Standing Solo: Part I


Self-love is often said to be the best love and I must agree that statement is very much true. Yet, so many of us fail to realize the importance of this simple concept. Loving yourself should be the first thing we are taught but why is it so often that we must be swayed into this mindset in adulthood or sadly, never at all?

I would like to sit here and tell you that I have always been my number one fan but truth is I, like many of us, was full of self-loathing and anguish. I was bullied at home and at school, I had no friends, and always measured the love for myself against the love I was shown. That’s why we can’t fail to forget the self in self-love. Growing up a deep hue in the deep South is certainly an intricate environment to raise a proud Black child. On one hand, you have so much history, so many triumphs and truths to give them about who they are and the beauty they create in such an ugly world. On the other hand, you have the unconscious reinforcement of negative thoughts and images, centuries long oppression, and innumerable external forces telling them they hold no value. So, I am here to walk with you on this journey as we discover, or re-discover the beauty of loving ourselves.

You are important.

              It doesn’t have to be to anyone but yourself. It doesn’t have to be because of your income. It doesn’t have to be because of your status. YOU ARE IMPORTANT. You have accomplished things and will accomplish much more.

You are beautiful.

              It doesn’t matter what your complexion or hair texture is. It doesn’t matter if you’re skinny, slim, slim-thick, shaped like an hourglass, overweight, obese, or anything in between. Beauty is defined as a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. That definition is WRONG. Aesthetics may make you “pretty” but beauty is a quality all its own and shines through you. Like they say, its either in you or its on you, and anything external can be stripped away. So, cultivate your beauty from within.

You are intelligent.

              There are different levels and aspects of intelligence and YOU ARE INTELLIGENT in some shape, form, or fashion. Whether you’re a scholar, artist, or parent, there is something you excel at exceptionally. You don’t have to have walls or shelves filled with accolades to prove your brilliance because you are beyond a doubt the best at being you and that’s recognition enough.

You have a voice (use it).

              I don’t care what you do, where you’re from, what you have, you matter. Don’t let anyone use who you are to silence you. Whether you’re a sex worker, a stripper, an office assistant, or restaurant worker, if you have an opinion, voice it! Closed mouths don’t get fed, so if you expect people to listen to you then you’re going to have to speak up.

I’m not here to tell you that the journey to finding yourself and loving yourself will be easy but I am here to tell you it will be worth it. There is a clarity and peace that comes with knowing you are loved unconditionally that you get with self-love. It will fill voids you weren’t even aware existed, change the way you think and react to everything, and it will change the way you love.

Check out Part II focused on self-care.


Keigan Ross