I don’t love myself. It’s not that I haven’t tried or that I don’t want to, but it’s due to the fact that people don’t love brown trans femmes like me. How can I love myself when the only time I see myself is in tragedy? When trans women of color are being murdered on their way to work, on busy streets, and their own homes how am I supposed to feel safe, let alone loved? How do I follow my passions when I don’t see trans women of color in movies, magazines, books, video games, literature, on television, shirts, billboards, etc?
I don’t love myself. It’s not that I don’t have love in my life because plenty of people love me, but I was never taught how to love myself. I’ve relied on others to give me their love and taught that I don’t have the agency to love myself. It reminds me of this quote I read about body acceptance:
“the fact that “love your body” rhetoric shifts the responsibility for body acceptance over to the individual, and away from communities, institutions, and power, is also problematic. individuals who do not love their bodies, who find their bodies difficult to love, are seen as being part of the problem. the underlying assumption is that if we all loved our bodies just as they are, our fat-shaming, beauty-policing culture would be different. if we don’t love our bodies, we are, in effect, perpetuating normative (read: impossible) beauty standards. if we don’t love our individual bodies, we are at fault for collectively continuing the oppressive and misogynistic culture. if you don’t love your body, you’re not trying hard enough to love it. in this framework, your body is still the paramount focus, and one way or another, you’re failing. it’s too close to the usual body-shaming, self-policing crap, albeit with a few quasi-feminist twists, for comfort.”
I feel this applies to loving my Self. I have often shared my insecurity and self-loathing with friends and loved ones and they told me that it would be a difficult process, but I would someday find the Magical Land of Loving Your Self. I’m not much for fairytale lands, and I’m pretty much tired of feeling disappointed that I’m not loving a Self that an entire culture seems to want to erase, ignore, and/or destroy. Add the fact that my parents disowned me for being a queer femme person, and my family lives by the “Don’t bring home your queerness” policy, I’m not sure I’ll ever heal those wounds in loving myself.
I’m not sad about not loving myself. Instead, I want to challenge you to open your eyes to why some folks can’t love themselves. That we place responsibility on the individual to heal, and we push them in so many different directions (i.e. therapy, community healing, spiritual healing) to heal without really giving them the space to not love themselves. Let me loathe myself because it won’t last forever. Even in the most blissful moments of my life I don’t love myself, but I am content. That, for me, is as good as it’s going to get. For myself, I believe self contentment is more achieveable than self love.
Lovemme is a neurotic, sexy, femme, Chican@ mixed-media artist and writer. They are passionate about healing and liberating fellow queer, trans, sex working, immigrant, and survivors of color through community building and art.