One of the BIGGEST struggles I have had in my life,
stems from a conversation I had with my Mum when I was a pre-teen.
The original source of the conversation was from her own really low self-worth
and her Mother’s
harsh strict parenting.
Mum told my two sisters and I that vanity was one of the worst characteristics in the world.
I honestly can’t remember how this topic became a conversation
or the examples she used of the outcomes,
however she did give us VERY clear examples of vain behavior.
Looking at yourself in the mirror, is one.
Wearing a lot of jewellery, is another.
Wanting pretty things or expecting gifts from people, is another that I can recall.
To this day,
I can go DAYS without looking at myself in the mirror!
I NEVER look at myself in the reflection of a shop window
and I’ve never owned a full-length mirror.
I own some beautiful jewellery that I rarely wear.
Just as I have some stunning clothes
and shoes that never see the outside world.
Tragically also, I am so convinced that receiving a gift is a vanity,
that I sometimes refuse other people’s generosity towards me.
However, the greatest burden I carry from the innocent conversation with my Mum
more than 30 years ago,
is the cruel and unjust voice in my head.
The voice that controls my self-esteem.
That strives to stop me from ever becoming vain.
This voice berates any attempt I make to better myself, to believe in myself or to be kind to myself.
This voice is adept at using minimal words for maximum impact. It even has it’s own mantra.
“You’re a loser!”
The spite in it’s voice. God, the spite in the tone, is evil green with shards of red and it hisses the words. And it’s so cold. It actually cools the air around me when I hear it.
It steals all my power.
Leaves me core-less.
Leaves me devoid of the energy to even just exist.
It creates a blackness reminiscent of true dread.
But despite this voice, that could have joined forces with my depression
and completely wiped me off the face of this Earth,
I have found the compassion and desire to rid myself of it.
I have done tens of years of
analytical / psychological / anthropological / cognitive / emotional therapy.
The kind of therapy that sometimes robs you of your will to wake up the following day
because you have faced something so black and painful that life cannot be lived.
Therapy that steals your identity
because you shed negative elements of yourself
and have to find positive elements to replace them with.
The kind of therapy that gives you the wisdom to see
how you could have dealt with previous situations in a much healthier manner
– but won’t help you deal with the guilt or shame of that wisdom
until the next therapy session!
The therapy that helps clarify the relationships and personalities in my family,
but can’t help me deal with the fact
that they will never see me with the same clarity or lack of judgement.
Therapy that picks deep scabs from emotional wounds and lets them heal properly,
I did all of this.
No one is to blame.
This is not a complaint.
I am not angry about this.
I am a little sad.
But I did it.
With therapy I was able to clearly define and see the ugly voice in my own head.
Although this therapy has never empowered me to completely rid myself
of it’s cankerous soul,
I have been able to seek manners in which to attack it.
Face it and take it on.
Look at it in a MIRROR and say
“Fuck off! I don’t deserve this. You are no longer allowed to be here. To even exist!”
I have read many MANY articles, essays and chapters
on ‘being kind’ to oneself.
I have made small inroads.
Over a long stretch of time.
It could just be timing or the a plain old accident,
but this article wormed it’s way into my psyche two days after
I allowed myself to leave Fiona’s Grandma’s funeral
because it was the right thing to do.
For her & for me.
I am going to read it again and again over the next few weeks.
Let a new word or phrase sink into my knowledge each time.
I WILL be kind to myself.
I WILL learn that having self-worth is not vanity.
I am not vain!