“Care a little, care a lot,” I sing to myself, at six-thirty a.m. “Let me love you, let me not. But that wouldn’t change the way I, care for you. That wouldn’t make me think of, someone new.”
That song, “Care a Little,” by Bernadette Carroll and many more songs fill me with glee, helping me start my day off on the right foot. I’m talking artists like Al Green, Greta Van Fleet, The Fleetwoods, Brenda Lee, Etta James and the list continues. I put on an outfit I chose the night before and started to dance around, allowing encouraging words to fill my head, reassuring me that everything will be okay.
I stick to the same routine every morning. 1: Let out my hair, (or rats nest), from a low ponytail. 2: Wash my oily face. 3: Sing a little, while strutting back and forth like Freddie Mercury at Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance in 1985. 4: Curl straight strands of my hair, puffing it up to make my thin hair seem more voluminous. And lastly, 5: If I’m feeling a bit frisky, a light layer of makeup.
I’ve been sticking to this entire routine since the start of our 2018 winter break. I was in need of a change, and as I continued with this daily routine, I started to avoid straying away from the face in the mirror. I learned to start loving myself.
My curves, the solar system of moles above my lip, the tiger stripes at my hips and my hair having a combination of waves and curls. None of my flaws seemed to burden me any more.
Earlier in 2018, I was unable to look at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t understand how these women on social media could post on a daily basis about body positivity and not let others get to them. But I couldn’t seem to stop scrolling and scrolling. I soon became consumed by social media and the idea of comparing myself to others. It left me with an unhealthy mentality towards my appearance and ways to change it.
For instance, I contemplated eating less. I tried my hardest to go a few days but no progress could be seen. Then I delved into not giving a care about my physical health. Laying on my back for hours on end with bad eating habits—that truly didn’t help with my self-confidence.
According to Childmind.org, Founder of Mind-to-Mind Parenting, Donna Wick, Ed.D, says that for teenagers the combined weight of vulnerability, the need for validation, and a desire to compare themselves [on social media] with peers forms what she describes as a ‘perfect storm of self-doubt.’”
Then came my winter break of self-reflection. I took some time to give consideration to my rollercoaster of a year which left me in a haze of isolation. I decided to start journaling by writing entries, poems or short stories every day. I was heavily inspired, but at the same time, unhappy.
I had to come out of my cave of self-doubt and explore the world of self-love that I had been questioning for a long time. This was all determined because of the question: “How am I able to love others when I don’t truly love myself?”
Self-love is defined as “regard for one’s own happiness or advantage,” according to Merriam-Webster. It’s not a luxury, it’s a decision. A healthy decision for those in need of a positive change.
The belief that self-love is “selfish” is a misconception. The term selfish is often implied with a negative connotation, self-love is a positive way of giving time and devotion to yourself for healing, self-reevaluation and healthy lifestyle changes.
For instance, Know Your Value contributor for NBC News and personal leadership coach, Liz Bentley includes how author, Brene Brown, “discovered in her research on wholehearted living, [that] loving yourself more than you love others is the first and most critical step to seeking happiness and fulfillment.”
Even just making yourself look presentable for the day or doing exercises such as yoga, like I’ve started doing, could benefit your overall self-confidence and leave you at a long lasting happy state. On occasion, those who learn to practice nourishing and accomplishing basic needs for oneself with healthy activities are known to love themselves more, according to Psychology Today.
With my established routine and positive mindset towards my life, I decided to leave all my distractions in the past: I deleted all my social media apps, ended my bad eating habits, and gave more appreciation to the people who love and support me the most; my family.
Now when I walk the halls of Bonita Vista High, I keep my head up, high and proud, and walk with a skip in my step. Learning to care a little, taught me the best life lesson I could have ever learned at this exact place and time. I hope others can learn to give some care to themselves and blossom into lovely, human beings.
And as I walk, Berdanette Carroll’s lyrics ring clearly in my ears, “Day time, night time. Each day through. Darling, how I hope that you, care a little…”