Learn to F.L.Y

Content Note: animated gif

The source is credited as "Spiritual Energy Healing." There is a light purple background behind an image of a sandy beach with footprints. The plum-colored serif text says, "If you want to soar in life, you must learn to F.L.Y [sic] (First Love Yourself)." -Mark Sterling
The source is credited as “Spiritual Energy Healing.” There is a light purple background behind an image of a sandy beach with footprints. The plum-colored serif text says, “If you want to soar in life, you must learn to F.L.Y [sic] (First Love Yourself).” -Mark Sterling

I admit I’m biased in favor of RuPaul’s framing.

[animated gif of RuPaul Charles in drag saying, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”]

The underlying idea is the same, and I agree that it’s important.

Love yourself.

Do.

But this Mark Sterling version does more to emphasize the challenging flip-side that could hypothetically occur to people already struggling with depression and self-loathing: namely, since your own failure to sufficiently love yourself is what’s preventing you from soaring, you might as well give up on that goal of extrinsic accomplishment because it’s meaningless in the absence of the kind of self-love you can never hope to achieve because you’re such a failure anyway.

Hypothetically. Because who really has those kinds of thoughts, right?!? Gross.

This macro falls into the category of macros that basically say “You Have To Personally Do Something That Could Very Difficult But Will Be Presented As Deceptively Simple Before You Can Even Begin To Think About the Possibility of Confronting Structural And Systemic Oppression.”

Broadly, people do not struggle to love themselves entirely of their own volition.

People learn from their environments. People struggle to love themselves because they’ve been systemically oppressed, because they’ve been traumatized, because they’ve been neglected, because they’ve been abused, because they’ve been misled, and a whole host of other reasons that start with other people.

Perhaps it’s time to re-examine the significance we ascribe to personal responsibility, and de-center individual confidence as a metric for success.

Then again, we could just keep shaming people for developing coping mechanisms with predictably adverse long-term effects, and reinforce the message that the way they experience feelings has been the real problem all along.

I think that shoe-horning the message into the “FLY” acronym creates some ambiguity about the scope of “first.”

Is it ordinal or imperative?

Like, 1) Love Yourself 2) Soar 3) Profit?

Or is it like, “Put yourself first, before others, in order to succeed”?

I know I’m splitting hairs here, but this is pretty hefty advice, so I want to make sure I’m following it right.

I also think that the wordplay with F.L.Y seems a little shaky, and that making SOAR into an acronym could offer more stability by way of parallelism.

Subject Others to Ardent Ramblings?

Superciliously Orate At Randos?

Succeed Over Aggravating Rumination?

Stop Overthinking And Ranting?

Generally, I acknowledge that it’s petty and irrelevant to pick at grammatical and mechanical issues instead of engaging with content.

But I’m already being petty here.

So why isn’t there a period after the Y? Is the missing period contributing meaningfully to the word play? Was there a deadline?

“This macro has to go live RIGHT NOW or the internet will never know its power! NO TIME FOR PROOFING!”

I’m also kind of fascinated by the image choice here.

I would have guessed that this photo’s only purpose would be to serve as a backdrop for that “Footsteps in the Sand” poem about how Jesus will give you a piggyback ride when you get tired from too much beach strolling.

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