You’re overwhelmed with this feeling that something inside of you could possibly explode because you’re filled with a love story that hasn’t been told in years. There was a part of you that thought you’d never be able to hear that story again. But you do, and this time it’s a little different. It’s more sincere. It’s older and has depth. You’ve grown in ways you couldn’t recognize until that moment you met them. The story is a hardcover book that is now tangible, flipping through the pages, taking in every word because the characters now have experience. Your tale has loss, which only means it has strength.
Of course you are hesitant. Too good to be true. You’re scared at first. Is this temporary, living in the honeymoon phase that will eventually end in heartbreak? Will this love for yourself still remain strong as the novelty wears off? You’ve sat with the familiar isolation for so long it’s become comfortable. And you wonder how this newly blossomed feeling could be just as, if not more comfortable.
You stare at their face in silence, caressing their cheeks and rubbing their earlobes to remind yourself that it is indeed real. That it is indeed intimate and genuine. That this isn’t just something you conjured up in that chaotic mind of yours. They look back at you, the reflection of your own eyes that says boldly, “You are loved.” It’s random, really. Always unplanned, happening when you least expect it with a force so powerful you would kick yourself for ignoring it.
Wrapping your arms around this person, this version of yourself you wish could’ve been there all along, you begin to feel a heat rise in your chest. A warmth inside of you that was long forgotten after all of this time alone. All you can do is find ways to emit that love in order to avoid the explosion.
You find ways to share.
You talk about your glory days until your voice is hoarse and play old home movies from a time you haven’t revisited in years. You bust out the 35 millimeter photos from your previous life on the cobblestone roads in London and play songs that have been written by your younger self. You read stories to them out loud you wrote from the deepest canyon within your soul. You thought it would be too scary or vulnerable, but now they can see you for exactly who you are. You’re comfortable with this person which makes you brave and fearless. You want to share everything with them, with yourself.
You continue to give love by receiving. You listen to the voice within; to the journey of what is seemingly a life unbeknownst to you. You listen while they share these precious moments with you, tears filling their eyes, overwhelmed with a memory that touched them so dearly. You are beyond grateful that they are willing and wanting to be just as open, just as vulnerable alongside with you. It makes you love them that much more. It makes you love yourself that much more. You want to soak in everything because you now have the last three decades to learn about this person you didn’t have the chance to be a part of.
Relearning yourself is to navigate a new territory. Exciting with a slight hint of caution. Reading and following the roads on the map that brought this person to where they are now. Rediscovering yourself is the beautiful mess that is meeting someone brand new. You are loving yourself in a way that finally feels so damn good.
Since I’ve started sharing about my mental health and my eating disorders, I’ve felt this unbelievably freedom and liberation. Finding a purity within myself that feels weightless and authentic. I am exactly who I am. Not what others think I am. Not what I think you think I am. I am exactly who I am.
There is so much love I want to give to myself. I want to continue sharing with every ounce I have. I want to continue receiving and listening to the stories of others as I learn and grow. I never want this honeymoon phase to end. And I know it will, because life has twists and turns yet to be discovered. But that first time falling in love with yourself, that is an experience that will never be forgotten. It will be reiterated time and time again because you’ll remember how good it felt. How good it was.
But here is a perplexing thought I find myself sitting with today: