I like my hands, my feet, my freckles. I like that I’m like a cat, always soft and comfortable and brushing up against people I like. I like my curiosity, which isn’t related to the cat thing but might be. I like my freakish need to unpack myself and everyone and why we think and behave how we do. I like that I don’t shy away from internal conflict or the hard thing or the right thing, when I’m at my best. I like that I’m empathetic and forgiving. I like that I try really hard at life and care a lot in general. I like myself, for the most part.
Less likeable is my fear of publishing all those words. More annoying is my desire to temper or preface or follow up each one with a caveat or a counterpoint. It’s a little sick how impossible it feels to like ourselves these days. It’s the first thing we’re told to do (love yourself first!) and the last thing we’re supported in doing. Even harder is liking ourselves outside the narrow confines of what we’re told makes us likeable: being cute, successful, confident, happy, perfect, modest, whatever. They all smash up against each other and cancel each other out until the simple act of liking ourselves needs an international ad campaign slash grassroots hashtag or something. It’s all bad and VERY UNLIKEABLE.
That’s why I need you to tell me what you like about yourself. It will be good practice! Your hesitation is proof of the shitty stigma! I’ll take between one and 103 things. You owe me.
Illustration by Maria Jia Ling Pitt.