by Cyn Vargas
With love on our minds and Valentineís just around the corner, we appealed to Chicago writers we admire to share their thoughts on the subject. Today a wife, mother, and fried-food lover asks the question on all our minds: Why is it so easy to give love to others, when it can be unthinkable to give it to ourselves?

I love my child. I love my husband. I love greasy food. Obviously, I donít love them all the same or with the same part of my soulóor my stomach in some casesóbut itís all love right? But how do I know that? How do I know I just donít love my baby girl because thatís what a mother is supposed to do? Or that I just havenít been in lust with my husband for the last sixteen years? Or that I just donít really like waffle fries?

Itís very elementary. I love them all because I said so. Because our baby girl is the most unique, feisty, lovable, funny, stubborn, beautiful being I know, because my husband and I have known each other for half our lives and have gone through so much together, because I love comfort food.

So, what about love when it comes to myself?

If I say I love myself it sounds like I am happy with every aspect of my being from my temper to my stretch marks. But if I say I love others itís a given I love them not despite of, but because of their flaws. Itís unconditional.


If I say I love myself it sounds like I am happy with every aspect of my being from my temper to my stretch marks.
So, why did it take so long to give myself that same love?

I can blame it on society and its way of making women feel like we have to have perfect bodies with legs as long as expressways and boobs as big as honey baked hams. I can blame it on having an absent father who had an affair and then left with my babysitter when I was six years old. I can blame it on many other things, on why it took me till I was in my thirties to realize that I am worth loving regardless of who loves me, but there within lies the answer. There is no one to blame because thereís no blame to put anywhere.

Whoís to blame means looking backward. How to love means now. It also means work. It also means really taking a look at who I am and forgiving myself for not being more affectionate or patient or even the average height for a female.

When on a plane during an emergency you are supposed to put your oxygen mask on first before helping someone else. Why?

Because a struggling person canít help anyone.

Same goes for love.


When on a plane during an emergency you are supposed to put your oxygen mask on first before helping someone else. Why? Because a struggling person canít help anyone. Same goes for love.
Iím far from being lovey dovey, but I do believe that if I love myself, if I take the time and energy to really improve certain aspects of myself then I will be better equipped to love those around meóeven more, even better.

In my twenties I could name countless issues I had with my body. Now, Iím thirty-four, haved had a baby, and any kangaroo would envy the pouch that used to be my stomach, but I do love my body. Iím confident in it. Do I want to lose ten pounds? Sure I do, but I also like what I see in the mirror. You know, like do I like tacos? Of course. Would I like some hot sauce added? Itís perfectly good without it, but itíd be a nice bonus. See?

Just because Iím growing as a person doesnít mean Iím growing into a new person. I want to be less impulsive with my reactions, but I also want to continue being sensitive. I want to be more patient, but Iím still going to be a determined person.

If people love themselves unconditionally like they love their partner or their child or their friends they would find themselves more positive and happy. Itís when we realize that it is not anyone elseís responsibility but are own to be happy with who we are that we are better able to love.

Thereís no more hiding that Iím a sap.

I think itís time I love that about me.


Cyn Vargas has received a Top 25 Finalist award & an Honorable Mention award in Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers contests. She's currently a MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Columbia College where she is a Follett Fellow. Her work has appeared in Word Riot, Curbside Splendor, Hypertext Magazine, among others. She writes because it's her way of legally exposing herself in public. Read more of her work at CynVargas.com
2013-02-06