The teenage years were hard for me.
My curves were awkward. I was shy, yet theatrical and outgoing on stage. I struggled with my weight which led me to struggle with my entire appearance.
I struggled so much to the point I had an unhealthy relationship with food in that I wouldn’t eat it. I hated myself with every calorie I did consume.
No one liked me in high school — guys, that is. I had a ton of girlfriends I hung out with, but when it came to being pretty enough, smart enough or funny enough to attract a guy’s attention, I failed. Miserably.
That fact, coupled with my thinking I didn’t have the ‘perfect’ body (ie no curves, blonde and blue-eyed or green-eyed), led me to many years of hating myself, talking down about myself.
I catch myself still doing this.
I wanted love, yet I wasn’t giving myself the love I deserved. My name literally means “worthy of love” in Latin and instead, I thought I was worthy of disdain because my body wasn’t living up to societal pressures.
This lack of love led me to entertain the affection of guys who didn’t want anything serious and sweet-talked their way into getting what they wanted (to a point, though. I still had some boundaries) and leaving my heart in pieces because I believed they wanted a true, deep relationship.
All I wanted was for someone to love me for ME.
But I had to learn how to do that first. Before I could expect a man to come along and do the same.
It was a few years before I met Joshua that I had realized I needed to start loving myself first and make room for the guy who would love me for me, all my curves, my hair, my hips, my lips, my eyes and, most importantly, my heart.
I deleted and blocked the numbers of guys I knew were toxic, the ones who would text me out of the blue or call me and fill my head with notions they were actually interested, only to ghost after two days.
Yeah, we all know THOSE guys.
And then I worked on me.
Beyonce once said in an interview, the journey to self-love is long but you have to do it, even if it means looking at yourself and liking something simple, like the way your hair is falling that day. Feel GOOD about that good hair day and carry that feeling through to the day’s end.
So, like any smart woman, I listened to Beyonce’s advice. And that’s where the journey began.
Do I have off days/weeks? YES!
Do I have to constantly, mentally backtrack when something negative about myself slips out of my mouth? YES!
Will this self-love practice ever end? NOPE!
It’s an ongoing journey, especially as my body shifts and changes with age.
Before you seek out the love of your life, perhaps ask yourself: Do you love you?
*Featured Image: Aimee Heart, Flickr Creative Commons