I’m working on something I think is the hardest undertaking I have tried. This includes admitting to people I attempted suicide, was raped which resulted in a pregnancy that lead to a miscarriage, was sexually assaulted, abused, and have mental illnesses. Harder than trying to determine the start of anything I write.
I’m starting a journey. Queue music.
Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world. … Streetlight people, looking just to find emotion… Don’t stop believing hold on to…
I am on a journey already. I’m working on myself, on self acceptance. This is different than self esteem, which is like being your own cheerleader, using accolades and achievements to build yourself up. In layman terms, self-esteem is giving yourself high-fives. (Seriously, you might dislocate that shoulder of yours if you keep patting yourself on the back so much buddy. I’m sure though if one little thing went wrong, that esteem will plummet and you’d feel shattered, and need to start all over again.)
Self acceptance is different. It’s about accepting yourself. You don’t pat yourself on the back or try to high-five yourself. (After all, that looks silly and you might hit yourself in the face.) Instead, self-acceptance is looking at yourself, everything about you, and learning to accept it, live with it, embrace it. Or something like that anyways. You learn your strengths and weaknesses and you’re okay with them. Think of the dictionary definitions — willingness to tolerate, action of consenting, action or process of being received as acceptable — and apply that oneself. That’s what I’m trying to do.
That’s what I’m trying to do.
There’s so much about me that I need to accept. A fraking laundry list of issues to deal with, to accept. (Oh BSG how I miss you.)
This isn’t to say I haven’t started to accept myself, or that I’m just beginning. It’s a journey that has been ongoing for a while actually, but I’m only just realizing that this is what I have been doing.
So, that laundry list. Would you like to see some of it?
Depression and anxiety, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, being raped, assaulted and sexually assaulted, abuse, relationships failing one after the other, suicide attempt, self harming, miscarriage of my rapist’s baby, being cut off from family, losing friends, that time I was homeless for a bit, a lifetime of being bullied, at times having issues with alcohol…
This isn’t the full. I mean, let’s be real here, dealing with all of that, I’ve never had self-esteem, never been my own cheerleader. So, how can I actually accept myself or start to?
By realizing that while the past has changed me, I cannot change the past. It’s as simple as that. Some pretty shitastical things have happened to me and there are only two choices presented.
First option: play the victim and let these things dictate my entire life, keeping trapped as the victim.
Second option: realize and accept that these things have happened, put on my big girl panties, and keep on moving.
I have chosen. I’ve chosen to accept accept and keep moving. I’m accepting, well learning to accept myself. This includes the past events and the things I vastly dislike about myself. They are what create me, this beautifully ugly, quirky, scarred, person that is writing this.
I am getting semi okay with this acceptance thing. Take for example my self esteem level. It’s never been high, okay, it’s closer to non existent than anything else. I’m not okay that it causes me to shy away from a lot of things, including trying to expand my circle of acquaintances, but I’ve accepted that I am like this. So this mean though that I just shrug my shoulders at it, let it be, and keep doing what I always do, right?
Wrong. Catastrophically wrong.
This is where the hard work part starts for me. See, I’ve learned that with self acceptance, there is more than just stating to yourself “That’s just how I am” or “That’s just life”. Some work is involved. Ugh, yes one of the worst four letter words to ever be used. Work. You need to accept the reality, the reality of the situation or aspect that you are accepting.
So, I have accepted that I have almost nil self esteem. I’m just going to ignore this now, okay? Guess again, I need to now look at it. Why is my self esteem in such a state? Bully for almost my entire life, especially when I was younger caused this. Most importantly the constant put downs from a sibling hurt my self esteem the most, making me feel worthless. Great, so now I’m just not going to talk to anyone to avoid any further damage. Not quite. I’ve now realized where this came from, which is improvement, however I now have a fork in the road. I can shrug it off, pretend that it doesn’t exist, and stay as I am, complacent, OR I can give the bullies the middle finger, and see if there are any changes I can make.
Honestly, I haven’t quite made a move at the fork. This is the start of journey, and as much as I love showing people my amazingly crooked knuckle middle fingers (I have broken my fingers just a few times, or 10), I don’t know how yet. Am I going to just sit there, or will I try to make changes? Can I change how I feel regarding my self esteem or the way I think people perceive me?
This is really where my journey is beginning. I’m just past the dizzying circle of the Yellow Brick Road winding through town, and I’m now outside, heading towards the Emerald City, with a long way to go.
What will I discover and accept? What further choices will I make?