Thick Skin (and an elastic heart)

Self-doubt can be crushing. Especially when you know it’ll take years to undo because it comes from being conditioned to hate parts of who you are for the sake of others’ comfort and “love.” I want to write a longer post but currently wrapping up a semester and dealing with mental illness stuff.

And as it turns out, self-love is way harder than I thought. So. In combatting hate (read: internalized homophobia, sexism, and ableism), I’m trying to be better about reminding myself that I’m a person worthy of love and kindness and I didn’t do anything to deserve the hate that’s been directed at me, oftentimes by my own parents and especially by those who share the same faith as myself (Christians, ya’ll. they can be the worst, most harmful people out there.).

My therapist had me do something that was really helpful: Write positive things about who I am as a person and who I’m becoming, which was REALLY hard. I thought I’d share a very short list that I came up with. Maybe in learning to be kind to myself, I’ll get better at this.

I am 1. someone who loves to laugh. 2. I am kind, loving, empathetic, and compassionate towards others. 3. I am there when people need me to be. 4. I am brave.

I am becoming 1. someone who is kind to themselves and not just other people. 2. I am becoming braver. 3. I am becoming who I want to be not who others want me to be.

My anxiety riddled brain wants to tear apart all the good things I see in myself because that’s what I was taught. don’t love yourself because that’s selfish. don’t be gay because that’s twisted sexuality. don’t be this. don’t be that. don’t…be.

It can be really hard to turn all that off. Some days that’s on a constant loop in my head. So, here I am to say that it doesn’t have to be this way. You can love yourself and take care of yourself because you are a person worthy of love. I am a person worthy of love. We are not who others want us to be, maybe. But if we are ourselves, that’s something so much better.

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