Being tasked with writing about sex this issue, I found myself as uncomfortable writing about the topic as it feels to watch the sex scene in The Matrix Reloaded with your parents. It’s not that I don’t think it’s something that needs to be talked about - sex is mean, and something that should be shared with any consenting adult you like, regardless of gender expression or societal norms. I guess I’ve always seen it as something that should be kept between you and however many other people you share it with (and not just jamming on whoever you met in the disgusting pits of The Outback last night, you Godless heathens). Nah, I’m gonna talk about relationships - something I’m by no means an expert in, but have made enough mistakes in to at least know what not to do.
I don’t see relationships in the way that mass media has sold them to us. Healthy relationships aren’t about cheating on your fianceé with your ex when you find out he’s creepily built you an entire house and written you letters every day (The Notebook), or running away from your husband, falling in love with someone in a small town and then eventually murdering your husband together (Safe Haven). Love isn’t about constant grand romantic gestures (unless you’re Seth Cohen) - it’s about struggling and growing together, even when it’s hard (lol) or inconvenient.
Relationships are great, and being in love is the best feeling, but I think the most important relationship you’ll ever have in your life is the one you have with yourself. After all, you’re the only one that will always be there for you (whether you like it or not).
Loving and accepting yourself feels really unnatural and difficult to do, in part because we’re constantly trained by the media to hate ourselves. These are the messages we’re told every day: your teeth are yellow - better buy some Colgate©, you stink-breath loser. You’re not muscular enough - better get a Cubii Pro, you fat sack of shit. Your mental health issues are annoying and get in the way of other people’s happiness - better shut the fuck up forever and keep it to yourself. All of this just ends up rotting away your insides until there’s a void that only buying worthless trash at K-mart can fill. And the cycle continues.
But, here’s the kicker - there’s actually nothing wrong with you. You’re a human, and as a human, you’re gonna make mistakes and forget things and fuck up from time to time. Does that make you worthless and undeserving of love? Of course not! Would you talk to someone else the way that you talk about yourself in your head? Hell no! So why do you subject yourself to such impossible standards you’d never expect anyone else to live up to?
Even if you’ve had your heart broken in new and exciting ways you would have never dreamed of; even if you’ve been hurt, let down, or abandoned in the past; even if you’ve done shitty things, hurt the people around you, or made mistakes you can’t seem to get past - you’re still a decent person. You’re still deserving of love. You’re a smart, good looking, capable person that can do anything you set your mind to. But the first step is learning to love yourself.
So, be nicer to yourself. Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible for looking after. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Light some candles. Dim the lights. Put on Journals by Justin Bieber. Lock the door. Show yourself some love like no-one else can. Because if you can’t, no-one else will.