Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Lie Behind Self-Hate Is The Truth Behind Self-Love

Hello :'D,

Two posts in one week?! Gosh- I'm on a roll. This post, unlike the other, is more positive and less about me and MY problems. I wanted to discuss something that is so prevalent nowadays among our generation, especially the females within it. That is self-love, or rather the lack of it; it's a concept that I'm only beginning to come to grips with myself, but a concept that I've always understood to be really important because it doesn't only affect you, but others around you, especially those who love you more that you're able to love yourself.

The inspiration for this post came from a conversation I had this morning with my friend, Chantelle. Chantelle is one of the prettiest girls I know, I mean from head to toe. She has pretty eyes, perfect teeth, nice shape and an amazing personality that just fills a room. Sure, like everyone else, she has a few things about her that she's not pleased about, like the head that she considers "ginormous," her wild set of hair, and, most importantly, her weight. Chantelle is not the thinnest, but she's big boned and struggles with her weight. I can relate to her because although I've never been huge, I've been big enough where it bothered me.

When we were talking, we were talking about this boy she liked and how she decided that she wasn't going to pursue a relationship with him until she had lost some weight and was able to love herself, because she couldn't see someone loving her before she did. This comment really made me look at myself and it was then that I realized that my own, personal self love has improved so much over the months past. I actually realized that August will be a year since I tried to end my life, and I just couldn't believe it.

As girls, we're faced with so many different pressures, be it the pressure to fit in, or the pressure to be loved; it all works on our emotions and often causes our mirrors to become tainted. We look at ourselves and become extremely critical, seeing first our "imperfections" rather than the things that make us who we are. That becomes so dangerous, resulting in disorders like anorexia, bulimia, body dismorphia and depression, not to mention the practices of self harm. We do all of this for what? Not to look good to ourselves, of course, but to look good to others. We bend over backwards to diet and work out and wear the latest clothing and do everything the right way in order to be like girls that are just as imperfect as us.

Sometimes it's hard to be objective in our thoughts, but just try it with me this one time. Imagine the girl that you look at on television or even a girl that you see every day that has just the pretties hair that falls just the way yours never will. She's got eyes brighter than the sun and a stunning smile that does just that- stun. She's got double-d's, but a small waist and a flat stomach. She's about 5'9 with long, toned legs and a significant thigh gap that doesn't make her look too skinny, but trim. The clothes she wears are always so beautiful and they fit her just well, showing just the right amount of cleavage to make all the boys, including your crush, blush. She's a straight A student who's head of the cheerleading squad and the volleyball team and has now just gained presidental status at your school.

Sounds perfect, huh? Maybe even too good to be true. Why? Because it is, yet too often that slips our minds. Sure she's "perfect" when you're on the outside looking in, but do you really believe that she has everything in her path laid out for her? Of course not! Everyone has problems, some more drastic than others, but they're problems nonetheless. Most importantly, she's imperfect, just like you and that's the one idea that helped me to cope when I was younger and felt like I was too different to ever fit in; that the one similarity between us places us on the same level, no matter how different we seem to be.

Another thing I thought I'd bring up is the recent Barbie study, where they took the proportions of the famous Barbie doll, considered to many girls to be the figure of perfection, and put them in terms of a real woman. It was discovered that if Barbie was real, she would pretty much be disabled. With a neck super long and too skinny to hold up her head, feet so small, she'd have to crawl to move, a waist 18 inches in circumference, leaving only enough room for portions of her vital organs, and other ridiculous measurements, we're able to see that not all that glitters is gold. Believe it or not, they're linking this doll to body hatred among girls. This visual of what perfection is is created from an early age, but it's up to us to decide what's realistic and what's not; Barbie is just one of the many examples that we may all be able to relate to.

