Friday, February 13, 2009

Self-Love Day

6 years ago on Valentine's Day, I practiced the most self love I'd ever conjured. I told my husband it was over.

bell hooks wrote in all about love that love is an action verb. I didn't actually read that until years later, but when I did, it verbalized what I did that V-day 6 years ago.

I'd tried to leave X a few times before, but frankly, I didn't love myself enough to go through with it. I didn't trust myself to survive single motherhood. I was afraid of being alone forever. I didn't think anyone else would ever love me or know me like X did. I believed in that fallacy that two parents are always better than one.

But years of lies, and actions on his part that proved he didn't love me or the girls in the way that we deserved finally caught up with us. And that year, I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't celebrate this day with this man.

A few months prior, I remember telling him, there's a breaking point. There's a point where I will no longer love you. I could feel it coming.

And finally, it did.

It didn't happen just out of years of frustration, though. It happened because of other things going on in my life. It happened because I was having something that I could even call my life again. I was reminded that I was a capable human being. I was reminded that I could have fun, even. That I could laugh. That there was joy in the world.

And then there were my kids. It wasn't until after we left and were starting our lives over again that I truly realized how much I had given up of their childhood in trying to make my marriage work. By not having the best of me, they were missing out. Oh sure, I did the necessary stuff, and we had fun and all that. But there's no question that my unhappiness affected them, too.

That's the beauty of self-love. When we find it, we ARE better mothers, better partners, better friends, and better humans for it. When we're not beating ourselves up for our inadequacies, we have room to listen and hear others. When we're not crying, we can laugh, smile, hug. When we're not feeling sorry for ourselves, we can reach out and give to others in need.

Self-love is not narcissism because true love is not an ugly thing. Self-love can't be vanity or blind because true love allows for humanity's imperfections.

7 years ago, there is no way I could have seen myself or my kids where we are now. 7 years ago, I had given up and accepted that life was going to suck. 7 years ago, I felt completely alone and isolated from the man in bed next to me. 6 years ago, I opened the door for all of the possibilities to come.

I laugh everyday, and usually at least once at myself. I am loved everyday by my children, my family and friends. I may be single, but I am not alone. Finding our ways to this are various and unpredictable, but I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day, full of love for YOU.

For more Self Love Day posts, please visit Hilly.


Anonymous said...

I had a friend tell me that there was no way in hell that she could do this because she'd feel narcissistic. My response to her was, "Wow, I never even thought of it that way.".

Thank you for participating today!

Shiona said...

Learning to laugh at yourself definitely helps and the whole being alone thing is all in the way you look at it IMO.

Florinda said...

"I had given up and accepted that life was going to suck. 7 years ago, I felt completely alone and isolated from the man in bed next to me."

The timeframe and details are different, but otherwise, this sounds very familiar. And it's true, although I've learned it the hard way - you really do have to love yourself, or at least BELIEVE in and value yourself, before you can really love and give of yourself.

Great post, April. Happy Valentine's Day!

jenn said...

Love this post. So much better than what I expected most of the single moms to post for Valentine's Day. I expected more lonely posts than anything. This is very encouraging.

Meg said...

Wonderful post.

My story is very different. I'm in the middle of an amicable divorce from a good man--we're still living together. After many years of a broken relationship, I decided to actively pursue another avenue. It's difficult to explain to people why I would leave this man when we have 3 kids. Sometimes I wonder about it myself. But I think it has to do with self-love. Now, I'm working on self-forgiveness.

Tara R. said...

Mwah! Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you and your little ladies have a fabulous weekend. You all so deserve it.

Jen said...

What a fabulous post, April. This couldn't be truer on so many levels. I hate Valentine's Day, because there's so much emphasis on the "couple" thing - I'd be much happier with this version or if it were a day to reflect on all the love we do have in our lives.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Even though your story is sad, I'm still happy that you were able to get out and make a clean break with your girls. So many people get trapped in broken marriages and waste years of everybody's lives in the process.

Here's to you April and the love you've given your kids and yourself. Happy Valentines day to you.

Karen MEG said...

What a great post, April. Bravo.

I'm so glad that you love yourself, there is so much in you to love. Your girls are very lucky to have you for their mom.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Anonymous said...

The mall was so crowded today that I thought it was Christmas. Once again we seem to have missed the point of a celebration. Valentine's Day, like you say, is about self-love and all the kinds of love that emanate from that core. It is not what's in a pink bag, it is what's in the smile that comes from the pleasure of being one's self with the people in one's life.

Love to you and the girls.

Oh, and You Go Girl!

MindyMom said...

Thanks for your comment today. Glad you found me so I could stop by and read this great post!

My marriage ended 7 years ago over President's weekend. 2002 was our last V-day together, which is kinda ironic cuz we celebrated wonderfully and then days later he began an affair with my "best friend". Long story, but being that President's weekend comes right after Valentine's it's an anniversary of sorts for me too.

I'm much happier loving myself and being true to myself than loving a man who didn't deserve it.

Happy V-Day.

Single Working Mommy said...

Happy Self Love Day, April. Great post. Got me thinkin', per usual.

Anonymous said...

You got it...nailed the concept right on the have got to love your own best you the strength you need when you need it..terrific post....

Rachael said...

I wish that everybody, especially women and mothers, could see how worthy they are of their own love!