How Forgiving Myself Is A Favor To Others

#WorkForHappy

  • What Love Has To Do With Forgiveness
  • Forgiving Yourself Is Only The First Step
  • The Favor: What You Give Back By Forgiving Yourself
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Artwork by Lukas Frischknecht

Love, they say, is the meaning life. Others say it is a mere distraction from real life. I’m 20 years old and I am trying to come to terms with the fact that loving someone is not the same as caring for them.

Ask anyone and they will tell you that love is a choice. Love can run out when the one with holding it is unwilling, and it can multiply when the giver is generous. I, unfortunately, had become dangerously generous.

Guess what? I’ve reclaimed my love. I value it, because I’ve learned to value myself.

That came with a whole lot of work, and it started with forgiveness. Are you a fuck up? Welcome to my world!

This is the story of how I royally screwed up, forgave myself, and learned to value the love I gave away for the sake of the people around me. Continue reading “How Forgiving Myself Is A Favor To Others”

Thank You Letter To My Body

First, I want to thank my lungs. My lungs are small, kind of feminine. They are vindictive pranksters who take things too far. My lungs are Siamese twins, unsevered, heavenly. My lungs are sneaky. Thank you, lungs, for giving me strength.

Second, I want to thank my feet. My feet are brutes, but they like to jump high, and trek far with determination that might not be for the better. Delicate, blistered, skirmish. My feet are scared easily. Thank you, feet, for expanding my horizons.

“It’s an immense honor to have the body that I do. She keeps me alive, and the least I can do is appreciate her, cherish her, and love her for all her parts.”

Next, I want to thank my jaw line. My jaw line is a descendant of a dark ancestry, but she cuts like a knife. My jaw line likes to brood, because she sinks into the shadow of my profile. My jawline is a bad secret keeper. Thank you, jawline, for giving me an attitude.

Now I want to thank my pancreas. My pancreas has a sweet tooth. She likes to play with emotions, sometimes a little too cruelly, but always with misplaced passion. My pancreas is picky. Thank you, pancreas, for keeping me on my toes.

Fifth, I want to thank my nose. My nose is an attention seeker. My nose also hates mirrors. She is an heirloom, but her “unique” appearance makes her more of a warrior. My nose is controversial. Thank you, nose, for making me interesting to look at.

Who else to thank? My eyes. My eyes are curious. They like to stray a little too far from home and get lost. They play games with other eyes, and sometimes I wish they didn’t. My eyes are shameless flirts, but they are also incredibly sad. Thank you, eyes, for keeping me humble.

Finally, I want to thank my brain. My brain is a mysterious figure. I haven’t met her yet. I am told she can be fickle, but I’ve also heard rumors that she is incredibly powerful. I try to understand her, but I’m told that brains borrow atoms from stars. I don’t know who my brain is, but I’m sure she is breath taking. Thank you, brain, for taking care of me, even when I didn’t know it. I hope I can do the same for you, one day.

It’s an immense honor to have the body that I do. She keeps me alive, and the least I can do is appreciate her, cherish her, and love her for all her parts. This may sound dramatic, but I don’t think I would be alive if it wasn’t for my body. I am immensely grateful for the chance to have one.

Thank you, body, for carrying me. The least I can do is love you, and that’s what I endeavor to do.

What Having Haters Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful

#WorkForHappy

I could never fathom how someone would go out of their way to be nasty to another human being. What sort of satisfaction does it serve? Is it a rush, perhaps? An outlet?

When I wrote “What Having a Big Nose Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful”, I knew I was putting myself out there a little bit. For most of my life I figured that as long as I don’t publicly acknowledge that I have a “unique” nose, other people wouldn’t either.

I was right. Once I acknowledged it, other people couldn’t help themselves in having a say either.

Having exposed this insecurity and my relationship with it, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I got messages and comments telling me that my confidence (such as it were) had inspired them to take some steps towards accepting themselves as well. I got messages saying that the uniqueness of my nose was beautiful and nothing to be ashamed about. Hell, someone even told me that my post had made them see their gender dysphoria in a new light, looking for their inner self rather than what they looked like to affirm their new gender identity. It was inspiring for me, and made that insecurity pretty much shrink to nothing. 

Then some teenager on my Instagram called my nose ugly in Swedish and, what’s more, tagged a friend to affirm it. 

I’ll say that, for the record, I wasn’t at all effected by the ensuing comments that included multiple barf emojis from these adolescents hailing from across the world. Standing in Canada, far away Sweden was non-existent in my breadth of understanding. What’s more, my ever-lasting compassion, a quality that even I acknowledge is quite a landmark in my personality, extended even to these poor girls.

The picture in question, which I honestly am kind of proud of – like I said in the caption – “This is an incredibly personal post for me

What’s funny is that whenever you see anyone on the internet acknowledge negativity, there is always a mention of how one should feel sorry for haters and trolls on the internet. I didn’t think much of it until I had a brush with this negativity myself. I felt bad for them –  actually, first I thought it was funny, then I felt sympathy. I had tagged the photo showing off my nose #bignose and #rhinoplasty, which I have no doubt is what landed these girls on my page in the first place. Self-esteem is hard to come by these days, even for these girls who are, admittedly, quite pretty themselves. They were most likely looking for someone that they could call uglier than themselves. Commenting on my picture that I have an ugly nose probably made them feel better about themselves, because they could proudly say that they don’t have my ugly nose, so there’s that. They might feel crippling despair when they look in the mirror, but in their heads, they are making me feel even worse than them. That is a comfort. I’m not assuming they knew what they were doing. That kind of mean-spirited insecurity is very subconscious.

