For years now I have been talking about loving myself, but I don’t think until now I really thought about what it means to truly “love” yourself. I’m talking behind the scenes, when no one can see you or hear what you are thinking, do you love yourself then?

Do you look in the mirror and say “hello beautiful”? or instead look in the mirror and think “ugh”?.

I used to love my face because it was angular and I have these great cheekbones, but recently with my short hair I’ve been thinking “ugh” more and more, and it’s because since the pandemic started I gained a lot of weight. It’s my own fault because I spend more time writing than I do taking care of myself, but nonetheless, I’m not happy with 2023’s physical results.

I fully plan to change this of course, but so does everyone when they realize they’ve “let go.”

I let go because I didn’t care to be honest with you. Until I read this post by my friend Renita Quirls from two years ago.

Each of us has to define what self-love looks like on our own, but Renita is great at inspiring me to think about myself instead of “myself on stage for everyone else.”

I think that I’ve been so busy the last couple of years trying to prove that I’m okay by sitting still and being quiet, that I really haven’t been okay. Sure I’ve talked about all the things that. are on my mind, here on the blog, but in the real world, I’m spreading a lie that I am fine when inside I am on fire.

I am constantly anxious that my abusers are going to come back, stuck in perpetual “they’re out to get me,” mode because the longer they DON’T come for me, the more that I’m starting to feel like I’m gaslighting myself into insanity, and it’s a really, really scary place to be.

Film and television help take me away from the world, but then they also give me an excuse to ignore my responsibilities, because my responsibilities make me anxious and so I end up staying on the couch sleeping all day instead of cleaning or going for walks.

I know the first steps are the hardest ones, and that once I get past the initial movement it takes to achieve my goals I’ll get there, but part of the anxiety comes with the frustration I have at myself for not being better already.

The other day I had a meeting with the women from Surrey Women’s Center, and all of them are accomplished, powerful women in their own right. I remembered what it felt like to be in rooms with women who were some of the most marginalized people on the planet and feeling like I understood them, only now I realize I had no clue what these women were going through.

I was so deliberately blind to so much that was happening to me, and around me, that trying to understand what the women I was working with were going through was really a foreign concept to me. “You need food, here’s food, clothes, etc.” But understanding the “trauma” that they had experienced is a different beast, and I didn’t know that, because no one had ever taught me.

I did what I was told for years, blindly following orders thinking I was helping, and in some ways I was, but in reality because I didn’t even understand “I” was living with PTSD, and anxiety, and depression, I wasn’t able to fully conceptualize what my clients were going through.

Now I can. And I have even more admiration for the men, women, and non-binary or trans folks I met while working at the kitchen and in the non-profit sector.

I understand on a much deeper level what trauma does to a person, and so to answer the above question, yeah I absolutely love myself, yes I Am Dope in Real Life, and I have really great friends who remind me of this on a regular basis.

Sometimes you need to really hear how your friends think about themselves to understand where your own self love images and issues come from. I remember when I was younger all the girls were focused on being skinny and pretty so they could attract a good man to take care of them. I just wanted to get fat and be left alone long enough to write.

Turns out dreams do come true.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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