Dissociated AF today. Trying my best.
Today in contrarian snark, i bring you Rupaul’s iconic catchphrase:
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
For me, that’s absolute nonsense. I was born with a sweet and beautiful heart that loved everyone in my life, even my mother — purely, and without reservation. Even now i love my mother. I have hate for her, but the love is still there.
I didn’t think about loving myself, but i can assure you that, if i had, i would have struggled to do it. That goes against all my childhood indoctrination. Not even religion could penetrate what i was taught to believe about myself.
Pop psychology and its parade of self-help gurus got me thinking about it. It was like reading a book jacket — it sounded interesting and i wanted to know more. Finally acknowledging my trauma got me working on it. It started with a lot of eye-rolling and bosom-heaving. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth. I could see the value in it and i wanted very much to love myself.
But i couldn’t get it done. I couldn’t seem to make much headway until i had my boys. In them, i saw that there was good and beauty inside me. More than that, though, I LOVED THEM so much! I saw that they needed to see me living my best life, which included loving myself.
I’ve fought the good fight since then. The knowledge that they’re watching me is always in the back of my mind. I think about what my treatment of myself might be teaching them.
I ask myself:
- what do i want my children to know
- who do i want them to be
- how do i want them to comport themselves
- how do i want them to FEEL about themselves
- what can i give them that i wish someone had given to me
My love for others, my sons in particular, spurs me ever onward in loving myself. I’m learning how to treat myself by how i treat others. I can see how it can work the way Rupaul says, but it just doesn’t for me. I have some healthy natural instincts for how to love others, but loving myself was beaten out of me; it doesn’t come naturally at all.
Today i am pushing through depression, dissociation, and exhaustion, in part because my kids need to see me do it. They will know they can walk through their own valleys because they watched me walk through mine. I’m hoping to show them how good it is to love oneself, how worthy a pursuit, by how hard they see me fighting for it.
Today my system is very active and i’m coming up against a lot of resistance to write in depth about the work i’m currently doing in therapy. I’ll try again tomorrow.
IMAGE: Gianluca Tristo