Tuesday, I came into my office, logged on, lit a candle, read a random quote in my "Book of Bliss" and began my day. The first thing I saw was an article by Christina Zippierien:
8 Steps to Truly Love Yourself- And Why It's the Most Selfless Things You Can Do."
In it, one of my favorite quotes of all time. Zippierien quotes Marianne Williamson:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."
I'm one of those irritating people that see "signs" in everything. I believe books choose you. I believe people (good, bad, heart-crushing) cross your path for a purpose. I believe that everything is woven intricately into an unfolding multi-petal flower to serenade us home to our truest self, the collective energy of God, a creator, the universe, each other, whatever your name for it. I also believe there are four steps to making our way to being genuinely happy.
1. Letting go:
My life has been a hilarity of beauty and chaos and devastating losses, yet, I truly know that had anything gone differently, even for a second...I would not be who, how, and where I am today... So blessed in my mess.
Yes, I even believe that when my mother left me with a new husband and newborn, and my father placed me in a home with a Baptist family at fourteen in Texas, it was part of a grand scheme to build me, shape me, and garner perspective.
My best friend, teacher, mentor and soul mate died suddenly when I was just starting to peak in writing, passion and identity wasn't awesome, but guess what? It forced me to go into this strange "over-functioning-hyper-sleeping denial wake-state" where I never actually grieved my father. Yeah, that's not awesome either.
But! I am here now, grieving for the first time thirteen years later. I am not sure I would have been neither able, nor capable of the insights at twenty-four.
2. Looking Inward for a New Outlook:
I know I was cocky and insecure and there is no way anything I wrote, did or said would be taken seriously. At least now, maybe my experiences and deep gratitude and perception of life may offer something to someone, at the very least my three children that I would have had if I didn't panic after his death and race to the alter, labor and delivery room and now find myself getting divorced.
I am no longer cocky, arrogant, or as insecure. I am that weird chick that will tell you how much I care about you out of the blue because we all should. I speak to fast, and write poetry, and a song can lift my soul. I'm obsessed with meditation and mandalas and over-communicating with my kids.
I also let them eat McDonalds or play "SIMS" and eat gluten, occasionally smoke cigarettes, ok more than that. I like rap and Krishna Das. I lust after George Clooney, and Zac Efron, AND Bill Murray. I clearly should maybe care more what the public might think of me, but I learned this in my thirty-seven years:
3. Learning To Be You:
When I tried to care what everyone else thought, I lost me. When I was busy proving I was grown up, I shrunk. Those I thought loved me truly and for real were the first to bolt when the shit hit the fan.
I get judged JUST AS MUCH now for being exactly who I am, as I did when I was in-authentically trying to fit a mold, play the part, hide my running-oxymoron and lemming-like walk within the lines.
Now, people hate, judge, misunderstand me, sure. People think I'm a fake because I care what I look like (for ME) and have the audacity to call myself authentic. But the other thing some people do is.... Appreciate the honesty.
They respond, and reach out to the ugly, gritty, unapologetic truth that comes with living and loving myself. It's hard. I get why so many dudes didn't in my past. It's a lot of work to love me.
But I do. I try every day. I learn better, how to appreciate all I am and all I have because to put that kind of power in anyone else's hands is just silly to me now. I'd be embarrassed for my past self for doing that so often, but then....I wouldn't be here now.
4. Secret of Love is Simple
Here's what I know. When women like Christina Zippierien write a piece on self-love, I am moved. When anyone stands up for you, me and any breathing, heart-beating soul and offers permission to love themselves I am moved.
Learning how to cherish the dark the light, the good and bad, and do it with abandon...I'm inspired, grateful and THAT validates me. Not false praise, or modeling, or men I tried to get to fall in love with me. Nope. Other women and men openly expressing their love for themselves, and the innate right we all have to do so.
In loving oneself, the soil for compassionate growth is rich. The seeds we spread will flutter in the world deeply rooted in love. It's not selfish, nor arrogant, those thoughts are counterintuitive. Love big inwardly and the love that beams out is immeasurable. I'm working on it. Love is easier, feels better and is the pathway to true happiness. If you are brave enough to truly allow it without guilt, worry, fear, or conditions.
Love you, first.
The rest will fall (im)perfectly into place as it is meant to be.
"Shimmer with a smile. Life is hard, bloom anyway."