Self Love Is Messy

People love to romanticize self love. Everyone does it – and recognizing the importance of self love is a huge step, but romanticizing it can be destructive, and here’s why.

In the romantic version of self love, we see bubble baths and wine glasses. We see facial masks, nail polish, silky robes and a romantic comedy on Netflix. While at first glance, this self pampering seems like the ideal pinnacle of self love, it isn’t the reality for most people. Here is my example.

When I think about self love, my go to is a night alone, me in my apartment in fuzzy pajamas, sitting on the floor in front of my TV watching the same movie I watched last week, eating a jar of pickles and drinking a can of diet coke. My nails aren’t painted, my hair is piled in a bun resembling that of a pineapple on top of my head, my boyfriend’s sweatshirt adds five pounds, and my face hasn’t been washed since early this morning. It isn’t pretty. If someone was to look in my window, they wouldn’t think this was self love. They would probably think I was self destructing. But here is where I am my happiest. I might pass out on the carpet, wake up with a half eaten pickle in one hand and my cat curled up on my chest, but I will wake up happy.

It is important to recognize this as self love too, because for many girls, self love isn’t bubble baths and facial cleansers. I love a bubble bath as much as the next girl, but if I need a night to really relax and find myself again, I will be on the carpet with my pickles and coke, not in a bath tub smelling pretty and looking nice.

Self love isn’t always pretty. Most of the time, it’s sloppy. It’s messy, greasy, fuzzy, and dirty. Self love is the feeling you get when you are complete. Self love is treating yourself like a priority, instead of an after thought. On a normal day, I go to the gym and I eat a good breakfast, I wash my face and I listen to good music. I do consider this self love. Loving the only body I get was the best decision I ever made. This is my every day.

And then I have nights of pickles and coke, nights when bubble baths and silky robes aren’t doing the trick. These nights, I need something else. I need to remember what makes me feel whole, what makes my heart sore and my skin tingle. It’s a rare feeling, a feeling people usually dedicate to finding your true love – my first true love was in myself, as it should be.

Take bubble baths. Do face masks. Let social media advertise to you it’s ideal of treating yourself. But also have your pickle and coke days. Let yourself fall in love with just being sloppy, being alive, being messy. Let yourself feel – that is in fact, the whole purpose of self love. Remembering to breath, remembering to live, remembering what a blessing being alive truly is, and then allowing yourself to feel it. All of it.

 

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Dear Uncle, Aunt, Grandparent, Brother-in- law, Second mother, ect. – Thank You

As humans all living our own lives with our own jobs, bills, dreams, and desires, it is easy to slip into a routine that is comfortable. This routine probably includes a hand full of people you maybe contact a couple times a week – for me, I call my mom almost every night after work. I message my sisters one or two times a week. I answer my father’s good morning and goodnight texts each day. A few times a month I’ll message a friend or an aunt or an uncle – that is the extent of my social comfort zone.

We’re human, we’re adults, we have lives that require commitment and focus – but what if we took a few minutes out of every day to reach out to someone we haven’t talked to in a while? What if we focused a bit more on the people who have helped us get here, the people we care about, the people we maybe take a little for granted?

I know I have a handful of Uncle’s that would do anything for me. They stand behind me as men as big as my father with fists balled ready to throw a punch at my first sign of distress. I know they would be the second ones – after my father – to have my back if ever I needed them. With them I know I can count on my brother in law and even a few family friends. None of these people need me to remind them how much I appreciate them, how much I love them – they would still be there if I called them after five years of silence and told them I was in trouble. I know this because I would do the same for them.

My best friend’s family was like a second family to me growing up. Since High School, we haven’t talked much. I could count the conversations we’ve had on ten fingers in the past three years, but the same stands for them. If I found the time to thank them, if I told my best friend’s mom how much I appreciated the meals she made me and the hugs she gave me, would it make a difference? Probably not in the big picture. But would it make her smile? Probably.

I have been blessed with a few Aunts that are some of the strongest women I know. They know who they are. They have faced things I can’t even imagine and are still some of the kindest people you will ever meet. I know I am always welcome in their homes, I know they would accept me in as their own if I showed up on their door step at midnight with nothing but a broken heart and tears in my eyes.

My grandparents are some of the kindest people I know who would use their last dollars to buy me a hot meal. Who would open their doors to as many people as would fit in their house and when their house was full would open the car doors and crawl spaces until every inch of property they own is over flowing.

I am an adult, I am a human – we are all human, and we are all struggling. I have gotten where I am today with strength and dignity, and while I learned both of these things along the way, I also found them in the people that care about me. Without all of these people at my back, I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today. I owe them much more than money can buy for all of the tears they have wiped and advice they have given. For jokes they have told and hugs they have held me in. For the warm meals and hot showers.

Life goes by so quickly. Tomorrow could be so different than today – people who have had your back could be gone, so thank them today. Life get’s hectic, we forget and that’s okay – they know we love them. But maybe reminding them will make them smile if only just for a second, and for me, that second makes carving a few minutes out of my day completely and totally worth it.

