The last friend you ever have in this world, is yourself.
No one ever really tells us that, and you almost learn to be ashamed of enjoying your own company. People laugh when you tell them you talk to yourself. They tell you that you need to get out more, that you're spending too much time alone, and that there must be something wrong with you if you like being in there.
How can you ever learn to love yourself if you are told so early and so often that it's wrong to do so? This was was compounded by my girlhood, my blackness, and my specific, often intellectual interests. Every moment I became more myself, I became more unlikeable in the outside world. I'm slowly reclaiming myself from the clutches of shame, but it will probably take the rest of my life if I'm honest. I still want so badly to please them, the others, even though I know deep down that I have the last word of approval.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about how terrible a friend I am to myself. I watch commercials for skincare products and look to see that my skin is ashen and flaking, yearning for moisture and sunlight. I picture the damage I am doing to my skin, and how badly I will age as I grow older, all while the me in the now suffers. I make promises to myself and fail to keep them. I tell myself I will start tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. After a while, I stop believing the promises, so I stop making them. Then suddenly, I keep no agreements with myself at all.
It's not that I'm losing my self respect. I would never put myself directly in harms way. But I never see the slow, steady stream of harm I do to myself when I don't care for my health, my body, my mind, and my environment. Even now, this writing is a struggle as I mask the world around me.
I'm calling in the troops. My mom is the first friend I had, after myself. Maybe even before myself. We don't always get along, but I know she has always wanted to the best for me, even when she was angry or hurt. So who better than to whip me back into shape than she?