The cold weather officially came, and with it a sort of blue mood that hit me quite mercilessly over the course of the last weeks. It is very easy for me to spiral down into self-loathing and sluggishness, and not having a job and a schedule is not really helping to keep myself down to earth. I managed to get out of it, as any other time before this one, and in the past few days I have been feeling again full of energy and positive thoughts, and can hardly believe I had been so sad and so hard with myself (and my kind and beautiful partner).
I think is normal to have ups and downs, We all have them. Yet I believe my downs tend to be way too deep (with respect to what is causing them), and I always end up questioning myself and all the things I have done, like entirely. Being a person who struggled for many years with self-hate, depression and self-abusive behaviors, it gets really easy to just step back into this well-known places, and in those moments, the fact that I managed to get out of it, to heal myself, and that i am now leaving a full and happy life becomes barely significant.
A bout a month ago, I was at my parents home (where I grew up) and I found an old diary of mine. There were just a couple of months recorded (I was never able to consistently journal) and I decided to have a look at it, and dive into this “old self”. The things I wrote were mainly about my feelings and my frustrations, how disconnected I felt with my surroundings and how badly I needed to love and accept myself, and to stop all the various self-destructing behaviors I spent those years dwelling into.
The first instinctive response upon reading those lines, was one of surprise, for the depth of the thought-process and the auto analysis that I was carrying on, utterly different from the dead-brained, thoughtless-person I think I was in my early-20s. This feeling was (of course) directly connected to the disappointment of being “still in that position, still trying to love and accept myself” now, almost 10 years later. Disappointment that prevailed over any other feeling. Also because, let’s face it, mental struggles are not that cool. We are supposed to be out there following our passions, pursuing a brilliant career, making art, being creative and so on and so forth. Spending time feeling ugly and stupid is hardly a Hollywood movie scenario and – do not mistake me – it is also not a worthwhile way to spend our days. But still, the struggles are real, and we should talk about them.
Today, i decide to revisit this moment, and to erase this disappointment, because yes, I am still struggling to learn how to love myself, but I made so many brave and long steps from where I was back then, that it does not matter, whether i reached or not the destination.
And I might not even ever reach it. Loving oneself is a journey, most probably a lifetime journey. For everyone, and especially for those who spent a big chunk of their life actively hating and sabotaging themselves and their bodies. So today I celebrate my 20-something self, for her thoughts and will to be better, and I celebrate my present self, for all the things I have done and for keeping this will alive and strong.
Within this frame, i will try to be attentive, on a daily basis, about the way I treat myself, and I will try to love and do nice things to and for myself. I have tried to cultivate self-care in the past 1 or 2 years, but always with a sort of shame and embarrassment, a feeling of guilt, and mostly considering it as sort of by-product of the things I was doing, not like one of the main reason to do them in the first place. Moreover, for how much I hate to admit it, I have been really focused only on myself and my needs. Which is ok to a certain extent, as I used to be a terrible people pleaser and to shut down my self and my needs all the time (and you cannot pure from an empty vase and bla bla bla…), but its getting to the point where it is turning against me. So, I will also focus on the outside, I will be kind and use my energy to make other people happy.
So that next time that I get trapped on the bottom of a well (which will happen, as it happens to anyone), it won’t be such a deep well, and I will still be able to see what is outside, on the surface, and slowly and steadily climbing my way out there.