I really tried to type up a list of things I love about myself but I couldn’t do it. It’s not that I don’t like myself but blowing my own trumpet is something I find incredibly difficult. I thought I’d ponder why it’s so bloody hard to do that instead. It couldn’t be easier to cheer for our friends – or loudly assure them of all the reasons they’re the bomb. It rolls off the tongue like water off a duck and yet, asked to come up with one or two good qualities about ourselves and we’re stuck. Or is it just me?

I know it isn’t. I actually did manage to draft a post but I read it back and cringed. I couldn’t share it and now it lies unpublished in my trash folder. I don’t think it’s for me to say whether I’m funny or bright – or empathetic or wise. Maybe I am a few of those things, maybe I’m none but I’m quite sure I’ve been conditioned not to say it myself. And that’s just it isn’t it? As women we’re not supposed to love ourselves because so much rides on us wanting to change everything about ourselves. Mentally, we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t – we’ll always be too loud, too quiet, too smart, too vacuous, too intimidating, on and on it goes. And physically, we’ll never be enough because if we were, we wouldn’t buy all the lotions and potions designed to make us glow like 90’s supermodels.

I’ve fallen into the trap here, I realise and it has to stop. Learning to love and celebrate who we are, as we are now and not as we could be, is punk rock as fuck. A truly radical act. If we could just love ourselves unconditionally, and learn how to shout about it – then couldn’t we do anything? I even typed ‘warts and all’ and I thought, why even say that? Warts (or perceived imperfections) are only considered such because we’ve been told they don’t fit the ideal template – the accepted idea of beauty. FUCK THAT.

So, in the spirit of tussling with the notion that we shouldn’t talk about the things we love about ourselves, here goes: I’m creative, empathetic and an excellent listener – I have a great butt and nice eyes. I’m emotionally intelligent and pretty fun to be around. I also really like my rounded belly which has sized up over lock-down and brings me massive comfort at night, when I rest my hands on it. I love myself because of these things and not despite of them.

What do you love about yourself?