Girl, love yourself though it be hard. I know sis, I know, I’m there with you too. Though I don’t quite know how to do this right, I’m learning. And this means unlearning everything we have been taught since birth about what love means, what us means, what I means.
Girl, learn to love yourself but let your lessons not come from movies & marketing. Spending more will not make you love yourself. Hurting other people is not self love. Irresponsibility isn’t self love. Lashing out, throwing other women under the bus will never be self love. Because our kind of love, girl, is our love, not my love. A love for all that creates, nurtures, heals, soothes, holds all. All beings, all living things, all universe.
Girl, loving yourself is a war where they brought nuclear armament & handed you a white flag to carry. Centuries of subtracting our identity, discounting it from popular narratives, denying us role models. Loving yourself as a woman is like teaching yourself to speak in a language that attacks your very existence, cuts your tongue as you sample the words, poisons you as you taste & digest its flavours. Do it anyway because this is self love and this love will conquer all.
Girl, love yourself with gentle understanding. Take your lessons from men’s mistakes but not from their lessons. Men learn to desire as conquest, to care as submission, to collaborate as resentment, to exchange as a negotiation. You do not have to love the way they do. Revenge will not teach you to love yourself. Forgive them because you love you too much to carry their mistakes. This is self love.
Girl, love yourself without boundaries or shame. Caring for people who leech off us is a trauma reaction. It doesn’t define who we are. It doesn’t define loving. Regret doesn’t define loving. Honour how you’ve managed to love, even if was hard on you. Your shackles are not your identity. But releasing them and walking free – that’s you and that’s self love.
Girl, love yourself.
📸: Malyana, Himachal Pradesh, 2018