Self love always includes self defense
(mind you, I’m not saying you have to learn martial arts, or carry weapons, or even expecting that anyone needs to be ABLE enough to do this, but rather, the mental state of saying you are worth protecting, defending, and cherishing and taking what choices you can to do that…)
I remember years back, my homegirl was going to go with her sister in a sticky situation. I was completely not from this neighborhood, so me showing up probably would have upped the shit factor. So I hand her a knife I carried.
She looks at me. She looks at the knife. She puts it in her pocket.
Later she told me that was the best fucking thing I could have done. She didn’t have to use it, but it was the fact that I gave her something immediately useful, trusted her to protect herself, and basically reinforced her own sense of agency.
Later she used stick fighting to protect herself against an abusive family member.
It’s not the act of violence that’s a source of power, it’s the act of recognizing that your safety matters, that other people, who bring harm your way, you’re RIGHT to act to stop it.
Anyone who spews “Love yourself” as a feel good thing, they don’t get it. Loving yourself means acknowledging exactly how much of the world is out to hurt you, and how much of the world doesn’t give a fuck what happens to you. It’s an ugly, scary, fucked up road that leaves you realizing most of the folks you’ve cared about, loved, and put in for, don’t care about you.
Only the privileged get to love themselves as a feel good journey. For them, the act of loving themselves doesn’t stand under attack, society isn’t against them loving themselves. So it’s ridiculous when they see people suffering from society and say “Love yourself” as if that wasn’t the very thing they were trying to crush out of you to begin with.
Many people would rather take the physical harm, than face the reality of the emotional harm.
Loving yourself means divesting yourself of the illusions and recognizing the hate arrayed against you. Of course you distrust people who say “Love yourself” because it’s a meaningless phrase without the other shoe dropping - “And here’s the things you’ll fight to do so”.
You don’t need a kumbayah phrase - sometimes, you just need someone to give you a weapon for your protection. Because it stays true to the situation: survival.
i almost bolded the whole thing, but then i was wiser and picked those lines most relevant to myself, my ideas and my life. but thank you for this post. only those who know, know.