A Love Letter (To Myself)

A Love Letter (To Myself)

For those not so good days.
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I am capable of great things, of extraordinary passion and wholehearted commitment. I am smart, funny, warm and reliable. I am loved. These are things I know in my head and not in my heart. There are, I am sure, several reasons for that. But the one I address today is the life-long struggle of battling depression and generalized anxiety.

I went about 16 years without being diagnosed. I was sure I was defective, that it was my fault, that I needed to try harder and it would all go away. But it never did. I felt increasingly isolated and alone. My most intimate contacts still felt like strangers. The product of all this was ever decreasing self-esteem and a perpetual sense of personal failure. No matter what I accomplished, the steady fears and the looming cloud of emotional exhaustion that accompanied generalized anxiety and depression silenced any loving voice that tried to bring healing to the things that were fractured. I vowed then, as I still vow now, to practice self love. With discipline. So, I am sharing with you a love letter I wrote to myself. After all, how can you love others if you can’t love yourself? I encourage you to do the same. You are not your illness. You have intrinsic worth, and there are people who love you without condition, in the midst of both failures and success. Let yourself bathe in the love today. Don’t give those critical, cruel voices any room to make your mind their own. All these positive words apply to you, too. Please, remember… you are loved.

Cover Image Credit: Purpose Fairy

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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My Body Is Not Your Conversation Topic

I'm not up for public consumption.

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I'm skinny. There is seemingly nothing wrong with that. I'm a bit underweight but I am healthy. My body does everything I need it to do and I take care of it well. There is a privilege in being skinny; I can shop for clothes my size relatively easily, my body type is represented in the media constantly, etc.

There's nothing wrong with having a healthily thin body type — women are beautiful at every size. The only problem with being skinny is that I don't want to be. I have struggled with my weight and body image for a long time and it is my own problem to deal with, but some days people around me make it worse.

Being skinny makes me feel small, insignificant, like a child. People say the weirdest things about my body and act like it's a compliment. In high school, I wore a pencil skirt to school and was with my friends in the office. An administrator came up to talk to us and commented on how skinny my legs were, then proceeded to gesture to her own leg and ask me if she could give some of her "fat" because I "needed it." It's funnier now but at the time, I was so uncomfortable and too shy to do anything but give her a courtesy laugh.

I didn't wear skirts for a while after that. Those kinds of comments make me feel seen in the wrong way; it makes me want to disappear. There have even been people who are bold enough to invade my personal space and touch me, then tell me — in amazement — that I'm "really skin and bones." It's weird and awkward and truly doesn't add anything to a conversation. It's actually the easiest way to get me to end a conversation, as well as a relationship, with you.

In a day and age where we share almost everything online, it's become the norm to discuss and analyze people's bodies. They're the ones putting it out there so we should be able to nitpick them to death, right? Wrong. Commenting on someone's body, size, health, etc. is never okay and should not be considered commonplace. I know I'm skinny so I definitely don't need anyone to remind me. The sky is blue but we don't point it out every day, do we?

Leave people's bodies alone. You truly never know what somebody may be dealing with in terms of their body image. And no, you're not entitled to know. I don't tell everybody who makes a comment about my body that I've struggled with my body image since I was 13 because they simply don't deserve to know. Don't put people in a position where they have to defend their own body.

I'm taking my power back lately and not giving anyone a courtesy laugh when they make a joke or comment about my body. Instead, I'm just telling them to shut up, and I encourage you to do the same.

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