a continuation of watermelon girl's life
Felt like drawing some action battle scenes *self-empowering war cry*
Thank you for this.
Reblogging again because this is sincerely one of the more powerful pieces of art I’ve seen in quite some time.
It’s easy, when you have a chronic illness — whether it’s physical, mental, or both — to forget the value you have to yourself as an ally. A big part of getting through diagnosis and early treatment that nobody much talks about is learning to be your own advocate, learning to use the power you have, learning to be whatever sort of ally you need. It’s not easy, and sometimes I fail at it completely, but I work at it. I work at being kind to myself when I need kindness, at being firm with myself when I need firmness, at being loving to myself when I need love.
It sounds nauseatingly cheesy, okay, but it’s not. It’s fierce as fuck, because most of us have spent years being told that we shouldn’t be this way, that people like us are worthless, useless, leeches and burdens. Most of us have to overcome the cumulative results of years’ worth of passive loathing directed at people like us, and which suddenly applies to us. Most of us are too afraid of being demanding, of being a drag on those who love us. Most of us are afraid of inhabiting the world around us, because we feel like we take up “too much” space just by existing. Most of us are not narcissistic and selfish and too proud, most of us do not think too much of ourselves. Most of us are the opposite. Most of us have been ground down in the name of keeping us humble, because gods forbid that us broken people stand up and demand to be treated like the badass motherfuckers that we are.
Here’s the deal: deciding that you care about yourself, that you want to genuinely help yourself, deciding that you are worth fighting for, whether you are any good at it or not, is a transgressive act, because it flies in the face of a cultural narrative that says that we shouldn’t even exist, and we have to pay the price by remaining perpetually apologetic for the fact that we are here in the first place. We are expected to live our lives ashamed of ourselves because shame is the only way . We’re expected to live small lives that do not force awareness of us and our shameful imperfections on other people. We’re expected to live in a way that doesn’t make other people feel guilty or uncomfortable, even when it leaves us feeling guilty and uncomfortable. Sometimes, due to circumstance, that is how me must live for a time. But that is not how we are meant to live. That is not how we should have to live. Just knowing that, believing that, even if you can’t change your situation, is a victory.
Nobody should have to go through this alone, but there are going to be parts of it that you are alone for all the same. And it’s worth cultivating a fierce sense of protectiveness about yourself, because that is a powerful source of strength when those moments come. Truly, nothing in this world is as powerful as our human urge to protect what we love. When we work to become our own ally, we gain the support of the one person who understands us better than any other, who has the most invested in our survival, who is most likely to care.
When I say that I love myself, I don’t just mean I stand around in cute panties and fondle my butt and think about how adorable I am, or that I have learned to be kind to myself with ice cream and music that I love, or that I write affirmations on my mirror, or that I try every day to respond to the world with gentleness and love, even when that is very hard. I do those things, but there’s more.
I also mean that I have learned to become angry when someone hurts me for no reason, I have learned to defend myself against people who actively or passively threaten my well-being, I have learned that appropriate, justified rage is not something that hurts me, but something that protects me, I have learned that a little selfishness is sometimes a valid answer, that I deserve respect as I am, that it is not my duty to be pleasant always and never have bad days or never lose control. I have learned that I am worth loving even and especially when I am not at my best.
I do write affirmations on my mirror. What kind of cuddly-wuddly, wafting, fluffy shit do I remind myself of each morning? Here’s the new one:
OFFER NO APOLOGIES*
Most people couldn’t see self-love in those words if you paid them. But for me, it’s there, because this is a bloody, fierce thing. I have to aggressively go after what I need, take it, work it for everything it’s got, and never apologize for doing what I have to do. I don’t usually succeed at this, but, you know, that’s why it’s written on the mirror. To remind me that it’s okay to do what is best for me, because we are talking survival, here.
Most days, my mental illness is me fighting ennui and frustration and being very tired, but sometimes it stops being small-scale and becomes for-real fighting for my sanity, for my life. The cuddly butt-fondling and ice cream part is the comparatively easy part to reach. The part with the spears, that’s harder, because when you most need it, that’s when it is hardest to maintain. It takes practice, but it’s worth it.
There’s a reason assholes don’t want you to love yourself, okay? Self-love is fucken scary. It gets shit done.
I know my love for myself can be broken by my mental illness. But I also know that I will forgive myself for that, I will bandage my own wounds, and I will get back up to fight again. And there’s a kind of joy in that. There’s pride. The way the hero in an action movie will look up after he’s been punched in the face by Nazis and give a bloody smile, because every hit turns a little of his fear into rage, and he knows that if they give him even one chance, he is going to kick the ever-loving shit out of some Gestapo thugs.
I’m not invulnerable just because I’ve decided I am worth caring about. I have to deal with a mental illness that can lie dormant for years, and then rise up and try to murder me almost overnight. It’s no longer terrifying, but it’s a reality I can’t ignore. Maybe someday it will get me. Being your own hero doesn’t mean you will have a happy ending, unfortunately. It doesn’t mean you will never fail yourself, or that you are the only hero you will ever need, or that you will always win every battle you fight.
But it does mean you have a much better chance, that the journey will be more awesome, and that you will have damn good, damn faithful company on the way.
Maybe you aren’t ready for any of this second-year Being Broken 201 stuff yet. Maybe you aren’t able to love yourself yet. Maybe “fighting”, for you, is simply getting out of bed. Maybe it’s deciding not to hurt yourself for another twenty minutes. Maybe it’s just being aware that you shouldn’t think hateful things about your body, even if you can’t stop yourself from thinking them yet. Maybe it’s making one phone call. Maybe it’s facing up to one more doctor visit.
But you came this far. Congratulations.
You are worth fighting for. Fight.
*Falconer Teddy Moritz