Deciding to Love Thyself

In deciding who I want to be, I decided to make 90 degree angle turns, black and white choices and to take big risks. I find the biggest lesson I’m learning is to accept the grey — it’s like the growing pains of a 14 year old. I still feel like one.

In fact, I am a grown woman.

A woman of colour. A woman of faith. A woman of mistakes.

I feel this sea of colour, grime, depression, joie and optimism on the surface of my skin, but not from within me. I can feel it welling up and surging inside me when I see the afternoon sun casting rays of light into the library windows, when I hear the soundtrack to ‘Her’- even when I pray. I say to myself, “This is not the version of myself that is considered professional or sharp — certainly not beautiful.” Like a tsunami of ruin, threatening to erode away the carefully constructed portrait of myself that comes with every business card handed out and every hand shaken.

Over dinner, a friend said to me, “Why can’t the woman living above the dépanneur, on the corner of St. Denis, with a disability, with freckles, with a scar, with her story in all it’s honesty not be considered beautiful? Why do we want to pretend to all like and agree this standard of beauty which we can’t relate to?”

Where do things stop being “just the way they are?” Maybe it starts when I admit that I am like her: proud, unabashed, honest, of-character — beautiful. I am the sum of a total and this is a constantly changing figure.

Smile your smiles, wave your waves, kiss all the cheeks and pay your dues — just don’t let that become who you are. Don’t forget. Your duty in this world of repetition, drudgery, dishonesty and struggle is to remind yourself everyday that if you had a dream yesterday or an expectation of the kind of person you want to be that you’ve never shared out loud; it’s on today’s checklist. It’s a simple reminder to stay true to the best version of yourself. The one of highs, lows, fears and doubts- this is what it means to love thyself.

This is what I will remind myself of.