I am not ashamed of who I am.
I'm so surprised and proud that I can actually write that sentence. It's been my ultimate goal since I was tiny. With my first memory is an underlying sense that I was a waste of space. That I was absorbing supplies that others could put to better use: air, food, water, clothing, etc.
I didn't deserve it. I didn't deserve to have emotions. I didn't deserve to do things that interested me. I didn't deserve to do things my way.
I didn't deserve anything.
I always knew those thoughts was sad, wrong, negative, and should be ignored. But knowing is very different from being able to truly accept it. I don't know how someone under 2 years old begins to think that way.
And now that I'm learning about how children develop and the psychology that is supposed to go on, I've been feeling even more odd and pathetic. Why couldn't someone work with me on self-esteem in the middle years? Why wasn't I egocentric as a preschooler? People can say that it's nice to have such a toddler. People can say that I was wise beyond my years. That I had an old soul. That I was considerate. That I was selfless.
But selflessness is bad. It's a characteristic we hope that older children, teens and adults will develop. It's a good goal to have for oneself. However under the age of 6-8, selflessness is often a sign of lack of self value. I wasn't trying to put others first. I couldn't put myself first. Thinking of myself at all seemed like the worst sin possible. Worse than murder.
Not giving yourself two seconds thought, makes self control and understanding emotions impossible. I felt all these negative things and could only act out on it in private. I put on a positive face so as to not bring attention to myself. I wasn't worth it. I wasn't handling life correctly. Who I was couldn't be shared or people would really come to hate me.
I am happy to be who I am.
I am considerate. Not because I am selfless.
I have a selfish streak but I like caring for others.
I love people very much. Not by taking love away from myself.
I cook because even though I rarely want to eat, I can acknowledge the importance. And I am worth the cost and effort.
I buy clothes because I deserve to live life confident and comfortable.
I force myself to drink water because to ignore physical needs puts you in the hospital and I deserve to be out, living my life.
I speak up because my opinion matters. Even if people disagree with me, that doesn't mean they see me as less. Just because I disagree doesn't mean I don't respect them I have a voice and I was given one for a reason.
From 1995-2015, I never fully believed that. Sometimes I came close. I've never completely lost that slight hope or else I wouldn't have made it this far.
But for the first time in my life, I mean it. I. 2016, I've climbed higher than ever before. I'm not just putting on a brave face to mask it all.
As a mental health advocate and caregiver, I have a new appreciate for self value and the phrase "It gets better."