A few weeks ago, a friend and I were commiserating. We were sharing recent moments of insecurity and some tips that had helped us in our respective low moments. My friend said that she had bought a mug with some positive affirmation; I can’t remember what it was but something along the lines of “you’re great” or “gratitude is a good thing”. And since then, my friend said that when she was feeling low, she’d make herself a cup of tea in her special mug, grab a decadent cookie and sit and soak in the good vibes. I thought, yep I’m going to have to steal that one. So I went out that afternoon on a mission to find my mug. And what found me (I do believe she found me and not vice versa) was my “Moonchild Mug”. She said, “take me home you wild child, and drink from me when you need reminding that you are amazing”.
But drinking my strong black coffee every morning from my Moonchild Mug doesn’t meant that all my insecurity disappeared.
I have this theory…I think we all come into this world with a cup of love. And somehow at some point–maybe in the womb, maybe after a dysfunctional relationship or a lifetime of being frustrated with catcalls, that cup gets drained. And we subconsciously go out into the world seeking for that cup to be filled. We become like Oliver Twist with our empty porridge bowl, asking, “more sir?” Why?
In the forward of Sonya Renee Taylor’s book, “The Body is Not an Apology”, Ijeoma Oluo writes “there are no epiphanies that outweigh a lifetime of conditioning”. As such, there are no amount of affirmation-laden mugs that will erase a lifetime of self-loathing and body shaming. I love the title of Taylor’s book, in which she lays out for us what radical self-love looks like. It is not acceptance, she states. It is not putting up with. It is saying–I LOVE all of mySelf. I don’t tolerate myself. I don’t say, well once you lose weight, get a job, get that Ph.D or become sweet and martyr-like, or have kids or have a relationship or become uber spiritual or flexible, then only then will I love you. No, it says right now with chocolate ice cream spilling down your face, with a body that IS WHAT IT IS, with a stack of books next to your bed that you want to read but can’t manage to because you’ve been re-binge watching “Friends”…I LOVE YOU.
Seems obvious, but as Taylor points out, it’s radical. Radical because we don’t do it! Let’s start. Let’s start loving all of ourselves. Then, let’s start loving each other. Then let’s surround ourselves with other loving people and keep the haters at bay.
Yes, I still love my Moonchild Mug and I love pouring myself that first cup of coffee every morning. But I also need to help fill the mugs of my loved ones and sometimes I go to my team of safe and loving people and say, “more sir?”