Sunday, 3 April 2016
To the woman who wouldn't buy herself flowers
'They're beautiful.' You said quietly, wide eyes alight with wonder as I cradled the vibrant, dripping bouquet in my arms. 'I wish somebody would buy me flowers! Who are they for?'
'They're for me.' I smiled, 'why don't you get some for yourself?!'
'Oh... I couldn't do that- I'd feel silly! It's not even a special occasion!'
I drove home thinking about your forced, half-smile. The way you immediately denied yourself of the nice thing. How, in the look that followed, my 'me' was your wrong answer. I was odd to you. Selfish, perhaps.
And if those are the thoughts that did indeed dance across your mind, then yes, you were right. I am selfish. Thoroughly selfish. And gladly so. Because selfishness and selflessness are not mutually exclusive, and both are equally important.
Somehow, amidst the chaos, you've got to learn to be your own best friend: to accept with empowering grace that the relationship you have with you is the only one that will weather the storm of time. The only one that was and will be there, fully there, through it all. There was a moment, once, when I learnt that. When I was the only person in the world who knew that I wouldn't kill myself, but that I didn't much fancy living either. That was the game changer, I think. When I realised that yes, we must love others with the fullest of hearts, but we must love ourselves too. We must love ourselves first.
And I get it. Believe me, I get it. Self-love is a difficult feat. I think as humans, as women particularly, we struggle to see beyond our imperfections. A kind heart too often blurred by the 'bleugh' of our immediate reflection: those bits of us that sag where we'd prefer they didn't, the fuck ups we haven't quite forgiven ourselves for, that smile that occasionally wilts from the lingering toxicity of those who made us feel we weren't good enough: those who demanded more when we gave them our very best.
But here's the deal, sweet stranger. You deserve to be the protagonist of your own wonderful, bizarre, terrifying little life. If you decide you are enough, you are enough. You don't need to wait for some grand external validation of your worth before you offer your kindest heart to yourself. Before you permit yourself to be. To know that self acceptance, self compassion, does not invalidate self-growth, and that tomorrow, or the next day, or the next year, you might be better: more accomplished, more confident, but that right now, you are all that you are. And that is okay.
Let's make a special occasion over the fact that today, you frickin' existed. You showed up to the world, despite the insecurities that haunt you; despite the inevitable, silent struggles that might have you crumbling inside.
Let's celebrate that you are you, and you are the only you that ever has and ever will walk this beautiful and terrible planet, which already makes you pretty damn fucking special. More than good enough for that lovely bunch of flowers. For every last bunch in the shop.