As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 20 – Summer 2022
Self-love is the key to living our true vibrancy. Love yourself so much that you naturally ripple love and light in every moment you breathe and others will either be attracted to you or repelled by you, depending on where they are on their journey of self-love.
I originally wrote and published a longer version of this piece in 2011. I decided to share it with Guitar Girl readers because, in the last three days, I’ve had conversations with three women who were working through some aspects of self-love and worthiness while doing their best to shift away from the patterns of subtle (and overt) control former partners had over them and their self-worth. I’ve lived the unraveling of the narcissist’s controlling and deceptive narrative; I have a song coming out about it soon. But for now, it’s about self-love, baby.
Cabbage Patch Kid Craze
When I was growing up and the Cabbage Patch Kid craze hit, it was on! My mom never allowed me to have Barbie dolls because she didn’t like the image Barbie portrayed, but I wasn’t going to be out of the loop with this one. I used all my best persuasive tactics in hopes of talking my mom into buying me one of the overpriced, hard-to-find Cabbage Patch Kids.
One day my mom came home with a surprise for me. Opening up a large bag, I could see the top of what was sure to be my very own Cabbage Patch Kid. I was so excited! But when I pulled the doll out of the bag, my excitement turned into sheer panic.
What the heck was this? This doll was not a Cabbage Patch Kid. It was a fake Cabbage Patch Kid. You know, like a fake Coach purse that has the word Cache on it.
Holding the impostor doll with complete annoyance, I said to my mom, “This isn’t a Cabbage Patch Kid.”
She said, “I know! It’s better than a Cabbage Patch Kid. A woman at church made it. Now you have your own special one-of-a-kind Cabbage Patch Kid.”
What the heck was up with my mom?! Did she not understand the complete social torture I’d endure when showing up to the next slumber party with a fake Cabbage Patch Kid. I was panicked!
In my mom’s defense, I know she was completely well-intentioned. Never being one to follow fads, mom thought this special handmade doll would be unique, and I’d treasure “her” as I did all the other dolls I owned. Nope! I didn’t like the fake Cabbage Patch Kid, and I never even named her.
Fake Cabbage Patch Kid and My Son
Fast forward about 30 years.
One day when I was picking my five-year-old son up from my parents’ house, he was excited about something he’d be bringing home with him. He stood in front of me with his arms outstretched and a huge smile on his face and said, “See, mommy! My new girl.”
In his hands, he was holding my old, rejected, impostor, no-name, fake Cabbage Patch Kid. Seriously! My eyes widened. I immediately looked at my mom. Seeing her massive grin, we both busted up laughing. This was pure bliss for her. Mom’s sentimental saving had paid off, and she was swirling in absolute pleasure of watching my son fall in love with the doll I resented so much as a child.
Self-Love in Sedona
A few months ago, I sat by myself, looking out at the magnificence that is Sedona. It was a Saturday morning; I had just finished writing in my journal and was sitting in meditation on a rock overlooking the desert landscape. I felt clear and centered — and I experienced a major aha moment about self-love by way of my son and the fake Cabbage Patch Kid.
One of the greatest lessons I’m learning in my life is self-love. True authentic self-love. The kind of love that’s found from within that’s pure, real, accepting and nurturing.
And as I sat thinking of how much was I really loving myself lately, I couldn’t help but allow my mind to think of my son. It’s in my relationship with him that I’ve learned what it feels like to give and receive pure love.
My mind flashed through a sequence of tender moments with my son, including the way it felt when I held him for the first time, skin to skin, as I lay in a hospital bed experiencing one of the most unforgettably tender moments of my life. Then my mind went to an afternoon when we played in his room with the fake Cabbage Patch Kid and how my son held the doll close and said, “This is my baby.” And I held him across my lap and said, “This is my baby.”
This is my baby.
In that moment, I recalled my journey into motherhood and how I wondered if I’d be a good mom. Never one to really enjoy babysitting, I carried a bit of self-doubt about motherhood at times during my pregnancy, wondering if I’d be a natural mom or if I’d struggle with adjusting to caring for my baby.
But as it turns out, I was a natural. From the moment I first held him in the hospital room, I knew intuitively how to be gentle with my son. I knew how to care for my son. I knew how to nurture my son. I knew how to love my son.
This is my baby.
And while I sat on a rock in Sedona, with that sequence of memories of my son flashing through my head, it came to me. What if I was the infant child? What if I held myself in the same tender and loving manner as I did my infant son? What if I thought only loving thoughts about myself? What if I loved myself with the same pureness I do for my son?
What if self-love all boils down to holding ourselves and loving ourselves as an infant?
For me, all I needed to do was connect those dots for the reality of the lesson to sink in. I know how to love. I know how to be tender. I know how to be nurturing.
I am love. I am tender. I am nurturing.
So in times when I find myself getting off track and spinning into a space that’s not filled with self-love, I imagine myself holding infant Kathryn gently and immediately tune into what she needs. Sometimes the biggest lessons are learned with simple answers.
This is my baby.
So in those times when you feel like you have a fake Cabbage Patch Kid and are crumbling from the pressure around you, when you beat yourself up for a decision you aren’t proud of, you compare yourself to someone else, or you allow the record of self-deprecation to play in your head — what if your mind flashed to seeing yourself as an infant and with gentle, loving tenderness infused with pure self-love, you said, “This is my baby.”
Kathryn Cloward is an award-winning book series author, multi-genre songwriter, and media producer. She’s the founder of Kandon Unlimited, Inc., a heart-centered mindful media publishing and production company focused on energizing high-integrity projects with positive and empowering messages for people of all ages. KathrynClowardMusic.com