“Honestly the best piece of advice I can give to younger girls trying to figure life out is to completely ignore men. I’m not being quirky or cute when I say that, I mean it seriously. Ignore men’s judgments of you, ignore their insincere compliments, ignore their half-assed romance. Focus on developing yourself. Practice your art, play sports, do theater, volunteer, spend time with your friends, but do not put substantial effort into pleasing men. They’ll be there for you to pursue when the time comes and if you want to. But nothing will waste your youth more than fighting for male acceptance."
-tofugoddess (tumblr name)
There seems to be this unhealthy social obsession with forcing girls and women to revolve their lives around men. The way we dress, the things we say, hell, even the way we eat. And this isn’t only expected for certain women; this is enforced on all different kinds of women. It took me a long time to come to the realization that I’ve spent so much time focusing on micromanaging my mind and body to be more appealing to men. Often times without even really noticing. It’s a total mind fuck to be given so many different standards to live up to: we’re too loud or too quiet, we’re too fat but aren’t allowed to be too skinny, we’re too slutty but not slutty enough. Somehow we are always something, but we are never enough. Sometimes I’m asked how I overcome this. How I began the process of unlearning these tendencies to impress men. The answer is quite simple: I just stopped giving so many fucks. More importantly, I stopped caring about what men thought of me. I eliminated the expectations that I assumed they had. I thought of the boy who told me I had thunder thighs in high school, or the guy that stared at me funny naked when looking at my stretch marks. I began to laugh at the thought of the one who didn't like my hair or the one who told me my voice is too deep. I gave a middle finger to the guy who said my elbows and knees are too dark. Thought of the times I lathered these parts of my body in lightening cream and homemade scrubs praying that the darkness would go away. Looked back at the days when I would try every diet I could find and hate myself even more when they didn't work. Or when I’d think that not eating at all might be the answer instead. I thought of every time that my body image was brutally attacked by men and by myself. But I realized that those thoughts were just beauty expectations eating me alive.
I discovered that the men that I spent so much time gawking over were never worth my time. And the moment I remembered that none of those opinions matter, is when I allowed myself to be free in every sense of the word. And that is how I am coming into my womanhood every day. I only look to myself for approval.
The fresh moments after my breakup brought me to an unfortunate place, a place that was so unfamiliar to me since my young teenage years. For a short period of time I felt myself craving very specific attention. Not actually going on dates, or “hooking up,” but just feeling a strong need for some kind of validation from men, whether it came in the form of good morning texts or unwanted dick pics. I became so close to a place of desperation for these different aspects of a relationship that I was now missing. After a couple months I cracked down on myself. I stopped replying to degrading texts, deleted my tinder account, and decided it was time to get my shit together. Fortunately I was able to come back to my regular self, and I came back even better. My self-love was stronger and my understanding of what I want and expect in a partner has been much clearer. I went back to being in a committed, monogamous relationship with me.
I decided to like myself. And to do it right now. To not wait until after I lose ten more pounds, or after I fall in love with someone, or after I learn to perfect my contour. I realize that I am able to love myself and still be a work in progress. So I like my oddly large thighs and my quirky attitude. I love my stretch marks. I admire my spectacular breasts and lack of a butt. I feel best when I'm in my room, dancing in my granny panties. I no longer care to wear a bra. I feel most loved when I smile in the mirror. I gaze at this spectacular being. This fascinating, hilarious, brilliant being and wonder how I could've ever hated her in the first place.
And to have to face myself at the end of every day and be happy with who I am, is a feeling no man could ever provide. There's nothing like it; lying in my bed with all thirteen pillows, sprawled out without a whine or a whisper. Without someone rolling over and invading my space. Without an unwanted sound or touch or smell. No one to impress but me. There is so much beauty in comfort. So much sexiness in security. And what a beautiful feeling. To know that no one else needs to be in love with me but myself.