*Trigger warning for self-harm, suicide*
“Love your neighbour as yourself,” but as smart people have said before, loving yourself is the hard part.
When it comes to the crunch time and you feel like the things that once mattered to you aren’t quite as important anymore, or are just drifting away, or for whatever reason, you don’t feel right in your skin, it’s hard to look yourself in the mirror and see something that isn’t riddled with problems.
I know because I’ve had weeks where I’ve barely been able to look myself in the mirror. I used to shower in the dark because I couldn’t handle seeing myself naked. I continue to have trouble taking off a sweater when I’m too warm because I want people to see as little of me as possible.
Sometimes, it’s much easier to care about others, to ignore your problems in the face of a friend’s strife. But you can’t forget about yourself. You can’t ignore what you need because it will still be there, like a gaping black hole, sucking in all the rest of your life.
And if it doesn’t go away, maybe you need help. I used to say I would never go on medication because I thought it was weak, but I’ve come to accept that so much of what we are is just chemistry and sometimes there is an imbalance in that chemistry.
I’ve come to accept that sometimes when something’s wrong, there are ways to set it right and toughing it out by yourself isn’t always possible.
I have depression. One in four Ontarians will need treatment for depression at some point in their lives. I am also trans. Seventy-seven percent of trans Ontarians have seriously considered suicide, and I am part of that statistic.
And some days, it truly is hard to deal with life. When society shames me, and my brain betrays me, and I can’t see myself without seeing a Frankenstein’s monster of piece-meal assemblage, it’s tough.
I’m scared sometimes to use a washroom, to tell a potential partner my history, to write this piece. Because sometimes I can’t face myself, so what do I do if another person calls me out?
So, I need Self Love Week to fess up to my issues and to try to find a place where I can work to overcome them.
I need Self Love Week because I do not love myself, and if there’s one person who will be there with me through all the good and the bad, from birth to death, it’s me.
So, I’d better get used to that person in the mirror and allow him to change and grow and live, because why not? We might as well get along.