The Urgency of Self Love
Rosabelle Sibarani shares her experience as a female who has learnt to find acceptance amidst all the struggles.
Words by Whiteboard Journal
Whatever traits and feelings we have right now, are more or less influenced by the lessons we picked up along our journey. From the first time we can remember things, to childhood, adolescents and even a couple months ago when we had an episode that we felt somewhat life-changing. I am a believer for this popular belief that “everything happens for a reason”. I believe that each and every one I met along the way, is a survivor, someone that has gone through tons of struggles but somehow made it to look normal amidst the chaos they had. And so they are what they are right now, the survivors whom bound to those chaos with the purpose of learning new things.
Now, believe me I’m just a regular person, working the 9-5 job, thinking twice about buying one cup of coffee at those fancy retail coffee shops, enjoying the occasional drinking as mid 20s and having gone through life’s struggle and picked up zillions of lessons along the way. But I’m writing this, to share about a glimpse of my life, which I hoped might help overcome the taboo-ism of a girl exposing herself without feeling ashamed about it as well as helping a girl or two to define their self-love. I am very keen to take you all to my journey of my self-love as I hoped some of you might relate, and most importantly feel less alone. So here’s my journey to self-love.
I remember how much of a struggle it was, to tug my school skirt that repeatedly stuck on my ass, to look for skincare during my adolescent to make my face whiter, to find jeans that fit my waist and thighs, to made my breasts looked bigger, to see my Mom and Aunts skinny figures and compare myself to them and to find clothes that fits my figure so I look like the rest of the girls. In conclusion, it is the struggles to fit in the common beauty standard in Indonesia.
But all of the above, was not the main struggle, it was just the funny part of this story. The main struggle was how much I used to think that my own body is actually a weapon against myself. It all started innocent, from the light insults about my body from my male friends at school, to the exhibitionist who flash himself at me when I was in elementary school, the road musician who graze my thigh when I took the bus from school, the so-called male friends that grope my ass when I was dancing at a club, the so-called male friends that force me to their bed and the scars in my heart that was left from these series of unfortunate events. You can say how small these incidents are, how much of a weeper I am to complain about this things. But does the scars dries itself? Unfortunately, as much as I wanted it to, it doesn’t.
I can tell you how scars turned into wounds and wounds turned to consequences, real consequences. I can hardly count the number of times I fell for the wrong guys, because I never took credit of myself. The number of wrong decisions I took in relationships, because I feel like it was already good enough someone wanted to be with me. The number of physical and mental violence I should take, because pain felt like something I should get used to. The fact that I hate myself so much, has brought out the worst version of me. I can hardly count the number of relationships failed and turned into waste because of my insecurity. The number of money spent on diet pills just so I can look dead skinny. And the amount of energy my close friends had to waste, to make myself feel better on a daily basis.
Now I’m not trying to play the victim here, and I’ve honestly forgiven everyone and even myself. Not that I’ve completely healed, the girls that went through similar struggles will most probably understand how it is all a process. Since I graduated and got my first job, I learned how to eat properly, learning that food is not just about pleasing my body but also my soul. I started to work out, every other day, not every day. I started to find hobbies and do random research about the things that bring out the curiosity in me. And of course, I started to value myself when it comes to romantic relationships.
And frankly, the social media posts and articles that I’ve exposed to about body positivity does helped a lot. Reading articles about similar struggles and come-back stories, makes me feel less of an outcast. I feel like I can relate. I feel like the dark stories I’ve been through are not supposed to be left in the dark, rather to be shared and hopefully will motivate someone out there. Though I am still learning, I can bluntly say that I am now in a better place. I begin to accept myself, the way I look, and this leads to me finding out who I really am on the inside, because I’ve took less concerns for my package. Though it is a long road, it is worth every step.