Perennial

Plant me, 
watch me grow. 
Water me, 
nourish my soul
with
love and tenderness. 
Let my leaves and
petals fall;
I am meant to wither
from time to 
time. 
Give me your
blessing,
allow me to 
be reborn.
I will always 
push through the
constraints of 
the gardens of life.
Shine your sun

onto me, 
as I sprout through
the tightly packed
earth formed
by my mind.
Be patient with me, 
I need time to 
come home. 
But I promise, 
I always will. 

You Can’t Love Yourself Until You Like Yourself

Over the past four months, I have been on a journey to self love. I am sort of considering this to be an extension/the next chapter of my eating disorder recovery, and let me tell you it has been anything but easy. I’ve engaged in some wonderful communities through social media and I have found such positivity, I have challenged myself to look at my body in ways I hadn’t previously, I have examined the thought processes I engage in and challenged them, and I have been working to see positivity in all things about me.

But recently I have had a thought. When you’re starting to date someone, you almost never truly love them right away, you like them first. Perhaps a journey to self love is not so different from the journey of engaging in a romantic relationship. I can pinpoint a few specific parts of myself that I love: I love my legs, my sense of humour, my ability to empathize with people, and my smile. But when I look back on my life, I didn’t wake up one day and immediately love these things. I remember when I discovered that I was funny. I had always like to joke around in school, I enjoyed it and I liked it. I was never the smartest kid in the class, but I knew I could tell jokes and be funny. I liked this about myself. I was in the second grade and there was a girl in my class named Gabrielle. We weren’t great friends by any means, but we did happen to be the two tallest people in our class. It was our school picture day and our class was being organized by height to take a class picture. We were waiting for our class’s turn to go up for the picture and Gabrielle and I were joking around, something I did regularly, and she told me she thought I was funny. She said this while laughing and with a smile on her face. I realized that my humour had the ability to make people happy, and I liked that. I realized that this was something positive about myself. I may not have been very smart, but this was something I was good at, and I realized then that I loved that. This whole scenario led to me loving my sense of humour.

When I look back on my life with regards to the things I love about myself, each of these loves has their own origin story. My legs, smile and ability to empathize with people each started out as something about myself that I liked, and then they each had their own defining moment and grew into something I loved about myself.

So I’ve been thinking about all of this lately. There is a lot of talk on social media these days about self love. There are amazing social media campaigns encouraging people to embrace the parts of their minds and bodies that have been deemed by society to be unworthy; and I think that’s great. But the thing that people don’t seem to talk about as much, is the fact achieving self love is not something easy.

We live in a world that is constantly telling us that so many parts of us aren’t worthy of love, and that is harmful and it is detrimental to our mental and physical health. But what if we looked at self love from a simpler lens, what if we changes the way we looked at it? What if we started out with liking things about ourselves? If you go out on a first date, and you like the person by the end of it then there is much more of a chance that you could one day grow to love this person. In my opinion, the relationship we have with ourselves is the exact same.

Let me give you an example. Throughout my life (this was heightened during and after my eating disorder), I have really hated my stomach. I remember being maybe 10 years old and thinking to myself that if my t-shirts were tight that I had to suck my stomach in all day because it was too big. This has followed me throughout my life and when I developed my eating disorder my stomach was the part of me I hated the most. I would search Youtube endlessly for videos of ab workouts and I would work out until I could not stand. Now that I am in recovery I have gained a fair bit of weight, and (lucky for me) most of it went to my stomach. Despite this new weight being a symbol of my recovery and a symbol of being healthier, I still could not embrace it. I couldn’t even fathom loving this part of myself that I viewed as disgusting. I decided recently that I did not want to live a life where I am constantly hating myself and constantly putting myself down. I thought that self love was something I could just jump head first into. I saw all of these beautiful women on social media of all different body types and they were embracing every part of their bodies- even their stomachs. I thought that I could be like that too. So I sat in the bath tub and I just stared at my stomach, waiting for that light to go off that would make me love this part of me. Spoiler alert: The light never went off. I felt so discouraged, I just didn’t understand why I couldn’t love myself. Then a little over a month ago, I was shopping and as is normal when clothes shopping, some items I tried on didn’t fit right or didn’t fit at all. The thing that surprised me, was that I was okay with this. If this had been even a couple months earlier, I would have immediately engaged in extremely negative thoughts about myself, but I just shrugged it off. It was that moment when I started to like my stomach.

I don’t love my stomach yet, but we’re still in the dating phase. We’re getting to know each other, and we like each other right now. Things are going well, and I think one day we’ll fall in love. I know that that day won’t happen right away, we’ll have to court each other for a while, wine and dine each other. But one day in the future, I will fall madly in love with my stomach, and I can’t wait for that day.

I am Her

She has a fire
in her eyes
and a sparkle
in her soul.

She is everything
all at once
and can fade to
nothing when she chooses.

She is full of
feeling so deep
that she often
drowns in them.

She is consumed
by the tears
that spill out of her
confusion filled brain.

She has a heart
so big that it
spills open
to those she cares for.

She can give love
as plentiful as salt
in the ocean, but her
thirst is forever unquenched.

She has the
spirit of a saint,
and the mind
of a tyrant.

She is me. 

Stillness

I need you to lay
beside me. Stroke
my back and caress
my soul. I need you
to speak with you
eyes and keep your
lips silent. I need you
to make me forget the
rest of the world and
the problems that
exist outside of
this bed. For the
time we are lying
here I need us to be
the only two people
in existence. I need 
everything else
to fade away with
every blink of your
comforting eyes.

Stained Glass

If eyes are the
window to the soul,
then his were stained
glass. There were 
cracks filled with 
stories unlike the
ones she read in
books. There were
colours she had 
only ever heard of
in fairytales. There
were holes created
by darkness but now
they let brilliant light
shine through. His eyes
told tales greater
than most souls
could ever dream 
of telling. She fell
heart first into 
his eyes and
fell head first
in love with the soul
behind his stained
glass eyes. 

Spun

You spun me
around like a 
ceiling fan.
It was slow
and fast and
everything in between.
You did it so everyone
could see the games
you played.
But I was 
blinded by
fear.
You spun me
around and you
told me 
that I was
worthless,
and that no one
else would
ever love me.
You cast a
spell over my
mind and made
me believe that
love and fear
went hand
in hand.
You spun me
around and
you did it so I
had no way 
off the ride;
I could not
make it stop
so I just kept 
going around and
around until it
was habitual
and expected.

Baby

I never wanted
children
because the idea of
another
person being fifty 
percent
of me was simply
disgusting. 

But then I met
him
and all of him was so
perfect
that it evened our the
parts 
of me that I found
sickening
and the idea of a tiny
human
being even 
fifty 
percent him was simply and
totally
and one hundred percent
perfect. 

First Ruined Second

Her first love
was not real
or true.

He threw words
at her,
they cut her
deeper than knives.

Her first love
broke her
in ways that
no one saw.

By the time
she found a love
that was real and
true,
she did not believe
she was deserving.

She basked in
the glow of
the fire of
their love
and she grew to
think she deserved it.

But every now
and then,
she remembers
that first, fake love
and wonders if the
other show will ever drop.

Fourteen

Today, I went and
told you about
how my life has been.

About how I got engaged
and how I graduated.

I told you about the
family and how
everyone is doing.

About how everyone is different
and everything has changed.

I told you about how
my mind and how it
has become a jumbled mess.

About how mom and dad
worry, and I hate that I’ve done this to them.

Today, I went and
told you about
how my life has been.

Forever wishing
headstones could speak.