How thick is my skin?

Kaylene is a student here in the Fraser Valley and grew up in a small town that is about 2 hours outside of Edmonton Alberta. She is like a little sister to me and I am very proud to watch her grow into a mature and humble woman. I have watched her willing to make hard decisions to better herself and not take the easy road. I know God has great things in store for her life, thank you for sharing your heart little sis.

Self-love has been something I have struggled with majority of life. That is one thing I wish they taught you in school, other than algebra and history books. I pondered on this topic for weeks and I honestly have never had such a difficult time to write my thoughts as I have on this subject. I have not mastered self-love, so I do admit I am in a process of understanding what this word means to me, along with the necessary actions I need to make to fulfill the word “self-love.”

This last year has been a very difficult year for me, due to the loss of six loved ones. I lost myself in my grief, and in depression. I did not take the necessary actions to take care of myself. I struggled with anxiety attacks, insomnia, loss of appetite, isolating myself, and even found myself buying a pack of cigarettes here and there. Staying busy at University and work helped me to suppress my emotions for it was the only way I knew how to cope.

Due to that difficult year, I am left thinking of how I can change my actions to take care of Kaylene for the year of 2017. I am hit hard in the chest with this silence of what to say about self-love; I honestly feel I do not love myself in a healthy way right now. That is just my reality. I am sad by it, yet, this has brought attention to what I need to address.

The last few months, I have really struggled with completely and authentically loving myself. I have deprived myself of love. I have been wrestling with memories and hurts from my past, and it’s left me feeling ashamed, and unworthy. I have a history of trauma, addiction, self-harm, and being in abusive relationships, yet, I try every day to leave those days behind and to continue moving forward. To practice forgiveness so I may have peace, and attain deeper healing. Not by just forgiving others, but also by forgiving myself too. Somedays are easier than others though, as deeper roots of hurt from these experiences arise from time to time.

Now, how do I go about applying self-love? By putting on some make-up and standing in front of a camera? No. By going to the only solution that can teach me the first fundamental teachings about love-by going to Jesus Christ. By taking time out of my day to spend time with Him. To find my identity in God, rather than of the world. The world we live in is flawed, as are we humans, but thanks to God, I can have peace knowing I am enough for Him. I just have to spend time with Him and be reminded of some things that I have become blinded to. Such as knowing I am enough; that I am loved. Knowing I am worthy. That I must come first sometimes too.

I am learning to love every attribute about Kaylene, from my imperfections, my flaws, my successes, my weaknesses, my strengths, my nationality, my past, and my present. I am learning how to love my physical self, my mind, my experiences, my heart, my spirit, and the ones around me that helped shape me into who I am today. To love my ancestors that came before me. To love the God of the universe who formed me, perfectly in my mother’s womb. To one day know, deep down in my heart without a doubt, that I am worthy of love and greatness.

Ways in which I see self-love is by buying myself flowers because they are captivating like I. It looks like taking a day off and getting lost in the outdoors. To keep away from things that are poisonous to my well-being, which is why I decided two years ago, to never put drugs or alcohol into my body ever again. It looks like being gentle and gracious with myself when I make mistakes. It looks like discovering who I am as a First Nations Cree woman. It looks like reclaiming my cultural practices, my voice, my potential, and my purpose. It looks like redefining my identity as a Godly woman. It looks like staring in front of the mirror, smiling at my reflection after I remove all my make-up before bed, for this is when I feel most beautiful.

Self-love looks like loving the woman I used to be, the woman I am now, and the woman I aspire to be; I am not where I want to be, but I am far from where I used to be, and that is okay because I am a working piece of art that God will never give up on.

– Kaylene Gambler

Makeup by Shayla Rose from Rose Quartz Makeup Services https://www.facebook.com/Rosequartzmakeup/

Photography by Sabrina from Sequel Photography
https://www.facebook.com/sequelphotography/

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