I just finished reading Liza Palmer's Conversations With the Fat Girl. It was one of the most "real" books I've read lately. By real, I guess I mean that I could relate to a lot of the main character's emotions. Nothing has hit me so hard since Jane Porter's Mrs. Perfect. (Notice that I also blogged about that one.) Jotting down my thoughts helps me to sort them out and move on, in a sense.
In Conversations, Maggie is a twenty-something who has very little self-esteem and is afraid to step out into the world and take any chances. She's uncomfortable with her body and worries about what everyone else sees when they look at her. She is so incredibly hard on herself, and is constantly beating herself up. Ok, so I'm not in my 20's anymore, but I spent almost the entire decade treating myself just like Maggie did herself. Most people who know me, realize that I was not overwieght like the character of Maggie, but I sure did have body issues! Physically, I was more like the character of Olivia in the book, getting down to that (not so) magical size 2 (and beyond), even though no one who is 5'6" should ever wear those sizes. Yes, I graduated from college, bought a car, got a teaching position and had a successful year, but I didn't give myself much credit for those accomplishments. Instead, I focused on everything that I though was "wrong" with me and compared myself to everyone else who, for reasons I couldn't quite put my finger on, were so much more accomplished and deserving of happiness. I wrapped myself in this tight little cocoon and looked no one in the eye. Nobody could make me come out until I was ready; only I could decide when I had had enough of the life I was living. When I finally started taking little chances and putting myself out there, people didn't laugh in my face and nothing catastrophic happened.
Flash forward to today: Sometimes I forget to be nice to myself. Besides relating to the character, reading this book also reminded me to treat myself like I try to treat others, especially my friends. To focus on what is good in me, and what good I can bring to those I love. To let others be nice to me because, guess what, they may actually like the me they see. And, if they don't, oh well, it's not gonna ruin my day.