On learning to love myself.

by shelbyisrad

For a long time I had convinced myself that I loved myself. I knew God loved me, and I’d hear my Grandparents say it a million times. My friends told me, my non-blood families told me. I’d heard it probably every day since I was 10.

But before them there were voices that said “you are worthless” “you are dirty” “no one loves you.” And I didn’t even realize that those voices had left an imprint on my heart. I was only a child, and I was good, as a child about being happy anyway. About pushing down those feelings and telling myself I was okay. I put on a smile, I laughed, I charmed with my blue eyes.

It wasn’t until now, at 21 years old I have realized those voices left their mark on me. I had gone through a period in the past month or so where I was quiet. I’d stopped art journaling, I stopped doing yoga, I even stopped hooping. I didn’t read for fun. I did put on a smile and spend time with friends. I tried to once again to pretend I was okay. But there was a darkness inside me and I felt it knocking on my ribs.

I realized I couldn’t continue to ignore it, I had to draw it out from hiding. I had to sit with it, face it, look it in the eye and learn from it. I couldn’t let the darkness, the ugliness I’d let inside of me, stay there any more. I needed to bring it to the light. And so i tip-toed back to my art journal. I sat with this book that I had poured myself into the past few months. This journal had been helping me discover who I was, but in unpacking my soul, I’d uncovered those hurts.

Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a new person. ~Gerard Way (via stargardener)

I realized It was time to let it go, to ‘kind of die inside’ so I could get past it. And that journey began with naming the things I’d been wanting to say in my art journal but i’d been too afraid. I’d been afraid of the “kind-of-death” I needed to have, so I could start to live again. When I wrote what it was I really wanted to say I was a little surprised by the simplicity of my desires

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“Maybe I just wanted to say: love me. choose me. pick me. yes, that sounds about right” I wrote one night sitting on the floor in my bedroom. When I admitted it to my journal I began to feel the darkness subside a little. But it was still there. And a few minutes letter it was the next thing I wrote that released me: “maybe I will have to do these things myself.”

And so that’s the journey I’ve begun. Loving myself, Choosing myself, Picking myself. I’ve decided to stop looking for the world for conformation, and looking into myself. But it loving myself I have to learn to let others love me too. (and I think that’s going to be the hardest part for me)

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