how do you love yourself

"I'll sleep in. Just one more hour.... snooze button pressed. I can skip yoga for the day, I said. Heart heaving. Bad decisions. Raw text messages. Lifted the veil, to reveal the tawdry parts that embarrassed me. Guilt, thick and distinct like gasoline at the pit of my stomach... why did you do that, why did you do that....

Reluctantly, I pulled myself up, imaginary strings attached to my shoulders, lifting me out from my lackluster. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Release it and move on. Thirty minutes later, on my mat, staring down at my newly manicured sparkling turquoise toes (a color chosen for the very specific reason that it was a silly color), I said.... seethis is how you love yourself.

Feeling anxious, letting my unnecessary panic decide the course of my day is not an option. Getting up and going anyway, while your insides spin out of control. Holding the pose all the way through, when your mind teases you, telling you you can't. Staying when you want to run somewhere called "safe," but really it's just somewhere hidden. These are the ways you can love yourself.

I stared at the list, of my "to-dos" none of which included my "to-enjoys," and while en route to check off the items, I found myself instead in a bookstore, cranking my neck up to the ceiling seeking Hafiz, words that would ground me. I walked away with Rilke, anthologies and a cappuccinoThese are the ways you can love yourself.

I told the cute boy at the check out who never smiles back, that I had spent most of the day laying on the floor painting a brown jewelry box pink and writing myself Valentine's Cards with crayons.... he cracked a smile and said he didn't like Tuesdays. Not a total success, but at the very least I had now revealed that I was a little odd, which is, I like to think...a little charming and truthfully, I just wanted to talk to someone. When you want to talk, talk. Tell people stories, without them asking first. When you have extra sequins, make Valentine's. Have sequins, in fucking general. Smile at the stranger who never smiles back anywaythese are the ways you can love yourself.

Not checking the time, or worrying about email. I sat outside and I listened. I paid attention to where I was. To the man that was reading an article about tacos for a solid 45 minutes, which meant he wasn't reading at all but that was probably listening too. I listened with him, I wonder if we heard the same things? Ask yourself questions. Eat tacos. Wonder what a 60 year old man wearing White Converse sneakers does with his days? Imagine that he's a cartoonist, with a propensity for Pez and a collection of rare flutes. Make up funny images in your head. These are the ways you can love yourself.

I watched the couple that walked holding hands, buzzed from bottomless mimosas, still fluttering, they kissed by the car. Innocent, sweet. She left. He walked back, holding a bag of oranges and bundles of greens. I watched him smile and thought, how lovely that I got to witness how happy he is... I wonder if she can feel him smiling. Ten minutes later he walked back the other direction, this time with a friend, retelling his day, erupting with optimism. "We went to the market, then we had lunch...it was a five. hour. date." He was beaming. A lucky moment to observe, that I would have missed had I been texting. Or checking Twitter.

Tell your friends the details. Grin that kinda silly grin. Feel insanely thrown off your game, then let the amount that you keep it cool be ZERO, let someone in and let them make you feel completely exhilarated, these are the ways you can love yourself.

When you can walk, but feel like driving.....walk. When you have lingerie, wear it. When you find your favorite poem, read it four times in a row out loud....record yourself reciting it and listen to your pretty feminine voice. Hear yourself the way other people do. Eat a spoonful of frosting, test your guilt meter and tell it actually fuck off. Make a purchase in anticipation for something....for instance, I bought a full length beaded gown. Yes, beaded. gown. With no where to wear it.... I anticipate that won't be the case for long.

When you want to look soft, like the girl who wants to open her heart to you....the girl who wants to stay up late and tell you about the recurring dream of her and the moon, then whisper to you some of her most tender admissions.... be that girl now, you don't have to wait for someones acknowledgment tounfoldUnfold. These are the way you can love yourself.

When you feel like life is wrapping its fingers around your spirit, clenching its fists around you energetically, placing its strong hands on top of your head in an attempt to say, "stop. growing." push back. It's a test. When you wonder if you're invisible, or perhaps no one will love you or see you, or that you may have to compromise your spirit because, "that's just life".... remember that the ground beneath you will always support you, that the heart that's beating inside of your chest is always your steady companion and that your life is YOURS, that you decide your shine, the only person who can switch on/off INNER LIGHT, is you. These are the ways you can love yourself. Light, on.

Listen to Joni and Whitney, Carole and Patty. Sing out loud. Create for the sake of creating, whether anyone sees it or not. Dance naked, feel ridiculous and awesome at the same time. Admit you need to be held and touched and don't feel sorry about it. Tell your friends you need alone time, make less excuses and make more truthful declarations. Tell yourself you look nice today. Spend an extra ten minutes on something. Wave at a baby. Tell someone ELSE that you think they're beautiful if you're thinking it, even if you're out at a loud bar where everyone is trying to act cool, but everyone really needs someone to tell them, "you already are." Read people's name tags, look them in the eye. Dorothy, at Gelson's made my day. What a great name.... follow the yellow brick road.

Remember that the judgements you make towards yourself are harsh, unnecessary and tactless. That you pretty bird are a delicate, extraordinary miracle. Speak accordingly.

...these are the ways you can love yourself."

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