today, i need your help.
but first, a backstory:
it is generally safe to say that whenever i accuse another person of doing something, it's because i am actually doing that thing myself.
for example: "she's so judgmental all the time!" (i say, standing in constant judgment of others)
or: "they're always so negative" (i assert, always finding the negative, myself).
whether or not said person is also guilty of the accused action is irrelevant. it's not my job to police other people. i am only responsible for myself.
so earlier today, i was telling nic how much he didn't like me. i was sure he didn't like me. why didn't he like me? i was mad at him for not liking me.
i was really sure he thought i was boring, he didn't value my strengths, and he wasn't attracted to me.
we talked it through. we are good at talking through tricky things and being respectful of each other. we are good at admitting when we're wrong and making amends. we have a solid relationship that... i'm pretty sure is not founded upon one of us really disliking the other. he said, "no. you don't like yourself."
and i realized (yet again, painfully) that he is right. that is totally true. i dislike myself.
now i'll write both things. i'll write about how i'm learning to love myself, how it's growing and changing, how i'm being gentle with myself and taking care of myself. and that isn't untrue.
i will also write that i fundamentally dislike myself.
and really, both of those things are true. what i am is a girl, who learned how to hate herself, to talk about herself disparagingly, to treat herself like shit. i am also a girl, who's been actively unlearning it, getting some perspective on it. but the thing i realized today is it's all intellectual. my like for myself is cognitive, it's educated, it's a logical list of ostensibly true reasons i am likable, valuable, smart, and lovely. but what's in my bones, my synapses, my gut, that shit is toxic.
i don't know how to like myself bodily. i don't know how to feel it. i don't know how to let it be organic, the default. i don't know how to live it.
does that difference make sense?
i feel like i'm constantly at odds with myself. instinctually treating myself/ talking about myself like shit and then actively undoing it with my brain.
i'm over it.
it felt really cute and romantic to hate myself when i was 16, but i am 33 and a mother now. i want to live a love for myself that my daughter can see and feel.
i'm not talking about getting pedicures and taking baths. i am not talking about some treat yo'self moments where you take time to show yourself how valuable you are, how you will make space for yourself. i'm talking about putting on leggings and a t-shirt and going to the grocery store on a tuesday and feeling secure in that woman just because of exactly who she is.
maybe that's a way too lofty goal. to just like the girl at the grocery store. but it's what i want. it's what i feel like i'm working towards.
and on some rare occasions, i feel like that person. i feel like that person when i'm helping kids figure shit out, when i'm hearing their problems and needs and i can respectfully help them navigate the world. i feel like that person when i'm dancing. i feel like that person when i'm with my bff. i feel like that person, sometimes, when i write something that's just exactly what i was thinking-- not even that it sounds good or makes any sense to anyone else, but when it's so authentically what was in my head that it feels amazing. i feel that way, sometimes, when i run. or do yoga. or go out in nature. that person is self-assured without being ostentatious, clear in her mission, open to criticism and input from others, vulnerable, and present.
sometimes i'm that person. i'm just on. it's effortless. it's not the on of a very special outfit or a very desired compliment or a very very anything. it's just me being so clearly me that it's easy. i don't have to second guess or doubt or ask for help or clarity. i just know.
so i guess my question is: when do you like yourself? how do you like yourself? what does it feel like to like yourself? what are you doing when you like yourself? do you like yourself?
i don't think you can tell me your version of self-like and i can replicate it and then magically become some integrated person, who never treats herself like shit. but i do think that the more i recognize what it looks like when other people are being authentic, the more i can recognize and BE that myself.
because it's not just about me anymore. i refuse to raise a daughter, who hates her body, criticizes others to feel better about herself, constantly needs validation, and blames others for her problems.
i just want the girl to see herself. flaws and all. and embrace that.
certainly that's not too much to ask.
for me, or for her.
i know it in my brain. i've gotten that far. but how do i get it to sink into my body? how did you? what does it feel like, in your body, to like yourself?