Upfront, I want to say that as it stands today I have no relationship with my mother. We always had an extremely tumultuous relationship and as the years went on it got worse and worse. However, that being said and no matter what my current feelings towards her may be, I cannot deny the good she did bring to my life. Whether she intended to or not I hope that wherever she isshe has learned to love herself. I just wanted to make that clear before I dove into this post.
Ok, lets go.
When I was growing up, my mother was my best friend. She was hilarious, outspoken, fun and so smart. She raised me and my two sisters for a portion of our lives as a single mom. There were four of us. That is a lot of estrogen in one house and on top of that she was getting her master's degree and working full time. She eventually graduated with a 4.0 and began living her dream career as a teacher. I really loved and admired her for all that she did and withstood. She taught me so much, but one of the biggest things she taught me was how to hate myself.
I remember hearing her at the age of four mutter awful things to herself all the time.
In my high school years I remember hearing her say mean things not only about herself, but about me--in the form of a compliment. Things like "you are so pretty, if i was in school with you, I would hate you” …thanks? She would make me feel guilty if I had plans on the weekends and she didn't, "it must be nice to have something to do on Saturday. No one likes me, I am fat, I am ugly, I have no friends. Go on, have fun. Wish I was."
There was such a conflicting energy in the house. It was so strange for me to see her for the woman I knew her to be, but to hear her hate herself with such intensity and hate me as well.
If I am being honest, her negativity towards herself absolutely got passed on to me and I began to be my own worst enemy. I disliked myself and treated myself with such ambivalence for a really long time and I would look at myself in the mirror as if I had done something wrong. I remember thinking that I would never love myself and that the way I felt was just the way I was always going to feel. I believed that was just how my life would be.
Hating yourself does so much more damage than you think it does and absolutely nothing good comes from it. I like to talk about supporting and loving each other, I do my best to lift people up and be a light in their lives, but it has to start from within and that is why I am writing this today. This year, my 28th, is the first year I do not have a bad taste in my mouth about who I am. I do not turn away compliments when people give them to me. I do not disagree when someone says something nice about me. I know my worth and I want you to know yours too. It is so, SO important guys.
You must love and be kind to yourself. Not in a cliche kind of corny way where, “you cannot love someone else if you don't even love yourself” romance novel plot twist kind of way. Not because it will affect others negatively if you don’t love yourself, but because it affects YOU negatively if you don’t love yourself. I am coming to you as humble as I can to ask you please be kind to yourself. Love the person you are, love the body you are in, love the things you bring to the table that make you unique. Love your bad taste in music and your spotty knowledge of politics. Love the fact that when you were eight your mother gave you a bowl cut, but you totally rocked it because you were a cute little shit and didn't let anyone fuck with you. (is it clear that I am referencing my own life here?) Love the fact that you laugh at your own jokes, that you get buzzed after one glass of wine, that your waistline isn't what it was when you were 18, and that your smile is kind of crooked.
I do not want you thinking I have this self love thing all figured out either because that is not true. We all have good days and bad, and I am no different. I do however, feel like this is a good way to start a dialogue with each other and with ourselves about something that so many women and girls struggle with.
So please, take this moment to tell yourself how special you are.
Make time to take care of yourselves.
Every single inch of you is worth loving, so love it!