Don't Tell Me How to Love Myself
Published in Your Magazine
It’s 2015. Middle schoolers are whipping and Nae Naeing in the hallways, hoverboards are all the rage and Hailee Steinfeld has just released her seminal pop anthem “Love Myself.” Finally, a 12-year-old me enters the school, burying my body in PINK sweats, sporting a side ponytail and riddled with anxiety.
“I know how to scream my own name / Scream my name / Gonna love myself, no, I don't need anybody else.”
Suffice to say, I didn’t resonate with these lyrics back then and still struggle to embrace the ideals paraded by the self-love movement. It’s not that I don’t have love for myself; rather, I am skeptical of the idealistic standards associated with the concept of self-love that makes the pursuit of such a concept daunting and fruitless.
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
—Joan Didion, The White Album
As a child growing up in Omaha, Nebraska, I was always driven to make a difference. Call it Midwestern values or the side effects of growing up in a family of immigrants. Whatever the cause, I felt and still feel a strong sense of responsibility to positively impact others. At first, I thought I would pursue more practical career paths. I would imagine myself as a surgeon or a politician. While I had always loved writing, I underestimated the power of words and how their impact can perhaps be greater than the slice of a scalpel or the thump of the gavel at certain times.
It took me taking a journalism introductory course in high school for me to reacquaint myself with my passion for writing. After finishing that class I knew that I would always be happy if I had a pen in my grasp or my hands on the keyboard. I've always wanted to create space for others and have learned firsthand the danger of assuming you can "speak for others" instead of giving underrepresented voices a platform. Creating space is a more positive and proactive alternative. As a Cuban American woman, journalism has been my way to shine a light on issues in my communities. I am constantly striving to create space and empower others through my creation.
Enjoy exploring my work.