Many years ago, after a series of painful and toxic relationships, I stopped and wondered what the hell was wrong with me. Despite all my efforts to make relationships work, they always ended in failure. After more years of processing and understanding the root of all my issues, childhood trauma, I came to the devastating realization that deep down I just hated myself. I blamed myself for what had happened to me as a child. And the majority of my adult life had been spent punishing my inner child, and trying experience love externally, through someone else.

But as with happens with us survivors, we gravitate toward other survivors, other people who are just as damaged as ourselves. I carried the weight of my partners’ own trauma while neglecting my own.. because I didn’t deserve to care for myself.

It wasn’t until my early-30s when my ex-partner was threatening to throw a brick at me during an argument that I finally snapped. “What the fuck am I doing here?!” In the years after that horrid relationship I went inward to untangle the mess inside and understand my own primal pain, the primary wound that never stopped gushing.

I wrote myself this little meme before you as a commitment to myself. For someone as damaged as I felt, even not choosing to eat shit felt like a victory. I am almost 40 and happier, healthier in my head and heart, than I have ever been.

On this Valentine’s Day, to all my survivors out there, you deserve love and healing. You deserve agency and joy. And you deserve to love yourself my whatever means necessary.

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