It Took Me This Long To Love Myself
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Politics and Activism

It Took Me This Long To Love Myself

I never really loved myself. Until now.

It Took Me This Long To Love Myself
Alex Engel

When I was a little girl, I looked at myself in the mirror and thought I was cool. With my gel sandals, my little 90s dresses, my princess nightgowns, my big barbie playhouse, and my new little brother as a hot topic to talk about at school, I had to be cool. I would march around the playground, I would color inside the lines, I would eat my pepperoni pizza Lunchable and make sure that everyone knew I had it. Everyone had to have loved me.

Because I thought I loved myself.

When I started middle school and my mom let me wear make up for the first time, I thought I was so cool. I would look at myself in the mirror when I got the chance because I loved the way my eyelids sparkled. The girls that made fun of me, they had to love me now, right? I was finally pretty like them. Maybe they'd let me sit with them at lunch, they'd include me at recess. They had to love me now.

Because I thought I loved myself.

I thought the first day I wore my first cheer uniform, was the day my life was going to change. I wasn't good at school, or friends, or saying the right things, or being funny, or looking pretty. But I was finally good at something and was finally apart of something. Maybe that would make me friends. They had to love me now that I was a cheerleader, right?

Because I thought I loved myself.

Then high school came, and boy's started paying attention to me. They found me pretty, they complimented me, that was new. I was okay with it, I wasn't going to give my attention to just any boy, like all the other girls did, and I sure didn't do the things they did. But that meant I would attract the right guy. And I thought I did. He said nice things to me, told me I was pretty, took me places, made me laugh, spent time with me, surprised me with gifts, and made me happy. He told me he loved me.

So, I thought I loved myself.

Then I graduated, and I found new relationships, new loves, new friends, new past times, and a new style. I did the things they did, but it wasn't the things I wanted to do. Their lives is what I wanted my life to be like. So if I did the same things, and wore the same things, and went to the same places, and liked the same music, my life would become like their life. I loved what they're lives were like, so if that was my life...

Well then, I thought, I loved myself.

I didn't love myself. Sure, I used to, but that wasn't who I was. I wasn't who I wanted to be. I was pretending to be somebody else, so others would accept me, so I could love myself. I was tricking myself into being accepted and loved by others to be able to love myself. Sure, I marched to my own drum, and I lived by my own rules, and I didn't let any one else tell me what to do. But when I did that, nobody liked me.

So, I didn't really, truly love myself.

I lost it all. Just like the snap of my fingers, it was gone, and I was lost. And that's when I really realized that I didn't love myself. That I was just pretending to be somebody else to get other people to like me. Because I couldn't like myself if other people didn't like me. How could I love myself when other people didn't even love me?

I decided to actually love myself.

I stopped living to make other people happy. I liked my own music, I wore my own style, I did my make up the way I wanted, I majored in something I loved, I joined clubs I was interested in. I went out to enjoy myself, not be with other people. I stopped worrying what they thought, and started worrying what I thought. I stopped worrying on missing out on memories, and started creating my own memories.

I became myself. And, even though it took me this long to figure it out, guess what?

I love myself.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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