I was afraid to close the book as the last chapter drew to an end. I was afraid to let the story go. I was afraid of the emptiness— the helplessness, that fills you when your favorite story ends in disaster and not “happily ever after.” I was afraid of what it would mean to set that book down and store it away. I was afraid to see what the next story was going to be.
For over 2 years I’ve been afraid and have not known it. I’ve put on the brave face and thought, if I wear it long enough it will be so. I have done the lip service and thought, if I say it often enough it will be so. I have acted the way I believed a brave and loving person should and thought, if I act this way long enough it will be so.
It wasn’t until today when I read a passage from Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It that my world came (once again) to a halt. These words made me stop:
“It’s a rare and precious gift to love, and it should be shared. I’ve lost it before, and I will not lose it again. And I will no longer fear loving myself the way I love other people.”
I read those words today and as I did I felt them deep in my chest as tears pooled in my eyes. I felt raw. I felt vulnerable. I felt seen by this unknown person – This person who knew how I felt before I even recognized it. My heart ached with the truth: I still hadn’t set down the old book. I had closed the book, but it was still in my hands. I hadn’t reached for the next one to start that new chapter.
I was afraid to love myself because I felt I wasn’t worthy of it. All I saw were my faults and my flaws. I was afraid to truly acknowledge my friends because I felt I wasn’t worthy of them. I was afraid to see the support my family (all of them) have been giving me because I felt I wasn’t worthy of it. I was afraid to admit my talents because I felt I was being a fraud.
I was afraid, but my heart has already known darkness, and I know the strength that also comes from facing that darkness. I have seen the beauty in letting the light shine through. I have felt the warmth of being loved and I want to drink it in. I know the joy that comes from loving others and it’s time to start feeling that same joy from loving myself.
I will close the chapter on where I was.
I will love myself the way I love others.
I will move forward.
It’s time to truly begin the new book.