How Do I Love Myself?

love-is-an-action-verb

 

Contrary to popular belief, depressed people desperately want to feel better. I know this from my own experience. For me, the self-loathing and apathy were excruciating. I would pray and pray and pray that God would fix me, or would send me a man who would fix me. But neither of those things would ever happen no matter how often or how feverishly I hoped and prayed. Eventually I was so sad and hopeless I pondered jumping off my 20th floor balcony. I sat with a noose around my neck. I felt like I was being swallowed whole by my mere existence.

When I came out of that funk, I was terrified by where I’d been. I felt like I’d been balancing on a tightrope over the pit of hell. I never wanted to be swallowed up by that fear and emptiness and darkness ever again. I knew I had to take my life into my own hands and stop waiting on someone or something else to change me.

I hate pablum and cliches. So I am often too cynical and sardonic to “lower myself” to follow simple, common advice from friends and family. But at this point I was willing to try anything, even things other people had suggested. (How gauche! :rolleyes:)

I had to get off the couch, stop isolating and get back into the world. I started going to AA meetings again. I let myself enjoy food that was fattening. I volunteered to work with FurKids, an agency that works to rescue and find homes for homeless cats and dogs. I continued to be active in my church.

Yes. All the things that people had been telling me to do for years.

Even though it was sometimes tiring, and I was socially engaged more often than I really liked, I quickly realized that I was feeling better. Part of it was being with people. Part of it was spending three hours a week playing with kittens. Part of it was the serenity I found in other women’s stories in AA. Part of it was Ben & Jerry. And frankly, lots of times it was just being too busy to worry about all the things and people in the past and the future that I’d been obsessing and worrying about.

Man, it was an incredible relief! I was starting to feel like myself again. The weight was lifting off my shoulders. I actually looked forward to things a couple of times! I felt like everything was finally coming back together.

But one piece of advice that I’d been told over and over still kept nagging at me. “You have to love yourself.”

Well how the hell do you do that?!? I can’t just will myself to fall in love with the next guy I meet. How can I do that with myself. Love is one of those things you either feel or you don’t.

So, with no answers, I just went on and kept trying to open myself up to people and stay active and be less critical of myself and others. I said the Serenity Prayer out loud a lot. I felt so much more in control of my life. But there was still that unscratched itch at the thought of how to love myself.

And then one day, out of the blue, it occurred to me. DERP!  I’ve always thought about love as a feeling. But turns out, love is a verb!

It’s the way we act, and the way we treat and care for ourselves and others! You are kind to yourself. You do nice things for yourself. You forgive yourself. You treat yourself as you’d treat your neighbor. THAT is how you love yourself. Turns out love isn’t a feeling; it’s an action.

It had been that simple all along and I was just too smart to see it.

❤ ❤ ❤

 

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Links of the Week – June 19, 2014

justice

* Jack King, NASA’s ‘Voice Of Apollo,’ Dies At 84

* Baseball And Black History – (So wonderful!)

* Even Baby Rhinos Need To Snuggle – (Dawwwwwww!)

* Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

* Star Trek Celebrating DeForest Kelley’s Life

* The Old Mansions Of Peachtree Street – (Back when anything north of North Avenue was the suburbs of Atlanta)

* Astonishing Adventure T-Shirt – (Paging Mr. Herman…)

* How To Think Like A Sound Engineer

* PostSecret: Chairs

* PostSecret: Rat – (Me too!)

* PostSecret: Object

* When My Boyfriend Is Giving Me The Silent Treatment – (EVERY. Single. Argument my ex-husband and I ever had.)

* Love Is Not Enough – (I need to carry a copy of this with me always.)

* Cats Are Moody Creatures

* This Disney Princess Softball Team Photo Is Blowing Up The Internet

* Black Work-It Skort – (Don’t be fooled by the name. This idea could make wearing skirts ALMOST bearable!)

