A friend came over for a bit today and we complimented each others clothes and hair like we always do and then she said “this sweater thing is so ill fitting” and I followed with something about my shorts being schlumpy. I love how women, or people in general for that matter, take a compliments and spin them into an opportunity to tell the world where we’re lacking. Oh you like my hair? Well my crooked glasses and 10 extra pounds cancel that out so hair schmair. I can’t help but grin while reflecting on that moment and the way we pass up the chance to say “thank you” and shut the hell up and then my mind wandered down a path where I found myself thankful and at peace for who and what I’m not. Ill fitting would be one of those things.
I’m thankful that I’m not that person
While browsing through various social media platforms on the daily, I often see “be unapologetically yourself.” While I agree there is a piece of self love and self care that falls under that mantra, if I was truly unapologetically myself there would be a blaze of burning bridges that could be seen from space.
I’ve been a dick. A lot. Sometimes that come after a build up of emotions have swirled out of control in my head and then transformed into a giant, tangled ball of string that I wasn’t able to unfuck no matter how feverishly I searched for an end to tug free. I’ve acted out in fierce protection of others. You don’t get to me mean to my people. It’s rude and I will cut you. Other times it’s been a reckless form of self preservation- a fight or flight response to situations that deserved wings 90% more often than they deserved my excessively wordy, bitey attention.
I’ve needed to apologize to people, to an entire situation, and mostly to myself. Thankfully I wasn’t afraid to- not always as quickly as I should have and perhaps not in the prettiest package but I did it. I have a snarly, convicted side to me and I while I don’t make it a practice to eat shit, I’ll gladly gobble up my own bullshit if it means we’re all set free from being chained to a treadmill of repeated patterns and stagnated self growth. Nom nom nom.
I am not that person who will hold a grudge in hopes that squeezing it tightly will cut off circulation to the other party. I’m not that person who will only be satisfied if an apology is reciprocated- I need to let that stuff go and the rest is up to you. And, I’m not that person who will ever perceive myself as the most “right” person in the room that demands people to see things down my highway or no way. I am unapologetically flawed, I forgive, have been forgiven, and I am, without a doubt, still in need of receiving grace from people who’s apple cart I’ve flipped over…..and then threw the apples at them.
I’m thankful the mind that scrutinizes this body is not 20 or 30 anymore
Hell, let’s be honest, it’s barely holding on to 40. I had zero appreciation or understanding of my body for decades. I giggle every time I see a meme that says “I wish I was as fat as I was the first time I thought I was fat.” My issue is baby weight and that baby is will be 240 months in August.
I’m sure some of are views of self and on others are hard wired to ensure our species continues. Hips, muscles, height, perky boobs, strong facial features- whatever it is, at the end of the day, we’re all animals looking to mate and we want good breeding stock. It would be nice if they had their own health insurance and were kind to their mother too.
My younger self worked hard to achieve what I thought others would find attractive. In my mind there were deal no deals and if I wasn’t some complete package I wasn’t good enough. Not only was a wrong about what people saw in my, but I also made myself a neurotic mess of insecurities. To the extent of pointing out what I perceived as a flaw before anyone had the chance to notice. My left boob is a little bigger than my right- sorry about that oh and I didn’t have time to get my eyebrows waxed so don’t look at them and this isn’t a great color I’m wearing tonight-it kind of washes me out. Jesus, Rachel just shut up. Please, woman, shut up.
Self worth wrapped up in the validation from others is a horrible behavior. I honestly believe that my generation, that had to wait up to a week to get our pictures back, were saved from a ton of pressure to be something that’s not us. If your eyes were closed and you had a double chin in 10/24 pictures then that was your memory. Most of them ended up in drawers or in an album that made you cringe every time your mom brought it out for company to look through. But my God those are genuine, in the moment memories set in cement-no editing and no filters after the fact. It literally is what it is.
My beauty icons were primarily in magazines and in movies. You know how many super models there were? A handful and all of us were very aware that there was only one Cindy Crawford or Claudia Schiffer. We crimped our hair and killed the ozone one bottle of Aqua Net at a time as we tried to mimmic the images from the pages of magazines that arrived once a month….once a month. Today there are 8.9 million Instagram models, brought to you in under a second, and the amount of content out there to compare yourself too is overwhelming. My 20 and 30 thirty year old brain would have exploded trying to process which one was the “one” that was desirable.
