The first time I ever fell in love I was four and it was in the grocery line at the local Big Bear. It was winter and I was wearing my favorite purple coat. Inside I held close to me a small Beanie Baby. His name was Derby and I knew he was cold so I held him safely in my pocket as I watched my mother hand the cashier our groceries.
He was small and over time his stitching became rough, and his snout began to sport several different stains – one in which was from me trying to feed him sweet and sour chicken. I loved him though, so much so that I could not fall asleep without him tucked inside my arms. It was easy to love the little tiny Beanie Baby that my grandmother had given me on a cold winter’s day. At four I loved everything, but I always loved Derby more.
When I got older I loved several different things – my bicycle, my swing set that my father built for me when I was ten. I have fallen in love with places. The places I have been – Paris and London and New York. And I have even fallen in love with the places I have yet to visit – Italy, the West Coast, Hawaii. I have fallen in love with several different foods and fictional characters from my favorite novels or television dramas.
But, sometimes love can be hard and that’s what people don’t tell you about love as you’re clutching your first love at the age of four in a local grocery store line.
I can love everything and anyone who puts a smile on my face, but another thing no one else ever tells you is just how hard it can be sometimes to love yourself.
People always say “you need to love yourself first” but what happens when you don’t know to do that? When people can tell you you’re beautiful until they’re blue in the face? You don’t believe it because more often than not, your mirror is your worst enemy and sometimes you catch yourself watching what you eat and even though you know deep in your heart that counting calories is no way to live a life, you find yourself doing it anyway.
Sometimes, it is hard to love yourself as much as you loved your Beanie Baby when you were four in the local grocery store line.
Why can’t you love yourself like you love the Eiffel Tower? You marvel at your beauty but why can’t you marvel at your own?
When I write questions such as these I have no answer for them. Only more questions, like “if you worry this much about yourself and care this much about yourself – does that count as love too?”
But then I look at everything I loved at the age of four and I knew that that Emily would still love the Emily I am now, no matter how many flaws I see when I look in the mirror – and then begin loving myself.
Sorry if this post is all over the place – its been awhile since I have written, but I have to clear away the sludge somehow!