WWN Guide To Mercy Killing Your Family If Gay Marriage Becomes Legal – (The funniest thing I’ve read in quite a while! 😀 )

* 4 Mixing FAQ’s For New Sound Techs

* Zack Hunt: Does God Still Heal The Sick?

tacobelljesus

* Spaghetti Toes: Taco Bell Is Just Alright With Jesus

* GLIDE United Methodist Church – (God, let all our churches be more like this one!)

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“Before my transition, I was hesitant about calling myself a woman, mostly because I had no desire to live up to the societal expectations and ideals that others often project onto that identity. I use to fear that embracing that identity would be tantamount to cramming myself into some predetermined box, restricting my possibilities and potential. But I now realize that no matter how I act or what I do or say, I remain a woman – both in the eyes of the world and, more importantly, in the way that I experience myself. While I used to view the word ‘woman’ as limiting, I now find it both empowering and limitless.”

Whipping Girl, Julia Serano

“In trans women’s eyes, I see a wisdom that can only come from having to fight for your right to be recognized as female, a raw strength that only comes from unabashedly asserting your right to be feminine in an inhospitable world. In a trans woman’s eyes, I see someone who understands that, in a culture that’s seemingly fueled on male homophobic hysteria, choosing to be female and openly expressing one’s femininity is not a sign of frivolousness, weakness, or passivity, it is a fucking badge of courage. Everybody loves to say that drag queens are ‘fabulous,’ but nobody seems to get the fact that trans women are fucking badass!”

Whipping Girl, Julia Serano

“The feminist assumption that ‘femininity is artificial’ is narcissistic, as it invariably casts nonfeminine women as having ‘superior knowledge’ while dismissing feminine women as either ‘dupes’ (who are too ignorant to recognize they have been conned) or ‘fakes’ (who purposely engage in ‘unnatural’ behaviors in order to uphold sexist societal norms.)”

Whipping Girl, Julia Serano

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Links of the Week – June 5, 2015

cameron

* Louisiana’s First Female HS Football Coach Driven By Championship Dreams

* The Curse of Being Guilt Prone

* Real Love Is A Choice

* Loving Others Without Expecting To Fill A Void

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* Avocado Shrimp Salad

* Brown Butter Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies

* Fox News’ Steve Doocy’s Freak Out: Kids Shouldn’t Know About Genitals, Transgender People Or Other “Stuff That’s Gross”

* What Should We Call Me: Summer

* Tommy Lasorda Once Threw at 15-Inning Complete Game

* Open Minded Man Grimly Realizes How Much Life He’s Wasted Listening To Bullshit

* Girl Claims Senior Photo Was Removed From Yearbook Because She Wore A Tuxedo

* Do You Applaud Caitlyn Jenner Because She’s Brave, Or Because She’s Pretty?

* Opal Stud Earrings – (Ooooooooh! Pretty!)

* What Should We Call Me: When People Want To Talk About What I Have Planned For My Future
fucks

* Here’s What The Duggars Can Teach The Church About Islam

* Color Bars Tank Top

* Wonder Woman Mesh Cami & Panty Set  – (!!!)

* Can Flaky People Make Good Partners?
hewasafool

* Way Too Many Americans Can’t Afford To Take Care Of Their Teeth

* John Stewart Welcomes Caitlyn Jenner To Womanhood: “Your Looks Are The Only Thing We Care About”

* I Can Haz Cheezburger: Smoke Detector – (Brilliant idea!)

* David Barton Alters Iconic Works Of Art

* Pluto’s Moons Are Tumbing “In Absolute Chaos,” NASA Says

* Dale Gribble T-Shirts – ( ❤ ❤ ❤ )

* 24 Pictures That Perfectly Sum Up Not Fitting In – (SO funny!)

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“I could go mad, I realize as I parse this thing out to its furthest implications. There is nothing more disquieting than loving someone who does not love you back and won’t tell you why, or give you any sort of glimmering of understanding. The inanity of heartbreak lies in the unfathomable mystery of another’s heart – how can she not feel exactly the way I do? In other, more plaintive and pathetic words, how can she not feel joyous and enthralled about our time together, and yearn for more of it? How can she seem to feel so indifferent to me, so coldly uninterested? I had thought we were experience something together, and now it appears I’ve been a fool. There are no words to describe how humiliating and disappointing this is.”

