If I’m in the shower, at least nothing can bother me.
I shower twice a day now. I don’t pump iron at the gym, let’s not kid ourselves. I don’t work up a healthy sweat at yoga or have a labor-intensive job that calls for extra suds before hopping into bed. I shower twice a day because it’s 40 minutes of time I can call my own.
Twenty-year-old me, supposedly living through "the best four years of my life," looks forward to 40 minutes of hot water. I get to sing a little tune, do some monologuing and sometimes perform a dance here and there.
Forty minutes isn’t good enough.
It’s not enough time to process the ins and outs of my day. It’s not enough time to sift through my emotions or unwind. It’s not enough time to bounce back to neutral after a day of schoolwork, work work and life work.
From the outside, I’m a struggling student who can’t manage their time. I’m a lazy third-year who doesn’t have the energy to apply for internships. I’m a lousy friend who sometimes forgets to practice empathy.
But on the inside, I am a workplace leader who has to serve as a role model. I’m a student mentor trying to maintain a level head. I’m an older sister watching her best friend grow up without her. I’m a daughter grieving the loss of her mother. I’m a good student who just can’t seem to land an A in the grade book. I’m a human trying to navigate a new normal.
When we can’t control what goes on around us and we can’t figure out how to navigate what goes on inside us, it’s important to accept we need more than 40 minutes to unpack it all.
Accept it within yourself that what you’re going through is valid. You deserve your time and attention.
I might smell extra fresh, but I need to start following my own advice.
— Vanessa Purpura, creative director