Friends frolic in the autumn leaves at Laurelhurst Park. Basic activities are a wonderful way to connect with those you love. Photo by Twylo Landey.

The holiday season is fast approaching, which excites me tremendously. What does not is the simultaneous approach of winter. I find winter in Portland to be quite dreary and unpleasant. The days are soggy, cold, and dark; night begins its oppressive takeover as soon as school lets out; and loads of stressful assignments suddenly pile up, leaving you no free time to dance wildly at parties (or whatever you do with your friends). It’s not an enjoyable existence and many of us slip into the pits of seasonal depression. Feelings of hopelessness and a drought of motivation take over, leaving us struggling to function.

Do not fear however, for a solution exists and it may not be what you would expect: embracing your inner basic bitch (BB). Yes, you too have a BB within. They live inside us all, just waiting to be let out. We all know of the pumpkin spice latte (PSL) girl stereotype, and many think that that is all a BB can be;   in fact, I thought the same for many years. However, as time went by, I realized this perception is limiting and false. Your relationship with your inner basic bitch can be whatever you make it. 

The holiday season and the perception of “basicness” that comes along with it is often viewed through a very White and Christian lens. This sucks and the reality of the situation is that many other holidays happen during winter. For example, as ethnic Jews, my family and I celebrate Hanukkah and we apply our version of basic activities to it. We buy cheap dreidels and gelt and blue and white candles for the menorah and eat the pre-packaged latkes from Trader Joe’s. Sure, it may not be what our Jewish ancestors starving in the shtetl may have imagined or wanted their future generations doing on Hanukkah, but so what? It brings joy during the dreadful winter months and that’s what matters.

To give another perspective, I talked to a proud enthusiast of embracing your inner BB, Elliana Kluherz. We spoke about what we love about the holiday season and about her relationship with her inner BB. “I love getting into the holiday spirit and winter fashion,” she said. “I think the energy is nostalgic and there are lots of seasonal holiday activities to get into like making gingerbread houses with friends or having seasonal foods and drinks.” We talked about how indulging in BB activities relates to mental health and she reflected that “normally during winter I am depressed […] because I don’t like being cold and it gets dark really early, but when I get into the holiday spirit and break out my puffy coats my mental health is much better and I feel connected to my friends and look forward to lots of little festive things like lights and food.” She advises new explorers of their inner BB to “look through Pinterest or Google lists of holiday activities. Any […] simple holiday activity, even as simple as getting seasonal lattes, can be fun with some friends.” She concludes by saying that: “the basic holiday inner bitch absolutely slays and is a great source to improve mental health and bring you closer with friends, family, and partners.”

Wearing tacky Christmas earrings and spinning a cheap dreidel may not be creative, artistic, or adding anything new to the world, but who cares? It’s fun and it makes you happy and that’s what really matters in life! You may be quite cool, creative, and talented (I’m sure you are), but you can sacrifice a bit of that edge for some joy this holiday season. You don’t have to be basic forever, just until the depressing weather lifts. Then you can return to your unique self expression, or if you find out that this lifestyle just makes you happier, then embrace it year round. Others may judge you, but to that I say— who cares? If you’re happy then the opinions of others simply don’t matter. I’m not saying that this is a magical cure or will work for everybody, I just am encouraging you to explore your relationship with your inner BB and take from them all you can. If you show them some love, they will show it back. So give it a try! You must, for Twylo.

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