The Epicure’s Lament, Kate Christensen

“‘…Vivian blew this up into a love affair in her own mind. Of course, she knew it was all in her own mind, but that only made it more intense; you know how that works, I’m sure.'”

The Epicure’s Lament, Kate Christensen

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Snapshots of Joy

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There must be something about happiness, comfort, safety and love that particularly imprint long-term memories in the brain. I have these moments frozen like snapshots in my head.

  • My mom sitting in a living room chair holding me and singing a Christmas song to me on a dark December morning after my brother had left on the school bus.
  • The first time I had a dream, told my mom I’d seen a story in my brain in my sleep and said to her, “That’s what a dream is, isn’t?!?”. (It was about my white German Shepherd, Prince and the circus.)
  • My brother speeding me down the hill in our backyard on the handlebars of his green Schwinn bicycle.
  • My daddy coming home after being out of town and bringing me my own tiny softball cleats. (This was UNHEARD of, a girl having cleats!)
  • Anything in the Douglasville Public Library.
  • Sitting in my mom’s lap looking at the Sears Christmas catalog the moment it showed up in the mailbox! (We still did this WAAAAY after I was too big to be in my mom’s lap!)
  • Standing in the driveway and punting a football again and again over the electrical line that ran to the house.
  • Standing behind the house and throwing a softball against the house and catching it – over and over again.
  • Playing H-O-R-S-E with my brother in the driveway. (Fare thee well for I must leave thee…)
  • Making a fort during the summer with my canopy bed, a jump rope and a bunch of sheets. Laying in there in front of an oscillating fan and reading all afternoon. (We didn’t have air conditioning.)
  • Going to Granny and Aunt Jo’s and getting to go and pick out a drink in the glass bottle from the wood crates the man delivered to their house every week.
  • Spending the night with Granny and Aunt Jo. Granny making hot fresh biscuits every morning.
  • Book fair day!!!
  • Riding in the backseat of Daddy’s car and listening to WPCH “easy listening” music while Momma rested her hand on the back of Daddy’s neck.
  • Making the varsity softball team as a freshman.
  • Getting fouled under the basket by cross-town rival Betsy in the 9th grade basketball tournament. Laying on my back on the block and seeing my shot go in!
  • Blocking the same Betsy off the plate in a high school softball game, tagging her out and looking at the black cleat mark on my pants afterwards! Awesome!
  • Riding in the car with Daddy and listening to Willie Nelson’s “Stardust” album.
  • Watching “The Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek” series for the first times.
  • Getting to stay up late by myself during the summer to watch Braves west coast games. On the couch, in the dark with the attic fan running, listening to a tipsy Skip Caray bemoan the pitiful team.
  • Eating cheese grits and chicken sandwiches at Cuz’n Catfish in Rome.
  • Looking out my office window at Oxford during a pouring rain an imagining the squirrels running up and down the tree outside are fish. *shrug*
  • Sitting in my car under a shade tree during the summer at Oxford, eating my lunch and reading a book.
  • Sitting on the porch of a house in the North Georgia mountains while the man I loved worked. We listened to old country music on the staticy radio. I don’t think I’d ever felt safer as an adult.
  • Running in the pitch black dark at Hinton Rural Life Center hoping I won’t run off the side of the road. After my eyes adjust, I realize I’m was running under a canopy of fireflies lighting the trees overhead.

It’s funny to realize nothing big makes the list. It’s the little things.

Links of the Week – April 24, 2015

land-photo-002 (1)* Anxiety Coach

Manage Chronic Worry With Worry Periods

* What The Fuck Should I Make For Dinner?

* Crispy Avocado Fries With Melty Cheese Dip

* Loaded Butterscotch Cheesecake – (OMG!)

* Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies – (Dead!)

* Dickipedia: Ted Nugent

* Healthy Personal Boundaries & How To Establish Them

* Do Not Obey Your Parents

safe

* Does God Change His Mind?

* Laguna Beach To Sedona

* Evening Sky Tours

* Red Rock State Park

* Star Trek: TNG – Season 2 vs. Season 6 – (Truth.)

* Trek Lessons

* Transgender Man Leads ‘Men’s Health’ Cover Model Contest – (That’s a hot dude!)

* Transgender Teen Wins Case To Wear Makeup In DMV Photo

* Men’s Story Project Questions Gender Roles

* How To Throw Like A Girl

* Lesbian Couple Fired From Aloma Methodist ECLC After Being Told To Change Their Lifestyle

* Seriously, USA?: Most Of You Know I Grew Up With Two Moms – (Blog post of the week. This story will break your heart.)

* Wrigley Field Ivy Yields Ancient Prize

* After 10 Years In The Minors, Paulo Orlando Hit A Triple In His Major League Debut – (Makes my heart happy!)

* Banging For The Bucks; SEC Coaches Edition – (Looks like Richt’s earning his money!)

* NASA’s New Horizons Nears Historic Encounter With Pluto

* Nautilus Ocean Exploration Vehicle Has Rare Sighting Of Sperm Whale – (Awesome in the true sense of the word!)

* Chile’s Calbuco Volcano Erupts For The First Time In 40 Years – (Gorgeous pictures!)

* Emory Unveils Water Recycling Facility

* Kitty Sneaker Boots – (Dawwwwwww!)

* Dazzle Glitter Combat Boots – (THIS!!!)

* The Making Of Dr. Oz

*  ‘I Regret Everything’:Toni Morrison Looks Back On Her Personal Life

* What It’s Like To Have Down Syndrome – And Care For A Sister With Disabilities

* Don’t Tell Me When The Next AA Meeting Is

* Behind The Mixer: Take The 15-Point Church Service Review

* Avoiding “Forever Alone”

* For When You Think No One Will Love You

* I Need To Be Loved So Much, I Want To Be Loved

safenottofeel

* Jon Krakauer On Campus Rape, Victim Backlash And Why “Missoula” Was The Hardest Book He’s Had To Write – (Sickening)

* Dakota State Athletics Plays Game Of ‘Dizzy Punt’ – (Hysterical!)

* Spoonflower: Design Your Own Fabric, Wallpaper & Giftwrap

* Oh, God! Teacher Arranged Desks In Giant Circle

* Fast Food Drive-Thru Just Cow Carcass, Bucket For Money

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“I never stopped loving you but there came a time I had to start loving me.”

– Christopher Stone

“She gave me an odd look. ‘You’d be surprised, Theo,’ she said, leaning back in her shawl-draped chair, ‘what small, everyday things can lift us out of despair. But nobody can do it for you. You’re the one who has to watch for the open door.'”

– Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

“On game day, until five o’clock or so, the white desert light held off the essential Sunday gloom – autumn sinking into winter, loneliness of October dusk with school the next day – but there was always a long still moment toward the end of those football afternoons where the mood of the crowd turned and everything grew desolate and uncertain, onscreen and off, the sheet-metal glare off the patio glass fading to gold then gray, long shadows and night falling into desert stillness, a sadness I couldn’t shake off…”


– Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others, that in the end, we become disguised to ourselves.”

– Francois De La Rochefoucauld

“I was terrified of death by the time I was three or four, actively if not lucidly. I had frequent nightmares about snakes and scary neighbors. By the age of four or five, I was terrified by my thoughts. By the time I was five, the migraines began. I was so sensitive about myself and the world that I cried or shriveled up at the slightest hurt. People always told me, ‘You’ve got to get a thicker skin,’ like now they might say, jovially, ‘Let go and let God.’ Believe me, if I could, I would, and in the meantime I feel like stabbing you in the forehead.”

– Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow

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