A dark little story of self love

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I’m a bit of a gothic girl at heart. When I was a little younger I used to raid my grandmother’s wardrobe. Thank the goddess that she was a hoarder. She had three bedrooms filled with wardrobes that in turn were filled with pristine dresses, coats and bags from the 1930’s and 40’s. It was a teenage gothic girls mothball heaven.

After watching me play dress ups in her bedroom for months, my grandmother finally relented and allowed me to choose a few of her treasures to keep. It was a defining moment in our relationship. I pretty much worshipped the ground she walked on from then until the day she left this incarnation.

I chose two soft fitted floral dresses, a jet black tailored coat and some accessories, that included gloves and a 1940’s handbag. When I matched them with jet black stockings and black lace up boots my mother thought I was crazy.

It was the middle of an Australian summer and here I was wrapped in tailored black, with a whisper of delicate deep green and blue floral fabric peeking through. My eyes are a deep blue, which back then I surrounded with plenty of black makeup and my hair of course was long, straight and a deep red.

I thought I looked elegant, mysterious and beautiful. My mother was confused. While my sister ran around in the 40+ degree heat in shorts and a t-shirt, I glided through the days like I had just stepped out of a Victorian Winter.

I loved myself back then. I loved how I looked, but most of all I was happy being me. This was who I was and it made me feel strong and confident about myself. It made me feel really good in my own skin. And even though there were very few people who dressed or behaved like I did, I felt incredibly happy to be me.

Over the years of course, I’ve had plenty of moments where this hasn’t stayed true. I have doubted myself, and been my own worst nightmare. There have been moments of despair, and moments where I have been so overwhelmed by my perception of the world that the only way to survive seemed to be to sink into a quiet numbness. But as Ram Dass says, “You can’t build joy on a feeling of self loathing.” You can’t create a life either. And you most definitely can’t live.

You either sink into a sickening depression, or you spend every minute of your life trying to please everyone to prove that you are good enough.

When you accept yourself and feel strong in your own skin; when you can love yourself and believe in your own beauty (not just physical beauty, but your inner beauty) then you not only change your own life, you breathe life into those around you.

Accept yourself. Believe in your heart that you are extraordinary, and as William James says “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

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