I'll just sleep in. Just until I can breathe through my nose again. Just a few more minutes...snooze button pressed. "It's okay, I can skip yoga for the day" I say to myself. Heart heavy and eyes raw, the embarrassment and hardships of the past week hit full force. The thick guilt sinking me down into the mattress feels like gasoline in the pit of my stomach...why has it come to this?
Reluctantly, I pulled myself up, imaginary strings hoisting me up from my shoulders, lifting me out of my melancholy morning. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Release it and move on.
An hour later, full of freshly squeezed juice, on my mat staring down at my sparkly pink toes - a color chosen for the very specific reason that it was a pretty color - I hear the slosh of my homemade fruit deliciousness in my stomach as I stretch, and giggled. I said....see, this is how you love yourself.
I don't go places alone. It is irrationally scary to me, so I avoid it at all costs. On this particular day, I had so much to do, and no one to do it with. Feeling anxious, letting my unnecessary panic decide the course of my day was not an option. It was up to me to get things accomplished. So I decided to set my goals. Getting up and going anyway, while my insides spin out of control. I will do it. Just like holding the pose all the way through - pushing your body to keep going when your mind teases you telling you that you can't. Staying in the uncharted, when I want so desperately to run somewhere "safe" - which is really just somewhere hidden -- these are the ways I can love myself.
I stared at the list, of my 'to-dos' - none of which included my 'to-enjoys', and while en route to check off all the items, I found myself instead at Barnes and Noble. Sitting in the isles, cranking my neck up to see what other delicious (vegan) cooking books I can get my hands on without moving. Then searching high and low for a new novel to indulge in - seeking Hemingway for words that will ground me. I walked away with Hafiz, a book of baking, and a caramel soy iced coffee. This is me loving myself.
I told the nice woman at the check out who looked miserable that I had spent most of the day sitting on the floor painting my nails princess pink and writing my lists for the day in crayon....she cracked a smile and said she didn't like working the weekends. Not a total success, but at the very least I now revealed that I am a little odd and wanted to talk to someone. When you want to talk, talk. Tell people stories, without asking them first. When you have extra glitter, make your nails sparkly. Have glitter, in fucking general. Smile at strangers even if they don't smile back -- these are the ways I can show some love.
Not worrying about the time or checking my cell phone, I sat and I listened. I paid attention to where I was. To the old man reading the same page in the paper for 50 minutes -- which meant he wasn't reading at all, but was probably listening too. I listened with him. I wondered if he heard the same things? Ask yourself questions, even if there aren't any answers. Drink coffee because its delicious, even if it's not the healthiest choice. Wonder what a 60 year old man wearing Converse sneakers does with his days when he's not mindlessly staring at the paper. Imagine that he can fabricate a dozen hats with that one newspaper - that he used to be a middle school science teacher with a propensity for bird watching and has a collection of rare Pez dispensers. Make up funny stories in your head. These are the ways I can love for myself.
I watched the couple that walked out holding hands, delighted with their morning together, fluttering with joy, as they kissed by the car. It was innocent - sweet. She left - he waled back holding his bag of books. I watched him smile and thought - how lovely that I got to witness how happy he is... I wonder if she can feel him smiling. He got into his car and called someone - I could just imagine by his face what he was telling the person at the other end of the line- how delightful his day was with this wonderful woman. He was beaming. It was such a lucky moment to observe - one that I would have missed had I been texting or checking Facebook. In that fleeting moment I felt ok being out alone. These are the ways I allow myself to love alone.
Tell your friends all the details. Grin the kinda goofy infectious grin. Tell that horrible joke that puts you in stitches every time. Share those thousands of pictures of your dog because who doesn't smile at animals? Compliment that awkward adolescent cashier and smile. Feel insanely thrown off your game, then let the amount that you keep it cool be zero. Let someone in and let them make you feel completely exhilarated. - these are the ways I can love others.
When you can walk, but feel like driving...walk. Park far away so you have to. When you have lingerie, wear it. When you find your favorite poem, read it ten times in a row out loud so you can hear your pretty feminine voice. Listen. Hear yourself the way other people do. Eat a spoon full of frosting when your making those scrumptious cupcakes. Test your guilt meter and tell it to fuck off. Make a purchase in anticipation of something. For instance, I bought the sparkiest pair of high heels, with no where to wear them. I anticipate that someday, the occasion will arise, that doesn't include cleaning the apartment.
When you want to look soft, like the girl who wants to open her heart...the girl who wants to stay up late and to talk about her reoccurring dream of her and the clouds, then whisper some of her most tender admissions....be that girl now. You don't have to wait for someones acknowledgement to unfold your tough exterior. Unfold yourself. These are the ways I can show myself love.
When you feel like your life is wrapping its fingers around your spirit, clenching its fists around your energy, pushing its strong hands on top of your head in attempt to say "STOP GROWING" - push back. It's a test. When you wonder if you're invisible, or perhaps no one will love you or see you, or that you may have to compromise your spirit because 'that's just life'...remember that the ground beneath you will always support you - that the heart that's beating inside your chest is always going to be your steady companion and that your life is yours. That you decide to let yourself shine. That the only person who can switch your inner light on and off is you. These are the ways I will love myself - lights on.
Listen to Hall & Oates, to Whitney and Sinatra. Sing out loud. Create for the sake of creating, whether anyone will ever see it or not. Dance naked, feel absolutely ridiculous and awesome at the same time. Admit you need to be held and touched and don't feel sorry about it. Tell your friends you need alone time - make less excuses and more declarations. Tell yourself you look nice today. Spend an extra ten minutes in the shower. Make silly faces at a baby. Tell someone else that you think they are beautiful if you're thinking it, even if you're at the bank, or a loud bar where everyone is trying to act cool, but everyone really needs someone to tell them they already are. Read people's name tags, look them in the eye. Siegfried at Joey's makes me super happy. What a great name.
Remember that the judgments you make towards yourself are harsh, tactless and unnecessary. That you pretty girl, are a delicate, extraordinary miracle. Speak accordingly. And love your lovely self.