June 17, 2013 § 1 Comment
At first, the words wouldn’t come. Blue eyes were staring back at me expectantly. A lump formed in my throat. My bottom lip began to tremble. My eyes welled with tears. I wanted to look away, but I didn’t. This was too important. The blue eyes still looking at me, also red and brimming with tears. So long as I was there, they weren’t going anywhere. Try again.
“I…” I faltered and broke down once more. But with renewed courage I tried again.
“I love you.” I stumbled on the words at the end, but at least this time it was out!
I did it again. And again. And again. Until the words were loud and clear and resounding from a place inside of me I do my best to ignore. If I could’ve hugged the figure in the mirror, what an embrace it would have been. As it was, we stared back at one another, each with a grateful smile curling on our lips. I picked up a hand towel and dried her tears.
“I love you. I see you.” She smiled back. We’ve made contact.
“If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anybody else.”
– Jennifer Lopez
People around me are falling in love. And I’m paying attention. A colleague recently shared a scrapbook she made for her partner – full of words of love, affection and celebration. I flipped each page, looking at the photos, the mementos, the laughing eyes and faces brimmed with happiness.
“This is beautiful!” I said as I handed the scrapbook back to her.
Inside I thought, “Is this what people in love look like?” I’ve known this girl for a long time. I’ve never seen her eyes dance like this before. I think it must be.
My best friend and I have joined forces with another of our friends to complete a book study of Calling In The One by Katherine Woodward Thomas. 7 weeks of exercises and contemplation. At the centre of just about every exercise… you (me). The book is about learning to love yourself, because as J Lo pointed out, true love isn’t possible until we first love ourselves.
I met a man once in the midst of a messy marriage. As I listened to his story, all I could feel were the pain behind his words. A woman he shouldn’t have married, a house that wasn’t creating a space of love for either of them or their children. As we talked, I found myself relating to his pain. Not his situation, but the feeling behind the situation. As he told his story, I could see the parts in mine where I could take the initiative to turn all that around. Most of his story was about learning to stand up for himself and step into his light rather than skulking in his shadows.
I’ve done a great deal of work on my self-image and self-esteem, but I went deeper. I got right down next to the me that was still hurting and I watched what made her cower, made her hide, made her afraid to show her beautiful face. Anything I do that makes her feel like less of a person, I stop. Now we manage our eating habits, our spending habits, our relationships and our thoughts with much more awareness and intention. Because when I slip up, she hides.
I slip up when I’m not listening to her. She knows exactly what she wants, what she needs.
Last night as I lay in my bed, it dawned on me that I could give her what she wants.
“I love you, Wendy,” I whispered into the darkness.
This morning I woke up, all warm and snuggled in my blankets.
“I love you, Wendy.”
And then I had the brilliant idea that I should look myself in the eyes while I said it.
I trudged upstairs, hair a mess, bits of eyeliner still lining my eyes from what I didn’t wash off the night before. I looked myself in the mirror and I wouldn’t budge until I was able to say something to myself that I’ve been longing to hear.
Eyes brimming with tears, lips trembling, it took a few tries, but I did it.
“I love you, Wendy.”