At birth, I created a bit of a ruckus and lost oxygen in the process. As I grew, I developed a one-of-a-kind accent commonly called a speech impediment. Also as a kid, I had substantial coordination difficulties. For instance, in seventh grade, I actually threw a shot put backwards during a track meet!
I spent much of my life strongly disliking not being “normal.” At least I accomplished a good deal while feeling badly about myself, although, I wouldn’t recommend this type of motivation. I graduated college with a double major in English and Social Work. I earned a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry. And, for ten years, I worked for an organization that served people with developmental disabilities. This was an extremely rewarding job. On a daily basis, I was seeing the best in other people. Unfortunately, I was still often seeing the worst in myself.
What I discovered from this extensive research project in self-loathing is that constant self-criticism is draining and destructive. About seven years ago, desperate for a change, I went to a yoga class and then another and another and then lots more. I began to fall in love with my body and my voice. This love was definitely not love at first sight. My love for myself blossomed slowly as I engaged in more and more activities that brought me joy. By treating myself with love, I finally realized the freedom we all have–the freedom to love ourselves, imperfections and all.
Now I can proudly say: I love my voice. I love my coordination. I love me.