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New Year, Same You

New Year, Same You! 

You don’t need a New Year’s resolution. The tradition of New Year’s resolutions is tightly connected to the idea that we must be constantly improving ourselves, and that the way to make that supposed “improvement” happen is to put an excessive amount of pressure on ourselves, and beat ourselves up internally when we don’t meet the impossibly high standards we’ve set. 


I have a history of taking New Year's pretty seriously. In the past, I’ve written long lists of ways that I want to change the way I am, or things that I want to accomplish in the coming year. And I’ve found that if I hold onto those lists and read them a year later, my priorities will have changed because we are all in a constant state of change, growth, becoming. It’s not actually something that we can stop, even if we try. So why not just roll with it, and let the change lead you where it will? You don’t have to force it. And as you’re learning to roll with the change and meet life as it happens, you could meet it with kindness. You could meet yourself with kindness.

Editor Bio:

Edmund Green Langdell (they/them) is an ever becoming enby, whose work focuses on promoting human and environmental wellbeing through design and education. They work for Play Out Apparel as a Marketing Assistant. They strive to spread love and healing in the world through connection and education. They also design eco-friendly needle felted packers. They earned a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design, where they worked as a Peer Health Advocate for four years, and created and led Gender Venting, a group for transgender students.


Author Bio:

Edmund Green Langdell (they/them) is an ever becoming enby, whose work focuses on promoting human and environmental wellbeing through design and education. They work for Play Out Apparel as a Marketing Assistant. They strive to spread love and healing in the world through connection and education. They also design eco-friendly needle felted packers. They earned a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design, where they worked as a Peer Health Advocate for four years, and created and led Gender Venting, a group for transgender students.



How do we Build a Family

What does family mean to you? To many folks, that word brings up a lot of complicated and conflicting emotions. In some instances, family means the people who will stick with you no matter what, and show up for you when you need them. This is a deep bond of love. But in any relationship that lasts for years, there is conflict. The unhealed parts of ourselves rub up against each other, and can cause harm. In order for any relationship to maintain long term, there must be either open and honest communication that leads to everyone’s needs being met, or certain people in the relationship suppress their truth and live in the pain of being continually hurt by other people. Sometimes the people that we stick with and show up for are our biological family, and sometimes, when our truth isn’t compatible with the life that our biological family wants to live, we build a chosen family. And if we’re very fortunate, we get to have both. 


The holidays can be a tough time for many folks as it’s perhaps one of the only times of year when family comes together in a big way, which brings us into contact with people who may not accept us as thoroughly as the people we spend our day to day lives with. It can also be a joyous time as it’s a celebration of coming together with people we love who we don’t get to see frequently. 



Changing Tradition

This year, I’m trying something new for New Years. I’m letting go of the pressure that I have a habit of putting on myself. Sure, I’m reflecting on how the past year has gone, and thinking about what the new year may bring. But in none of this reflecting am I creating an image of the way I think I should be, or what I need to accomplish in order to “make stuff happen”. I’ve found that life has a way of rolling along and happening whether or not I try to control it, and that when I put less pressure on myself to be perfect, or to control life, then I’m better able to meet whatever life throws at me that I didn’t anticipate. 

Yes, the New Year is a time to reflect and anticipate, and that can include reflecting on the ways we’ve changed in the past year. But we can let go of trying to become something different than who we are right now. You are a beautiful, valid, full human being as you are. There is nothing you need to “fix” about yourself. 

So, How do we Celebrate the New Year?

The Play Out Fam spends a lot of time talking about how we can show up for and support our community, and we know that this can be a hard time of year for many folks. So we banded together to share our thoughts on how to navigate these next couple of weeks with as much self kindness as possible, along with the Play Out Apparel that makes us feel empowered.  This was so healing for us to write, as well! 


Self Hate Doesn't Work

If you do something that you wish you hadn’t done, or if you think that you should have done something that didn’t end up happening, you could respond with compassion. There’s a popular belief that being cruel to ourselves will provide adequate motivation to change our behavior. I’ve found that being kind to myself actually changes my habits much more effectively. If something is repressed then it will stay within us, and it will keep coming up and happening again.


This happens with emotions when we repress a feeling that we don’t want to have, it will bury its way deep inside us and create tension in our body that won’t leave until we allow ourselves to feel it and release it. This is essentially what’s happening when we beat ourselves up for our behavior. We have a pattern of behavior, a habit that has been deeply ingrained in us, possibly for years, and when it arises we try to suppress it by telling ourselves how horrible and broken we are to be acting that way. What suppressing it actually does is to force it back into our subconscious where it will dwell until the circumstances come together in such a way to trigger that same habit to arise again. And so the pattern continues.


Loving Self-Talk Tutorial

On the other hand, when we are kind to ourselves something different happens. Here’s an example. Say you said something unkind to a friend. One response would be to be cruel to yourself, and tell yourself “You’re such a horrible person. How could you have hurt them like that? You idiot!” With this response you’re repressing the behavior rather than examining it, and so it will arise again. 


Alternatively, you could respond with compassion: “I know you feel guilty about hurting them. I know you were feeling self continuous at the time, and wanted to gain the higher ground to make yourself feel safe. I know you’ve had this habit since that time you were hanging around with folks who were being mean to you on a regular basis, and this habit developed as a coping mechanism. I know that you’ve been trying for a long time to be a more kind person, and I can see that this habit comes up less frequently than it used to. Thank you for learning how to be kind. Thank you for stopping to reflect about this. I’m here to support you. I love you.” 


In this instance, by treating yourself with compassion, you’ve looked at what’s happening more directly. And by seeing it clearly, by giving that context and compassion to yourself, you’re able to move on from the situation in a way that could allow you to notice situations in the future where this habit is arising, and to maybe stop it a little earlier. And practicing being kind to yourself is a wonderful way to learn how to be kind to everyone. If you begin practicing the habit of self compassion, you may find that compassion becomes your new automatic response to things, and replaces the old habit you used to beat yourself up over. 


Treat Yourself!

As I’m learning how to be more kind to myself, and put less pressure on myself, something that has been a delight to explore is giving myself treats. One of the treats I’ve found so much joy in this past year is buying clothes that give me euphoria. The way I shop has become more thoughtful, intentional, and resulted in me having comfortable garments that make my heart sing every time I wear them! A couple of my favorite purchases from the past year that have become wardrobe staples that get a lot of use are Play Out Apparel’s The MAJOR Reversible Vest and matching Flat Front Leggings - Black with Red & Lilo Print. I often pair these with The Bailon Stripe Crop Top or The Kris Print “No Genders - Just Style” Sleeveless Crop Top. It’s the perfect comfy outfit for my morning yoga, going for a walk (when the weather was a little warmer), and for hanging around the house.


Other members of the Play Out Fam have also been treating themselves this year: 


Another one of my favorite ways to treat myself is taking myself on dates. I’ll go to a park, take myself out to eat, or go for a long walk wandering around the city and buy myself flowers or a new plant. Doing things that I love to do, just for the fun of it, and learning how to be with myself in a loving way has absolutely changed my life. 


If you’re interested in learning more about how to be kind to yourself, I highly recommend Jeffrey Marsh’s book How To Be You, which is also an audiobook, and check out their Instagram and TikTok. I learned how to love myself through the work that they do, and am deeply grateful. 

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