Hello! Things will look a bit different around here this month. I’m taking part in April Love, a month-long celebration brought to the world by Susannah Conway. Each day those taking part will get prompts for us to respond to. I absolutely love doing Unravelling at the end of each year; it’s become a genuine ritual (thank you Susannah!) So I know that this will be a nourishing project to be a part of; perfect for a month in which I’m likely to get glum about my leg injury. Some days I shall write here, and some days I shall post to my Instagram page. And undoubtedly on some days I shall forget, become distracted or have nothing to say. But the joy of this is that whatever form it takes, it’s all part of a month of mindful self-care, which is just what I need. So, let’s get started with today’s prompt.
Dear … love,
Ah, love. I know you’re there, surrounding me. I know that I’m fortunate to be loved by many. And to love many in return. I know that I’m incredibly fortunate to be in this place, with this abundance of love. I feel it in the neck-breaking hugs from my children, the home that I share with my parents, the soul-searching talks, stomach-aching laughter and joy I experience with my friends. I even feel it in the books I read, the soil I work, the air I breathe, the skincare I make, the adventures I have.
Yet, romantic love, you still seem to be missing. It’s been a while. Are you hiding? Do I need to come and find you, or will you one day appear, on a Tuesday afternoon, perhaps, when I’m not ready for you? When my hair is a mess and I’m wearing comfy pants, holding a mug of tea, prepared only for Netflix and perhaps a biscuit.
And when you arrive, will I be good enough for you? It’s my secret fear, you see, from the last time you left. That I’m just not enough. Not beautiful. Not thin. Not well-dressed, happy, confident, successful enough for romantic love.
Perhaps until you get here, I should think about self-love. A wholehearted kind of self-love. Self-care. A proper look in the mirror for a start, until I stop seeing nothing but my flaws, whether they be real or perceived, and perhaps see some of the things that those who love me see. And maybe I need to look more carefully at the kind of person I am. Because, I’m pretty good, you know. I mean, I don’t have a pair of proper shoes to my name, nor anywhere of my own to live. But I have buckets of empathy and good humour. And all my own teeth. That has to count for something, doesn’t it? And if I’m to be judged by my friends, then I’m definitely doing something right; they love me and they’re incredible.
Maybe, just maybe, I was deserving of romantic love. I am deserving of romantic love. Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be and you leaving the last time means that when you come back, things will be better. We’ll fit together; talk to each other with kindness, laugh more, have more understanding of what each other needs. Maybe, last time, you were the problem too. Dare I say, maybe it wasn’t just me? Despite what you liked to tell me and what I spent so much time believing, after hearing it for so long. Maybe you were really rather selfish. I deserved better that that, love. I know now, that you leaving was the best thing you ever did for me. Because I’m finding my self-worth and becoming whole again.
But, love, I’m scared. Scared of making myself vulnerable again. Scared of falling in love with the wrong person again. It’s easier to hide behind Netflix and comfy pants. But I do want romantic love. To feel the soaring highs, the warmth it brings. The stomach-flipping butterflies, the hand-holding, the secret smile reserved only for you.
I’ve tried the dating thing a couple of times recently. It’s hard. And I gave up. I think that I started too soon; before I’d had the chance to heal properly. Before I’d had the chance to realise that I was good enough for love. Before I’d had the chance to realise that love works both ways; that I am as worthy of it as anyone else.
I think it’s time to be brave again, love. To come looking for you, slowly, quietly, and with openness. To look for you with the expectation that I deserve to be treated well and to promise in return that I will be careful with your heart.
I’m really, finally, truly ready … I think.