I was so overwhelmed with joy I could have cried. All it took was a bookstore, magazines with covers graced by some of my favorite covergirls- Mindy Kaling, Lupita Nyong’o, and Emma Watson, and a tall soy green tea latte from Starbucks. Oh, and being in a city where I wasn’t the only person or one of the only persons who looked like me. While I have been recently smitten with myself, I was never smitten with the loneliness. They don’t tell you that when they gas you with gusto to be who you envision yourself to be, chase your dreams, live your beliefs with reckless abandon (except of said beliefs include harming yourself or others- do not live that), speak up and out, change the world, or live out loud. Perhaps if they did we would chicken out and roam the crowded streets of mediocrity.
I digress. This is not about loneliness. It’s about love. What I realized that sunny Sunday morning, was I was so overwhelmed because I was feeding my soul. I had fallen so hard for me that I had made my way into a time and space that fed the very core of who I was. Who I am. Everything else could wait.
Love does that. Especially when recently smitten. It usually annoys family and friends as they find themselves afterthoughts, back up plans, regular recipients of apologies and acute sudden amnesia about any number of things we were supposed to do for or with them. The object of our affection gets our attention, time, energy, effort, our everything. I was finally getting my everything. And it was intense.
I wasn’t raised that way. I don’t know if you can be raised to give yourself your everything when you are one of five kids, live in the nation’s sixth largest city, attend a public school, often ride public transportation, and have the fortune of aunties, cousins, and a great grandmother, and grand parents living within walking distance in any direction of your too small for seven people but you are too young to know it at the time row home. You are raised to give. You give toys, and spots in line, turns, shoes and clothes that are too small. You give your creativity to drawing in the sketchbook your mom saw on sale in the toy store and bought for you because she knows how much you want to be an artists, bargaining with your brother to switch dish duty nights, or your sister to borrow her super cute iridescent purple jeans. You give your best behavior to attend birthday parties, sleep overs on long weekends, for extra spending money at the mall, or to ride to the store with your Aunt on a “school night.” You give your Sundays to church (Sunday school, service, and sometimes evening service), your brilliance to school for scholarships, and your love to God, family, and best friends. So me giving and giving to me- new, strange, slightly uncomfortable, but absolutely lovely and loving. Me giving me my undivided attention, nourishing my mind, body, and soul- exhilarating.
Now perhaps it shouldn’t be. Perhaps you are reading this and thinking if you get this excited over a bookstore, magazines, and a green tea latte, how excited do you get when you get a great deal on a sweet pair of shoes? Get a job you want? Get into a school you hoped to get into? Have an opportunity to speak at a conference? Travel out of the country? Meet a handsome young (or older) sir?
I wouldn’t disagree that perhaps my joy seems a bit much. In fact I would say it’s indicative of having gone too long without having been head over Nikes for me and all of the idiosyncrasies that make me me. I have been an admirer of me for a while. Flirted with me lots. Been in deep deep like. But actually decided to go all in and fall in love with me- not so much.
Love is risky business. Even when it is with ourselves. To love ourselves means to accept ourselves. Every last part. To mourn the parts that we lost unwillingly. To acknowledge the bruises, the ones we would t let heal, and the ones we have denied the opportunity to heal because we have denied its existence. It means letting ourselves gush over the things we are proud of even if no one else notices or ever makes a big deal. It means owning our mistakes and our futures. It means committing to getting to know w ourselves because we accept we are ever changing. Love is work. It is worth work because we are worthy. We, you, me, us, we are worthy of coffee shops on sunny Sunday mornings in cities that allows us to stop and nourish or souls, our very cores, knowing that we are our greatest loves, Out of our great love for ourselves we can love others greatly. May you keep falling in love with you this week. With each new day may there something about you that you accept and deem worthy of giving your absolute everything. May you go from flirting to liking to loving- you. Every last part of you. xxoo