If I had to Pick a Favorite, It would be Me

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the people in my life. Some people I put there myself. Some people just found their way into my life and never left. Others are just passing through. But each and every one is important to me. Whether they taught me a lesson or were just there for me when I needed someone, each and every one of them played a part in who I am today, and I won’t ever take that for granted.

I tried recently to pick which person was the most important. Your parent’s always tell you not to pick favorites, but I thought it might be a fun experiment for me, and I might learn something along the way. First that came to mind was my mom and then my dad. Pretty equal and both very important to me, I couldn’t choose between the two of them, so it couldn’t be them. And then my sisters, but I ran into the same problem. And then of course was my best friend and boyfriend, but again, I couldn’t choose between the two. And just when I was beginning to think the whole thing was foolish, I realized I had been forgetting the one person who had never left my side, the one person that had stuck with me through it all, who had seen every tear, every smile, had felt every shake and every shudder, and had never left me – myself.

You have to be the most important person in your own life. You have to come first. Some people call this self love. I just call it living.

If you’re like me, you probably spend a lot of time trying to make other people happy. You probably thank other people for giving you hugs and holding the door open, for going out of their way to put a smile on your face, and while that’s perfectly fine, when was the last time you thanked yourself for waking up in the morning? When was the last time you told yourself how great you are doing? Can you even remember the last time you looked in a mirror and said ‘I love you’?

Recently I put myself at the top of my list. I stopped thinking about what would make the random stranger on the street happy every second of every day, and I started thinking about what would make me happy. There was a time that I wouldn’t stop for a coffee if it meant I would be three minutes late meeting my friend for shopping – now I stop for the coffee.

Life is too short to put every one else above you on the list. Slow down. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Put you first. Be your own favorite person – but don’t tell your mom that you picked a favorite. Laugh more. Stop doubting yourself. You’ve been here through it all – every bump and bruise, and you’ll get through the rest too. You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. And you deserve to be your own number one.

Get Through It

I read an article one time about Ashley Graham, and her use of self affirmations. I loved the idea of it, of waking up and telling yourself the same thing every day until you believe it, and even on the days you don’t want to believe it, but no self affirmation I tried ever felt right. They always felt forced, like I was trying to give myself problems I didn’t really have.

However, over the past couple of weeks, my life has been going through quite a few changes. Work and personal life and all, my life has been up in the air and I have had no idea day to day what was in store for me. I am a planner, so this has been driving me crazy. One day at work, I was walking the halls after a long shift and one sentence kept running through my mind, and ever since, every morning I wake up to these words, and crazily enough, the day gets just a tiny bit easier.

Anything you go through, you can get through.

I encourage you to find a self affirmation that works for you. Something to tell yourself that will help you get through things you don’t feel you can get through. For me, I found my self affirmation after realizing that no matter how scared I have always been for certain situations, I have gotten through 100 percent of every single thing I have tried to this point in my life. And so have you. You are going to be okay. You are going to make it. But you don’t need me to tell you that. Find a way to tell yourself.

Loving The Girl in The Mirror

 

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Three years ago, looking in the mirror was the hardest part of my day. I would brush my teeth and get dressed with the lights off, only flicking them on to check that I didn’t get any tooth paste on my face, before flicking them off with a churning in my stomach. The mirror showed me a person I didn’t like to see. She wasn’t unattractive really, she just wasn’t the person I wanted to be. Feeling this way continued for over a year, and I’m honestly not sure why I let it go on for this long, but I know I’m not alone.

The girls you see on social media or in the hallways at school or walking down the street after work are not nearly as confident as they seem. The skinny girl who seems to have it all together goes home and cries, wishing stores actually sold her size, just as the girl with the curves you envy does the same. The girl with the bright blue hair that shines a smile so bright you think you’ll go blind is hiding a depression darker than even the blackest night, just as the girl wearing all black wishes she wasn’t breathing as she takes another swig from the bottle.

The mirror isn’t nice to any of us. There is no secret, no switch that will allow you to love yourself. There isn’t a single person who looks into the mirror and loves every single thing they see. I promise you that. If I can promise you anything, it is that you are not alone. It took me over a year to realize that I didn’t have to force myself to love the girl I saw every morning. I didn’t have to love her – but she had never stopped loving me. No matter how many times I turned the lights off on her, pinched her rolls between my fingers, pulled at her frizzy hair, bit her nails – she still loved me despite it all.

Today, looking in the mirror still isn’t fun some days. I dread turning on the light and seeing that one tooth that sits back too far. I know I am going to grimace at the little hairs that grow above my lips where they shouldn’t. My stomach turns at how my hair never lays flat, always sticks off in random directions. But I still do it. I still turn the lights on. I still give her a long look and a smile, and I tell her I love her.

For My Niece

Never have I wanted to be a better person more than when I look into your eyes –

This isn’t to say I am a bad person, but when you look up at me

I want to be a saint.

