When I started loving myself it was in the later years of my life. I have wrestled with fitting in nearly all of my life.

I grew up in a very large family, in fact, I am the second of five children.

My mom always tells me how I broke inside when the first one of my sisters was born, how I went from being a serene and sociable child to becoming a two-year-old girl who never smiled at anyone.

She always says even my drawings had turned gray and gloomy.

I obviously don’t remember anything, the only references I have are the photographs.

Images that portray a sad girl, with the face always hidden under her hair.

Closing myself in a shell

Instead, I remember my first years of school during which the last two of my brothers were also born, and over time I had closed myself in my shell more and more.

Every child should live his childhood with carefree and cheerfulness, but if I think about that period only great anguish comes to my mind.

The main feeling was that every move I made was wrong, both at home and at school.

In class, the teachers did not understand me and thought I was stupid because I did not have the courage to speak.

In the family, I had instead started to tell many lies to attract the attention of my parents, my mother in particular. With four brothers it constantly seemed to me that I had to fight with all my strength to have a little consideration but above all a little love.

They talked behind my back

I was nine. And I thought I had to earn the love of my parents.

My mother, for her part, did her best (even if I understood it years later) but she too didn’t have a very happy childhood and unfortunately, she gave what she could within her limits.

Growing up, things didn’t go much better, because puberty was never the magic wand for anyone.

Fights with my parents were a daily thing and I often felt I had reached the breaking point.

If in my head they didn’t love me before now they must have hated me.

I sensed it from whispered speeches in the kitchen when they thought I didn’t hear. From my mom’s unweighted words that hurt more than blades. The understanding they showed towards my brothers that applied to me instead became frustration and disappointment.

What I thought was a turning point

Then, when I was only seventeen, I got pregnant.

They were not angry, they stayed close to me and accompanied me in my choice to become a mother. But we still hadn’t found a way to understand each other (we haven’t found it even now), and to bee, both a mother and a daughter under one roof turned out to be destructive to everyone.

The roles did not exist and my feeling of getting it all wrong accompanied me everywhere I went like a gray cloud above my head.

Being a mother had certainly made me mature, and I thought it would be the turning point but unfortunately, it had only made me feel that home smaller and smaller for my son and for me.

When I started loving myself

I don’t know when I started loving myself, but one day I had an enlightenment.

Like a pressure cooker I exploded, I realized that everything around me no longer suited me.

So I started eliminating some toxic things like love relationships and family dynamics.

And above all, I began to think that maybe I wasn’t completely wrong, that maybe people just didn’t understand me.

And I found it out by knowing a person who understood me even too well (yes, my husband).

I even started therapy because my limited mind was unable to dig through all those layers, and I gradually gained confidence in myself.

Things changed when I started loving myself

I tried to stop judging myself because my choices may not be shared by everyone but must always be respected by everyone.

I made decisions that I thought were right so I learned (I’m actually learning) to stop apologizing.

For how I raise my children, for how I think about more or less important issues, for how I dress, for how I speak. For who I am.

Because we all make mistakes, we’re not born with all the right answers, but it’s important to understand that making mistakes doesn’t make our mistakes.

And it’s not important for me to have everyone’s backing and support, because it’s impossible. So I try to surround myself with people who believe in me.

Sometimes just me is enough because the consideration I have of myself is the one I care about the most.