I love Me
"How do we begin to come into ourselves fully, in all our perfectly imperfect glory? By letting go of who we thought we had to be, to make way for who we might become." Oprah
I had an epiphany today. I realized that I have truly begun to love the skin I’m in. I can’t help smiling as I say that sentence out loud because if you knew me, if you knew my story, you would know that being able to say that sentence and knowing that it comes from the heart is more than a one of the most important statements I can actually make, it is a testimony.
Even though I rarely saw him, when I did, my biological father was verbally abusive to me as a kid. He would constantly tell me that I was stupid and dumb and ugly and that I thought I was better than I was. At school, and with friends, I would constantly get teased about my weight and frequently felt like I was under some kind of scrutiny because I was always being watched and talked about in the most vicious ways possible.
I was under a lot of pressure from my family to lose weight from junior high on up and went on every single diet program (literally) and every exercise regiment known to man. I was an athlete playing volleyball from 6th grade through my freshman year of college, and I was the captain of my cheer squad for two years. I did a lot of running ,binging, dieting all because I wanted to make my family happy and I wanted to look my moms side who was all in single digit dress sizes. Of course I didn’t realize that it is physically impossible for me to look like them because I am shaped like my father’s Louisiana side of the family. All I knew at the time was that I was the odd man out, the chubby kid who was surrounded by people who loved me but didn’t look like me.
For the majority of my life, I felt like I simply wasn’t good enough. I was never thin enough, smart enough, and rich enough and with all of the constant scrutiny, I had it made up in my mind that I never would be. I lived my life as the ‘friend’ and ‘little sister’ to all of the guys who came my way because I knew that there was no way any of them would be interested in dating someone who looked like me.
I could go on, but needless to say, I had issues, but for some reason, a thought hit me today. Today my eyes opened up and I saw very clearly that God answered a prayer I prayed many, many years ago. It all became crystal clear as I was sitting in Starbucks, at my laptop, wearing my fitted sweater dress and favorite black boots, that, I love me. I actually look in the mirror and appreciate what I see. I no longer look to men to validate me; I can do that for myself. I love that I am actually my favorite person to hang out with. I can spend time with myself all day and be just fine. I don’t need anyone, rather I appreciate having people around.
The things about myself that I used to be afraid to share, my vivid imagination, my obsession with books and colors, my desire to listen to the same song 100 times and my fascination with lyrics, to name a few, are now the very things that make me who I am. They are the very avenues that enable to touch people through my work. They are the avenues that enable me to touch ME through my work. It is a HUGE blessing that with everything I have been through, I am able to love people. I love hard, and I love for life and for a long time I used to be afraid of that, but now I see that it is an amazing gift to have, the ability to love unconditionally and thoroughly, I embrace it. I embrace who I am, the way that I am and I have learned how to take all of the hurt I experienced in the past and use them as lessons for the future. I no longer apologize for who I am, the way I am, the way I look, the fact that I snore, cry at movies and laugh at inappropriate times when I am nervous. I apologize for none of it. I fully embrace all of me and I acknowledge that it is because of God that I can utter these words: I LOVE ME.
The moral of the story is that we all have hurts, handicaps that were designed to keep us down. Make us feel like we won’t be able to accomplish our goals and live our lives, but the trick is to learn how to use those handicaps to our advantage. All those years of being talked about have melted into compassion. All those years of hiding behind books and music to mask my tears have turned into my career. All those years of hating my body, my face, my personality have turned into a gift I can use to help other people learn to love themselves too. I love me. I love who I have become and I love who I am becoming. It is an extreme blessing to be able to utter those words and I have no to thank but God for it. So like Oprah said, I have learned to let go of who I thought I should be and make room for who I was to become, and I am so very glad I did.