“The only way for someone to love you, is for you to love yourself first.”
“To thine own self be true!”
“You’re special just the way you are! God don’t make no junk!”
Make me want to strangle the well meaning sages that deliver them unto me with a recently ripped off chain of kitten tails, and I would two except for two things:
1. I love kittens. Oh how I love kittens.
2. I know, as hokey as they may sound, all that bullshit is true.
Where does one start though? Regular mani-pedi’s? Dinner for one? Movie dates with yourself? Meh … while that stuff helps, my experience has led me to believe that it’s best to start here:
Sarah Baartman a.k.a. The Venus Hottentot. (It is strongly advised that you click her name to gain a broader … pardon the pun … perspective on the history of black female sexuality and the western world.) Sarah, which is ironically my grandmother’s name, could be my butt naked body double (or I should say, I hers).
The hardest part of accepting myself has been getting past my body image. I have lost tremendous amounts of weight. Gained part of it back. I have cut, pasted, prayed, and starved in an effort to deny my Sarah Baartman body. She will not be denied. I have to accept what most diet/exercise programs don’t tell you … your body type is your body type. I will never diet away my thunder thighs or the delectable craters found within my ass cheeks.
Now maybe your issues have nothing to do with good ole Sarah, maybe it’s your nose, or your relentless uni-brow. No matter, it’s not about what the thing you dislike about yourself is (at least not for me). It’s the fact that it exists. It’s the fact that my feelings about my weight , are a parasite that has drilled itself into my psyche and taken up residence. It is with me of every moment of everyday whispering gems like:
“He couldn’t possibly want someone that looks like you, don’t even embarrass yourself by saying hello or even looking at him.”
“You look terrible in anything you put on, so what’s the point.”
…and some that are just too unbearable to write here.
The only way that I’ve found to battle back the parasite that works (as alcohol, mani-pedi’s, and self-dates proved to be dismal failures) is facing that sonofabitch head on. There ain’t a quick fix on the market that trumps honest, loving self appraisal. It’s a journey that I’ve been on for most of my life, but the honesty part just crept in about two years ago. Needless to say, it’s been a rough, albeit rewarding, two years.
More recently, as recent as this past Wednesday, I had another … break through? break down? Hell, I broke … and had to come to accept that a man that I’d endeared myself to, for far longer than I should have, would likely never be able to give me what I needed or wanted from him. I had been holding out hope that somehow if I proved how awesome I was to him that he would have some type of miraculous epiphany, look past my misshapen body, and “pick me” giving me a chance at the relationship I’d so desperately wanted.**Yes, on an intellectual level I know this is bullshit, I cringe as I write it, but it’s what my inner dialogue had been.
If I’m honest, and again I try to be these days, I’ll have to say that it wasn’t necessarily him, but ALL of the “hims“. All of the men and the shitty situations that came with them, that I settled for because on a gut level I assumed that no one else would want me. It’s the parasite, the disease, my thinking (call it what you will), that had me believing that one sided situations with emotionally or otherwise unavailable men were all I could hope for. Now? I’m just too exhausted to give a fuck.
The prospect of being sans a partner for the rest of my life is no longer terrifying. The prospect of wasting my life lying in wait of what might be, is. So if being single is what it is for me right now (or longer) I need to continue to do the work of being okay with the person I wake up to everyday. I have to take care of me which for me includes:
-Taking care of my emotional and spiritual self by continuing do the work of recovery.
-Taking care of the one and only body I will ever be given by eating right and exercising, not toward any magical goal weight, but because it feels good.
-Getting enough rest.
-Setting healthy boundaries in my relationships, which include running in the opposite direction when I see the red flags.
-Taking care of my responsibilities (having bad credit is no longer “cute”).
-And most important, CONTINUING TO WRITE!
Despite all my emotional ups and downs I do feel a shift happening. With continued hard work and perseverance, I might just fall in love with myself, Hottentot table top ass and all, at some point before I’m dead ;).
Oh the irony.