Monday, August 29, 2016

#500wordsaday: Just Picture Them All Naked

1) A time you lied
2) A time you were hurt
3) The last time you were happy for a week straight
4) Family
5) How you wish you started your day (and then why you aren’t doing that already)
6) Your most authentic moment
7) When you really loved yourself
8) When you were scared
9) Why you long for love
10) Something about you that you’re hoping people don’t notice   / Something about you that you’re hoping people do notice

500 Words a Day: When you really loved yourself

Women aren't really predisposed to love ourselves; society prefers we focus on our faults over our successes, the bad over the good. It took me a frightening amount of time to think of a time I could say I last really loved myself. Like, such a lengthy amount of time, I am writing this intro still unsure of the answer. 

The last time I really loved myself.

Do women really do that? Love themselves?

Fast forward a day-and-a-half, and I still don't really know the answer to this question. What's scary, is that I can think of countless moments where I've taken time out of my day to hate myself. I can think of plenty of moments where I have hated on my body or on my life or on my choices; I could write a whole book on times I've hated something about myself, physically or otherwise. 

We have to fight against the thigh gap and the bikini bridge; without those things (which are impossible goals), we can't possibly love our bodies. We have to fight against rape culture, which continues to blame us or what we're wearing when we're assaulted or raped. We have to fight against sexism and wage gaps in the work place, disrespect in athletics in both high school and college. You name it, women are waging an uphill battle against it. 

And I feel like that's how most women I know, would answer this question. I am not the only one wading through times I've been negative about myself, looking for a brief fleeting moment of a time I may have had a loving moment. I honestly can't think of a time in my adult life that I have loved my body, and I make a lot of choices I'm not super lovey-dovey about either. 

I had to dig really far to find a way to write this post.

Recently, I was asked to speak for 5 minutes at a training in our corporate office. This likely seems like not such a big deal to a lot of people, but for someone who gets nervous when speaking in public for 5 seconds, 5 minutes in front of all of our company's regional managers and directors, is a big deal. 



Before I said yes, I almost passed out at the thought. But of course, I know that in order to move in the direction I want, this was a great opportunity, and one I should be proud of having, as only two of us were invited. So, it was a big deal. One I should have been (and was, once the overwhelming terror wore off), proud of. 

I had no idea what to wear, and probably tried on everything in my entire closet the night before - keep in mind, this was taking place at 8:00am the day after my birthday, so I kept dinner very tame, only had one beer, and was home in bed by 10:00pm; I was not taking any chances at this not going well. In the morning, I walked into the corporate office with my coworker, a complete ball of nerves. We'd spent the drive nervously gossiping, trying to convince each other this was no big deal, knowing full well that it kinda was. But, with all of my nerves, I did it. I got up in front of the room, talked about my team and their awesomeness, and about all of the things I was asked to speak about. 

And I didn't die or faint or anything!

I was certainly proud of myself in this moment, and felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I did something I was terrified to do, and I did a great job - I received several amazing follow up emails confirming that I didn't fail miserably at life, nor could anyone tell I was so nervous I was practically hyperventilating internally. I did great. And I was so proud. 

I would say that those things - pride, accomplishment, the ability to pat myself on the back - equate to self-love. I left the meeting with this sense of confidence that I don't often feel, and I think that is self-love as well. 

Starting this post, I felt like I needed to uncover a moment where I loved myself physically; for some reason "a time you loved yourself" instantly felt like I needed to dig through all of the nasty things I have ever said about my body to find a moment I liked it. But in reality, self-love doesn't have to be physical. It doesn't have to be a time I felt great in a dress or noticed myself losing weight; it doesn't have to equate to body image, because body isn't all I am. Self-love can exist in other ways, including pride for accomplishing something or overcoming a fear. 

There are a lot of things I don't love about myself, but the reality is most of those are external. And the reality is, most of them are stupid and irrational, and almost all of them are things I need to work to get over. It shouldn't take so much thought and bewilderment to come up with something I actually love about myself. 

But this exercise made me do that, which I clearly needed. 

I love that I'm ambitious, and that being afraid will never be what stops me from going for what I want. My passion and drive, both personally and professionally, are a force to be reckoned with, and while I often lack confidence, I am just as often driven forward on stubborn, hard-headed passion alone. I like that about myself. 

You could even say I love it.