N’oublie pas de t’aimer

She wiped the tears across her face with the back of her hands. She looked down at her fingers, black steaks and clumps of mascara now adorning them. She took a deep breath and tried to gather herself. She recognised that she should probably dig herself out of the emotional hole she was currently lying in, swallow her pride and ask for help. And, so, she did what one does in times of need – she reached into her pocket, drew out her smartphone and dialed her best friend.

‘But of course this would happen to you! You’re a little nerd girl who learnt how to put makeup on and thought the world would accept you because of it. Everyone knows you’re a fraud. Everyone knows you’re actually quite plain, quite uninteresting, quite uninspired. You are simply a plagiarised version of that which you have seen in others. All borrowed, the original looking fake. It only takes a scratch at the surface for someone to quickly realise you’re not even smart. So what do you really have to offer? To him, to your job, to them, to anyone? It was only a matter of time before you were found out. What did you honestly expect?’

Of course these weren’t the words of her best friend. Because she didn’t call her. Instead, she wallowed in a pool of self pity and relied on her mind to get her out of it. And what a terrible mistake that was. For these were the kindest words of solace her inner voice had to offer. The same mind that would cry a tear at the smallest of her family’s pain, feeling it, empathising with it with the gait and grace of someone capable of immense kindness, immense love. She knew in heart she was kind. She knew in her heart she was good. And while her friends, her sisters, would instantly cradle her in their arms if they knew half of the pain that existed behind her eyes, her mind held her to sky-high, unattainable standards. And as she climbed the ladder and achieved what she did, the standards grew too. Always that much more unattainable, always firmly out of reach.

Emotional hygiene. The words flashed before her eyes as she remembered that particular conversation with her therapist. Emotional hygiene. The wisdom to understand that the mind, even if unintentionally so, can be a cruel thing. The rational sense to understand that if you wouldn’t think twice to kick someone you love when they are feeling low, surely you deserve the same love, the same comfort, the same empathy. And then, having this wisdom and trusting it is true, have the strength and resolve to look in that mirror, and allow yourself the luxury of appreciating who you are – your beauty, your quirks, the twinkle in your eye, and all else that makes you you. And to recognise that those that love you probably wouldn’t want you to be any other way than the way you already are.

‘N’oublie pas de t’aimer.’ she whispers as she wipes what she hopes is the final tear. Because, despite all the dark thoughts and the cloudiness, she knows she’s worthy of it. Of love. Of life.

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