#4: Brief thoughts on life, love, and selfies
You’re reading Try Stuff Energy, a weekly newsletter on how it feels like to put yourself out into the word and well, try stuff, like publishing this newsletter. Written by Caitlin Sowers.
Thoughts on life
Life is a game of incomplete information. I think this as I stare blankly at our rotting potato plants, their stems suddenly in an urgent process of decay. Confused, I wonder how yesterday these plants were as vibrant and enthusiastic as the morning sun. Too much water? Too little? Not enough sunshine? Too much? Is this how the potato famine happened? There are simply too many variables and I have only two months gardening experience. I yank the roots and move on with my life.
I would like to bring my gardening apathy and acceptance into the rest of my mortal existence. I find myself in a consistent state of mild worry, yet the stories I vividly imagine and loop are often much more painful than the circumstance itself. The spot on my forehead is entirely painless, but the story others judge my skin humiliates me. My back pain is often mild, but the story its chronic and I’ll be unable to play with my children makes my eyes well up.
The truth is our species is adaptive, we can react immediately to new information. I would like to reassure us both that my worries and yours bear as much proverbial fruit as my garden, which is to say none.
Thoughts on love
A handful of exes before Tony I dated a man perfect in all the ways a girl could hope, he was thoughtful, inquisitive, creative, brilliant. He was imperfect in only one way: we were not meant for each other. Something was undoubtedly missing despite our best efforts to pretend otherwise. At times it was tangible, he’d ask why I spent so much time watching “materialistic youtube videos” (I was magnetized and inspired by the creative bravery of sharing real life online), and I’d question why he spent so much time “playing with electronic keyboards” never sharing what he created (he was making music, a process to be enjoyed rather than an outcome achieved). More often, our incompatibility was less tangible, maybe I’m overthinking things, I’d tell myself, as my quieted doubt lingered.
Our relationship eventually became long distance. On a trip to visit him I set my bags down in his apartment and noticed a new bookshelf. It was cold and utilitarian, which is to say it was metal and from Ikea. Surely I thought, the only intended purpose of this bookshelf must be inside a garage. Baffled that someone would pay to own it, I muttered “that is absolutely awful”. I don’t recall his reaction, I was likely too focused making a definite mental note that if we were to move in together under no circumstances would it be permitted entry.
Many flights, phone calls, and text messages later our relationship unravelled as it was always going to, which made it no less sad. A year after that I found myself scrolling through his tagged photos (as any happy, fully moved-on ex does). Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, I came across photos of his new girlfriend, who he now evidently lived with. One snapshot was of their living room, where two matching homemade clay sculptures (each of their respective accounts tagged) were displayed on a shelf. There it was. The bookshelf. The very one once criticized by me, now sat in their living room, warmly decorated with art and growing vines, housed with sentimental knick knacks only two people acquire while falling in love. I didn’t clock the meaning of this at the time, with my ego bruised and loneliness emphasized I simply closed the app.
I retold this story recently to a friend in a similar situation, and immediately realized its importance. I’ve often doubted if I ever really loved someone if our relationship came to an end. I realize now the silliness of that, in that it assumes the reciprocation and continuation of love to justify its existence at all. But when I thought of someone fully seeing another, of his girlfriend not just permitting his proverbial bookshelf to exist but loving it enough to decorate it… I thought of love, and I felt grateful and I felt glad, both for him and for all of us. Can we hope for anything more in life than the generous acceptance and celebration of each other? I think not.
Thoughts on selfies
Put simply, I do not believe there are enough selfies in the world. As I scroll my Instagram feed I want to see little else than the endlessly unique and interesting lines of faces I follow. While some may consider selfies both frivolous and indulgent, I consider them to be of the deepest interest.
Faces tell stories as their nooks and crannies shape themselves into expression, reflecting what it feels like to be that person for a small passing moment. I have many questions when I see a selfie. What made this person decide to photograph themselves at this moment? Did they feel a sensation of self love? Were they posturing for a lover they are hoping to court? Does this shade of lipstick make them feel beautiful? Do they simply want to remember what it felt like to be themselves? Are they distracting themselves from a bad day, willing a little happiness to exist? If you think about it, capturing precisely the objective shape of you and sharing it with the world really is a very brave thing.
Whatever the reason for the selfie, I’m inspired and delighted by seeing others love to be themselves. I wish for us all to be fantastically proud of the shape of our face. Public displays of self love well and truly make me giddy. Yes! Please take that selfie! Post it! Repost it! I want to see you seeing you. I want more selfies dear reader and will defend their perfection, your perfection, your selfie, until the end of time.
Things I tried
Writing a weekly newsletter (HELLO!)
Listening to Stick with it: “The Queen’s Gambit” podcast by Spark & Fire. The creators behind the most streamed show in history share just how difficult the project was to make happen and thus what it means to believe in yourself and your work. A brilliant listen that made me laugh, tear up, and write verbatim quotes in my notes, which is of course the highest compliment.
My perfect nude polish (one coat of Essie Gel Couture in Sheer Silhouette). There is no polish quite as chic (or as low maintenance) as a light coat enhancing the natural shade of your nail. This one is perfect for olive skin tone as it leans slightly warm.
Claire Saffitz' buttermilk biscuit recipe. Simply delicious. I held back the cooking time a few minutes as I prefer my biscuits squishy and soft. They were so beautiful I was forced to have a biscuit photoshoot.
Finding the perfect white t-shirt. Lately I want to wear nothing other than jeans and a white t-shirt. I really think it’s the perfect outfit. I haven’t found the perfect shirt yet (does it exist?), but Uniqlo’s Supima Cotton T is getting close. Thick enough to feel substantial but still summer friendly. A subtle neckline. Feminine sleeves. My only gripe is I wish it was just an inch longer (my torso is very long to be fair) for a very secure tuck. Highly recommend and the price is right (I purchased a S and feel happy with the slightly loose fit).
Perfecting my summer salad which I’ve made almost everyday in the last two weeks. I’ve always wanted a house salad and this one has firmly chosen me. Chop in equal parts avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peaches (sub pears, apples, berries, or any fruit you fancy). Drizzle with olive oil and a nice balsamic vinegar (or sub any red/white/apple cider vinegar), sprinkle with chili flakes, flaky sea salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast. Et voila! Summer snack perfection!
Recording my first REEL. It was fascinating and delightful and features my favourite pop song and smoothie recipe. Check it out.
Hi 👋, I’m Caitlin Sowers. I started sharing my life online via youtube videos in 2017. I love the art of story telling and am deeply curious about what I can learn by listening to others’ stories as well as sharing my own. As a proud multi-hyphenate I have more interests than I know what to do with.
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