at this note, like I have every morning for a month, but this time it made me laugh. Because of COURSE I can accept myself unconditionally first thing in the morning; I haven't done anything except get out of bed and Frankenstein into the bathroom. The bathroom is like three steps from my bed -- what could I have possibly fucked up in that time? Unless I discover a drawing of a wiener on my forehead when I sidle up to the bathroom sink, I'm probably good to go at that time of day.

Talk to me mid-afternoon, when I've invented a new curse word for the little old lady driving 10 under the speed limit in the fast lane, or at night when I've eaten half a pizza because I skipped lunch again, or at 2 a.m. when the three beers suddenly made having whiskey shots seem like a good plan. Might not be feeling so great about myself then.

Sure, the note's probably also supposed to prevent me from spending an hour staring into the mirror like I'm on acid, nit-picking the color of my hair, making hate-eyes at my face, and flying into fits of self-rage depending on how many pencils I can hold under my boobs without the use of my hands.

Maybe it's because I'm feeling good today, maybe it's because I'm not surfing the crimson tide, I don't know -- but the thought of any of that just makes me want to scream, "BOOOOOOOOOOOOORING!"

In fact, I just yelled it off my patio, wearing nothing but my birthday suit. You're welcome, hungover neighbors. Or, I'm sorry. Your call.

I know what the note is about; it's about not being a big asshole to yourself. Unless someone is shoving our kid brother around, we tend to be far crueler to ourselves than we are to anyone else. And that's kinda messed up. I'm not saying we should flip the balance around, just that the little devil in our heads constantly trying to tell us that we're not good enough, or smart enough, or gosh, darnit, people don't like us -- he's a liar. And we should stop giving him time in the open mic in our heads. That bastard should get 86ed. "Get off the stage!"

If you want, I can have Rebecca come over to your house and Sharpie up that nice note for your bathroom mirror, and I'll send her over with a little green army man to hold it up. Or you could do it yourself. Better yet, maybe you don't feel the need for a reminder to be kinder to yourself. And if that's the case, high five.