November 11, 2017: Dev Thoughts: To Love Yourself…

Dear everyone,

I don’t normally share my own thoughts with others, at least not very often. It can be hard to voice one’s deepest thoughts after all.

But today I wanted to share something that is deeply personal. Something important. I’ve been seeing #LoveYourself and #LoveMyself more and more lately, which is an amazing thing, truly! Loving oneself can be one of the hardest things to do for many, and that’s what I wanted to talk about.

It sounds cliche, but loving yourself is hard. It is. It’s a journey. There’s so many wrong paths and pitfalls that you can end up in.

When I was much younger, maybe around twelve or thirteen I was a really quiet girl. I always had been quiet and I’m happy to be still. It’s who I am. But back then, it stopped me from a lot of things. Because I was quiet, I didn’t really have any friends.

Though at some point I did have some classmates that I found some common interests with (a TV show called Charmed), it wasn’t something that lasted or went very deep. I thought I was okay with being the quiet one, the odd one, but as time went I realized that I had trouble making friends. I wouldn’t know how to start conversations with people, and when they (rarely) tried to talk to me, I wouldn’t really know how to keep the conversation going for very long. As a result, people would try to talk to me less.

And I don’t really blame them, we were all kids, and I was awkward and hard to talk to.

But as time went by, my isolation grew and so did my loneliness. It started to eat at me, even more so when I realized that the few online friends I had were much closer to other people than me. Because I couldn’t find anyone to be close to, I started to feel like there was something wrong with me. I thought I was a freak, that I was broken and wrong and that it was only natural that no one wanted to be close to me.

My loneliness grew so much that I thought it would crush me. I still remember the horrible empty feeling, like the void trying to devour me from inside out.

My self-hate grew, too. To the point where I started to think that the only way I could find someone was to change who I was. Because no one wanted a broken thing like me, so I had to “fix” myself to have friends and to be loved.

And that’s all I’ve ever wanted. Friends who understood and loved me, and eventually someone special who would love me for me.

But because I thought I wasn’t good enough, I worked to change myself. I began to drink heavily, I smoked and partied a lot. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t myself, but I deluded myself into thinking that this was the way. In the end, though, it was all empty. It ate away at me as much as the loneliness did, though in a different sort of way.

During that time I lost sight of who I was, though perhaps it was a long road full of mistakes that led me to it.

I went to university, drank even more. I quickly jumped into dating someone when I only knew them for a short while. We nearly got married. But we weren’t right for each other.

I only finished one year of university, anyway. Lived a few years with the person I was with. Couldn’t find a job, which made me feel useless, and I quickly sank into depression which lasted the few years that we dated.

I hated myself for over ten years. Despised my own existence so much that I refused to allow myself to be me.

It’s been a long journey to finding self love. I made so many mistakes, and I have so many regrets and things I wish I could do differently.

I only started to get better once I found someone who encouraged me to be me, the person who very quickly became my best friend, Ajané. We found each other in a very dark time, but her finding me made my dream come true.

I just wanted to be seen by someone, to be loved and understood. And she did, even when I didn’t know who I was.

It took me a long time, I got lost a lot along the way, but I found myself and I found self love at last. I admit, it’s only very recently that I’ve become fully comfortable with myself.

To those who have read on to this point, thank you for listening to my story. I hope that you don’t have to spend a decade hating yourself. I hope that you can let yourself be you, even if it might take a while.

Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. You will get there.

You are wonderful and irreplaceable. Even if it might not seem like it, you are. You are you, and no one else will do.

The thoughts contained herein only reflect the personal thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and feelings of the writer.