An open letter: How the Reproductive Justice movement taught me self-love
Posted by Kristen Barton
January 15, 2016
To anyone who struggles with what they see in the mirror,
To anyone who finds themselves avoiding a mirror,
To anyone who struggles with self-love,
I recently learned I am a huge hypocrite when it comes to self-love. If I see someone tear themselves down, I’ll immediately intervene and do everything I can to reassure them of their worth. But when I look in the mirror, I tear myself down more than anyone.
Being a reproductive justice activist, and a part of URGE, has shown me that. I always knew it was important to help make other people feel good about themselves, but I didn’t see the value in making myself feel good; I thought it made me egotistical. I always told myself that looks didn’t matter anyway.
I later realized I was fighting so hard for the right to my own body and for others to have a right to theirs, but I didn’t even want the body I was fighting for. How could I tell lawmakers to give me my body back, if I didn’t want it?
Recently there was a blog post on HuffPost Women about a woman who chose to run on the beach in her bathing suit, despite being self-conscious. In her piece she said she heard two voices in her head, one telling her to stop running, and one telling her to love and enjoy herself.
I have realized we all have both of those voices in our head, and we should always choose the kind one.
As I look at other reproductive justice activists I see so many confident people with the courage to love themselves. So many people willing to overlook what they consider flaws and celebrate their beauty.
This letter is for anyone who looks in the mirror and struggles to hear the kind voice. Find your kind voice. Fall in love with yourself. Look at the examples of strong, empowered activists the way I have.
This letter is for anyone who wants to desperately find that kind voice, but just needs a push, I will be your push with this piece.
This letter is for anyone who fights so diligently for everyone to have a right to make their own choices with their bodies, but struggles with loving their own. You are brave and powerful and inspiring.
I used to think loving myself and how I look meant I was overly self-involved, but now I know it’s healthy and it’s my duty to myself. Activists have fought for my right to my body and I owe it to them to love it.
Find your kind voice.