Yesterday one of my columns ran about loving yourself and being your own Valentine. Sometimes I tend to give good advice but not always follow it myself, but this time I really mean it — I love and appreciate myself. Do I treat myself badly at times? Sure. I’m very bad at self-talk right now, but I catch it and tell myself something nice. But I’ve learned to appreciate myself, and my body, for who I am, who I was and who I hope to be.
Here’s a little snippet from the column, “Valentine’s Day has never been my favorite holiday. Until my marriage (10 years ago), I wasn’t a fan — of love, any possible paramours and especially of myself.
What a shame. I feel like I’ve missed out on something huge. My chest tightens, and regret fuels tears. I didn’t care for myself back then. I believed what poisonous lies others were saying about me and didn’t notice how they replaced the words of my inner monologue with theirs. My body dysmorphia formed and, shortly after, my eating disorder. It’s more complicated than that, but I didn’t see a connection. ”
It’s so true. I believed others who called me fat. From that I understood I was worthless, ugly and stupid because that’s what society tells you, right? I was first called fat in the 5th grade then on and off until my senior year in high school. I was held captive by the scale and even now I still get caught in its trap.
But. A powerful but. Now I know I’m not fat. I wasn’t fat then (fat isn’t something you are, it’s something you have). I wasn’t ugly, stupid, lazy or anything close. I was me, listening to the wrong people, not celebrating myself as I should have. And I really should have because I am amazing. I took me about 38 years and a six-week hospital stay to figure it out, but that’s okay, because I did. Now I’m living the best years of my life.
And now, during this month of self-love, I appreciate myself, all of me. How far I’ve come, the accomplishments I never thought possible and the lofty goals I’ve set because of that.
Just a few years ago I couldn’t get out of bed or shower because of my major depression and anxiety. I was a bare minimum mom and wife. I counted down until I could go back to sleep, and when I was awake, I was in so much misery. Thank God I’m not in that place anymore.
Gratitude is a huge part of my journey, even when it comes to loving and accepting myself.
I want to thank y’all, too. For reading my columns, blogs, dropping me a note, showing up to NAMI events or just sending good vibes my way. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. You are a big, wonderful part of my recovery, and I love that.
And I love me.
Happy Valentine’s Day.