I was talking with a friend about how a lot of times we misunderstand self care. We think it means indulging in the most un-healthy delicious foods, sitting on the couch and hibernating. Instead, I’ve learned that self care can be hard. It has meant eating well, exercising, meditating and doing all of those things I don’t want to do. Because sometimes we need to feel the pain of discipline now to reap it’s benefits later. Otherwise we enjoy the present and may be unhappy with the fruits of our choices.
Even the bible affirms this, In Galatians 6:7, it reads “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”
For my entire life up until recently, I sowed bad seeds. I never exercised for longer than 10 minutes, ate whatever was in front of me and felt the impact of these choices on my mental health. This past year I’ve been changed for the better because I’ve chosen choices that felt harder in the moment. I’ve begun to crave greens and my body grows restless if I haven’t been active enough. The fruits of this self care is that I feel better mentally and physically. I took the time to take care of myself.
We need rewire how we see celebrating ourselves and lives. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy something a little unhealthy or slack off for a bit, but what happens when our entire lives are filled with moments of indulgence? Real self care can often mean choosing what’s harder and maybe those treats will feel better when we enjoy them a little less often.
In the age of perfectly chiseled bodies, bleached relaxed ombres and reconstructed noses on celebrities as a norm- I am constantly reminded of the scene above in the graphic novel American Born Chinese. The protagonist told a woman that he wanted to become a transformer, to which she replied, with words that have haunted me since I first read it more than two years ago, “It’s easy to become anything you wish […] so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.” On my blog, my social platform, I bear my heart out as I admit to constantly struggling with valuing vanity more than virtue- with unknowingly sacrificing important values in trying to become someone or something that I realize I never wanted to become.
I think back to being in middle school, aka as the worst time of my life. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood and as a chubby Indian girl, it’s needless to say that I stood out and hated it. Man, I couldn’t even cut gym class in high school without the gym teachers noticing; all I wanted was to blend in. There was an unwritten social code for fitting in. The uniform was Juicy Couture jumpsuits with chestnut uggs or a tank top with so low pants. The cool look was sleek straight hair and dark eyeliner. As if it wasn’t bad enough that I was one of maybe 10 Indians in the school, I had such a terrible sense of style and the fact that $13 for jeans was a lot for me while other girls spent $100+ dollars on a pair of sweatpants left me longing to be like everyone else without much of a means to become like everyone else.
Back then my mom used to remind me that I wasn’t like “them”- so why try? I wasn’t ever going to be white. But deep down I wanted to be like the other girls in my grade so I entered into 9th grade with Japanese straightened hair that my mother somehow complied to. We were in India the summer before and were able to get a treatment for around $150, a steal at the time. And do you know what happened? People like it. That’s what’s so confusing about doing whatever you can in order to fit in for the wrong motives. You might be rewarded for it. I’m not saying straight hair is bad. The motive behind my decision was the problem. I swear to you, straight hair, getting eyebrows done and growing a few inches can do wonders- but every part of who I was, was motivated by an insatiable and unachievable goal of blending in.
A decade later and I sense traces of my middle school self dictating how I live my life. As I scroll through my Instagram feed it’s easy to value things that are fleeting. During my residency year of teaching, nearly 2.5 years ago when my journey to become a teacher first began, I was asked to create an “image” of the kind of educator I wanted to be. And I’d like to take that exercise a bit further and ask you as a reader of this blog to imagine who it is you would like to be. Who is it that God created you to be? Who is your very best self? Are you making steps towards being that person?
I don’t know who exactly I imagine my best self to be but I imagine someone who is prepared for the obstacles in front of her- confident and strong. I am reminded of the fruits of the spirit and wish to become someone who is slow to anger. I long to be disciplined and kind. Creative and comforting to others, I want to be an advocate and someone who lives a life that encourages others. There are a million traits and ideas to meditate and pray about and as I think of who it is God wants me to be I am reminded of the smaller actions I take that draw me further from that person- forfeiting my soul in the process.
It’s easy to look like everyone else. This blog post is really to anyone else who feels that struggle to sacrifice themselves to bend in. The world doesn’t need another person who dresses and looks like everyone else. The world needs you- whoever it is you were created to be.
