Written by Dana Smith
Set the scene: Still battling my own diminished self-image and acknowledging my lack of self-love, I stroll to go to a psychology class and find out about the Advertisement Publication. A scientific account of how ad agencies, I never even knew existed, spent their time and a good amount of money convincing the masses that who they are is simply not enough. I believed them for years, in fact I was CONVINCED. I had been bamboozled and challenged myself to let go of preconceived notions of normalcy and grow towards the light like the plant in a dark room.
Deciding to become a vegetarian was the first of many steps I took to turn my self-love into an action. Many of the steps I took related to my health and appearance and resulted in me dropping a significant amount of weight and inches.
Loosing weight was strange, it was like my body was metamorphosing. I was in awe of the possibilities but still in a bad space. Loving the fact that I was losing weight didn’t translate to loving myself. Isn’t it an odd concept on its own? Looking forward to taking up less space, it is strange. I was stuck in a juxtaposition; dropping drastically in inches helped me feel better about my body but this was still a low point in my life wanting so badly to be smaller and seen in normalcy. Dealing with the isolation caused me to create my own isolation and that cycle clouded me with shame and left me feeling LOST.
CUE FRANKY BEVERLY & MAZE- (signing) “I’ve got myself to remind me of love-” CUT
One more time from the top until she gets it right
I can remember it so vividly. I spent years singing that tune through tears, the act simultaneously reminding and convincing me that MY LOVE IS ENOUGH. It took that dark space and time for me to realize that self love is an action! I know love is something that I feel, yes, but I can only feel it once I’ve acted upon it. So I continued my journey. I traveled. I started to loc my hair. I went to the doctor. I even splurged a little. I was feeling LOVED. This culminating moment of going through struggles and then putting myself through them tenfold finally convinced me to take some time for myself. However, it wasn’t until after I nourished a smile back on my face that I had realized what tore me down. Only when I took the time to love myself was I able to see how I’d neglected myself in the past.
Only when I took the time to love myself was I able to see how I’d neglected myself in the past.
It was me all along, I hadn’t been loving myself. Truth is, to this day I struggle with it.
An excerpt: “I’ve betrayed myself” She thought as she sobbed in mourning, hunched over at the base of the mirror. When she saw the pain in her heart as she looked herself in the mirror she feel to her knees. “I hadn’t given myself the love I deserve”. She sat there broken Trying desperately to reach through to the other side of time and tell herself twenty years ago that she is enough but she can not cross over to the other side of time. Determined, she stands up so that she can become the voice for herself that she’d wished she had. “Wipe your tears beautiful, let your mourning suffice. I need you now because I’ll need this tomorrow” And the journey continued.
Lighten the burdens
Photography: Mahdi Gransberry