Aside from being the week of the Winter Games, here in the U.S. it’s also the week of Valentine’s Day. It’s a week to think about love. And I would suggest, it’s a week to start loving yourself.
Now I understand. Yet another discussion about loving ourselves is enough to trigger a Stuart Smalley marathon viewing party.
But I have to confess that this past week, I came across an extraordinary video that once again got me thinking about what it really means to love ourselves. I’d like you to meet Sanah Javani, an extraordinary young woman who is coping with a disease that has caused her to lose all her hair. In this extraordinary video, Sanah recounts a little bit about what life was like for her when she started wearing a wig and how the other kids bullied her. She talks a little about years of agony and shame and self harming. But out of this experience, Sanah has decided to found “Natural Day”–a day to celebrate the fact that we are beautiful just the way we are. Why not take a look?
“I want girls to live their lives in freedom. And I want girls to love themselves the way they are. And I want girls to not suffer with eating disorders or cutting. I just want them to accept themselves. So on natural day, I am challenging girls all around the world to go without makeup and to love themselves for a day.”
Mature? Yup. Amazing? She sure is! Natural Day is the day before Valentine’s Day–February 13, 2014, and I plan to scrub my face clean and stand strong beside Sanah. I don’t usually wear a lot of makeup anyways, but I have to admit that a day without mascara and a little bit of lip gloss has me feeling a tiny bit anxious. But that’s an even greater reason to do it, right?
I’ve also been thinking a lot about love in general and about how difficult it can be to apply the kind of love we share with other people to ourselves. When people we love are hurting, we care for them. When we truly love people, we don’t berate them 24 hours per day. We don’t keep repeating the things we don’t like about them as a mantra all day long. We support them. We cut them some slack. We give them a break.
But how often do we fail to show ourselves even this simple kind of love? How often do we berate ourselves internally, all day long, about the size of our thighs? How often do we cut ourselves some slack? When do you give yourself a break? And why are we so terrified, that if people see the real us, unadorned, without control-top panty hose or self tanning lotion or hair extensions or a little bit of makeup, that they won’t like us any more? Why does “natural day” seem like such a scary idea? I’m not really entirely sure. But I hope to find out. And of course, my dear readers, I’ll let you know.
Love, Jeanette (AKA The Fat Chick)