written by Natalie Pattillo

Junk Drawer

2018: The Year of Shedding Crappy Thoughts

Back in the day, when I'd get nervous as a kid, my dad helped me breathe by chanting, "Out goes the bad air, in comes the good!" During the inhale, I envisioned good vibes (in the form of figurative rainbows 🌈  and glitter✨) entering my nose and mouth. On the exhale, all the crappy thoughts exited my body and vanished into thin air. Now, as an adult, I understand the brilliance of the chant—to shed negative self-talk (or other BS you have zero control over). I still use it to keep my cool, especially on Mondays when my daughter refuses to wear socks and my train is delayed by 45 minutes.

As the New Year began, I wondered what sort of "bad air" and "good air" my colleagues were exhaling and inhaling. So, in lieu of over-ambitious weight-loss resolutions, Team Icon started the new year by talking openly about the things (junky objects/inner dialogue) we hope to shed and leave behind in 2018.

Natalie: I recently moved into a new apartment. I'm realizing that we, as people, don't need that as much shit as we think we do. In order to get stuff out of boxes and find a place for all of it, we essentially need more stuff, like shelves and organizers. So, this new year, it's been a nice process of giving stuff away. With our old newspapers, I'm hoping to have some sort of papier-mâché project, you know? Before, I would've just let them pile up and put them in a box because I can't bring myself to throw them away. I like cozier spaces that are busy, but I'm also learning that was an excuse for me to be disorganized and cluttered. I'd think, "Oh, I'm just eccentric!" 🙃  But actually, it just isn't very practical. 

Ilona: I went on a yoga retreat right before I started this new job so I feel like my life has been about "shedding" recently. Like, shedding of things that don't make me happy. Obviously, the yoga retreat is very contemplative and the teachers do this really cool thing where everyone sends in their word of intention and base the classes around people's words everyday. On New Years Day, we were talking about how we've created this whole ritual around this day to shed stuff and think about what you can incorporate into your life. It's just another day, but humans have such a desire to have this "shedding" ritual all together. 🙏

Natalie: I always want to shed my anxiety, I guess 😕? When I get swamped with stuff, I always feel like overwhelmed in a way that feels not conducive to getting the shit that I need to do done. It's counter-productive. I want to shed the mentality that "the world is going to end if I don't get it all done in the perfect way." It's just not productive to actually getting the stuff done. It's hard because I have to rewire my brain. It's something so ingrained. With anxiety, you always have to find new ways of coping to remedy your panicked thoughts. Part of it is reflecting enough to be like, "You know, that one week I was really, really busy, I accomplished everything...what would make this week any different?" It's reflecting and also shedding the"I'm not competent enough" mentality I start the week with. I recently started realizing how shitty that kind of thinking is to my workflow and sense of self.

Tiffany: I've also been thinking about that. I've talked to other people on the team about this—so I saw "I, Tonya" ⛸ last night. It's so good and it relates to this. One thing that I've been trying to shed is that negative self-talk, where you talk down to yourself and only focus on your failures or flaws.

For a long time, I felt super uncomfortable around people who were nice to me. It felt like something was wrong. It goes back to "I, Tonya" and how your family raised you and showed you love. For me, I feel way more comfortable around people who are telling me that I'm bad at certain things. I'm trying to correct that and shed this idea that people don't have to "show love" through negativity, tough love, criticism, or whatever. Love can be through people genuinely being nice ❤️. I realized that I shouldn't be suspicious of people showing me love. 

Natalie: Mmm 🤔. That's such a good point. 

Tiffany: Right? Now, I'm realizing that doesn't make logical sense to not trust someone who is being nice to me. Whoa. 😳 That was all probably way too heavy. 

Natalie: I like the reference to "I, Tonya ⛸.." It makes sense. 

Ilona: Yeah, that was exactly what that movie was about. 👍

Tiffany: So here's my lighter, more positive look on shedding 😁. Ever since I've moved into my new apartment with my roommates I love, I've been happier. I live with two awesome women 👭 and a cat 😸 so everyone's constantly shedding..literally. 

All: 😂

Tiffany: Now that I love my new apartment and the women I live with, I really enjoy Swiffering and cleaning too. I just want to make everyone happy in our new home. I think it's so fun to take off the Swiffer pad and find what it picked up. I find it so satisfying. Is that gross?! 😬 I feel like cleaning is something that usually feels like a chore. But now that I'm so happy with the people I live with, I want to do nice things for them. And I like Swiffering. 💁

Natalie: I love how much you love Swiffering 😂 . Yeah, the shedding also means that there's newness. You know, after you clean, it's literally a new floor. It's kinda the same with cleaning up your inner dialogue to have a new mentality. 

Darby: Mine also have to do with negative self-talk. At my previous job, I had my boss tell me that I apologize for everything. I asked him, "What do you mean?" And he was like, "You just say it so often. It's almost it's as if you introduce yourself as, 'Hi, I'm Darby and I'm sorry.'" I never really thought about it but now I'm noticing it a lot more. For instance, if someone's in my way I say, "Oh I'm sorry!" Then I think, wait what am I sorry about? I think shedding that mentality is important because it's a habit. I just need to change my language because I'm not sorry. I'm unapologetic. 🙌

Natalie: It's tough, though, right? I think that's something women talk about often—the need to apologize for taking up space. I catch myself doing it all the time. 🙋

Tiffany: People have definitely told me that I say "I'm sorry" often. 😕

Ilona: I feel like I've always been that person as well. People didn't understand why I was apologizing. But for some reason, I felt the need to make everyone around you happy. It's something I'm working on—something I'm also trying to shed. If you spend so much time worrying about how other people are feeling, you can't even focus on yourself. It's not productive. 🙅

Tiffany: You have to practice self-care. 💆

Kelsey: To end on a very literal note: I am constantly shedding 💁. I have very long hair that can get easily tangled on a blustery, New York City day, so I almost always carry a comically large hairbrush with me. I don't really know what the professional policy is on brushing your hair at work, but when I first get to the office I'll try to subtly run a brush through my hair before our first meeting-- I'm guessing it isn't as subtle as I think it is.

I have to remove excess hair from my brush regularly, and my long hairs get all over everything. I remember we were doing an Icon photo shoot once, and Bridget was looking through photos and noticed a hairball had attached itself to a prop. "Kelsey, that is absolutely your hair," she said to me, and she was absolutely right. My coworkers don't seem to mind finding long, blonde hairs around the office. I suppose I'm lucky in that way. 😏

*~What are you looking to eliminate this year?~*

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