The Gist: Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies

By Olivia Schmid | | Opinions Editor

Photo Courtesy of amazon.com.

One of my best friends from home bought me Tara Schuster’s Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies: And Other Rituals to Fix Your Life because “it looked like something that you’d like”. I don’t know if that’s because of the pretty flowers on the cover, the swear word in the title (because historically the best self-help books have swear words in the title), or simply because they found it in the personal development section at Target, but to say I liked it is a huge understatement — this summer, this book right here changed how I looked at my life (and therefore, changed my life as I knew it).

Dramatic, I know. “Olivia, you say this about every book”. Okay… and? I really, sincerely mean it this time.  Sometimes the Universe just knows what you need to hear, and this was no exception.  The epitome of therapist-best friend-mom came to me in book form on May 22nd, 2021. 

So here’s the gist: Schuster talks about her life and the different rituals and habits that helped her process trauma, form meaningful relationships, and grow into herself like never before.  It’s split into 3 sections to address those rituals for your mind, body, and relationships.  Schuster also speaks my love language…. LISTS!! SO. MANY. LISTS. I’ve pinpointed the rituals that she brings up that I’ve really resonated with, but you’ll have to read the book for context, as well as all the other amazing habits she shares.

RITUALS FOR THE MIND

Something I find very attractive about Schuster’s writing is her ability to come across so gently, despite all the information she’s throwing at the reader.  Her words come from nothing but love, compassion, and respect.  She wants to see you love yourself and give yourself the room and energy to grow.  When she offers advice, she anticipates your “No that’s not for me lol thanks tho” response and hits you with “I knew you’d say that, so here’s your next steps”.. It’s bizarre, but it just reaffirms that she knows what she’s talking about. It also reaffirms that I struggle to leave my comfort zone sometimes.  Oops.

Not everyone has a story as traumatic and painful as hers, but that doesn’t make YOUR trauma and YOUR pain any less real.  Your trauma — whatever that looks like to you — no matter how bad it is or how long it’s taken you to heal from it (or maybe you’re still healing and that’s okay), is your trauma and it isn’t meant to be compared to anyone else’s.

89% of this book is a strong case for journaling.  Specifically, she encourages the reader to write down 10 things that they are grateful for, every single day.  And I know.. “Olivia, I’m not into journaling.  I don’t even have time for it even if I wanted to try it.  I could barely make time to read your column this week”.  Well then flip the next page and read Schuster’s long list of “Ways to NOT avoid journaling in the morning”.

Well shit.  There’s even writing prompts.  

Another ritual Schuster deems crucial would be to take one night each week just for yourself.  I started doing this this past summer, and it’s actually a lot of fun to take myself out on cute little dates.  It’s time and space to just be.  When was the last time you were able to do that?

RITUALS FOR THE BODY

This section was pretty short, but it offered advice that I had never thought of before.  First was the idea to treat yourself like royalty every morning.  Make a big deal over getting yourself ready for the day ahead — you’re the shit!  And if that doesn’t quite make sense, there’s a whole list about it in the book (of course).  By doing this, you’re maintaining your space.

She also brings up the idea to create your own rules for drinking.  The way she talked about it was just really interesting and something I had never really thought about before, so definitely read up on that later; however, the advice that I really found important in this section was the advice she gave about eating: “Eat food that makes you feel good, not sick” (192).  For anyone else that struggles to eat from time to time, this wasn’t the no-brainer that most people may assume it to be.

RITUALS FOR RELATIONSHIPS

The last section, focused on our relationships with other people, is heavy. There’s a lot to digest.  First off, nobody cares that much… choose pronoia, not paranoia — If you have no reason to believe that someone despises you, just assume that they wish you well and that you’re on good terms instead of coming up with reasons why they probably don’t like you.  

Romantically, Schuster urges the reader to confront the pattern of partners you go for.  And also don’t try to persuade people to like you and date you (spoiler: it doesn’t really work), don’t settle, don’t sugar coat his insults to make you feel better, don’t assume it’s normal for them to change their caller ID to stalk you… Hey, I told you it’s a lot.

A quick quote to get you thinking: “Nothing is personal.  People are limited” (281).

The last chapter is straight out of my mood board and is one of my ultimate dreams.. PARIS.  Schuster talked about how she went once in college, but she was consumed with drama back home that she stayed in her apartment and never got to fully experience Paris; she had a lot of regret and wrote about it all the time in her journals.  Fast forward a couple years, she’s back in Paris — but this time, it’s just for herself.  She took herself out, went on runs, shopped, and didn’t stop ANY of the rituals we’ve talked about… and she bought herself a nice Chanel bag just because she deserved it.  It’s inspiring to say the least.

Also, completely random but read this quote:

“I see a life that you consciously live.  That you curate and cultivate and create for yourself, a life in which you are self-aware AF, grateful for the luck that you are here at all, a life in which you love and also let yourself be loved” (310).   !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve already recommended this book to handfuls of people (and in some cases, sent physical copies — in which case, start reading.  You know who you are), and now I’m recommending it to you. So, my dearest reader, buy yourself the fucking lilies and while you’re at it, buy yourself (and your ex) this book, too.

“What’s your Paris? What’s your sunrise run? What are your lilies? What are you waiting for” (311)?

Sophomore Olivia Schmid is the Opinions Editor. Her email is oschmid@fandm.edu.

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