You are not just here to fill space or be a background character in someone else’s movie. Consider this: nothing would be the same if you did not exist. Every place you have ever been and everyone you have ever spoken to would be different without you. We are all connected, and we are all affected by the decisions and even the existence of those around us.

David Niven

How to love yourself

  • take up space like you’re meant to be here. don’t hide yourself or disappear. you’re not a waste of space. anyone who says so does not have the right.
  • when you see yourself in the mirror, don’t avoid your gaze. see yourself the way a friend would. see the stories in your imperfections. things that should stay hidden to one can be endearing and special to another. be the another for yourself.
  • as Mary Oliver said, you do not have to be good. you only need to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. you are not a object to be measured daily and ruthlessly compared. you’re your own star among billions, but those who see you will appreciate your light. 
  • unconditional acceptance and forgiveness of everything you’ve ever done. 
  • never expect so much of yourself that you’re always falling short. It’s impossible to live this way and love yourself. starting somewhere is brave. small achievements can mean the most.
  • never let your self worth fall into someone else’s hands, especially if you love them. your worth is inherent and everlasting, and isn’t so mutable that someone can come along and alter it.
  • find your inner child, and love them more than you’ve loved anyone else. let yourself cry, let yourself explore, let yourself make mistakes, let yourself play. you need to grant yourself this freedom. no one else will.
  • be the best friend, comfort or therapist you’ve always needed. when you’re awake at midnight with no one to confide in, be there for yourself. you will always be there for you. 
  • give yourself more chances. to start again, to try again, to love again, to open up again. your past doesn’t have to be painted on you forever. you can start again, whenever you please.

if I’ve ever commented on your fic:

please know that there’s a good chance I’m reading it at the ass crack of dawn half asleep so when I leave a comment saying “akdkf omg I loved this, so good friend” it actually means:

“This piece was so gorgeous, eloquent, and so brilliantly written that I felt like you dug your hands into my chest and gave my heart a tender squeeze. Your use of symbolism and mood was incredibly nuanced and beautiful, and I appreciate all the thought that went into writing this. Please know your work is appreciated and I support you as an author. Thank you for writing this!”

but I simply do not have the brain cells left to write that out

I wonder what kind of girl I would be if the patriarchy didn’t exist. If gender roles and stereotypes didn’t stain my entire being. If I didn’t suffer at the hands of misogyny that molded the clay that was me. I wonder what I would do, what I would say, what I would like, what I would crave, what I would be. The likelihood of us being anything close to similar seems slim considering how many things could be different. I just wonder what type of woman I would be if I hadn’t been told from the day I was born how and who I should become. Would I still enjoy wearing makeup if I hadn’t been conditioned to feel better about myself with it on? Would my favorite color still be orange if pink hadn’t been forced on me and I didn’t care to make a point of rejecting it? Would I stand up for myself more if I hadn’t been taught to cater to the comfort of others before prioritizing my own? Would my natural instinct still be to feel wary of those around me if abuse and harassment and assault were not normalized in our society? Would I still want long hair if I hadn't been brainwashed into believing that my beauty is rooted in being feminine, and that my value is rooted in being beautiful? Would I be the same? How much, or how little, would that impossible girl resemble me as I am now? And are my interests and passions genuine—truly mine—or can they all be linked to some expectation to accommodate, some predetermined role to serve, some juxtaposing desire to please a system I don’t even like. Do I actually love video games as much as I think I do, or do I only like them because I think it makes me appear cooler to men? Do I actually want to get married as much as I think I do, or do I only want to because historically that was where the female fit in? Do I actually find solace in journaling as much as I think I do, or do I only find solace in it because it is the only time I can share my traumatic experiences without being called a crazy attention seeker? There is so much I wonder about, which parts of me are real and which have been tinkered with. Which is just pure me, and which is because of something else. A factor of the patriarch. Of course I’ll never know, but that truth does not keep me from being curious about the girl who does not suffer from the wrath of an internalized male gaze and the burden of internalized misogyny. I bet she is lovely—free of the shackles—and I hope she feels at peace.

— alhwrites