I whole heartedly believe that confidence is one of the sexiest things any person can posses. Crooked tits and out of control eyebrows are for other people to discover, if they choose, and if those are deal breakers then they aren’t your people. Let people decide for themselves if the details your mind obsesses over matter to them. Rejection hurts and the avoidance of pain is a defense mechanism. There’s no way to know if someone who likes you today will still like you 6 months from now. If you’re looking for a guarantee I suggest you have a relationship with a car battery that comes with a warranty. Your eyebrows aren’t the deciding factor- you can exhale and relax now.
I adore people for reasons they would never even imagine. Mostly, it’s when I know something about them is bothersome and they are willing to be vulnerable with me and let what ever it is hang all out. Missing an inconspicuous tooth and open mouth smile around me? Yes please. Hate that you snort when you laugh at something really funny? Let’s tell dad jokes all day. Self conscious about the amount of time it takes you to make a decision about food? Hope you like what I’m making.
Turning away experiences and missing out on people because you don’t feel good about yourself is miserable. Who you are and what you’re working with in this moment is all you have. Own that shit. If people want to be around you don’t try to convince them otherwise. I’m not suggesting you should parade around our bedroom naked with the sun shining directly on you when all you really want to do is hide under the bed and cover up with the dust ruffle. I’m saying that if someone hugs you or is running their hands over you and they get to that lump or bump that makes you want to push the eject button take a deep breath and understand that whatever your insecurity is, it most likely isn’t as big of a deal as your reaction is.
This old brain that processes through what my minds eye wants and my interpretation of what’s in the mirror have found some common ground. Sure my ratio of ass to available pant is off some days, and my big boobs make by shirts too blousy, and maybe the way I part my hair is going to be wonky but that’s all ok. Worrying about any of that isn’t going to change any of those things in that moment. Matter a fact the only things that will change is my level of joy. I have a dope soul and a witty comeback wrapped in a teethy grin and I have calves that rival most mens. I got this and so should you.
I’m thankful I’m not someone that can unlove people
I have, without a doubt, loved people not meant for me-both romantically and in friendships. I have wedged my foot in closing doors to make sure I could torture myself for a little bit longer while they slammed the door repeatedly and I have put my life on hold to make sure someone else is happy. While most of those people and situations found a way to take care of themselves I still gave away pieces of myself that I couldn’t get back. Even if I did, they would probably be unrecognizable. Those were hard and horrible lessons to learn and none of it was based on love. It was a need based on lack of self awareness and zero understanding about who I am and what brings me joy.
There are people, however, that I genuinely love that are meant for me but in what way or form changes constantly. I’ve found people that speak my language, that I don’t have to explain yourself to. They just get me and the way I breathe around them is light and effortless. They always leave me feeling like life has hopeful undertones and that I don’t have to shrink who I am to make them comfortable. They make me feel safe enough to bring my inner child out for a bit. The blip of their name across my notifications make me smile across time and miles and the thought of lingering in their presence gives me butterflies.
I think at the end of the day we all want to make a difference and add value to someones life and that comes in all shapes and sizes. For me, that’s loving in a deep way. If you love hard, that’s what makes it worth it. You become a once in a lifetime person who forever marks the heart of another. There will always be a lines of self sacrificing and mutual respect to navigate but that’s part or any relationship.
I wouldn’t unlove one of them for a myriad of reasons but mainly because of how they make me feel. It’s the most selfish act and I back it up with something I’ve said for a long time. Home isn’t a building or a city- home, for me, is found in people and I like being home where laughter flows and I feel weightless.
I could go on about all the things I’m not and perhaps I should care more but I don’t worry about those things so much. I’m more interested in finding those things ton my continuing journey to find my authentic self and deciding if they mean as much as I think they should. I’m not a person that will ever smoother someone under the weight of my expectations because let’s face it- people thrive when you love them exactly how they are. I’ll continue to live like I’m not the sunrise but the fucking sun here offer a little light to peoples dark corners and to burn shit up when necessary…even if it’s a bridge every now and again.