As someone who has struggled with mental health and spent the better part of the last several years scrolling through Instagram and TikTok at all hours of the night, I too am accustomed to the toxic positivity rhetoric geared towards women and young girls. Ad nauseam, we’re told to have self-love and be confident and feel courageous and fight the patriarchy and not adhere to cis, heteronormative standards of beauty and lean into radical self-empathy. Sure, there is an objectively decent message at the root of this rhetoric, but it’s also a massive pile of horse shit. Sometimes, when someone states that they hate themselves, they don’t need to hear an emphatic, empowering response. That random, often more stunningly gorgeous stranger on the internet telling me to simply not hate myself isn’t going to change the deep-seated belief that I do not have value. Their plea won’t suddenly wash away the waves of insecurity. This messaging is the emotional equivalent of offering someone a bandaid when their hand’s been cut off: It’s a nice gesture, but it does literally nothing to solve the problem.


After spending years in therapy, off and on, you realize that part of being alive is weathering those days when you just can’t get out of bed. Days when you, as Kat articulates, “fucking hate” yourself. Days when you are entirely faking every seemingly non-negative facial expression or utterance. And that’s normal!!! I don’t need to love myself on days when I fucking hate myself. I can just be in that—however grim—reality. I don’t have to emote anything different than what I’m feeling for the sake of “self-love.” And I can know to my core that those feelings are not facts without a wrinkle-less face urging me to love myself.