I saw her…just a flash. God, she was something else.
Her shadow curved like a glamorous black moon, and above the shadow, living flesh. Naked, standing there, wheat colored hair falling in disheveled knots across her back.
She was tall, taller than most, her body strong as a man’s. There would be no pushing this one, no breaking her—her bones were put together like a skyscraper, a cage of steel covered in reflective glass so that when I looked at her, the only thing I could see was myself.
She turned and I could tell she was admiring her form, her long limbs like driftwood worn smooth by sand and wind.
And it was with grave disappointment that I noticed, as she turned the light on, her face twist in disgust at what she saw.
I wanted to grab her arm as she turned away, “Don’t go! You are that beautiful!”
But she never listens to me. She’s the girl in the mirror. My elusive lover.
Long term relationships are notoriously challenging, particularly the ones we have with ourselves.
Let’s face it, it’s not exactly sexy being inside our own minds 24/7, for 44 years in my case. All the petty grievances, the grudges, the insecurities, the ruts—they could take the shine out of the Hope diamond.
All things considered, I’ve come a long way from that sad 16 year old girl (pictured above) who made self loathing her number one priority, but I have come to realize is that self not-hate is not the same thing as self-love.
I want to have a shameless love affair—with me. I want to weave flowers in my hair and wear beautiful clothes, I want to cook special little dishes just for me, to savor on a cushioned chaise in the shade on a hot summer day. I want to write poems that celebrate my wit, my heart, my soul—or least send one to myself as passionate as this…
“I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I do not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.” ~ Pablo Neruda
I want to do these things because I recognize the gift of being me, because I am grateful for it.
We should all try to love ourselves like this, “without knowing how, or when, or from where.”
We all deserve it.
I’ll consider this proclamation my first seduction of that elusive shadow girl I’ve know all my life, who has many faces, all of them mine. I think she may be able to hear me now.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: courtesy of the author