Sunday, July 17, 2016

On self esteem and having a choice

Being in the middle of the work hustle and the city rush, deep thinking was out of the question. I can't remember the last time I ever truly did it. So when I embarked on a quick escape far south of the country last February, I was prepared to face my demons.

You know what I discovered? Being in an unfamiliar place really does something to a person. And I'm not sure what's with me one faithful day in that trip but I uncharacteristically snapped a picture of me (a selfie that is, which I haven't done in a while) and wrote something and posted it on my social media accounts.

A photo posted by Riza Ponciano (@rzzzp) on

First selfie in a very long while - at least something I am not feeling insecure to post at the moment. It sucks realizing how many hours I spend in a day trying to pick at all of my faults. I think too much, I am over-critical towards myself. I am obsessed at condemning myself for not being perfect and, to be honest, most days I can't even look straight at the mirror because I don't like what I see. But today, I am happy. And I snapped this one in hopes of freezing this moment to remind me that there are better days and I just need to wait for it - or in desperate times, create it myself. Such cliché, I know, and I might even delete this after a time (I hope I won't)... but yeah, here I am actually trying to make an effort to go easy on myself. Baby steps, baby steps. 😊 #cheesybaby

Well, that's me. Pimple scars, awkward smiles, and all. Not my best look, but in one of my best states of mind. It's weird - the way all my imperfections are magnified the moment I caught my reflection in any mirror:
Hair that don't seem to stay in place.
Puffy eyebags from lack of sleep.
Smile that never quite reach the eyes.
"You should give up looking for lost cats and start searching for the other half of the shadow" - Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
This particular post from @PoemsPorns hit the hardest:
"The hardest person to love has always been yourself. 
You who sips your cup of black coffee every morning, you with the untamed hair and wrinkled sweaters, you with your habit of overthinking, you with your tongue of quirkiness and you with you weird mannerisms and you you you- 
You with the long quiet sighs when you're having a bad day. You with all you imperfections on the tips of your fingers and memorised like the back of your hand. You with insecurities that you at times think as ridiculous and you - you only being human. 
The hardest person to love was always yourself. 
Because in a world of colour and shapes; how could you even imagine fitting yourself in it like a missing piece to a puzzle? In a world of society rules and standards, how could you - you find a place for your imperfections to flow out and for your insecurities to fade into something along the lines of pride? 
You have to love yourself. 
Trace your lines of imperfection with gentle fingertips; breathe in your insecurities like the air of autumn and winds of spring. Be perfect in you own way; whispering how being you was being beautiful and how other people don't matter and how you were always so beautiful beautiful beautiful- 
The hardest person to love was always yourself."

I've struggled with self-esteem issues for years now --
     despite having my wants almost always being served in a platter
     despite the college degree and graduating with honors
     despite having a stable job
     despite having a decent life, family
--  despite everything.

But it's just that. There's nothing wrong with me physically but sometimes, I feel like, inside, I am an absolute mess. I go outside and feel so self conscious it's not even funny. It's like a mark - the way I feel like all the negative things in my head are seeping from my skin and has taken a physical form. The way they always feel so apparent, so concrete.

I may not be able to shake the feeling, at least not immediately -- but one thing that's different right now is that I AM FINALLY TRYING. It took years and years to realize that everything is just all in my head. That my issues are, somehow, self- imposed. That I can break free ONLY IF I want to.

I have the choice. When I let the negative come out, it's my fault. But, if I can be okay for at least a day, that means that my efforts are paying off -- even a little. Realizing I have the choice is still million ways better than accepting the fate to just drown as if you can't do anything about it. Because, in reality, you can.

Somehow, all of these are everything and nothing at the same time. It's like a seed, embedded deep in your brain, that grew so wild so deep that it's hard to get it out without damaging your head. Along the lines, it became a part of me. Almost a significant part of being myself that I cannot even imagine existing without it.

But it shouldn't be, right? It shouldn't.

So all the damage be damned, but I'll struggle to pull this out of my system. Struggling is fine. Struggling is a beauty -- especially if you're doing it to salvage whatever's left of yourself. Saving yourself can always be a choice. I know. Because I've been wanting to choose it over and over but always, always, fail in the process. But I'll succeed somehow - in time. So for the meantime, #HangOn, self!

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Thanks for dropping by! I'd love to hear from you -- so don't think twice, just comment below and let's talk! If you're feeling like it, you could also link up and I'll make sure to visit your site if you have one. Much love, ~ R. :)


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