\ ˌself-ˈləv \
Definition of self-love
: love of self: such as
a : an appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue
Everything typed above this line was copy and pasted from Merriam-Webster, the definition of self-love I mean. I would correctly cite it if I could. I think that’s a skill you learn pretty early on in school. In fact, I should note that this entire letter(?) will also probably be grammatically incorrect and the punctuation laughable. Though, I did learn other memorable things in school (high school, not college. I didn’t go to college) that would carry over into my adult life. I learned that I absolutely do not have the attention span to write a paper. I learned that I lacked the confidence to tell my algebra teacher I don’t even know how to do long division. I learned that if your dad dies in 11th grade, no one really cares if you’ve read The Crucible. I learned that the earth is round and the sun is hot and I am 100% not going to make it to my twentieth birthday.
In my high-school, you’re required to write a senior paper before you graduate. It can be a topic of your choosing which I assume is supposed to relate to what you want to be when you grow up, so I did mine on the Creation and Production of Chocolate. I had no fucking idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. What does that question even mean? “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I heard it several times throughout my childhood and no matter the age the answer in my head was always the same.
“I don’t know??? Alive?”
Vickie Woolard, my Sunday School teacher, wrote my senior paper for me that year. Before that, she made sure I had clothes on my back and food on my plate. She reminded me to laugh, and she told me I was the most brilliant kid she had ever met. I was 16 years old and it was the first time I thought to myself that I might make it past my twentieth birthday.
Three years later I accidently moved to Boston. I say that because I had absolutely no intention of leaving my small town in North Carolina. I never had any intention of doing anything really, I was simply existing. I existed in a way that was self taught; I was an only child with absent parents, an invisible family. I was never shown the proper way of navigating life, I only ever witnessed the people around me try and avoid it. So I too, did the same. I was a warrior fighting to save my own life just to find what it means to be at peace. I found that peace when I moved to Boston, I found that peace just before my twentieth birthday.
I don’t think Jen and Tucker knew how much they would radically change lives when they decided to open Diesel. I mean, working for them for the past ten years has given me endless memories of love, loss, and everything in between. So when asked to write a Diesel Love Story I had no idea where to begin. My first thought was Jaclyn D Carroll. Soy iced latte, breakfast burrito to go, red lipstick, black high heels Jaclyn D Carroll. She was as powerful as the strongest current and made me feel as peaceful as the silence between waves. The three years I spent with her brought me lessons I never would have learned if not for Diesel. I am thankful for that. But my greatest love came in January 2018 when I unexpectedly fell in love with myself.
Self-love, to me, means finding a certain peace within ourselves – a type of contentment that allows you to sit with your flaws, your mistakes, your regrets, and loving them regardless. I spent my entire life hiding my flaws, my emotions, my mistakes, and I was GOOD at it. Having to love them was completely irrelevant to me because no one knew they existed. This was true up until a moment where I was sitting in a meeting with Jen Park who looked me dead in the eye and said “You’ve never had anyone help you overcome your mistakes have you?” She was right, I hadn’t, and it’s hard to need something you never had the privilege of knowing even existed. From that moment on up until this very second I watch Jen carve out both professional and personal time to make sure I’m growing into the best possible version of myself. I’ve learned how to not only overcome my mistakes but LOVE them along the way. Jen is every teacher, coach, parent, friend that I never had growing up. She is truth, she is stubborn, she is love.
Nothing scares me more than a predictable life. I grew up in an unscripted way that was built on my own internal adaptability and intuition. Because of this, I was blessed with a form of resilience unlike any other. I know that undisciplined ideas are the best ones and Tucker Lewis taught me to look at my ideas as a rough draft and dream deeper. I recently read somewhere that finding the right place and people to share your ideas with is a matter of getting laughed at in a million different ways before you astound the right audience. If Tucker is the only person who bought tickets to my show I would walk away from that still feeling like the luckiest kid alive. She is a silent leader and bursting with magic. She is metabolic fuel that sparks a future for me in a way where I not only want it, I demand it.
I celebrated my 28th birthday six days ago. The day after that I missed my therapy appointment. Yesterday I received two parking tickets, and today I wrote my first paper. Tomorrow I go to work. Tomorrow I go to Diesel Cafe. Every day I’m growing, learning, loving, existing; except this time with purpose. Diesel has shaped my life into a love story I never thought was possible to read, let alone write. I am proud of the love I have for myself. I am proud of who I grew up to be. I love, and am proud to love my flaws, my mistakes, my emotions, my regrets. To love one’s self, my self, is to love my community surrounding it, and I am me because of you. Thank you.