Can you go an entire day without making any disparaging comments about yourself? No? Why not? What would help you?
I was thinking about this a lot this week. I used to put myself down a lot. Not just body stuff, but calling myself dumb, too. I spent many years as my own worst enemy. It’s really not a fun place to be or a good place to stay. But I did for quite some time. I often felt a black cloud was always overhead. I couldn’t see the good in anything, but especially myself. It wasn’t entirely my doing, I was conditioned for five years (ages 14-19) to believe I was worthless. Those years probably would have been hard enough as a typical emotional teenagery experience. But to be removed from any normalcy and exist, barely at times, in an abusive relationship? Yikes! I make no excuses, though. Well after I left I had no love for me and didn’t understand how anyone else ever could.
Where I am today took a ton of work and I’m not done. I’m a work in progress. I hope to never be done in some ways. To grow and to learn is to live. I see that now. Back when I didn’t want to grow or learn anything. I wanted to die. That was it. I lived each day in utter misery and hated every moment I breathed. It’s sickening when I think about it now. What that version of me was like. What a horrible person to be around I must have been. But I remember the mask I wore, too. The one I wore to hang out with friends and feign interest in parties and such. Exhausting, I must say. And then I started drinking. It was rarely a conscious effort, but it helped when it happened. That sounds bad, “it helped” but it did. It helped me feel normal sometimes. If everyone else was having a good time I could have a few shots and smile a bit easier and laugh more.
I recall one night at a terrible house party dancing on the tables with my BFF to “Smack my bitch up” after 11 shots of Cuervo…yes, 11! Insanity! I was lucky to not get alcohol poisoning that night. I was lucky to not have worse than that happen to me that night. But me and Stephy, we looked out for each other that way. *Sigh* I sometimes wish I could go back and live better, feel better, be better. But I can’t and being that person lead to my being who I am today. That person would never have had the confidence to write or be social.
I’ve had plenty of ups and downs along the way, for sure. There were times in my corporate life that I hated my body and wished more than anything that I could be smaller and wear high heels and be “professional” (read: attractive/popular) and fit in…but that went away when I discovered fat acceptance. Not instantly, mind you, but gradually. I began to fight back. I began to question why it was I wanted to look like everyone else. As a trainer with the spotlight often on me (for up to 8 hours at times), certainly being different was a plus. And it was. And then people started to tell me how much they liked me and what I did. And I gained some confidence in my career. Soon I was in demand and, though working my arse off, enjoying the challenging ride.
It took so much time and absolute effort to love myself, just as I am, right now. I am working on living in the moment, breathing and just being, now. That’s a huge leap from hating myself and my own existence. Worth it I think. I am happier, I am healthier and I’m smarter, too. I might even say that I look better, because I’m not afraid to wear the things I want to. I’m not fearful of the judgment of others now. I can wear colors and dresses and weird boots and fuck anyone who sees anything wrong with that. Someone recently said I dress like a teenager. I took it as a compliment. Part of me will always be 14-19 years old, I think. It could be my PTSD (self-dignosed). It could be the simple fact that I am once again starting my life over again. I don’t know, but I don’t care why. What I care about is moving on.
What I care about is honoring the best parts of me, sorting through what I must and growing from there. And I think I am. Every little personal breakthrough I have leads me to a better place. I am grateful for that. I am even more grateful for the friends who are there for me to talk and sort this shit out with. I know it’s a nasty mess right now, but I swear I will get things straight soon! But it is all and always worth it. Self work, self-care, self-acceptance…these are so important! We are valuable, all of us, each and every one of us! We are worth the effort!
Consider why it is that you put yourself down. Ask yourself if you truly, honestly, deeply believe the things you say. Because what you put out there has a way of coming true. I know this because it has been that way for me. Now when I say something about myself I pause before it comes out of my mouth. Am I being honest with myself? Why do I need to say it? Who benefits from it? Who does it hurt? And usually, I realize pretty quickly, that it isn’t worth the effort of even thinking those things anymore. If I make a mistake, I own it. If I fuck up, I apologize and do my best to make amends. If I trip, so be it! I am me and I cannot be anything else. I don’t want to be anything else.
I hope that we can love and support each other until we can all find and be our best selves, for ourselves, always. <3