It’s been a year and a half since my last entry. I didn’t want to write a new post until I had made some progress in my self-love journey. And I have to say: it’s been a ride. Unfortunately, I don’t have big revelations for you. I can’t tell you that I finally figured out how to love myself fully or that I look in the mirror and feel beautiful. If I told you that, it would be a lie. I have made progress, though. It’s small, but it is progress. For me, any progress counts.
I went to Greece and wore a bathing suit on multiple occasions in front of groups of people and didn’t have a panic attack or end up in tears. I just enjoyed the warmth of the Aegean sea and the sun on my skin and lived my life. Also, a cat fell asleep on my lap at the beach, which helped. You can’t be self-conscious when a cat chooses you.
For a long time, I’ve wondered: will I ever be able to come here and tell you that I love every aspect of who I am? That it’s been years since I looked in the mirror and cried? Months since I spent hours being anxious about what people think about my body? Hours since I thought about the curve of my stomach or how my thighs rub together? I’m not sure.
I’ve learned that loving myself isn’t instantaneous. I won’t wake up one day and suddenly be so full of self-love that I’ll want to burst. Loving myself takes work. I have to actively try to do it all day, every day, for the rest of my life. I must constantly battle the inner voices telling me I’m not pretty enough. Skinny enough. Good enough. It’s hard work, a chore. Something I have to do because it’s worth it.
I find myself being less afraid of having a body. Less afraid of going out into the world and existing just the way I am. That’s progress, isn’t it? Compared to the alternative?
I’m less critical of my appearance, but I still constantly worry that everyone thinks I’m ugly. I’ll look back at photos from two weeks ago and wish I looked like that until I have to remind myself that it was Two. Weeks. Ago. I do look like that. Don’t I?
I hope, at least, that my struggle can give you a little solace if you’re struggling too. We have to exist in a world with FaceApp and filters that drastically warp the way you look, that give you bigger lips, smoother skin, a smaller waist. We compete daily with airbrush, Photoshop, and influencers who aren’t honest about their stretch marks or acne scars.
It’s exhausting, and I’m sorry that the world has to be this way. If anyone understands, it’s me.
So, no, I don’t love myself. Not yet. But I am starting to like myself. And maybe, for now, that’s good enough.