Being who we are is hard.
There are 7 billion people in the world to look up to and to envy. We’re always told that being “us” is all we can really count on in life. We cherish our uniqueness like a gem and we sum up our existences with cliché symbols like snowflakes and shining stars. The hard truth hits when you realize you don’t feel like a fucking snowflake. I don’t feel much like a delicate, magical ice crystal. I don’t feel like much at all.
We’re not always going to like ourselves. There are plenty of times where my uniqueness, my “me-ness”, doesn’t feel like enough. Some days it feels downright shitty. Yesterday was one of those days. I went to bed feeling like I was being swallowed by the life I had created for myself. I looked like me in the mirror, my hands felt like mine, but it wasn’t me. It just couldn’t have been me.
Self-loathing is one of the most overwhelming and isolating feelings. The worst part? There is no solution. No one can tell you what makes a person whole. No one can give you a passing grade on your self-worth. So the shitty, snowflake-less, dull-star, soul crushing days are just terrifying. Growing up, my mother would tell me that I didn’t have to like my siblings but I always had to love them. That was her golden rule. I think the same rule applies to ourselves. It is okay to not like yourself but you have to love yourself, even in your ugliest moments. I don’t mean moving yourself like reading your positive affirmations or accepting how you look in a bikini. I’m talking about that deep, quiet undulating love. It’s about having the decency to give yourself a chance.
Perfection is a relative term. Hell, just being okay is relative. You can’t expect all your moments to be okay. What makes you who you are is your ability to take misery in stride and persevere. It is tempting to be incapacitated in the face of self-actualization. It is much easier to lie in bed and imagine how much better things would be if we were one of the other 7 million people on the globe. It is in casting off the covers and making things better for the one of you that you are perfect. In A Letter to My Daughter, Maya Angelou said “you may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” That is self-love. Finding the strength to make a decision about who you are and who you want to be.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
We all stumble now and again, some of us more than others. As I awoke this morning, I resolved to persevere. I didn’t know how I would do that yet, but acknowledging that I was disappointed in myself felt like the first step. Just take a moment to look around you. Accept that you are lost. In fact, revel in it. Don’t expect to find your way back but to somewhere new. As humans, we have this unhealthy obsession with going back, stealing pictures of the ground as the plane rises and staring longingly at photographs of days past. If you simply want a road map that leads you back to where you’ve been, I think you’ll find yourself just as lost again soon. Take the opportunity to explore a new path. Bask in all the fleeting wreckage that is human existence and accept that you are lost. You never know where you may find yourself.