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I Tried To Stop Being A Garbage Person And It Was A Nightmare

Garbage for life.

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

Hi, I'm Joanna, and I'm kind of a garbage person.

"Garbage person" doesn't have to be an insult. I mean it in that fun, laid-back, "I wore sweatpants to meet the president" kind of way — in that semi-braggy "I ate at Taco Bell because I'm so much fun!" kind of way.

I believe that, as a garbage person, being somewhat lax in my daily routine has helped me enjoy life and reduce stress. But being a garbage person has its downside. It can be an excuse to not take care of yourself.

One morning I was running very late for work (a frequent occurrence), rushing out the door, and fumbling with my keys. "You're such a garbage person," I whispered. As the lock clicked, I stopped and wondered, what exactly would it take for me to NOT be a garbage person?

Being late to work is kind of a garbage-person move. Eating three bags of Dunkin' Donuts hash browns for breakfast instead of something nutritious makes me feel garbage-y. Not working out often enough, not flossing enough, going to bed wearing makeup. Jumping into a kiddie pool filled with pizza and kittens. (Dangerous, AND garbage-y.)

There's always a tiny voice in my head saying, "Do better." And while that voice needs to LIGHTEN UP, what if I actually listened to it? So I decided to make a list of all the things I wish I did, and challenged myself to actually do them ALL. Every day. For one week. Could I actually pull it off? Would I end up preferring a non-garbage lifestyle?

During my week of non-garbage behavior, I would:

• Have a healthy breakfast at home

• Do my makeup to the best of my ability

• Have perfectly painted nails

• Style my hair in a perfect beach wave

• Wear a cute outfit

• Be early to work

• Pack a healthy, homemade lunch

• Exercise

• Floss twice per day

• Have a fancy skin care routine

• Not eat a bunch of sugar

• Read before bed

Disclaimer: These are all just things the tiny, uptight voice in my head wishes I did. I don’t think they’re a necessary standard for anyone — especially the hair and makeup stuff.

I read these rules to my co-worker, and she said, "Just hearing you read those gives me anxiety." They do seem a little aggressively perfect. Maybe there are people out there who manage to do all this and find it easy. OR ARE THERE?


Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

I started off simply enough: avocado toast and tea.

All the extra makeup I added to my face:

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

I usually have a minimal makeup look — out of laziness and lack of skill. Whenever I see one of those glamorous people with flawless, dramatic makeup every day I think, Why can’t I do that?


Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

This was my best attempt at a "beach wave." It's annoyingly difficult and time-consuming to achieve a hairstyle that's supposed to look messy and effortless.

My guidelines for "cute outfit" were mostly "don't wear anything that looks like sad pajamas" and "maybe try to accessorize?"

I hit the scarf trend hard this week. It was something I'd been wanting to try but worried I couldn't pull off. Multiple people said I looked like a flight attendant. Is that a compliment? I can't tell? The lesson is: Never follow trends.

I learned I have a hard time taking a selfie without making a pained expression.


I know you're supposed to do your big-batch cooking on Sunday. But I ran out of time on Sunday because I was too busy relaxing and enjoying my life. So I had to do it Monday night. And it was awful. I made stir fry, lentil soup, and vegetarian bean sausage to eat at breakfast.

I also made banana bites.

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

I forgot to do this over the weekend. And the bananas were getting too ripe! It was a banana emergency that added more time onto my endless cooking.

I completely forgot to read before bed because I was too tired.


Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

Homemade vegetarian bean sausage. This was something I'd always wanted to make. It was surprisingly not disgusting!

I sat in the kitchen and stared into space. I was so tired. My hands smelled like beans.

I arrived at work 35 minutes early. I am a god.


Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

The flossing twice per day thing is surprisingly not that hard. I was HORRIFIED the first time I learned you're supposed to be flossing TWICE per day. Just once seems like a huge ask.

One time I got really into flossing. The dental hygienist said, "I can tell you've been flossing." I was so proud of myself, I just stopped flossing. (Classic garbage move.) But I'm ready to embrace flossing again, even though I think teeth are WAY too high-maintenance.

