Learning how to Love Myself

I’ve struggled writing this post, more than I imagined I would. My head fighting with my heart.

My heart won.

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In the run-up to our back-to-school, BTS released their third compilation album Love Yourself: Answer. My free time was about to dissipate at an alarming pace. I’d heard their music playing all summer and my girls were talking in hushed, hopeful tones about the possibility of a concert in Chicago. They were being so careful not to push, not to hope too much. One quiet afternoon when they had disappeared into their room to practice choreography and giggle over YouTube videos, I sat at this very computer and opened YouTube myself.

I was immediately greeted with a list of suggestions for BTS videos. It took mere seconds to locate the video’s I’d seen them watching all summer. Just a picture of the group with three sets of lyrics shown, Korean, Korean phonetically, and English.

I wanted to know what these boys were telling my daughters.

Knowing they were rappers, I wasn’t expecting anything good. Thus, I was not at all prepared for what I discovered. I chose the song Love Myself cringing about what this might be about. I was familiar with the tune and focused on the English lyrics translation. (There are other translations but all of them similar. This is the first I read.)

It’s harder, loving yourself, than loving someone else. Honestly let’s admit what we must admit, the standards you make are harsher for yourself.

My fingers fumbled the mouse to the pause button before I hit the chorus. I looked around, making sure no one had come in while I had my ear buds in. Grabbing a kleenex, I looked back at the blurry screen. I wanted to swear. I wanted to sob. I wondered what song last hit me this hard? I clicked the play button again.

You’ve shown me I have reasons
I should love myself (oh)
My breath, the path I walked, it all answers for me

The me from yesterday, the me of today, the me for tomorrow
(I’m learning how to love myself)
Without missing a single part, without leaving a single gap, everything of me

I hit the pause button again, reaching for another kleenex. This time I did swear. “What the #*#& is wrong with me?!” Stepping away from the computer, I had a little talk with myself. It went like this.

GET A GRIP! This is a fluke, a bunch of Korean boys in their twenties. What do they know? You’re overreacting.  Your daughters love these boys like there is no tomorrow, but you’re er, older. What is wrong with you? You’re acting like a teenager. You always overreact with music. You need to get a hold of yourself. This isn’t appropriate. This isn’t you.

I stopped myself there with one simple statement that came straight from my heart.

“This is exactly, me.”

It just whispered through me, and I sat down and pushed play again.

It’s possible that there won’t be an answer
In a way, this may not be the answer either
Even just loving myself, I needed someone else’s approval
Even now I’m still finding myself but I don’t want to die anymore
Me, who used to be sad
Me, who used to be hurt
It’ll make me more beautiful

I sat there listening, wondering, thinking about the crazy changes this year brought. How many times I’ve revisited that idea that if I only knew who I was, I would be a whole person again/for the first time. All these new people I’ve found and was now afraid to meet. Constantly thinking about all the ways I’d disappoint them. I wasn’t whole at all. Why? Because after all these years, everything I’ve done, everything I’ve missed, I’ve never loved myself. I’ve only tried to make you love me. Make you fill that empty crater. I’ll love you like no one else can if you will just, please, fill me.

From the beginning of the start, and the end of the end, there is one answer ey
Why do you keep trying to hide inside your mask? (hey)
Even the scars that were formed from my mistakes are my very own constellations (ey)

Everything I’ve done, good, bad, ugly, it’s now my sky. It’s beautifully tattooed on my soul. It goes everywhere with me. If I opened my heart, you could never be cold. I would lay back in star-shine and smile.

Why am I still trying to hide behind the mask of what I think you want? What about what I want?

This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about changing myself to change my world. But this is the first time anyone had sung so poignantly to me about it. This song gave me so much hope, so much peace. It reminded me of the power music has to move me. Not just to make me smile, or dance, but to urge me to exist in a better way, to trust my heart, ignore my ego, to believe the answers are inside me

This is the song that erased my doubts about the trip to Chicago. All the old woman fears, can I drive that far alone? Do I want to spend my money on that? Do I want to be stuck in my car for twelve hours with two teenagers, even ones I like? What if —–eek all the things that could go wrong! My mother would never have driven so far to waste so much money on one evening of music. It’s not even in English! Thirty thousand screaming girls. Driving in Chicago, you are SO out of practice. You are not eighteen anymore!

