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Are you a half-lover to yourself?
Your self love becomes a mirror. Use this power with kindness.
“You will always accept love from other people that matches the love you have for yourself.” - Kara Loewentheil
When I first heard this, I stopped in my tracks. I took a few breaths. I rewound the podcast. I listened again. And again. And as I let the full implications of that statement land within my heart, I sobbed.
I cried for the love that I held back from my body’s physical form. Love withered through years of athletics where I treated my body as a vehicle for performance, for admiration, and for locomotion. Every time I felt like my body was not enough for the task at hand, or it was too much — too much heft, too picky about food, too finicky with its needs for tenderness and rest — I was withholding love from this wonderful body. And I could finally see that while my partner professed to love my body, in time he also mirrored what I believed. That my body was finicky. Inconvenient.
I cried for the love I thought I had for my sexuality. Love that was complicated by a sexual abuse history and shame about being a body allowed to feel pleasure. I thought I’d made so much progress! Yet my true love for my sexuality hit a barricade when I was on the cusp of getting in touch with my Animal nature and my sensuality in the moment. My partner, try as he did to be an enthusiastic advocate for my rawness, could only go so far with his presence when my self-love fell short over and over again.
I cried for how I tried to love my oddness, my weirdness, my differences but I couldn’t fully shake my shame at being “other”. Too much, too complicated, too strange to be wanted or included or to belong. Picked last at every team sport in school. Snickered at for my childlike birthday gift at a sleepover where the rest of the girls already knew how to try out the alcohol for fun. Shrugged off by family as the one who just won’t settle the fuck down: “well, at least our other kids had grandkids… got a real career… bought a house … got a spouse.” My path is not average. I LOVE all of these things about me, but there’s still a fear of isolation. A fear born out of my desire to be loved for WHO I AM, not despite who I am. And with that fear it’s so very hard to truly love myself. Now, I could see where and when I accepted the love of people who appreciate my weirdness … but have some reservations.
I cried for as long as I needed, that first time.
But when the wave of sadness and shame had crested and was receding into foam, I starting FEELING. Feeling how close I am to being able to love every last part of my Self unconditionally. I can, I will. Even when I am overwhelmed by fear that all that love can’t possibly shine as brightly as in poems. But if it shines in poems, it shines in the world and that’s where we begin.
When I start truly knowing my love is vast and irrepressible and a source of golden energetic light, that’s when this all gets beautifully tender and amazing. I’m ready.