A little (self) love.

The other day I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I smiled.  I smiled at myself.  Why?  Because when I saw my reflection, I wasn’t disgusted.  I wasn’t critical.  I was happy.  Glad even.  And, you know what, when I saw my reflection, I said to myself “wow, you’re pretty.”  And, it was weird.  When I came out of the bathroom, I asked Wes if I looked how I normally look.  He was a little confused (especially given my tendency to start conversations or sentences in my head and then finish them aloud).  He said, “Yeahhh. You look like you normally do.”  But he had this confused look on his face and said, “why?”

“Oh, because I saw myself in the mirror and I thought that I am pretty.”

A soft smile came to my husband’s face as he said, “I’m glad that you’re starting to see the beauty in you that I have seen all of this time.  I’ve always seen your beauty and so has everyone else.”

And then I got teary.  As usual.  My emotions are really near the surface these days as I work through some issues in counseling and what not (and it’s really frustrating for me… these emotions).  Because I really believed him in that moment.  I really believed I was beautiful.

We’re all at different places with our bodies and in our lives. Life is too short to hate our bodies. Dress for the body you have NOW while you are (or aren’t) making the necessary changes for the body you desire. Love yourself now. Don’t wait.

Let’s love ourselves. Let’s practice talking to (and about) ourselves like we ACTUALLY like ourselves. Our bodies are amazing. They carry us daily. They house our babies. They nourish our babies. They comfort our spouses and children and family members and friends. Our bodies are our permanent houses. We’ve gotta respect that.

I’m totally embracing my SASSY boot-ay, my wayyyyyy back sway back, my voluptuous hips and FULL-of-milk-for-my-toddler-even-though-I-had-trouble-breastfeeding-for-the-first-6-months breasts.

And, you know what, learning to sew has really, really helped me appreciate my body.  Sewing has been a blessing in that it’s helping me to accept, love and care for and about my body.   Sewing calms me.  Some people veg out with Netflix or drugs, etc., but I veg out when I sew.  I process while I sew.  I also get to use critical thinking and problem solving skills to tackle fitting my extraordinary body.  And there’s a certain satisfaction that comes with making something that is both useful and beautiful.  So, contrary to what it may seem like, sewing is more than a hobby for me: it’s therapeutic.

I’m reading a book called “Mending the Soul” by Steven R. Tracy.  My counselor recommended it to me.  Let me tell you that it. is. intense.  This quote in particular resonated with me,

“With sexual abuse, sex no longer gives life but destroys life.  With sexual abuse, sex does not express selfless love but destructive selfishness.  As a result, sexual abuse survivors struggle to accept their own sexuality and their own bodies.”

Wow.  That really helps me to see part of the root of my own issues with low self esteem and never feeling good enough or not feeling worthy to be loved in the way that I so desperately need it.  I have nothing to be ashamed of.  My body is not something to be ashamed of.  My body is not something to hate.  My body is “fearfully and wonderfully made” like my favorite scripture in Psalms so beautifully puts it.

I have become the positive self talk person in my favorite sewing group.  Strange considering that (even though it is higher than before) I still have extremely low self esteem.  But, you know what, when I’m talking to the ladies in the group about loving themselves and talking to themselves nicely, I am also reminding myself to do the same thing.  Those talks are as beneficial to me as they (hopefully) are for the ladies in the group.

Use your “good” fabric.  Buy the dang dress/ pants/ shorts/ shoes! Don’t wait. One of the cool things about sewing is that you CAN always buy more fabric, more patterns, more notions. You CAN make garments that accentuate your EXTRAORDINARY body. You CAN make and purchase clothes that suit your CURRENT body type. So do it.  Love yourself.

Begin (or continue) to take care of yourself because you LOVE yourself…not because of self loathing or self hatred. Seriously. Just do it. Don’t lose weight because you “hate” the way you look.  Decide to make some changes because you’re worth it.  You’re worth the effort and the work and the sacrifice that it will take to make sustainable changes.  You’re worth the extra cost in purchasing REAL food.  You’re worth the extra time it will take to plan meals instead of eat every meal out.  You’re worth the sacrifice that it takes to bow out of late night plans because you need to get enough sleep to be the best you (I’m talking to you, Priszy).  It’s not selfish.  It’s wisdom.

You may just need to “fake” the self love until you actually believe it. But, seriously, fake it. Pretend to love yourself. Eventually you will. I promise. ♥️

 

sam

 

 

 

 

 

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10 thoughts on “A little (self) love.

  1. Beautifully written Sam. Thank you for being vulnerable and real. I love it. You are beautiful inside and out!

  2. I wish I remembered the source (give me 3 days and a night that I’m randomly awake at 4am and it’ll come to me) – but I read something in the last two weeks that really resonated with me. The gist of it was “You can’t be truly happy until you’re living for something bigger than yourself.” And the speaker certainly touched on God, but it was more concrete than that. It was the “volunteer at a soup kitchen” or even as simple as “be a mentor at work.” I really feel like the capsule group has become my “bigger than myself” piece of the happiness puzzle. I get to share what I know, even if it’s just how darn beautiful someone is, or how inspiring their talents are. And I get it – I really do – how serving someone beside yourself or your family can be such a powerful force in lifting yourself. I started as “faking it until I could make it” too – and still have serious body dysmorphia problems – but as with all things in the brain: positivity, gratitude, patience, and acceptance are muscles that get stronger with use.

    You ARE beautiful. You ARE a wonderful talent and a wonderful force. You’re magnetic. And I’m so grateful that – whatever your journey – you found sewing therapy so I could find you!

    Unsolicited advice alert: I’m a sexual abuse survivor. Along with counseling and sewing therapy, I love the self love I learned with Yoga, and the greater understanding of my brain that came with reading “Change your mind, change your life.” 60% of it reads as a pharmaceutical ad (not an option for me, I respond terribly to antidepressants!) but there are lifestyle prescriptions too, and really just a great foundation for the biology behind mental health conditions (both born and acquired). When my other therapies aren’t enough, it’s been great to realize that whatever I feel really just boils down to some chemical mis-fires in the ol’ noggin 🙂

    • Yes!!! Yoga really, really helps, too. And eating real food. And antidepressants. It’s a complicated puzzle.

      Thanks for being so cool. And helpful. And encouraging. You are a gift to me.

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