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I’m going to be completely honest with whoever reads this...I started antidepressants my senior year for my crazy anxiety and depressive episodes I would find myself in. I saw some positive progress of course, but gained 15 pounds while on them. I think that's where things started going downhill. I put a lot of pressure on myself to look my best and feel my best, and when the pills made me gain weight, my depression and anxiety, in turn, only got worse. It was getting harder and harder to love myself. “F this” I thought, “I've gotta try something more to cope with this.” Besides upping my dosage, I tried yoga, tried working out at the gym, tried to cope through art, tried cooking and much more, but nothing truly worked and stuck with me. As soon as I gained those 15 pounds, it felt like it was over for my mental health. There was no more self love left in me all because I felt ugly. Around the wintertime of my freshman year of college, it felt like I was becoming immune to the pills, like they were doing nothing for me besides adding pounds. I stopped doing things that made me happy, I didn't make art as often, I didn't want to go out with friends, I didn't get dressed or get out of bed in the morning, I was fighting with my friends more often, and I started to get fed up with myself and my life. I knew I needed to make some changes--even if they were small. And so began my true journey of self love. What helped me the most in finding more happiness? My self love promise ring, and my decision to tattoo myself. Let me explain some more...

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Here's my self-proclaimed “self love promise ring.” I found this stunning, clear quartz triangle ring on etsy, handmade from Israel. You know how sometimes people will get their partners a promise ring as a promise to always love them? Well imagine that, but for yourself. I’m a big jewelry girl, and I thought that wearing a piece of jewelry every day that symbolizes something would help me feel beautiful. After I got the idea of making this commitment to myself, I did some research and decided on this ring. The inverted triangle symbolizes divine femininity, and the size (pinky fit) is to serve as a ‘pinky promise’ to myself. The clear quartz is a stone that symbolizes clarity and balance. The day it came in the mail, I slipped it on and (pinky) promised to myself to at least TRY and stop hating my body, TRY and stop self-loathing, to TRY and stop falling into self-induced depressive episodes so constantly. With this ring I pinky promised myself to wear it as a reminder to love myself, embrace my beauty and femininity, do things that made my soul happy and care for my body and mind. It is a commitment to myself.

[bf_image id="3t6gfn833bjjwtqm8rnn4kxt"] Next up is my ankle tattoo. I get a lot of questions on this one--like, “What does the word ‘do’ mean and  why is it on your ankle?” Similar to my pinky ring, my tattoo serves as a daily reminder of self love and  care. Though it was a bit more spontaneous of a decision to get a promise ring, this tattoo still has a ton of meaning to me as well. For me, The word ‘Do’ is a teeny phrase that reminds me to do what my heart is telling me to. To do what I want, do things that scare me, do things that make me feel confident, etc. This word pushes me to stop hesitating in life, and do the things that will bring me happiness and positivity, instead of sulking and focusing on negative things. I tattooed this on myself, and seeing as I am an art major I was feeling pretty ambitious, thinking I can totally do it myself. It is definitely not perfect, but I like it that way. My journey of self love and care isn’t perfect so neither is my tattoo! (Or at least I like to think of it that way).

This journey for me is still going on, and possibly may never end, but these two things have brought a bit more confidence and a bit more self love into my life. I urge others to find things that bring them happiness as well… I'll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Brene Brown; “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.”

Kayla Plunkett

Delaware '23

Kayla is a sophomore art major at the University of Delaware. Aside from being a part of Her Campus, she keeps up with new music, all things artsy, and of course, tik tok.
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