With Valentine's Day coming up (the dreaded V-day; you can read all my mocking posts on my website), it seems a good time to point out the person in our lives that we rarely praise, always take for granted, and honestly, treat rather badly a lot of the time.
I'd say everyone put your hand up if your negative self-talk outweighs your positive self-talk, but we'd all look pretty foolish with our hands up in the air while we're reading, so I'm not going to do that to you. But you thought about doing it anyway, didn't you? :)
It's amazing that so many people (especially women) go through their lives treating almost everyone else better than they treat themselves. We listen too much to all the talk surrounding us telling us that if we get wrinkles we're gross, if we get extra fat on our bodies we're gross, if we don't fit a physical ideal we're gross, if we have hair in the wrong places we're gross, and if we dare to stand up for ourselves, or put ourselves forward as worthy people, we're arrogant bitches.
The love starts at home. I used to negative-talk myself all the time. With Bob's help, I've dulled it down to an intermittent murmur, which is a feat well-nigh miraculous, since my brain has the ability to dredge up everything I've ever done and point out how I could do it better. And that's just for my actions - my looks? Oh, man.
Until my early twenties, I was significantly overweight - by the BMI measuring standards, I was considered "obese". My food choices were constantly policed, and pretty much every person in my life joined in on the policing. It took me years, even after I lost weight, to shake free of a constant internalized negativity about every morsel of food I ate, to the point that I felt physically and sexually repulsive because I had the temerity to eat. I've written before about my horror of food-related imagery as a child, and to this day, I can't watch the refrigerator scene in 9-1/2 Weeks without feeling nauseated with anxiety. Food, in my world, was the farthest thing from sexy that you can get. Food was gross, and because I ate food, I was gross.
In the film and literary world, heroes and heroines are slim, beautiful, and don't have any bodily needs (except the contractual need to fuck like bunnies at least once per book or movie). To be beautiful in Hollywood is to deny yourself the enjoyment of food in case you get fat, and the advertising media takes great pains to let us know that fat is comic, hideous, unsexy, and repulsive. To be overweight and a woman in this culture is to be told that you are every woman's nightmare, and perfect strangers feel justified in policing everything you put in your mouth.
I, too, bought into this. I swallowed (as it were) the poison. I drank (again, ha, ha) the sugar-free Kool Aid.
And that absorbtion of all that nasty stuff made the negative voices take up residence inside my head, build a nest, and burrow in for the long haul. Any woman reading this will agree that they don't need anyone else policing them, they do it constantly themselves. No-one can tell us anything we haven't heard before. No-one can tell us anything we haven't told ourselves in nastier, more cruel and unforgiving terms.
We speak to ourselves in a way that we would never, ever speak to anyone else. And somehow this is considered acceptable and normal. A group of women will, sooner or later, start talking about how ugly they are, how fat, how their thighs make them want to puke. It's actually thought of as appropriate, since a woman who actually likes herself is somehow bad.
About five years ago, I started being done with this. My body, with all its issues, is wonderful, and beautiful. I am smart, and funny, and kind. I love my friends, and would do anything for them.
So let's talk about our beautiful, wonderful, miraculous selves - in the comments, today, tomorrow, and whenever you read this, tell me something you love about yourself. Don't temper it with any negatives - tell your body and mind and soul that you love them. If you're uncomfortable putting your name to your comment, post it anonymously.
No negatives. No buts. No "on the other hand I hate this". You don't need to hide your wonderful self when you talk to me, I won't think less of you. You're not bragging, you're celebrating.
I love my body. It has curves, it's responsive, it's beautiful. I love my hair. It curls prettily, it does what I want it to. I love my sense of humour - I thought "Hungry is my buffalo wing-man" is one of the funniest jokes I've ever written. My voice is beautiful, and I love to listen to my Lost Cause cd. I am making an awesome embroidered jacket that is going to be really gorgeous, because I am patient, talented, and I have good taste.
Now it's your turn. Because I love you all.
Guys are totes allowed to comment too - the internal negative voice affects us all.