tulle rose shirt by Y/Project, faux fur coat by McQ, faux leather pants by 7 of all Mankind, patent derby by Acne Studios, photography by Jordan Ji

It’s been a year since my Valentines Day note on buying yourself a flower. While many circumstances in my life has changed, I’ve never been more committed to the notion of self-love. A big part of that is learning to respect your mind and body above distractions that neither contribute to your growth nor well-being. For me, that was forgoing the traditional notions of masculinity that was limiting how I expressed myself and moving past the ego trip I got from what others were saying about me. The former has been a constant evolution since I started this blog, while the latter is ironically derived from self-love.

I’ve somewhat mistaken loving yourself as building an ego that is capable of protecting and defeating judgment, when reality it only makes you weaker. In the digital age where comparing against others is too easy, I’ve learned that narcissism is not self-love and instead means you’re taking yourself too seriously. That was when I decided that this blog and the follower count is not me, but is instead a good representation of the work I produce. Starting the Behind-the-Scenes series on my Stories (every Wednesday), where I show funny bloopers of myself, has been a shift from being too serious to being more lighthearted and fun. In that sense, I feel that self-mockery is almost a good way of loving yourself if it means acknowledging your flaws and owning up to it. So on this occasion of love, whether you’re single or not, I hope you take some time love yourself, laugh at yourself and experience what it really feels like to embrace yourself.

-Matt Chu