I've also been religiously washing my face, toning, moisturizing, etc. One time an Avon lady told me that every time you don't wash your face, your skin ages 13 days. By that calculation I already have the skin of an ancient witch. I've always been reluctant to use skin care products because the emphasis on anti-aging for women disturbs me. And I simply don't believe most of the products really do anything. But fine. I guess I'll moisturize.

Homemade lunch:

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

Lentil soup and stir fry. After spending so long mass-cooking this food the night before, I didn't really enjoy eating it. We needed some time apart.

I had to make at least one extremely Instagrammable breakfast:

To be fair, it started out looking like this:

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

Frozen peaches and blackberries, spinach, almond butter, almond milk, hemp seeds, and spirulina. Spirulina smells like sewage.


Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

I had to choose between styling my beach wave and being on time for work. I chose work. But even skipping the hairstyle, I was 10 minutes late. It was only my third day of this and I felt like I couldn't keep up.

I finally remembered to read before bed, and I admit, it is relaxing to read a book instead of the internet before falling asleep. It's like the difference between a gentle bunny and a raccoon clawing your eyes out. (The internet is the raccoon.)


Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

I was running late, so I just ate the avocado spread and skipped the toast. I know, I KNOW. I'M SLIPPING ON THE BREAKFAST THING.

AND I was 22 minutes late to work. I did style my beach wave, though!

Fancy shoes I wish I wore more but they're too uncomfortable:

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

I have several pairs of shoes in my closet that I love but never wear. I decided this was the best time to set them free. Stop crying, shoes. Today you may see the world.


Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

I started to feel guilty about spending so much time on hair and makeup. It really is work. And it's work almost exclusively expected of women. And while I want to have fancy hair and makeup, having to do a bunch of extra work doesn't feel great.


Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

OK, I know what you're thinking. This looks a little bit like a garbage breakfast. Because it's a leftover taco. And you're right. But it was Friday and it just felt right. I firmly believe this is an acceptable breakfast, garbage person or not.

Fancy shoes I never wear:

Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed


Joanna Borns / BuzzFeed

It was really difficult to put on a cute outfit on a Friday. Especially after a week of laborious flossing. I was tired. I just wanted to wear a gigantic pair of fleece pants so big I could fit my whole body into one of the legs. But that wasn't an option.

I was only two minutes late to work! At work I was told I looked like a "goth flight attendant." This was meant as a compliment.

BEING A GARBAGE PERSON IS AMAZING AND I MISSED IT SO MUCH! I really gained a newfound appreciation for just doing whatever. I was really surprised by how much I missed it. Doing everything right didn't really improve my life. It's easy to fall into that whole "You have the same number of hours in the day as Beyoncé" mindset. But my response to that is to put my hands over my ears and silently scream "Shut up!!!!!!" while rolling around on the floor and then slowly rolling down a flight of stairs. (Don't worry, I'm fine.)

Trying harder is great, but what you're doing already is just fine.


• Making big batches of food to eat for the week sucks! Or at least, it isn't for me. I've been trying to do it for years, and I can finally admit that I don't like it and stop torturing myself.

• There's no major benefit to looking effortlessly beautiful in my everyday life. I'm always blown away by other people's beautiful hair and makeup, and I'm like, GIMME DAT. (That's how I talk.) But having it changes nothing for me.

• Dressing up can make you feel better. I know this has been said a million times in women's magazine articles about "how to look cute when you have the flu." But it is true. On days when I'm feeling like the world is trash, I just want to wear a baggy sweatshirt. (And there's nothing wrong with that. You can pry my baggiest sweatshirt from my cold, clammy corpse.) But trying to look nice actually improved my mood.

• Flossing is actually not that hard, and it's embarrassing that I wasn't doing it enough. SORRY TO FLOSS SHAME. (But if the dentist says my mouth looks good, I'm probably gonna get cocky again and let it slip.)

• Garbage forever.

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