When I first learned that no one could ever love me more than me, a world of happiness previously unseen was discovered because somewhere along the line of aging and scrutiny and time, I was taught to despise myself.
But I made sure I kept myself beautiful so someone would love me someday, so I could belong to someone someday, because that’s the most important thing a little girl could ever want, right?
I was 13 the first time I was embarrassed about my body, of course it might not be the last, and I remember stuffing my bra in the morning, tears stinging my eyes, hoping, praying to something that I could look beautiful enough today, braces and all, for the ruthless boys who mercilessly told me I was worthless because my boobs weren’t big enough.
And I would go home and put on a sweatshirt with my eyes closed, deny myself the right to be shown myself because I didn’t dare want to insinuate beauty in regards to something so insulting as my body.
But, I mean, we all end up with our heads between our knees because the only place we’ll ever really feel safe is curled up inside skin we’ve been taught to hate by a society that shuns our awful confidence and feeds us our own flaws.
And sometimes when I need to meet the me that loves me, I can’t find her or remind her that the mirror is meant to be a curse so that I could find her in my mind, but when he or she shouts, “Let me out!” we’re allowed to listen.
But it’s met by a chorus of conceited, egotistical narcissists. But since when was self-substitute a sin? Since when was loving who we are made an offense by morons that don’t matter? Change this physicality and that one. Don’t you dare shatter the illusion that you could ever be anything beyond paper-fine flesh and flashy teeth and fingernails. A code of accusations of not good enough, never good enough. Have you ever felt so numb that it hurts? Entertain me.
You can’t surrender to them. You’ve gotta remember that you’re the only thing you’ll ever truly have. And no, I don’t mean your body. Because someday that will go bad no matter what you do. I mean you. I mean the way your bright eyes go wild when you smile and how your laugh is so melodic it’s a song.
I mean the way your creativity is a compass that leads you to what you love. And you don’t need any miracle cream to keep your passions smooth, hair free, or diet pills to slim your kindness down. And when you start to drown in these petty expectations, you’ve gotta re-examine the miracle of your existence because you are worth so much more than your waistline. You are worth the beautiful thoughts you think and the daring dreams you dream, undone and drunk off alcohol of being.
But sometimes we forget that because we live in a world where the media pulls us from the womb, nurses us, and teaches us our first words: skinny, pretty, skinny, pretty, girls, soft, quiet, pretty, boys, manly, muscles, pretty. But I don’t care whether it’s your gender, your looks, your weight, your skin, or where your love lies. None of that matters because standards don’t define you.
You don’t live to meet the credentials established by a madman. You’re a goddamned treasure whether you want to believe it or not. And maybe that’s what everyone should start looking for.