Still in me, oh
That awkward part of me but (woah)

You’ve shown me I have reasons
I should love myself

Yes, still that awkward part of me that bought scam tickets. Yes, the dumb luck that allowed us to see the show anyway. Oh, wow, to hear this sung live, to sing along with so many happy people, in Korean and English. To see their (BTS’s) reaction when a stadium filled with Americans sang to them, their own song, in Korean. How amazing to wonder, for the first time in many years, if I could even hold another drop of joy inside me without exploding like some crazy firework. Many have asked if I would ever consider doing it again, knowing now the cost.

In a heartbeat.

I hope you’ll take a moment and listen to the link. I’ve learned, I still can’t predict what’s around that next corner!

 

Love Myself

I open my eyes inside this darkness
When my heartbeat is unfamiliar
I face you in the mirror
Your fear-stricken glare, recycled questions
If you look at it in a certain way, it’s harder loving yourself
Than loving someone else
Honestly, let’s admit what we have to admit
The standards you make are harsher for yourself
Inside the center of your life is a thick growth ring, it’s a part of your life and what you are
Let’s forgive ourselves now
Our lives are too long to just throw ourselves out, I believe in myself inside this maze, because when winter passes, spring comes again

From the eyes of the cold night
I try to hide myself
As I keep tossing and turning ey
But did I fall so that I could be hit by those countless stars? Hey
I’m the only target of thousands of those radiant arrows

You’ve shown me I have reasons
I should love myself (oh)
My breath, the path I walked, it all answers for me

The me from yesterday, the me of today, the me for tomorrow
(I’m learning how to love myself)
Without missing a single part, without leaving a single gap, everything of me

It’s possible that there won’t be an answer
In a way this may not be the answer either
Even just loving myself, I needed someone else’s approval
Even now I’m still finding myself but I don’t want to die anymore
Me, who used to be sad
Me, who used to be hurt
It’ll make me more beautiful

That’s right, that beauty is there, my feelings that know that beauty is here                         Is on the road to loving myself
my most needed work
Now for me, just for me, attitude for me is the behaviour I need for myself
I’ll show you what I got
I’m not afraid because that’s my existence
Love myself

From the beginning of the start, and the end of the end, there is one answer ey
Why do you keep trying to hide inside your mask? (hey)
Even the scars that were formed from my mistakes are my very own constellations (ey)

You’ve shown me I have reasons
I should love myself (Au woah)
my breath, the path I walked it all answers for me

Still in me, oh
That awkward part of me but (woah)

You’ve shown me I have reasons
I should love myself
(I’m learning how to love myself oh)
my breath, the path I walked it all answers for me

The me from yesterday, the me of today, the me for tomorrow
(I’m learning how to love myself)
Without missing a single part, without leaving a single gap, everything of me

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12 thoughts on “Learning how to Love Myself

  1. Carly all kidding aside, I’m very glad you went to this concert! Music that is so powerful and positive is good for our souls. The song you have highlighted is wonderful. And you are so very tough on yourself. Cut yourself some slack and remember what a beautiful person you are! I’ve known that for awhile! It oozes out of your writing! Stay well my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Michael, all kidding aside, it was an unexpectedly life altering experience. Their wonderful music and whole-hearted giving has opened a new safe place for me. I feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever before. I’m not completely there, but I don’t feel so lonely anymore.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. You know, decades ago I heard and loved John Denver. I started to collect all his music. I was still in high school and for the most part he wasn’t considered “cool”. But I loved how his music made me feel. I loved his positivity! Not all his songs were happy but the general feeling was one of optimism. I still love his music and one of my genuine regrets is never having seen him live. I planned to, but then an experimental plane changed all that. Still whenever I hear his music I am taken someplace nice and cocooned in this warm feeling of company. He is one of the few musical performers that takes me there—not the only one, but one of a very few. The power of music to transform and impact on us is real! Have a wonderful day!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. John Denver songs are all over my playlists too. He did seem to live with an unflagging optimism. I know what you mean about a few musicians that can take you there. Enjoying a long weekend this week! Thanks for sharing.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing.

    I saw a report last week that attending a concert every two weeks is good for the soul and may…no way to really prove…add up to nine years to your life. Obviously, this one concert for you added A LOT!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Carly, Music for me, is a comfort, a mood booster and source of happiness. There is not a day that goes by I do not listen to music. Sounds like you not only made some good life long memories with your girls, but added music to your lives that will always make those memories come alive every time you hear those songs again.
    🎃

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wonder this so often, too — why do I feel so hung up on pleasing people? (of course, other people may not think I am hung up on pleasing them, from their perspective). Why can’t I embrace my own stubbornness and voice? I’m glad you found this particular inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

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