So, tell me, do you love yourself? Six years ago, this week, I sat on a therapist’s couch (yes, she really had a couch) and asked me that question. I couldn’t answer. Frozen by brutal, soul crushing truth that I hated who and what I was, at that time in my life. She talked to me some more, recommended books to read, and told me to write love letter to myself. It all seemed stupid. Not intellectually, but it seemed ridiculous because I was ill-equipped to even try.
Years have gone by and I’ve deconstructed that sad fool who sat on a really comfortable sofa asnwering nosey queries. Now, I try to extend the knowledge I’ve acquired through experience to my wife and three daughters. I tell them every day how beautiful, talented, and special they are and can be. I know the cynics (I used to be one so, go screw yourself, I know the secret handshake, jackass) reading this will say I’m setting my kids up for failure. This is a cruel, hard world that will slap them in the face if they walk around with so much sunshine blown into their behinds. Maybe. But at least they won’t have to fight the devils of each day doubting themselves and wondering if they’re loved.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the villains of the internet, let me introduce you to British journalist, Samantha Brick.
Samantha’s basic tenet is her life is really friggin hard because she’s so beautiful, women hate her, men don’t take her seriously, and she’s unapologetic because her dad told her how awesome she was growing up.
The first column she wrote, about two weeks ago, I reacted the same way you just did. “What a delusional, arrogant, snotty little twit.”
This latest column, discussing how her father’s great love bestowed on her gave her this abundance of self-confidence, makes me kind of dig her point of view.
Sam Brick is about my age, early 40s, and I’m a bit envious of her chest thumping. I don’t take compliments well. I think I’m below average looking. I wonder, despite my wife being completely great to me, if I’m good enough to hang with her.
Miss Brick has a point. Maybe if parents, especially fathers, said and did the things women need to hear growing up and later as adults, we wouldn’t have as many eating disorders, suicides, and plastic surgeons wouldn’t ever do another boobie job again? Strip clubs would close down tomorrow and “daddy issues” would become a a great ironic all-girl punk rock band name instead of the reason young girls get on a pole.
Everytime I hear the great Liz Phair’s Extraordinary, I want to implant the tune in my three daughters ears, especially my teenager, and tell them to never stop listening. As many female readers and writing friends as I’ve gathered over the past two years, I say, from the bottom of my robot heart, you’re extraordinary, too. Really, turn this song up, and listen to what Liz, Samantha and I are saying. You’re extraordinary.