An envelope with a red heart sits with a pink background.
I wish I could remember the day I found love.
Photos and flowers come out of the envelope.
It’s the love story you don’t hear. The love story I never thought I’d get to tell. It’s the story of how I fell in love with me. Would you believe me if I told you that just over two years ago I wanted to end my life.
Measuring tapes are shown.
Just two years ago I relied on people around me to determine how I saw myself.
Markers write on the envelope.
I let whispers become tattoos on my body of my self-worth. I let rumors sink me into their quicksand.
Letters cut out of a magazine move around the screen: “Did you see what she wore? Did you see what she did? Did you see who she’s with?”
Would you believe me if I told you just over two years ago, I thought self-love was loving someone else, loving everyone else, giving someone everything, giving everyone something and giving yourself none.
Strings come out of the envelope. Hands rip the envelope into pieces. Photos float around the screen.
But as people left, I learned to rely on myself.
Cotton balls fill the screen.
I had lost 30 pounds of confidence, and I was determined to gain it back because the only thing starving myself did was make me smaller.
Hands put the envelope back together.
And I am far too big to shed my self-worth just so people wouldn’t talk bad about me. When I stop searching for comfort in a bed of nails, I found friends who encouraged me to eat the last slice of pizza because I sure as hell deserve it.
Pieces of pizza float around the screen.
I found the strength to stop apologizing to my abusers, to those who stood idly by as I withered away, in every literal and metaphorical sense of the word.
Cotton balls arranged like storm clouds are shown above the envelope. Water droplets fall onto the envelope.
A dear friend once told me I turned my tears into bullets.
Shells fill the screen.
I thought self-love was deep-down knowing you’re smart and important, but staying humble enough to let people think otherwise.
Cartoon eyes and lips dance around the screen.
I thought self-love was knowing you are beautiful on the inside and pretending it didn’t matter that you hated the outside. That self-love was one day losing the weight and becoming the girl. I thought self-love was what you had if you didn’t have anything else to love.
A few months ago, I bought a sweatshirt with my favorite Bible verses on it: Corinthians, chapter 13, verses four through eight.
The words from the verse fill the screen. A bible opens to the page. Paper hearts come out of the Bible.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Pink hearts fill the screen.
And I hope that when I wear it, people will ask me if I’m a romantic, so I can tell them about this girl I know that turns tears into bullets.
Created by Kathryn Jankowski
Poem by Luma Khabbaz
Music by Noah Barajas
Assistant artistic design by Kimberly Jankowski and Karyn Custer-Jankowski
Kathryn Jankowski, BA’20, created “Self Love” as her final project in senior lecturer Susanne Schwibs‘ Experimenting with the Film Camera class.
The short film was based on a poem written by Luma Khabbaz, BAJ’19, and the music was composed by senior Noah Barajas.