When your tiny fingers close around mine I know I can’t give you the world

but I would give you mine in a heartbeat.

Holding you even for just a moment glues my wounds shut and

for those few seconds I feel like a little kid again –

whole.

When your blue eyes seek mine for answers I know I can’t protect you

from every evil in this world – you have a Daddy and Papa

with big hands and even bigger hearts for that –

But know my arms will always be a place for you to rest and know

my ear will always be here to listen and know

no matter how far away I am

I will always drop whatever task is at hand

if you ask me to and I will drive or I will fly or I will crawl but I will

be there.

I did not give you life baby girl – you have the worlds best Mama given to you by the worlds best Nana –

but know Auntie would give her last breath if it meant you could have just

one more.

 

-CM

Body Parts

I left my tongue under your pillow last night

after the kissing and the touching and the lack of talking I tried

to tell you how I felt but my tongue slipped from my mouth and

now it’s stuck there under your white pillow case

wiggling, desperate to be heard so if you see it

please give it back.

I left my hands in your bathroom after I was done cleaning up

after the caressing and the lack of snuggling

I tried to reach out to you

to get you back but my hands disconnected and now

they are somewhere in your bathroom searching for something

they will never find so if you hear them

please keep them safe for me.

I tried to leave my heart with you

the only piece of my body I was willing to give but

you wouldn’t take it –

maybe this is why my body began to fall apart

leaving parts of itself where only you will find it

maybe my heart wasn’t good enough but maybe my

tongue or my hands

will be.

-CM

Brave

You wake up to the sun high in the sky and you only wish to crawl back under the blankets because at least there it is dark

When you finally drag yourself out of bed and close the blinds to shut out the light you sit in the black morning and hang your head

Your mind has been screaming at you for months and you have finally given in to the echo telling you

that you are worthless, that this body is not enough for such a beautiful world, that everything you give will always be too little

but I think you are brave for waking up.

I think you are brave for closing the blinds. For huddling in the corner.

I think you are brave for living this day even when you don’t remember how.

I think you are brave because you could easily give up – but you haven’t – there is a strength in that.

I think you are brave for letting the voice in. You haven’t let it over power you as it so easily could.

I think you are brave for breathing. I think you are brave for choosing to wake up each day even if you never leave the house.

I think you are brave for trying – and that has to be enough.

 

-CM

Conversations with Me

‘Sometimes he just gets on my nerves’ she said through quiet sobs

‘sometimes he does something so tiny but it makes me question everything –

you know?’

And in that moment I did know and I wanted to hold her because I knew

exactly what it was like to love somebody with your whole being but still

question if you are doing the right thing so instead I sat back and asked her the only

question I knew how to ask –

‘do you love him?’

with a shudder and a gasp in between her sobs she nodded her head and her voice

rose like a light from the darkness

‘with everything that I have’.

‘so you fight for him’ I told her and if everything else was a lie in this thing called life

I knew that to be a fact.

‘If you truly love something you are going to question it’, I further reasoned

‘our minds have a way of convincing us that we don’t deserve what we have

so we try to find a way to believe that it isn’t meant to be.

But you love him, so you fight for him.’

She didn’t seem convinced but her voice was a bit more steady when she spoke next.

‘I can’t lose him.’

‘Then you won’t,’ I answered her

and now I knew three things to be certain.

If you love someone you fight for them until you’ve given it all you can

and then you let go and if you let go and they stay

you have found someone worth fighting for

and I have found someone worth fighting for.

I turned from the mirror and my sobbing figure straightened.

‘Are we going to be okay?’ she asked

‘We will be.’

 

-CM

Hold On

When the boy in gym shorts and basketball jersey tells you he just isn’t ready

don’t ask him why you are a test that has to be studied for.

Let him know that it’s okay not to know the answers and then walk away

because the right one won’t need to be ready.

When the boy at prom in his rented suit and tie tells you he doesn’t want a relationship

don’t tell him your body is not just another prize to be won.

Let him know that he doesn’t need to apologize but know it’s okay to move on

because the right one will want a relationship the moment he sees you

even if he has never wanted a relationship in his life.

When the man with the nice watch and tattoos looks at you like you are his world but

you are just not ready for the commitment let him go.

If he was the right one, you wouldn’t have a question in your mind and when you

look at him, you wouldn’t doubt this love for a second.

When the man in the blue jeans and white t-shirt tells you that he loves you

and every fiber of your body pulsates with that same love

don’t run away.

Know that it is okay to be scared of this and tell him you are scared

but you are ready.

The right one will not leave – not when things are hard – not when things are easy

The right one will stay

The right one will love every broken piece of you the others didn’t.

The right one will fight for you.

The right one will never make you second guess his loyalty.

Fairy tale endings and happily ever afters may not be real.

But when you find the one that makes your world make sense

hold on and tell him

you aren’t going anywhere.

 

-CM