#SelfLove & Selfies: A Successful Reflection

fig. 1: aforementioned location of said revelation

This story begins with a glamorous anecdote. I was sitting in a bathroom stall in Brixton in September, drunk on #London and half-litre cans of Strongbow and good company, when: lo and behold. The writing on the wall was (quite literally) written in pale blue spray paint on the wall.

In a society that relies on self-doubt, loving yourself is an act of rebellion.

Like I say, it wasn’t a glamorous moment. I was wearing a denim jacket and a bodycon Cotton On dress with a hole near my bellybutton. My opshop beads were askew and the winged eyeliner I’d done 30 seconds before running to the tube was most certainly not on point but: in that little moment I chuckled to myself and felt glamorous and grateful and free.

fig. 2: portrait of a 21yo

Five years ago I weighed 20kg less, had a stable job that I enjoyed, excelled in my final year of a BA in philosophy, exercised regularly, bought organic groceries, avoided sugar at pot lucks & bring-a-plates, owned a Kitchenaid stand mixer and was tenured to marry my boyfriend of ~3 years, who I lived with. I sometimes felt glamorous. I rarely felt grateful. I never felt that free.

Being 21 was fucking hard. I don’t know if I’d do it again unless you paid me, and in hindsight my overachievement was a front for my low self-esteem. It was a time characterised by running. I was living at full speed, going to raves, out drinking in the city every weekend, #cleaneating, no sugar; a life measured in kilometres run and calories consumed and bottles of wine finished. It was the year I first talked to someone about my disordered eating and the year I got to my lowest ever adult weight.

2011 was a year of caring too much about what other people thought, and too little about what was good for me or what made me happy.

In a society that relies on self-doubt, loving yourself is an act of rebellion.

There is something very preachy and annoying about #blessed #reformation #selflove blog posts, and that’s not what I’m trying to do here. You do you, galfren. You do you. What I’m trying to say is that it’s OK not to have your shit together. It’s OK to let a few people down now and again. I’ll say it again: you do you.

I sat, chuckling to myself in the half-light of that Brixton bathroom stall because it had taken me three flights, five years and two litres of cider to realise that I was perfectly a++ just the way I was.

fig. 3: portrait of a happy 25yo

I have been very happily single for nearly a year, and I often feel like my life is falling apart. Sometimes I wonder if I’m truly losing my mind. I love my work, I love my friends, I love to be alive. To live is to suffer, to suffer is to live, to live is to be a fluctuating, moveable, human work of art: glory and gore.

When we hate our bodies or doubt our own excellence, we’re playing into the hands of a patriarchy that tells us we’re not good enough. It’s the same patriarchy that stops our little glass elevators from breaking through factory ceilings, and the same patriarchy that plays on our insecurities and causes us to dwell on our perceived shortcomings. If you look around and see how full your life is, all of the holes don’t seem to matter so much.

Love yourself, friends. Your madness is beautiful and your beauty is maddening. In a society that relies on self-doubt, loving yourself is an act of rebellion.