I used to think self love was just one of those cheesy things that just the hippies I grew up with were into. Now I realise it’s something that we all need to be into. And actually, those hippies I grew up with weren’t actually ticking the boxes of self love in its entirety after all, I realise now. But that’s an entirely different conversation.
Self love, to me, means forgiving, nurturing, accepting, allowing for, honouring, and loving each and every part of you. Not just the pretty parts. Not just the cool parts. ALL OF IT. Recently I noticed my self love boxes were being ticked and I really felt like, for the first time in my life, I was really getting to grips with this nurturing stuff. Every day I was feeling this warm sense of pride for myself. And it was feeling just lovely. But then the anniversary hit and in the days, and week, that followed this I fell of the self love wagon and onto the shame one. The shame wagon was where I made a home for myself, got cosy and nested for a week. It was shit. It took a hell of a lot of effort to slowly wade my way out of the duvets that were keeping me there, quietly festering and sitting in the depths of my own emotions and hatred for myself.
But slowly, I began to do it and make my way back to the self love wagon. This only properly happened yesterday. And what a freaking’ relief. There were lots of little steps, but there was just this inability to let love in and to feel love that was stopping me make the final step outta the shitty shame wagon. I shared it with friends a bit – my feelings of shame – and I took myself out into the world when all I wanted to do (and had been doing rather a lot) was lie in bed at home. But nothing was properly shifting it. These little bits of encounters with love was lovely n all but my heart only opened up for about a few seconds and then it went on shut down again. And the most frustrating and painful thing of it all, was my inability to connect with any kinda love for myself. Zero was there…Zilch.
There was the biggest resistance to the act of loving myself or letting others love me…like, so so physical I just couldn’t shift it…because of what I did, blah blah blah. Slowly I saw that actually the love was there – this stuff never goes anywhere, it just gets masked by other shit – but I just couldn’t trust that it was safe to connect with it. But, eventually I did. Through somatic experiencing in therapy, and a craniosacral appointment, things managed to click into place a bit more and my love was/is back.
But what I realised, through this whole lack of love venture was that self love is a whole lot fucking harder than I thought. I thought I was getting it but actually, I was getting it in relation to the bits of me that are, in my opinion, loveable. Not the other bits…like the high maintenance, complicated, frustrating, loser-ish, really-fucking-way-too-beyond-acceptable sensitive, HARD WORK, parts of me…hell no. Not those parts. I found myself laughing as I was on the phone to a friend saying, “I only love myself when I’m cool”. It was half a joke and half totes truth.
I was beginning to fall in love with my vulnerability, my sensitivity (up to a point), my need for nurturance – from me and from others, my imperfections, my anger, my need for gentleness, my weirdness, a little bit of my high maintenance… And any of those things that I wasn’t quite falling in love with, I was learning to forgive me for them or allowing for them to be there. But I kinda was learning to see that actually these things were loveable from the outside too. All these things I had shunned and tried my freakin’ hardest to NOT EXIST…there they were, and here they are. I just hadn’t allowed for them to be here before. But I definitely do not want to allow for all the other shit bits that I really find hard to love…like all the extra weird, extra hard work, extra fucking complicated and frustrating bits of me that I now realise are there. And not just there, but there with (shitty) flying colours.
Damn. I thought I’d gotten this self love business nailed. I’ve put that to the side though and I just trust that as I continue to grow – both in myself, and up – this ability to love the even wider whole of me, will come. I reckon it will. But fuck that’s scary, cos what if I end up loving myself and I’m a total nightmare bitch but I don’t realise because I love myself so much I don’t notice…? That’s what I trust my friends are for. To just give me the heads up if this happens. I’ve asked them.
Right now, as I have switched wagons and am sat back on my self love one, all I want to do is be with myself. All I wanna do is hang out, with me. Just me, myself and I. And y’know what? It’s fucking lovely. I saw friends today, at a festival/market down the road, and that was nice. But all I could think was how I wanted to be lying on the grass at my allotment, reading my book. Last night I sat for two hours on my favourite hill as the sun set, writing my journal, and just glowing with pride and love for myself. I think I’m making up for that week or two of shame, self hating, hell.
With the risk of sounding like those bloody hippies I grew up with, I love myself today. A LOT. And I really mean it. And, it feels real good. I was looking at pictures of myself – actually, correction…I was taking pictures of myself to show off my somewhat dodgy self-done haircut for Instagram (YEP, we all have done it – the photo taking, maybe not the haircut), and then looking at them…and I kept on thinking, what a cool chick, who’s that girl? Oh, that’s me! Oh she’s lovely, beautiful, ace, and so loveable…yep, that’s me.
And that’s when it clicked. I love myself. I am feeling pretty cool today, despite the intense fatigue and pain, I feel pretty darn cool. And so what if I only love myself when I feel cool. My cool is a pretty wholesome cool. And fuck, that’s an achievement from six months ago. So I’ll take any love I can get from myself to me. The other lot of me will get loved when the time is right. Until then, I’m off to hang out with a film and FOOD. Just me, myself, and I.