I love being 35. It took me 35 years to really like myself. I always thought I did, but once I hit 35 I realized I was wrong. Something happened just as I turned 35 and Bam! Like a thunderbolt! I like me. I like all my weird and unusual ways, my idiosyncrasies, my face, my smile, my eyes, my hair, my body, my heart, the way I talk, the way I walk, and everything about me. Sounds like a hubris statement (or paragraph), but on the contrary. People have always said, love yourself first, so that you may truly love another. But, what they didn't say was to love yourself by embracing all of the things you like about yourself as well as the things you don't.
There's a big difference between arrogance and confidence. They can be perceived in the same way but they're entirely different. To be confident without being arrogant would be ideal. It takes liking yourself, embracing your good and bad qualities, and having humility. Everyone is better or worse in one thing or another. You should feel special because of your differences (without going overboard and thinking you're the hottest tamale on the block). You shouldn't view yourself as a king or a peasant. However, if you view yourself as a king then view others in the same manner. You should never view yourself as a peasant and others as royalty. Nor should you view yourself as royalty and others as peasants. The healthier approach would be to never use the terms of royalty as I just did. But, I hope the point was taken. Be confident, have humility, feel happy and beautiful. I was always afraid that I would be looked at and perceived as arrogant if I liked myself. But, this was so far from the truth. Not only is nothing wrong with liking the way God made you, but you should embrace it and be thankful.
I used to be shy to sing in public, to dance in front of people, to write from my heart (and let people know what was really going on in my head). I couldn't fully relax in my own skin (always being critical of my imperfections). I was afraid to let go and tell my partner my intimate, sensual thoughts, and desires without heavy duty filtering. I was afraid of being judged as less than my idea of perfection. Some of the other changes I've noticed are from pictures I've taken. It's amazing, 9/10 times I like the way I look better without photoshop. The way I used to pick on myself for all my age lines and the amazing, all powerful vein that popped out of my forehead every time I'd smile or laugh. The way my white skin would turn bright red when I'd get embarrassed. All of the crinkles by my nose and eyes that I couldn't wait to photoshop out. As well as those beauty marks that cover my face and arms even more now that I'm living in Los Angeles. These things are all beautiful because I say they're beautiful. Whether other people find me in this light is insignificant. If you waste time in your life listening to all the criticism and everyone else's opinion so much, you may have a hard time listening to your own self (that little voice in your head). So my advice would be to listen to others' opinions, but remain strong in your mind, love yourself, and don't put yourself down for your differences. Embrace yourself more for those differences and find the beauty in them.
When I think back to every time I felt saddened why a friend would peace out and just disappear, not understanding why. How I seemed to always blame myself for why they'd leave, thinking I did something wrong or that perhaps something was wrong with me. Especially, when it happened so often. All of the mean looks girls had given me since I was a child and without cause. Never fitting in, always being the new girl at school (16/17 schools will do that to you). Never being a part of a "click." I never really cared too much about all that or it's possible I just got used to being excluded. Either way, I truly felt that all you really need is one or two good friends. So I was content in that way. But, there's still the fact that people brought up in generally stable upbringings, where friends are all the same from childhood and many having become clicks, people like me became excluded. So growing up, you begin to question yourself and how much you like you, being that others don't seem to. At least, not enough to involve you in their group of friends. I remember that feeling around lunchtime in school when you're hungry and can't wait for the bell to ring. But for me, I had mixed feelings about that bell ringing. You see, I had that feeling as well as the fear that no one would save a seat for me in the cafeteria. The boys would tease me and the girls were mean to me. The girls would make it so there was no space for me to sit. They weren't kind and would never scoot over and make room. I would occasionally leave the cafeteria and eat my lunch in the bathroom.
Sharing this seemingly insignificant sob story, there's actually a purpose. If I only knew then that I would be who I am now, I would never have let that little girl (myself) hurt and feel alone like that. I wish I loved me more then. There are so many experiences we have in life that if we'd only love ourselves enough to trust our instincts and feel good inside instead of concentrating on all that's lacking it would be an even more beautiful ride. I share this because of how crucial and important it is to let your young kids know, as you raise them to be confident, bright, loving kids, that they have a friend inside themselves, to embrace it, and what that means. One thing that everyone should have is love for themselves. I'm not talking about the feeling you get when you look in the mirror. Everyone has good and bad days in that regard. But the way you feel inside about yourself and how you talk to yourself in your mind. People tend to be quite harsh on others and themselves (rooting from childhood to adolescence). There's no need to be so harsh and cruel to yourself. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Embrace yourself and discover who you are and don't be afraid or ashamed to love it. It doesn't make you arrogant, it makes you confident and happier inside. Which in turn, makes you more beautiful on the outside.
Don't get me wrong, taking care of yourself and upkeep is a must. I'm all for looking as pristine as Barbara Billingsley playing the role of June Cleaver. I think it's important to work out, stay fit, and eat a healthy diet. But, to fully love yourself is such an important part of life. Its medicine from the inside out. Happiness is what it's all about. There's no need to criticise your short comings. Who cares if people don't like me, if I can't fit in Abercrombie jeans, if I'm not as thin as Kate Moss or don't have lips as big and pouty as Angelina Jolie. I like me. I've seen friends come and go like rain in a sun shower and one thing remains... me. I deserve to be happy, loved, liked and most of all, to feel good about me. So I'm embracing me, the way I look, the way I act, and the way I feel. That little voice that seemed so silent, was actually quite loud, critical, and harmful to the way I viewed myself. Remember, that little voice in your head should be kind and gentle. It should be a reassuring voice of a friend that reminds you when in doubt, I'm imperfectly perfect! For me, I can say it now at 35, "I'm amazing! I'm imperfectly perfect and I'm loving it!"