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.

Why Do You Want That?

Writing is love, writing is life. Writing is the reason I’m still here, choosing life. I mean…sometimes it’s a real struggle, but writing (and Nichiren Buddhism) have kept me going. So, I can’t help it if I have a few dreams up my sleeves about it. It would be NICE to come up from it, but even if I don’t, I would never stop. So obviously between the dreams, the “projects”, and the questionable poems, I would imagine myself having a “space” or an office to live out my dreams. I also have several backup plans. Teacher, Social Worker, Grant Drafter, Admin. Hell, I’m looking at Chicago to take some coding classes while I visit.

I have about 40k of student debt, so it’s not like I’ve got the ability to be super flighty and ultra dreamy. I mean, I’ll always be somewhat like that. I’m my mother’s kid. But I’ve become realistic about some things. Not all persons who have the talent to write become great, established writers. It’s upsetting, but I’m okay with that.

I feel like my jovial nature gives people the idea that I’m in great denial or something. That the goal is to be a writer without a 9 to 5. That, you know, it’s straight to the finish line with no questions asked. I think about the fact that this writing thing may not work out all the time. Still, I want it. I want a part of it. I won’t turn my back to it. I’ll probably die at a computer of old age, trying to complete a novel I started at the age of sixteen. In any case, I would like for the people in my life to realize that I’m aware it might not work out. I’m aware that I need plans B-Z to survive this world.

I also need people to understand that my dreams might just be that. Dreams. Let me have that.

What I have always wanted is a “writing space”. Which technically could be anywhere I have my laptop or pen and paper, but I mean a space like Carrie had in her apartment in Sex and The City. A space like Claire had on The Cosby Show to enjoy herself. I have been dreaming of this space for the longest time. From job to job, poem to poem, and boyfriend to boyfriend. Writing is one of many loves in my life, and I’d like to have a place to set her free.

The idea was always going to be some small country thing. Doesn’t have to be a barn, for frack’s sake. Some tiny little ranch house that’s so small, it can only be an office. Some hole in the wall in the backyard, set up as I see fit, financed by me. I would never force anyone else in my life to finance desires that I’ve been building up. First of all, because I WANNA DO IT. Second of all, if it’s not agreed upon, I ain’t forcing anyone to pony up dime one.

That’s super defensive.

And I mean it to be.

The dream of my writing space is sacred and special. Deeper than a man cave or a chick cave. Or whomever’s cave. It’s a space outside the world where I can sit, open up, get it out, and not be distracted. That’s the main part! Not to depart from the world forever and ever, but devote some time to the one thing that brings me joy. Now imagine if I gave side eye to someone I cared about, if they had a similar dream.

I would get chewed da funk out.

The writing space is an extension of me. I may never get my ranch house. I might have to settle for a corner of a room, or an office. That’s fine. Dreams change as my life has changed. But in my mind, it’s always been somewhere down South. Always either been a shed or a bigger space. Always been covered in cute stained glass windows, wind chimes all over, and crystal things.

I can always relocate. The South isn’t the only place with a countryside. And why should I silence my dreams, anyway? Because someone else thinks they’re too airy or too stupid? Or whatever, for that matter?

Smash your own dreams but don’t come for mine.

What else do I want?

Nothing that big.

A dog. A cat. Some kids, and a decent ass life. I don’t have to have a million damn bucks. Just the kind of comfort that gives me some kind of hope in this world. I would like to be happily married, you know? Just keeping it nice because I never needed a big production to be satisfied. Just let me have my writing. Let me dream of my office space. Doesn’t have to be forced. I’m not demanding it!

But alas.

It’s all a dream.

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