at 7 years old, my mom threw out my berenstain bears books, calling them junk, and told me my brother was reading LOTR at age 5; my dad remembered the sistine chapel from his baby carriage. at 14 years old when i asked my mom for a math tutor, she told me i came from a lineage of genius and there was absolutely no reason why i couldn't figure anything out on my own. I have an asian tiger mother and a phd'd neurotic jewish father. both MIT educated. my grandpa and granduncle have scientifically contributed immensely to the functions of current society. this engendered messages of never being good enough growing up. i was captain of the basketball/volleyball team. a competitive ballerina and pianist. got almost perfect grades. won school science awards, took all honors classes. i had a vibrant social life, and got voted 'prettiest girl' in my 500 person graduating class. I hate that that's a vector, but let's be real, it is. that award got retracted from print for political reasons. i was never enough. i unfortunately got roped into an emotionally and physically abusive relationship throughout 4 years of a prestigious higher level education. i clung on to a mantra of advice: 'focus on what you can control'. i realized i could control my own voice of criticism. if i was adequately criticizing myself, there was no room for anyone who 'loved' me to...i thought. it felt great knowing that 'I' was the only one 'I' was allowing to crack the whip. i subconsciously knew that the nausea and dizziness i felt after watching 'the black swan' was probably not a sustainable lifestyle... i never made room for self love. i confused the concept with narcissism and as a woman, felt socially pressured to be the caretaker in every relationship. I was not taking care of myself. even now, i admittedly have a hard time writing this post, criticizing myself for using passive voice, sloppy grammar, or trite language. i realize that cutting through all the years of mental scare tissue will take time. but i am committed to a lifelong pursuit of self-compassion. one step at a time...release release release.