I’ve been on holiday for ten days now – it feels like more and like less in equal measure – and over the past day have read Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye. I’ve enjoyed the show over the past few years and was looking for a bit of light relief between the slightly more involved books I’ve brought with me.
But his book brought me more than I was expecting. So I wanted to spend a few moments writing thoughts about some of the things that I’ve been thinking while following his story.
The main being a line right towards the end of the book which says:
I’m literally just as lost as you. I’m just as grateful. And I’m just as much of a perfectly imperfect mess. People are all layered – good and bad, filled with joy and sorrow. The key is being grounded in the relationship you have with yourself. Basing my worth in how I treat myself despite how others treat me has been the key to my success.
And I’m struck, despite how hard it is for me to type these words and declare unapologetically to the world, by how much I like myself.
There, I’ve said it.
I like who I am.
I like how I look.
I like the grey in my hair.
I like how I’m more in tune with myself physically and emotionally than I have ever been before.
I like my bravery and my tenacity.
I like my gentleness and reflectiveness.
I like how I can be dead serious and then dance myself silly in the next moment.
I like how I’m musical, creative and intuitive but how I can be just as logical and intellectual.
I like how I’m driven.
And I love the simplicity in JVN’s words – the possibility of a guiding principle of my life being that my worth isn’t on how much I achieve, how good a mum I am, what I do with my life, how I am viewed by others, how thin I am, how I treat others.
My worth can be on how I treat myself.
How much kindness, compassion, understanding, generosity I show myself.
And from there, who knows. I may accomplish many of the things I’ve listed above. I’m more likely to achieve better results, parent better, have a rewarding life. And I’m likely to not give a flying fuck about how thin I am, what others think of me, whether I’ve pleased others.
It feels defyingly daring to live a life like this.
To embrace myself and live from the foundation of knowing that I am the bees knees.
It doesn’t feel safe to do this and I hear my inner critic telling me to not get too big for my boots, because doing this risks being knocked down.
But it also has the potential to see me standing bigger, taller, prouder, freer, more grounded.
But what a beautiful thought.
And it makes me think about Adam, my cousin, who died a few years ago and who Jenson is named for (he’s Jenson Adam). He’s someone who I know lived like this and I admired him for that. Living unapologetically as himself, knowing he was fucking fantastic.
I want that for myself.
So in advance of new year, I’m going to commit to channeling my inner JVN, my inner Adam and know that it’s how I treat myself which is my true measure of my worth.