If they were to read this right now, they would probably comment that that’s not at all what it is – “you just have an ugly nose” they would say. They’re right, perhaps I do have an ugly nose. But at least I don’t feel a need to put others down, for whatever reason.

In the end, who is more beautiful? The person who spreads negativity and puts down others for the parts they cannot change, or the person who tries to spread positivity and minds their own business? 

Someone who has true self-love will not feel the need to point out flaws in other people. I don’t want anyone to feel that way, because I know what it feels like to feel worthless… but at least I didn’t cope by putting other people down too. That I can proudly say. 

In the end, they deleted their comments. It was a losing battle, after all. While I didn’t engage with them, people who cared for me did. It’s not something I wanted, but I got messages from people I’ve never met before telling me that I am beautiful. I never doubted that I am beautiful –  if anything, I feel more beautiful, not just because of the whole “rising above the bullshit” stuff, but also literally just out of spite. I don’t have a unique nose after all. I have a big ugly one. But hell, it’s my nose. Only I can put my nose down, not some silly broken teenager on the internet – my insecurity belongs to me. I will fiercely protect it. 

I’m no online personality, but in a strange twist of events having one or two haters definitely elevated my self confidence. Who’d have thought?

Definitely not those girls. 

Breaking the Cycle of Silent Treatment #WorkForHappy

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Artwork by Sina Shagrai

Here’s the God honest truth about silent treatment – dishing it out feels like sweet justice. It’s the kind of satisfaction that makes you a little power-hungry, especially when it works over and over again.

On the flip side, being on the receiving end of silent treatment stings. You feel like you have to swallow your pride and give in, or suffer a drawn out punishment that maybe you don’t deserve.

Having been on both ends of the deal, I think I have a pretty good idea of the pros and cons of silent treatment.

Spoiler – there are no pros. It’s all cons.

Breaking the cycle takes a lot of guts and twice as much resilience, but I promise that it is so incredibly rewarding to break out, no matter which side you’re playing. Ultimately, this is just what I realized through my experiences. You can take it or leave it, but I’m not going to stay silent about it.

After all, that’s sort of the point.

Powerful vs. Powerless

I realized the behaviour I was choosing actually contributed to people walking out on me, and in a state of blissful ignorance, I’d say “good riddance”. Then I lost almost everyone, and I was forced to figure out what the trend was.

I realized that having fallen for it every time someone pushed the behaviour on me, I had subconsciously decided that silent treatment was the most effective way to get what I want.

After all, I always gave in. I can make people give in to me as well. Right? Continue reading “Breaking the Cycle of Silent Treatment #WorkForHappy”

What Having a Big Nose Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful

Do I have to love my nose? No. Do I have the right to hate it? Also a no. (ClickToTweet!)

When I tell people I want a nose job, the answer is almost always, “but why?! I love your nose, it’s so unique!”

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This was the first time I was purposely trying to capture my nose in a picture

I have wanted to scream that I don’t want a unique nose. I hated that word. I always wanted to yell: “I just want a normal nose! I just want it to be remarkably unremarkable!”

I don’t necessarily hate my nose anymore, but I still want to go under the knife. Am I a terrible person for promoting self-love in the same breath as expressing my desire to have cosmetic surgery? Am I a hypocrite? Absolutely not.

It is possible to love yourself and still feel insecure about some bits and pieces.

This is my body, and it’s my freaking story.
Continue reading “What Having a Big Nose Taught Me About Feeling Beautiful”

The Best Revenge

The mouth of the deep dark cave I kept returning to with the hope of finding remnants of an old treasure is gone. Shining, glittering, and swallowed up by the sea. The tide was rising for ages, engulfing me inch by inch. It was rising so much I tilted my head up for air, hoping for a miracle written in the stars above me. How long can a drowning victim survive standing on the tips of their toes? According to the time stamp of my phone, exactly 24 days. But guess what? it only took 24 hours for me to climb out and watch paradise disappear underneath the cool mirror surface, as the sun moved out from behind the moon and everything burst into color. All that was left was my rippling reflection. And that’s how I knew I’m all that’s worth saving.

Every temptation, every reminder, every trace of this is gone. Words, Smile, Name. Everything:

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The Words were knock offs anyway – if I want authenticity, I’ll buy it for myself. The Words I speak now are authentic, high-end, genuine, real.

The Smile was too soft anyway – I am hard and smooth as a stone, my smile comes easy but my disdain comes easier. The Smile I wear now is worn, carved into my stone face with the intricacy that was lacking here.

The Names you tickled out of me were too impersonal anyway – when I am called, I expect the vowels of my name to be laced with personality, with a story, with an unusual tilt in the end that always ends in a pretty little package of a question.

The cover is blown, shut, banished; it is gone. I’ve deleted the unoccupied, M-shaped space in my life already – actions speak louder than words, love. I’m doing myself the favor, the favor of getting over this wasted paradise, of letting go of your Capital Letters, of being my Best. I’m doing it before you can even snap your head in my direction long enough to declare death upon the gasping poor thing on the ground between us. We all know it’s dead, idiot. Sometimes denial just makes it harder to declare.

Every desire that I could count off on my fingers is gone now. One day I will be the best version of myself. I will be successful. Surrounded. I will have a foundation of love, first for myself, and second for those who love me back. I’m gonna lead a life unstolen from anyone else, and any hesitation I experience until then just tells me I still have work to do. But when all that work has paid off and I am healthy and happy and hella fuckin’ loaded? Then honey…

Oh, dear.

I won’t even remember your name.