She Learned How 2 Love Herself

Loving yourself is not a bad thing.

Adoring yourself is not a bad thing.

Celebrating yourself is not a bad thing.

If you want to take selfies, take selfies. If you want to take a million selfies, take a million freaking selfies. If you have a good hair day, show the world. If your makeup is finally right, work that beat face. If your outfit is looking nice, strut like you’re on a runway. Let me tell you right now–loving yourself and really getting into the celebration is not a bad thing. Do I have to quote RuPaul?

“If you don’t love yourself, then how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

At first the phrase sounded ridiculous. What does love of oneself have to do with loving other people. It’s as evident as day, with the requirement being you learning how to love and care from the start, instead of abusing and hurting from the jump. It all pans out.

I guess that being as different-ish as I am, some of my habits seem much more Millennial than just…habits. Why are there so many pictures of me in my library? Why must I stop to take pictures of myself when I go out? What could I possibly gain from seeing myself staring back from an iPhone screen? At first it really does sound like some self-absorbed person, and not something with a purpose. At first, it really does sound like some conceited, born in 1985 and she think she alla dat whatnots.

Can a woman live? I wanted to say this to the person who questioned and discussed never knowing someone who took so many selfies. I wanted to turn to him and say “with all the shit I went through in high school and most of my 20s, this is a celebration of me. Is it hurting you?” I let it slide, simply saying it’s what I wanted to do. I don’t like to tell a lot of people why selfies, cute clothes, and nice jewelry matter. Why me slapping shaky eyeshadow and bad eyeliner makes me feel good. Why primping just a little bit has boosted my confidence. Why me deciding what makes me feel good (as part of my aesthetic) needs to be recorded.

You know, I started noticing myself in 5th grade. How much I hated myself, how much I wish I could be pretty and popular like the other girls, and how much the boys laughed at me instead of talking to me like a human being. It’s a typical story, except for the fact that it lasted until my mid 20s. It cost me a relationship because I felt too ugly to go outside, and he thought it was all him. I stayed home all the time, feeling sorry for myself.

It was a thing all through high school. I had moments of cuteness, but for the most part I was very unhappy with myself. I didn’t look in mirrors all the time. Maybe when I got my hair done, maybe to check the zit population. You know, hair had to be curled too. So, it was never really looking to feel good or check myself out, but as part of a necessary routine.

I was meek, I was mild, I hid behind jokes. I ached to be cute and pretty like the rich girls in my class. I was dying to join art club. I hid in my shell and got decent grades. I knew some of the things that made me special, but you can really count the pictures I have of myself from teen years. I could not stand myself. I tried often to make it better, but I didn’t think I was worth much. I dreamed of a world full of poems and this so-called extreme guy who was going to make it all right.

When I graduated, I went through this awkward fashion stage. If Lane Bryant had a thing, I simply got it. Very questionable taste up until I turned about 24. When I got with my ex from Riverdale, that’s when I started realizing that maybe I was a desirable, fat, wonderful person. If I could boil his potato, I could probably make it after all. I felt amazing, I felt sexy, I felt like I could have my esteem cake and eat it too.

Now, I had lows. I had a major low towards the end of our relationship. It was a horrible depression brought on by joblessness, not graduating college, and just feeling like a flop all around. Again, he thought it was him. I was horrified, because all of a sudden all that worth and primp and shine was gone. I was the teenager again.

Maybe my highs came from a superficial place, but getting cute things made me feel better. Planning my look made me feel worth it. Writing and just really getting into more of Prince’s music did it too, for some reason. When I also ordered a copy of BODacious magazine, and saw all the pretty BBW and SSBBW women all dolled up and looking cute, I was AMAZED. When I saw more women like me, posing and wearing cute stuff, I dove into all of it.

I decided that I was going to be my own person. I decided that I was going to wear what made me happy. I decided that come hell or highwater, I was going to create with photography and writing. I decided that I was going to embrace myself from head to toe. No matter how many bad days I had, no matter who laughed or questioned it–I was going to love myself.

I chose to evolve.

Now, to some people, I am “not evolved” and have some work to do. They want to change me. They’ll be very much on their own trying that, because I’m my own imperfect person. I can learn some things, but I change who I am to improve myself. Let’s leave it at that.

There are thousands of vanilla and naughty selfies because the teen me didn’t want her picture taken that often.

There is praise and adoration for myself, because no one else is obligated to do so. Tomorrow, any man in my life could decide I am not good enough or worth anything, and decide to toss me aside. In that case, I will always have my own back. I will always support and defend myself. Where could I possibly get to with no defense of my own person?

I get that people do go over the top, but I don’t feel or think that I am one of them. It’s more like after all those years of not looking and celebrating, I’m embracing this part of myself.

I can’t worry about who doesn’t get it anymore.

A lot of the same people stood there and watched me hate myself.

A lot of the same people who ask and comment now? Maybe they wish I’d hate myself again, and dial it down.

It’s gonna be a long wait.

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I don’t have any sarcasm for this moment, no explanation, and certainly no sad poem or playlist for it. Not a recent playlist, anyway. Just the usual. I apparently don’t have the sense to not post my sorrow online. I guess some habits just never die.

I will not dwell, as I did drafting endless letters to explain myself. Closed every single one. Let frustration build. I guess that made me less of a woman, because I handled it poorly. It’s only been a few days, but so little has been said, and I think so much has been felt. I still don’t know what to say, aside from a tired “I’m sorry” that probably drowned in a sea of other emails. The courage to call faded quickly. Seems like my so-called strength only comes when somebody dies, or some textbook adversity shows up. Anyone could be strong for things like that.

