A lesson in valuing yourself

Do you remember the person who taught you what it is to value, honor and respect yourself?

My brother, Tommy, was the one who taught me the value of honoring myself. I grew up looking up to him (he totally knew that too) had he pulled me aside and delivered a heartfelt speech I would have listened and immediately taken the advice. As it turns out, he had no need for epic speeches.

Tommy taught me how to honor myself by allowing me to be myself. He never exploded when he found me reading Harry Potter in the most comfortable chair in the house, a faded periwinkle blue second-hand armchair in his bedroom. Instead of blowing me off when I asked him to take me to punk concerts at Irving Place and Roseland Ballroom, he went as friend and chaperone. When I had my first sip of alcohol, he made sure it was Smirnoff Ice and at our house, under his attention.

To this day I’ve never met anyone who unequivocally allowed me to be myself. With his passing three years ago, part of me went with him. He was my anchor. Without him, I feel that I’m running my ship aground.

Or so I tell myself.

When I sat down to write this, it was very spontaneous. I sat down at my computer to write a book review just so I could get words on paper. I was listening to Center Point Road by Thomas Rhett when I became struck with how much it reminded me of Tommy. The song could be describing my entire childhood, all I would need to do is replace Center Point Road with Dove Court.

I often think of Tommy, more so when I’m brooding about how aground I’ve run my ship. It’s when I’m brooding I ask myself, with his death have I forgotten how to value myself? The honest answer is yes. He was my anchor for the teenage years and twenties. As a full-fledged adult, I now have to learn to be my own anchor.

As an avid Harry Potter fan, I’ve found that people often gush over the character Luna. Sixteen years ago, Luna Lovegood taught the world that it was ok to be different. I never resonated with Luna as other people did. I never knew why until my brother passed. I realized I never needed Luna to tell me it was ok that I dared to be different because I had Tommy.

Since his death, I see now how important Luna is. In a world full of Pansys’, be a Luna. Not everyone has a Tommy to teach them how to honor themselves by being themselves. The reality is that life is too short to be anything but yourself.

Own who you are. Be your own weird self. Be your own anchor. Admire the Luna’s in your life because they don’t allow themselves to feel undervalued, disrespected, or unappreciated. And don’t ever allow anyone to pull your anchor.


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