LET'S GET REAL ABOUT LOVING YOURSELF.
I was recently confronted with a situation that brought to my attention how much my confidence was contingent upon other people. This last year or so, Pierre and I were so solid and so serious and I could rely on him for everything, including my own idea of who I was. Before him and I were like that, I still had to find some kind of identity of my own, but nonetheless, I've been in relationships since I was 18, always relying on others to confirm my worth, more or less.
I spent my years in Paris hating my body. And I mean really fucking hating it. I don't think a day went by that I didn't think about my weight and what I was eating. Working at Wild & the Moon (the trendy vegan gluten free sugar free air free organic cafe with juice designs done by Virgil Abloh, yeah the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's men's wear collection, YEAH, that's a sentence-and-a-half I know), messed me up. It was a cafe filled with models coming in for Fashion Week, ordering an acai bowl and then throwing it up in the bathroom. These girls were stick thin, it was their career to be so, and I felt huge, for the first time in my whole life.
It's hilarious now, because I look back and I was so tiny, like honestly thin. And I still am small, not model thin, but I'm small. When in Paris, I constantly tore things about myself apart. I never felt good enough, until this last year when I was too fucking busy too care, and Pierre gave me the confidence I was lacking on my own.
But then came summer, and Pierre left me at LAX to do some solo backpacking, (I came home to make some money and we will meet each other in Vietnam on August 31, yes I'm counting down the days), and I was confronted with the fact that I didn't like myself. I did not know my worth, my mind or my beauty.
I've been calling Pierre in fits of jealousy and in fits of missing him, and he said at the end of the day I either trust him, and trust that I am enough, or this whole summer will be really difficult. I guess I came to understand that my jealousy of him being gone came from a place of me not thinking I was good enough for him to want to stay with me. That's hard to admit, don't get me wrong.
To go back to this, I did not feel good about myself in France. I never knew how to dress, I worried about my weight, I felt like people were always looking at me and not in a good way. There were rare moments I strolled through the street confidently, I honestly think I could count them on one hand.
Things are different in California, actually I get a lot of positive attention and a lot of compliments. I get hit on when I go out and I've been asked by companies to model for them. This is actually really fucking weird, because I didn't get this attention in Paris, so it's almost like I became an adult and didn't realize that people can see you differently just because of where you are.
Here, in California, I actually feel pretty, and sexy. I still think about my body, but waayyyyyy less than I did in France. And I have accepted that I like my face and I think I'm attractive.
I told Pierre this on the phone. I said, "Pierre, it's such a shame because I literally am the prettiest I've ever been and I'm not with you to see it." And he replied, "Clarke, you're not any prettier than you were before, you're just finally seeing it."
Nothing magically happened to me when I got back to California. Nothing changed. I got a little more attention here, and perhaps that brought to my attention that ultimately, you have to be the one to recognize your worth, and to know yourself, and to love yourself and to build up your relationship with yourself.
There's nothing bad about being in a relationship, I'm with Pierre and that's a gift and I love him so much I want to eat his damn face off. BUT, I met him when I was 21 and knew jack shit about what it really means to love yourself, and this long-distance summer is bringing that to my attention. You can not rely on your partner to give you all the love you need, that's exhausting for them. You have to know how to give yourself love. To surround yourself in it, to know that you are enough.
It hit me one day on the beach, that I spent three years hating my body. Really fucking hating it. And I thought, I'm gonna look back at myself and think What. A. Waste. Of. Time. At the end of the day, I'm healthy. I eat healthy, I cook for myself, I eat vegan, I don't eat fast food or candy or donuts all the time. I workout and I'm active. This is my body. I have strong thies, hips, a butt, and curves. I am also a slim girl. I am a slim curvy girl and my stomach does not concave in. My body type sometimes throws people off. If I wanted to shrink more I could maybe skip a meal, intermittent fast, get a gym membership. But then I would be hungry, and doing things I don't want or need to do. So I can either accept my body and move on and live in confidence, or live in misery eating quinoa and no dinner after six.
Other girls look at me, and comment on my insta "Omg, you are perfect." Don't we all say that to our friends? And we all never believe it, and we all think the next person is better than us. AND WHAT A WASTE OF TIME. What do you think women could have discovered by now if the patriarchy didn't have us all caught up in being as small as possible, with "baby faces" and huge tits??? Who came up with this look? We can't all look like that! And nearly no one can without extreme dieting, lip injections, fillers, and a boob job.
I am so sick of believing I am not enough. And this summer, I have been forced to accept that I'm fucking beautiful. And not only that, but I am smart, and responsible, and adventurous, and I get things done. I moved to a foreign country when I was 20 years old and I worked there and went to school at the same time and I got good grades and made friends and maintained a relationship. I handled my banking and my insurance and my phone bill and my transportation and finding a house all on my own and in French. I'm a fucking beautiful bad ass. And yes, Pierre helped me discover this about myself by loving me so fully and always wanting me to know my value. But without him directly here I am discovering this confidence on my own, finally?
Things I do to love myself and keep myself happy:
1. Boxing! It went from working out at home, to dynamo/spin classes, to yoga, and now boxing. I can not even believe how much I love this sport and how strong it is making me. I go to a straight up boxing gym 5 days a week and I would go more if I didn't need to have rest days. I absolutely love punching the bag and kicking it and lifting weights and seeing how strong I can be while getting my aggression out. Being active is a must for me.
2. Cooking & being vegan! I fucking love knowing that I'm putting good food into my body. I have been vegetarian for eighteen years now and vegan for nearly two months. To be brutally honest, meat really freaks me out. I'm not kidding. I will never eat it. I won't even eat food the touches it, unless I'm in a country where I'm just forced to and I don't want to offend anyone. Meat has never made sense to me I simply can't eat an animal it's too weird. I gave up dairy because I heard about the recent events in Sudan, and one particular story about a 6 year old girl being sexually assaulted by multiple men. I could not stop crying and questioning my privilege, I could only taste the fish and dairy I had just eaten. I decided I do not want to just take and take and take without thinking where my food is coming from and how it's getting made and I do not want to contribute to any more violence because the world has enough. I also have come to equate the dominance over animals as "meat to be eaten" to the subordination of woman as "meat to be fucked" and maybe more on that later.
3. Telling myself "who cares" when I start to nit-pick things about my appearance!
When I get into that space, thinking I need to lose weight or get eyelash extensions or a new cream or whatever to make myself better, I just go "who cares!!!" in my head or out loud and try to move my thoughts elsewhere.
I also just wanted to share a video I watched on love that helped me so much:
https://www.facebook.com/redtabletalk/videos/660056184408432/ It's called "The Roadblocks Between You and Love" and it is life-changing. Enjoy xoxo.
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