Monday, February 14, 2011

Re-Visiting Self Love

Two years ago, I wrote a Self Love post for Valentine's Day that I feel is worth sharing again (with edits to mark the passage of that time - but the feelings are the same):

6 8 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 8 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 9 years ago, there is no way I could have seen myself or my kids where we are now. 7 9 years ago, I had given up and accepted that life was going to suck. 7 9 years ago, I felt completely alone and isolated from the man in bed next to me. 6 8 years ago, I opened the door for all of the possibilities to come.

I laugh everyday, and usually at least once a day at myself. I am loved everyday by my children, my family and friends. Finding our ways to true love are various and unpredictable, but I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day, full of love for YOU.


Q Turner said...

How inspiring! I love it. I had a similar thing happen to me when I left my X--he was mostly just fine, not abusive or mean, but you just reach that point at which you realize you're crazy, and you got there by giving up pieces of yourself over time, so slowly that you never saw the changes.

I hope you have a fantastic v-day, girl! Get some strawberries and chocolate and treat yourself right!

Mandy said...

Thanks for posting this, April. I've come to believe that our capability to love others increases exponentially with our love for ourselves and as you say, that's not narcissism.

Happy Valentine's Day to you and your girls.

Danielle said...

I am so glad you found self love. I agree that it makes a world of difference for everyone else that we love.