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.