A Self Love Reflection

 


Oh February. The season of love.

New Year’s has barely had the chance to put on it’s sweatpants and there we are, in the middle of Target, looking at heart shaped crap just flowing off the shelves.

Growing up catholic meant that there was some obscure saint that was involved in this (and every) americanized holiday. Also growing up with a mother who knows how to celebrate, we never had a holiday that wasn’t, in truest fashion, a “go big or go home” event. Valentine’s day was no exception. It meant love and love meant chocolates, notecards in shoe boxes, half naked baby cupids and letting that special someone know how you feel through conversation hearts that tasted like antacids.  Aside the fact that it took me over 30 years to understand what love, in it’s healthiest form, meant I also learned that love, so importantly, started with your reflection.

Okay - click, rewind and let’s discuss how this all heart-shaped crap came to mind: I was tasked with writing the monthly blog for Quarter Moon. Since I am not the queen of slaying witty words like Michele, I went from having a plethora of ideas to having absolutely zero things to write about. So here is where we begin…. again.

As I sit here trying to focus on my task at hand (and not on Game of Thrones in the background) I was trying to figure out what I might write about. The lineup that I’ve been slowly collecting for about six months now during quiet bathroom visits and late nights (that lives in my phone right next to ongoing target list) is staring me in the face. Alas, the topics either feel too disconnected or like they aren’t ready for sharing.  Perhaps I’ll pluck one from the womb and share it: “The guilt that comes along with parenting” ...(meh) … maybe our thoughts on the trending “Gillette ad” that the internet has fallen in love with or criticized (nah… not yet….). So what did I do? I did what any good millennial would do and took my industrious ass to the all-knowing internet and searched for “writing prompts”. Mind you - my english teacher of a husband is sitting about a foot from me on the couch and will probably cringe when he reads this but I didn’t want to think about it too much, I wanted google to slap me in the face with it’s gloriousness. And of course, it did not disappoint.

In my search I came across the prompt: “your favorite career quote”. I knew immediately all too well what that quote is. (Side note- if you had asked me to give you my favorite career quote when I worked in the iron walls of corporate america, I would have laughed and said “that’s not in my bandwidth” - a phrase I only loved because I hated it so much). Any way, I digress…. While anyone who has taken portraits with us may think that my favorite field phrase is “Give me your sexy potato eyes” or “Who run the world”... they are close. However, those are not quite the simple, illuminating and empowering grouping of words that stopped me in my tracks and caused a revolution in my own skin and mind.  

The words that resonate deep within me still, a year later, came straight from the lips of our very own studio mate, Cheyenne Gil, while she was being interviewed about body positivity. Among her cheerful, yet powerful banter she said “Look in the mirror to see what’s right, not what’s wrong”.

When was the last time you looked in the mirror and DIDN’T think:  “my hair looks bad, my skin is wrinkled, my eyes are tired, my body isn’t what I want it to be…” or something similar? If you can’t relate and can already look in the mirror and see the good and think, “I LOVE me”, then I am air-high-fiving you right now because you GOT it.

I was the person seeing the wrong in my reflection. My cup was always half full and overfloweth when it came to my family and friends. I always looked for the positive, gave my trust and tried to uplift everyone who I crossed paths with… except myself. It led me to repetitive toxic relationships with others and more importantly, with myself. Cheyenne’s beautiful words brought me immediately back to one of my original righteous babes: Ani Difranco and her words: “the bathroom mirror has not budged and the woman who lives there can tell”. How many times had I sang “Joyful Girl” to myself, feeling intoxicated by her empowerment but even then, I never knew what those words really meant until Cheyenne spoke similar words from her heart that day. It triggered a thousand feelings but what really came back to my mind were my mother’s words that I had never truly heard before then: “you have to love yourself before you can love someone else”.  


So now, I look in the mirror for what’s RIGHT. I love myself and work hard every day to do so. I guess what I am saying, way less eloquently than Cheyenne is that, this February, love yourself. Look in the mirror and fall completely and unforgivably in love with that reflection. Love the “heart-shaped candy, harry potter valentine card” crap out of that reflection. While weird decorations of naked flying babies armed with weapons are one way to approach this holiday of strange traditions, I think it’s better to instead to treat yo’ self to YOURSELF. Learn and live your beautiful, wonderful self.

xoxo

Shannon


 
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