How to Love Me — A Guidebook.

  1. Please don’t ask if I’m alright. The answer is going to be no for awhile. [It has been for the last 20+ years]. Ditto for ‘how I’m doing?’ Answer: (see poem above)
  2. Instead! any sort of permutation of ‘thinking of you’ or ‘you don’t have to respond but here’s a (picture, story, song, poem, article, etc) that made me want to share it with you’ will always be appreciated ❤. I am not always in the space for responding, but I will feel loved and cherished just the same. This is important, because I am working on loving myself… but as with all journeys, I do not know if I will ever reach that kind of stability.
  3. Please don’t go overboard. Check-ins are good. Demands…less so. My chronically anxious brain has a habit of seeing an Objectively Good Thing and trying to force it to be a Not Good Thing (accompanied subsequently by self-shaming and endless looping spirals of anxiety attacks).
  4. Today is one of my better days since the funeral. I have showered, gotten out of bed, done an Activity, and even eaten! Sometimes (like yesterday), I cannot do anything. I am incapable of moving, or eating, or taking care of myself. Years of anxiety and depression have taken their toll so I am used to the ‘off’ days. Please be patient with me if I don’t respond right away? I’m not ignoring you. I just sometimes physically and/or mentally cannot. I love you just the same and will respond when I’m in the space to do so.
  5. “What do you need right now?” is a good way to get me out of the Not Good Days. Sometimes I cannot answer this question. When that happens a “Try to drink some water and eat something today” are really appreciated. They activate the leadership part of my brain that is on the fritz at times to go and get that drink of water and a bite to eat if I can handle it.
  6. Care packages, artwork, and hand-written letters will always be well-received. I love sending them and getting them! I love finding a surprise in the mail (bonus points for using USPS). It gives me space to process and respond to the loving kindness you are bestowing upon me. A letter from you is something I can cherish, read over and over again, especially on a Not Good Day and is appreciated because your letter, unlike so much of my life these days under Covid-19, is not on a screen. (Thank you in advance)
  7. My relationship with my father was a complicated one and at times — an abusive one. It will take the rest of my life to process the beginning, middle, and end of something that has caused me so much pain, anxiety, harm, and sadness. He was emotionally and sometimes physically abusive throughout most of my teenage and adult life. I loved him and wanted so desperately to be loved in a way where he saw me both as a daughter and as a fully independent human being capable of making my own decisions. This did not happen. I have written about this elsewhere but patriarchy, toxic masculinity, intergenerational abuse, poor health, and financial precarity (amongst other variables) leave imprints. These imprints become wounds. These wounds become scar tissue. I am dealing with that scar tissue now with therapy, but it’s going to take a lifetime to undo this hurt.
  8. I refuse to obscure the complexity of my relationship with my father. We are all complicated, problematic people, including myself. However, for the sake of the person I am still becoming, I will focus on the good lessons I have learned from him along the way. He taught us to be generous and kind. To see the best in other people. My dad always believed in the goodness of others and the kindness of strangers. So…I choose to do the same. It is a good lesson. If you are so inclined, you can help by contributing money (if you are able) so I can continue keeping our little library stocked with beautiful books (see photo below!), help fund my annual backpacks full of socks, non-perishable food, tampons, and more for distribution to the homeless in Chicago, and generally do Good Things that are in solidarity with People of the Global Majority. My Venmo is: @Sara-Rezvi and my paypal is: paypal.me/SRezvi.

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Sara Rezvi

Sara Rezvi

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