I hate your stomach, it is not flat enough
I hate your skin, it is too pale
I hate your laugh, it is too loud
You should stop being so outgoing
You should stop being so direct, it’s rude
You should stop being so curious, it makes you overthink things
This has been my dialogue with myself for as long as I can remember. Daily. I would hate myself constantly for anything and everything. The way I looked, the way I talked, the way I thought, the way I was in the world. I believed that when I became something other than who I am, the world would love and accept me. I had this desperate need for validation and approval from others. I would work very fucking hard to look like I wasn’t trying or that I didn’t care. When it was and still is quite the opposite. I try very hard and I care very deeply because that is who I am.
I poured so much hate into myself that there was no room for love, acceptance, happiness or joy. I filled up my cup with spite, hate, anger, unworthiness and I was running on empty. The universe kept sending me messages to stop this. At first came lightly and softly but over the years I refused to listen, as I believed that I needed to continue to hate myself in order to love myself. I see this happening with so many people. I see it in my family and my friends. I see it in my pole dancing class. I see it in my customers. I see it in strangers on the street.
We have conditioned ourselves that there is always something about us that needs “fixing” and we cannot heaven forbid actually like the way we look or who we are. It’s been a long and at times painful path to unlearn hating myself. To stop being someone other than who I am. To stop constantly comparing myself to everyone. To stop saying those hateful words above over and over again in my head.
Recently, I upload my first unfiltered, make up free selfie to Instagram. It was a photo of me that I genuinely felt was a beautiful and raw photo. I took it at sunrise on Max Patch near Asheville, North Carolina. This is the first time in my 5 years of posting on Instagram that I have not wanted to alter, filter or change the image I was putting out to the world. After feeling so proud of myself for having the courage to put an unfiltered and real image online (heaven forbid we do that). A thought dropped into my mind of “How sad that it has taken me 5 years of building an online image to post an unfiltered and raw image of myself”
As I sat on the bus somewhere between North Carolina and Tennessee, I realised that this is genuinely the first time in the last 25 years that I don’t hate myself. I don’t hate my body. I don’t hate my appearance. I don’t hate my personality. I don’t hate my thoughts. I don’t hate where I live. Or insert hateful thought here.
For me unlearning all the hate that I have bashed into myself for years has been one long and hard journey. To believe that I am intelligent. That I am strong, resilient, courageous and beautiful has taken me to completely break down. To lose myself. To change so much about myself in the hope that one man would love and accept me how I expected him to. To have anxiety and depression. To even contemplate suicide because I didn’t think I was worthy of a big and bold life.
And I hope that you never get into that space. I hope that you never fill yourself with so much hate for who you are that you wish to no longer exist. Because it is a deep, dark and lonely space. The hardest part about hating yourself is that no one or nothing can change these deep-rooted thoughts or beliefs besides you. I know this because for the past 10 years I have walked this path. I believed all those hateful phrases and so much more about myself.
I am writing this because I hope that you can see yourself as the phenomenal being that you are. That you are all the wonderful words that people describe you as. For years I was told by my family, friends, boyfriends, customers, colleagues and sometimes complete strangers how confident, courageous, intelligent, funny, bubbly, beautiful, thoughtful and curious I was. I never believed them. I even hated hearing that because I never felt or believed that about myself.
Stop hating yourself. Stop listening to all the comments people make about you, it actually has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the hate they have for themselves. Stop believing that you need to be skinner, you need to wear more makeup, you need to change your hair colour. That you need to stop being too much of something or more of something else. Because you don’t. You honestly don’t. And your perceived list of hates about yourself, is actually what makes you imperfectly beautiful.
Stop believing you need some item or service to “fix” who you are. You don’t need fixing beautiful one. You might think you’re broken. You might be unsure about yourself. You might not know where you fit into the world. But you don’t need fixing. You don’t need to try to be more of something or less of something.
If all else fails then remember this – “Understand the value, power and control of your own presence” Peter J Daniels – because you are valuable. You are powerful and your presence in this world is so valid.