Everything dealing with Charlottesville made me feel worse. Made me feel scared, made me wonder if TN is even right for me. Since I cancelled Chicago out, where else can I go? Especially with no money. The fact that people got so up in arms about…a statue and their feelings of threat and whatnot–kind of reminds me of some of the people here who can get just as crusty about heritage. Still, I want somebody to say “heritage not hate” after what I saw in the comments and on my TV. Three people died because of this.

I know this sounds stupid, but I looked up a very famous Internet personality from that same area. Yes, that person. She was at a convention or whatever, smiling and living life. I thought it was peculiar, but you can’t expect every citizen there to be glued to what’s happening. I excused myself from all of that to binge eat and mutter all night. A few chapters from Episode, and some in-between watches of Rocko and I Love Lucy, and I ate less n mellowed more.

This will be temporary.

Those of us who wear our hearts on our sleeves and feel deeply tend to go through spells of feels and no feels.

I will try to spare the world the various acts of my drama.

Is it possible to let empowerment get to your head? Is it possible to allow your painful past and the guards you’ve put up to dictate how you treat people? Or, in another case, those who have hurt you–even when they are long gone, is it possible that you make others pay for what they’ve done?

The week–past one–going into the weekend has been one that really took hold of my emotions. Seems like every fear and doubt that I thought I shoved away about my relationship are coming back, and they have new friends. Then Chester Bennington died. So on top of feeling like I’m the worst potential wife, current girlfriend, and crappy person, one of my favorite artists from the early legs of my writing (as well as the angsty years of my teen experience) dies of suicide.

You know how sometimes you don’t really realize what someone means to you?

Of COURSE Chester was an amazing singer and artist. But I stopped really listening to LP around the time they collabed with Jay-Z. It wasn’t anything personal, it’s just that my music tastes sort of shifted for a while. LP was still on every mix list I made, but mainly everything pre-collab. Hearing that he died, it sent something through me. I’d listened to some of LP’s newer stuff, and the regret sank in. So I’m going to binge listen to everything this weekend and upcoming week.

I already cried a little, sang a few songs on Smule Karaoke (my profile is here), and just got out all my tone-deficient feels in the process. It’s amazing how the lyrics just come to you after all those years. But let’s be honest–I didn’t go a lot of places as a teenager. I had friends, but I was still rather unpopular. I was odd because my Blackness didn’t match most of my peers, and for some reason that mattered when I was just trying to be myself. I didn’t know we had to follow a manual for being Black.

Anyway…

I spent a lot of time at home, online, writing, or playing video games. I spent a lot of time with music. Remy Shand, Prince, Gorillaz, Nelly Furtado, Norah Jones, Linkin Park. So while I was making sims, I was singing to a lot of their music. When I was writing my sad little poems, I was reflecting on the emotions LP showed us in their work. Maybe it encourage the wackiness that remains, but all I know is that LP really did save my life, and Chester shined the light on better choices concerning working out my problems.

He made expression an option, that’s for sure.

The doubt part is just kind of due to the way conversations have been going between A and I. I’m starting to worry that maybe I am too young for him. Maybe I’m not strong enough like he wants/expects. Maybe I’m not the best girlfriend or person for him. Unlike the “ticker tape parade” he talks about, maybe I just want the same general enthusiasm I give him when he talks about things in his life that interest him. And maybe I don’t know all the questions to ask, or the right things to do–but I do care for and love this guy.

The honeymoon phase has been over, and that’s cool, you know? We reached a place of comfort where farts and skin tags ain’t a thing. Just seems like sometimes when we joke, it gets hurtful. It stops being playful, and sort of turns into how he really feels or at least thinks about me. When I point this out, he gets uncomfy and talks about all he has done for me–which, yes, is a TON. But my point is that it often conflicts with how he talks to me. That part he doesn’t get, and says that’s just how he is.

When I get blunt, suddenly I’m not very nice, and how dare I….in so many words.

So, you know, feeling like your partner has a lot of truth behind statements like “if not for your [insert parts or aesthetic he likes], then I don’t know if….” puts you in a place.

Am I really that bad of a person that my looks (which aren’t that great, but maybe 4 people find me attractive) shield my overall crappy-ness?

I’m also kind of tired of having long, serious talks about all of this. Like–we’ve talked about all of this and it either dies down or rears its head at another time. It’s making me doubt whether or not I am really good enough for this person. It’s making me feel more like a stepping stone.

And one time we argued so hard that he looked me dead in the eye and said “I wasn’t just saying I love you to say it! I LOVE YOU.”

I know that he means it. A person doesn’t reach into their wallet for you or take you where he has taken me, or opened up like he has. So why are the doubts there?

It’s conversation. Some of them go fine, some of them remind me that we have an 8 year age gap. That we were raised differently. That we feel things differently. We see the world in different ways. We love, but we also clash….hard. We joke, but sometimes it hurts like a motherf*cker.

We have good times.

We have bad times.

But one of us is sitting there with fears and doubts, realizing that she isn’t like other adults, and doesn’t feel good enough or right enough for the person she is with. Or that his doubts are probably being fed with every mistake or stupid action. She isn’t that great, and it’s just a matter of time until….

It’s a bad feeling.

Especially considering how badly she wanted love in the first place. The most frustrating part is that she’s actually trying, and it just seems like she makes it worse every time.

Ugh.