I felt the sudden need to write about this and considering that its 1 in the morning and I doubt I’ll be able to fall asleep anytime soon, why not write?
I’m reading a book about an Indian girl who grows up in a middle class mostly white suburban neighborhood and struggles to blend in. In example, the life of Nina as well as the protagonist in the novel Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier. I don’t want to really ruin anything for those of you who want to read it, but I will tell you that the protagonist is not happy with herself.
She’s so desperate to be anything but herself that she blends in more and more. I couldn’t help but think, “How sad is that?” Instead of embracing what makes us unique as human beings we long just to blend in.
It reminded me of something I struggled to realize when first entering college but now feel so happy to know. I’ll never be anyone else except who I am, and that is amazing. It’s an amazing feeling to accept yourself for who you and understand that not everyone will find you endearing. And that its okay not to like doing things that other people enjoy doing.
I remember thinking beauty was something black and white. Either you are born with a pretty face or you’re not. But that’s not true, not even in the slightest. A pretty face means you are pretty but being beautiful means being beautiful inside and out. Finding that in a person is hard to do.
Psalms 139:13-14 reads
“13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”
You are created the way that you are created for a reason, never doubt that, even for a second. Because more than developing piss poor self esteem and self worth, you are demeaning God’s work. God created you to be you for a reason.
So I find myself tempted to alter myself and to fit a mold that will blend in with everything else. But God created me to be different. I will never stop loving to take pictures to capture random moments, or even fight for women’s equality in seemingly stupid ways. It’s who I am.
And I never want to be anyone but myself, because I am amazing.
I can’t believe it! I’ve been blogging continuously for 12 DAYS! I know that sounds like an odd thing to celebrate, but for me? Well that is what I would like to call an accomplishment! YAY! …no? Well I have three hundred and some odd days to prove myself! [I don’t enjoy math…]
I was kind of surprised because according to my blog stats many people are coming across my blog…they just don’t like commenting…but still people are reading! So hello reader, thank you for taking the time to read!
OKAY so back to my topic!
LOVE YOURSELF! YAY! Okay …so you may be thinking, “What is this girl on and can I get some?” but I am not crazy [maybe just a little looney], today I wanted to focus on the importance of loving who you are! I am so tired of seeing people with low self esteems [myself included], it seems as though people always want what they don’t have!
I have what you would call “frizzy uncontrollable hair”, so when my mom asked me if I wanted to get it Japanese straightened I jumped at the opportunity for flawlessly straight hair. Right after the treatment I was thrilled, my hair was soft, manageable and amazing. But 3 days later? Bleh. I was tired of my straight hair and wanted me old hair back so badly!
Do you know how I felt when I got back my curly hair back?
…I wanted straight hair again!
I’ve seen overweight people wish they were skinny, skinny people wish they were fatter, all my life I’ve seen people unhappy with where they were in their lives, and one day I wondered- why?
I remember I had brought a friend to my house [she was overweight], and she wanted to talk to my mom so I brought her down and we were talking about senior pictures and I was saying how I changed a million times and she continued on to say “…I had a change of clothes but I didn’t think I should change, I don’t know-“she had continued saying it would be weird for her to do it and my mom stopped her mid sentence and told her that she should have taken as many changes as she wanted and that she shouldn’t wait for tommrow to live today.
Because of my friend’s weight she felt uncomfortable changing and thought she could only really feel comfortable once she lost weight but my mom didn’t let her think that way.
Sometimes I look at myself and feel as though the onlyway for me to be okay is if my hair is straight or if my eyebrows are threaded and the list goes on. But that is completly wrong! Be happy with yourself as you are today, right now! Don’t wait for tommrow because God only knows if there will even be a tommrow!
This post didn’t have anything to do with the bible directly, but the importance of loving yourself! God made you the way you are for a reason! Don’t doubt it and don’t waste time comparing yourself to the Joe Schmo next to you because you are unique and incredible in your own way!
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
He knew us even before we were formed in the womb! How great is our GOD!