Did you know that February is also Boost Your Self Esteem Month? I actually did not until I started googling prompts on what to write about this week. I spent most of my life with a low self esteem, until this year when I realized how amazing I was. Now, this is not an article I am using to gloat about myself with, but life became ten times better when I realized how much I do love myself.
I have always grown up as the child my extended family (cousins, aunts, uncles) rejected. Now before my beloved cousins on my mother’s side read this and think “What the heck is she talking about?”, I am talking about my dad’s side of the family. When we were younger, my cousins used to lock whatever room they were all in just to keep me out. I was always the cousin that they did not want to play with. It makes you think a lot about why they did not like you, are we not supposed to be family? Are you not playing with me because I am ugly? To this day, I do not really have a relationship with my cousins. I am never invited to family events, or just texted to ask how I am. It makes you grow up wondering why people that you are blood related to think building a relationship with you is not worth it.
There are many other things I can talk about as to why I have not truly ever loved myself, but this is not some sob story. I have had body issues, been rejected by boys I liked, thought that I was a failure, etc. I spent so much time crying over what was wrong with me, that I did not realize what was not wrong with me. My mom once told me that I see things like this: say you have a clean sheet of paper, but there is a single black dot on it. To me, I saw the piece of paper as tainted and useless, but why? It was a perfectly clean sheet of paper that had a dot that did not even take up 1% of the page.
Now, loving yourself is not something that just happens overnight. It took years for me to truly love the skin I am in. I started with the way I presented myself to the world. In other words, how I dressed. However, it is incredibly hard to find amazing flattering clothes for plus size women like myself in a world where fashion is dominated by a more thinner look, but that is a problem for another day. It takes a lot for me to find an outfit I like whether it be the style, the pattern, the fit, etc, but if the piece does not look good, then it is the outfit’s loss, not yours.
A lot of it also comes from being surrounded by people who bring you up. Recently, I left a group of people who were a big part of my life since 2015. Now I love those people with all my heart, and that will never stop, but I realized that a lot of the conflicts in my life were stemming from this particular group of people. Now I do understand that problems do arise with people, and we should work them out, but I got tired of being in a space that I no longer felt I could be myself in. It feels weird though, like I just let a huge part of myself go (even if it was for the better). Regardless, this year I came to see which friends of mine are truly going to stay a part of my life for a long time, and they all mean the world to me.
I spent the beginning of 2018 in London since I have cousins there (whomst I love with all my heart). It was great to start the year in a different region of the world and basically have a clean slate of not knowing anyone. I met a bunch of new people (I would say friends, but I do not know if they even consider me a friend) who really helped make it a fun time. They sort of made me realize that I might actually be a fun person, but to be honest it was probably just them wondering how the heck my American accent worked. I even got closer to one of my cousins and it is just really creepy how similar we are. It was nice to actually have a healthy family relationship for once. Weenie, if you are reading this I am still prettier than you.
Loving yourself is a process, and can take a whole lifetime to “master”. Everyone is going to have a different experience with it, and as for my own it has increased my quality of life. I may have the world’s busiest schedule, but it is full of things I love to do. Small things do not impact my emotions as much anymore, I have friends that I know will be there for me through thick and thin, and I have a family that supports all of my antics (even if they seem crazy or expensive sometimes). I hope that everyone soon learns to love themselves someday, because it has honestly been the best thing that happened to me, and I can finally say that I am truly happy and thankful for everyone in my life. :)