Listen up — there’s a new cleanse in town and it has nothing to do with juice.
Immediately I know you’re intrigued. How do I know this? Because cleansing is like New Years Eve, whenever you want. It’s like being born again. It’s like a blank slate — and we’re all so messed up these days, we want one of those whenever we can get it.
According to all the Instagram accounts I follow, we get a chance to start over every morning — at least, that’s one of the “inspirational quotes” people post every day — but waking up to a new day isn’t enough for some people. Some people can only change with a big bang.
Or, in this case, without one.
Like I said, nothing to do with juice. Lately, the newest go-without phenomenon in my social circle is sex.
We’ve come a long way from the days when we were shamed into hiding any hint of our sexual activity. From Tinder to Porn Hub, we’re allowed to indulge our primal instincts every once in a while with little to no vocal judgement from the majority of the world. At least, I’ve been given this allowance — and I hope you have too. It has been a slice.
But, it seems this allowance is starting to lose its oomph.
“I’m on day 49 of no female interaction. I’m probably just going to force myself to go the full 90,” he messaged me.
“What is the point of this madness?” I responded, naturally.
“It’s an independence thing,” he replied.
With all this constant communication at our fingertips, it is no surprise we seem to have forgotten how to be with ourselves. And, yes, when we’re talking about sex, being “with ourselves” can mean a couple of things, but I’m not being that candid. I literally mean we have forgotten how to be alone. We no longer know what it means to have to validate, please, entertain, and spend time with ourselves without feeling pitiful.
Isn’t there someone who will go to this movie/eat this meal/listen to this song/sleep with me? When did being alone start making us this lonely?
No stranger to anxiety, I know all too well the panicked flipping through of my social-media apps to calm myself in a moment, or 20, of this loneliness. I also know all too well the desire for a romantic rendezvous out of the craving for constant companionship — and let me tell you, it doesn’t get any better when those relationships end. And they will end.
Much like I’m addicted to Netflix, to coconut peanut butter, to Pinterest, to caffeine, to . . . well, you get it. Much like I’m addicted to those things, I am also addicted to the validation physical intimacy provides: I am not a hideous beast. I am decent enough. I am not alone.
What I’m not addicted to is the withdrawal symptoms: I am a hideous beast. I am not even decent. I am absolutely in this alone.
Netflix isn’t strong enough to counter those and, in the long run, neither is any other substance one might be addicted to.
In a world where it has become important to some of us that our second cousin thrice-removed likes the picture of what we wore to the church picnic, maybe it’s time we took our validation back to the root of the problem.
You are beautiful. You are good enough. And you are never alone — even when you are very much by yourself.
Maybe — and the jury is still out on this, folks — maybe this whole celibacy cleanse isn’t as crazy as it sounds. I mean, I wouldn’t bust it out on your boyfriend all of the sudden, but if some me-TLC is what you’re needing these days, it’s something to consider.
Hey, maybe you can make the full 90 — when you finish, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the full monty.
— Andria Parker is an Instagram-obsessed idealist with at least 600 words to share on every topic, ever.