Love yourself, dammit.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. -Buddha

Oh kids, let me tell you about a woman I love so dearly.

My friend Danelle makes my heart swell in a way I can't even begin to explain! She has such a bright, honest soul and I can't thank God enough for her presence in my life. I got to see her today for the first time in a while... she moved to California over a year ago, and though we keep in touch online and I promise often to go visit her, I haven't seen her since.

Seeing her today was so fulfilling because of her boundless love and affection. This girl hugs with her whole soul, something I can say of very few people I've ever met.

She stood today hugging me, caressing my hair and telling me how amazing and beautiful and talented I am, and it was all I could do to blink the tears away, knowing that in all of my self-doubt, all of my worry and stress... someone so real, so full of passion and reason, thinks so highly of me.

Self-esteem has never been my strong suit. In Jr High I saw myself as incredibly fat. I had been warned starting at a young age about eating disorders, but I was intrigued... later realizing that the control aspect was the most attractive, I struggled with bulimia for years... yo-yo-ing between slightly overweight and completely normal, always wanting to be thinner. By the time I was in college it was a full-blown problem. I'd eat very little throughout the day but polish off more Taco Bell than they should even be allowed to sell to one damn person... spending the rest of my evening attacking my esophagus and ego, feeling no better about myself when I went to bed... and seeing very little results on the scale.

Senior Year of High School. What a fatdumbass, right?

I used to joke that I wasn't committed enough to be anorexic. I really loved food, hell- I still do! I couldn't fathom skipping meals and obsessively counting calories. Bulimia was the ultimate control for me: I ate exactly what I damn well pleased, and I didn't gain any weight from it. Take that, Slim Fast!

Senior Year of High School again

What took me years to realize is that I was deeply depressed and so very uncertain of myself. I had no idea who I was, or who I wanted to be... just that I wanted to be thin, pretty, and different than I was. I wanted to win my ex-boyfriend's affection, my friend's approval, respect and admiration. My mom's self-esteem pep-talks did me no good, and I did a good job of hiding my problem (outside of a few friends who were keeping some pretty hefty secrets of their own). The depression took an enormous toll, and when I quit school I had to come to terms with it. I spent a summer living with my mom, not working, and painting. It was the most important thing I could've done for myself, and even though I wanted so much to be out on my own as an adult, I knew it was good for me to take time to just figure out how to be OK first.

I stopped throwing up, first off... and it was a good thing, too. Later that fall, I had severe issues with esophageal erosions, due to years of mistreating the poor thing. I didn't eat for days and boy was I pissed- all of those years of hurting myself in order to eat how I wanted and here I was "better" and couldn't eat!? It was torture. That's when I gained all the weight, but in doing so I didn't struggle more with my self-esteem issues, I found pride and joy in my body regardless... much more than I'd found when I was thinner. I started seeing myself as beautiful, my curves as sexy, and all of that together made me one hell of a force to be reckoned with.

Upon losing the weight, I'd like to just say... watch out. Sitting on the couch talking with the boyfriend the other night, I found myself amazed at the changes I'd made, not just since my days of daily cookie tossing... but even from a few months ago. I went into this relationship self-assured, certain that regardless of what happened I was worthy of love and admiration. For once I wasn't concerned with the ex-boyfriend, or that cute guy at the bar... I was focused on me in all of my frickin' glory. Its been fun, and its been genuine, and I honestly believe its why I'm so darn happy with this silly boy.

That being said, silly boy and I took our kids to the park today to visit with Danelle before she went back to California. He asked me last night who she was, and I told him very honestly...

She's the first mom who I ever trusted completely the first time I met her... she was so frazzled, and exhausted, and radiantly beautiful. Not because her hair was perfect, or her makeup took an hour, but because dammit, she was mama! she had smiles and belly-laughs as readily available as her furrowed brow and heartfelt 'i'm sorrys' and she threw those stern mama-eyes like i'd never seen! I knew that deep down, that's what every mom aspired to be... absolutely comfortable in every aspect of her (very difficult) job, even though she could've really used a nap... and a cocktail. Her shiny dark hair and beautiful body were secondary to the amazing kindness and honesty radiating from her at all times.

Sitting at her kitchen table drinking wine and sharing stories as our kids played around us is something I'll always remember. She taught me so much by just being... and I definitely needed a reminder today. I spend so much of my life so caught up in the daily stresses... worrying about money constantly, working too much, playing too little... letting other people control my happiness, my perception of myself... its all so ridiculous. Negative thoughts and actions breed negativity, and I can't let any of that be a priority in my life for even a moment. Don't be angry over things you can't change, don't look in the mirror with sadness, just live and love and cut out all the rest of that noise. Thank you, Danelle, for reminding me to enjoy life in its entirety... to love myself as much as you do. I'm going to work hard to keep this love and light flowing.

Love yourself, love your life, and dammit... do it now.

"Walk In Love" - A photo of my new friend Jen, who will be introducing me into the world of "polistic" living- which is described on her Facebook as "Holistic Health with a Spin" She is a "Holistic Health Coach with An Emphasis on Pole Fitness & Juicing" I'm so thrilled to have an opportunity to try out something fun and new in a time when I'm really completely focused on me, my life, and what's really important... I'm excited to see what all this is about!!

Here's to being happy, healthy, and loving life... <3


September 9, 2009 at 11:54 AM Anonymous said...

It's so weird...........I remember the first time you made a comment to me on LJ, I was FLOORED. I'd seen you around and just thought "what is this amazing, pretty, smart, talented lady doing wanting to talk to ME!!??"

It's so weird, our perceptions of ourselves and one another.


September 10, 2009 at 10:10 PM Kristin...though some still call me Dott... said...

hoops!!! sorry. i just had to get that out of the way.

i had issues for many years with being insecure and trying to validate myself by being what i thought other people wanted. it's amazing how much happier you are when you can let all of that go.