As noted earlier, not loving yourself can lead you down many dangerous roads, but one that I hadn't mentioned was that one than many girls call "love." As my friend Chantelle said, nobody can really love you until you love yourself; that is when the love becomes true on both ends. I mean, of course your family and friends can love you, but in terms of relationships, boys are inclined to sense when we lack self confidence or not and more often than not, they prey on our insecurities. If you don't think you're pretty, he's say you've got the prettiest eyes he's ever seen. If you think you're fat, he'll say that you're his Shakira. If you think you're dumb, he'll call you a genius. If you think nobody loves you- well, he'll say that he does. Here's the thing; if you're able to love yourself, and I mean really feel ardent about it, then his "ILY" won't really matter to you until it really matters to him. Loving yourself gives you the opportunity to step out of the situation and think before you act. It's not all emotion and lust that you work off of at that point, but the joined communication of both your heart and your brain; despite what people say, your heart is stupid and seldom grants you happiness by itself alone. It's your perceptive abilities along with a trained conscience that help you to decide whether the person you're with is someone worthy of all of you, body and soul. Otherwise, you can end up like many girls around the world, including me, that walked blindly into a trap that leads to regret and further self hate. At least if you're wrong after thinking things through, you'd feel less guilty because at that point you know that you tried and the signs that you were realizing now never surfaced earlier. Heart break happens, but make sure that you didn't allow for it to be broken because, believe it or not, that's when it's the hardest to fix.

Many of you already know the struggles that I've faced personally, through posts such as "My Confessional" and "Perfect Eyes of Mine," among many, but at this point I think I can fully grasp who I am and why I am. I mean this in terms of being able to say, "I am Katrina, and I'm here for a reason." I think that sometimes we don't really know why we're on this Earth, and I see it a lot on Google +. There are two groups of my followers that I see this most in: the so-called "emos" and the  homosexuals. Their profiles often depict their "classification" in society rather than who THEY ARE specifically. It's almost like when you have multiple white whippets (and this is just an example, no disrespect). Whippets all look the same, to me, especially when they're the same color and I honestly wouldn't on a first, second or third glance be able to distinguish between two of them. However, many people own more than one whippet at a time and are still able to know who is who by just looking at them. Why? Because although they look the same, they're different on the inside and that's the part that really matters. In much the same way, yeah, maybe you have the same haircut and you dye it the various colors that many people that identify as emo do, or you're homosexual and you post photographs of gay rights or what not- that doesn't say much for me. That still hasn't told me who you are, nor why you're here. I think that once we can get past the idea that saying your name and identifying with a group in society tells people who you are, that we'll have a greater understanding of who we really are.

I've had this name "Katrina Lowell" for about three years now and I've been able to grow into my skin. At one point there was a huge disconnect because Katrina was just a name, but I found that the writing that I did under her name exhibited characteristics so unlike the real me, but positive ones. My writing became confident and honest because Katrina, to me, was a name of power. With this name I've grown into her because I've understood that Katrina Lowell was just a name, but it was my job to tell her story. I am Katrina Lowell because I believe in a better world. Named after a powerful hurricane that in a split second was able to destroy, I decided that as Katrina, I would try to improve the world in which we live. At one point, I had started to blame this dying, sinful world for the trials that I had faced. However, there was a moment where I realized that I could do something to help change the world and I knew that I had to do whatever I could to do so. In that time, I've actually been able to see the results of two quotes by the late Maya Angelou. These state: "If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change your attitude," and "We cannot change our past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate- thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising."

I've realized that although my efforts have helped many, it won't be enough to change the world in it's entirety, but in the years that I've had my blog, my attitude has changed to a point where I'm less pessimistic and more optimistic about my life and where it's be headed.

Loving myself has helped me to be comfortable in my own skin, and to finally focus less on how I look to other people, but about what I enjoy doing and who I enjoy doing them with. In this past year, I've rediscovered singing, found out that I love to dance (although I can't dance very well, to be honest). I've discovered volleyball, a sport that I'm actually really good at and I've been dedicated to making myself better at. I've really defined my style and started to be less critical of myself upon societal standards, but rather defining myself based on God's and my own standards for life and who I want to be. Loving myself has been like putting on a new pair of glasses- everything looks crisp and bright. Self hate blurs our vision as to what's perfectly fine in our lives. It's about time we started to get our eyes checked, and by doing so, obtaining a new pair of glasses that ultimately changes our world.

Love Always <3,
Katrina Lowell
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