The other day my best friend asked me how I get up everyday and be the confident, most baddest bitch she knows... well, she actually just asked me how I’m so confident but potato, pa-tah-toe, yeah?
Anyways, the advice I gave her is definitely worth telling about... or rather, just my experience and realization is worth telling about:
High school was extremely hard for me to adjust to. I was going through so much at home, from my parents’ much anticipated divorce (seriously, they’d been Splitsville since I was three, it was way past time) to finally dealing with the emotional and physical abuse I’d suffered to for years at the hands of my mother. My freshman year alone I had been checked into the hospital four times for my mental health and self-harm issues.
Really, it was awful, and it’s still hard to believe who I was back then. I look at the thin white lines on my arm and it’s a hard reminder that I used to be a shell of a person, full of self-loathing and teen angst and just pure sadness. This went on for years. Yes, the medicine helped, and, yes, so did the therapy.
Everyone else did what they could to help me, I just didn’t help myself.
Something in me finally snapped the summer before my senior year. Maybe we can chalk it up to a number of things, like the fact I’d finally had an actual job (a fine cashiering position at the local fast food joint with the “I’m lovin’ it” slogan we all know by heart) or that I was finally coming to terms with my mother basically abandoning me as a kid or it could’ve been everything combined. Whatever it was, I’m glad it happened so that I could finally be the person I wanted to be.
I needed a hero, so I became one.
I told myself everyday I loved myself, because how could I expect anyone to love me if I didn’t love myself?
I began to respect myself, because how could I expect anyone to respect me if I had no respect for myself?
It’s not like this just happened in one day, it was a process that took months, convincing myself not to immediately hate and critique myself when something went wrong or when I felt like I said the wrong thing. I still catch myself trying to blame myself for bad things that are completely out of my hands.
The thing is, rewiring myself to love instead of hate took time, but it was worth doing.
My senior year was hands-down the absolute best year of high school because of how I began to carry myself. Full of self-respect and self-love and just general happiness, I turned into an inspiration and that was my goal.
I loved myself and, in turn, people loved me.
You have to love yourself. You have to be confident in who you are. No one else will love you like you.
From now on, look in the mirror and tell yourself everyday how proud you are of yourself, even for minor things, and tell yourself you love who you are, even if you sometimes mess up.
Pick your head up, princess, your tiara is falling.