I know that this all reads like a bit of a sob story, but I promise that it's going somewhere.
Today while I was catching up on my television viewing (I don't know how I got so far behind because it's not as if I'm busy) I watched the latest episode of The Mindy Project, and it really hit home for me. It was all about how the main character, Mindy, was dealing with a serious lack of self confidence due to her pregnancy weight gain, and there was one particular lined delivered by the ever-fabulous Laverne Cox that made me pause the show and stare at the screen for about ten minutes because I had a total revelation/out of body experience.
Firstly, let me applaud this show for having such amazing female characters who are so supportive of each other, and who work to build each other up - I am so happy that this is becoming a thing in mainstream media because it's about bloody time. Secondly, this line was truly something else, and I'm sure I wasn't the only person who really thought hard about it for a long time after they finished watching.
I will admit it, I am an absolute shocker when it comes to negative self talk. I don't know when I started doing it or where I learned it from, but I honestly can't remember ever not being mean to myself. Whether it's about my looks, my smarts, or something dumb I did ten years ago, I put myself down ALL THE TIME, and I definitely don't think I'm alone. We are bombarded with advertising that tells us we need to change. We need to buy these razors so we can remove all the disgusting hair from our bodies, we need to buy this makeup because sure, we're already nice looking but we need to make ourselves beautiful, we need to lose ten kilos in two weeks because fat is ugly but we can't go too far because being too skinny isn't good either. Girls are taught from such a young age that saying good things about themselves is vain and unattractive, so we learn to put ourselves down because no one wants to be a tall poppy. Remembering many of the conversations I had with my friends as a teenager makes me so sad, because it always went the same way: one girl would say she didn't like something about herself, and the next would say that she was being silly and that whatever she thought was wrong with herself was so much worse, and it would go on and on until it turned into what seemed like we were all in competition to hate ourselves the most.
The concept of being your own best friend is nothing new, but it's something that I am ready to teach myself. This scene was the turning point for me to decide to unlearn all of the terrible, negative habits I'm so used to and to take a step back and really look at what I'm saying to myself. When I think that I'm not looking my best, I will remind myself that it's okay to not look like a million bucks all the time and comfort is what's really important. When I've made an effort and I look in the mirror and nitpick all the things I don't like about my hair and my face and whatever else, I will remind myself that I am smart and I am kind and that's what makes me cute, not whether or not my hair is perfect or my skin is baby butt smooth. When I feel like I'm not smart, I will remind myself that there is nothing I can't work out when I put my mind to it because I am a creative thinker who is good at finding fresh perspectives. And when I feel like I am not a perfect angel who looks like a model in a magazine because I can't afford whatever some giant corporation is trying to sell me, I will remind myself that corporations are run by straight white men and I won't give them the satisfaction of making me feel like anything less than a super babe.
It won't be easy, but it's about time I retrained my brain, and you are all more than welcome to join me - let's make 2015 the year of us!
♡ ♡ ♡