Love after Love
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Midlife is a strange and unfamiliar territory with the tapestry of my life becoming a colorful cloth woven from unique experiences of old and of what is yet to come. Even with the underlying sense of fatigue that accompanies a full life, I remain optimistic that patience, understanding and growth will sustain as I continue this very humbling and human journey. To this point, an area of introspection that still eludes me is complete self-acceptance. It is one thing to write, teach or talk about self love. It is still quite another to feel what can only be called a lingering sense of unease with parts of myself that I find less desirable. With an embarrassing level of honesty, I wonder if feelings such as these will ever go away. In addition, the “love thyself” dialogue of late has me flustered. I find it exceedingly difficult to find a place of belonging in this narrative, leading to even more feelings of separateness from the group.
Words matter and in my case nothing more than the written word. The constant search for inspiration has provided some peace in this chapter of life. When I am totally spent and exhausted from constant reflection, I find refuge each and every time in the thoughts of another. Reading others words without prejudice somehow makes my confusion less so.
Love after Love by Derek Walcott is no different in this regard. His words soothe me in the most gentle of ways. “The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door….” How wonderful to greet myself with elation as I might a dear friend that has been deeply missed. In truth, I have missed the girl that was creative, gentle-hearted, sensitive, curious and thoughtful. I have missed the girl that worried less about what others thought and more about big ideas and important questions. I have missed her and have begun welcoming her back with open arms. It is in this return to wholeness that I see myself apart from others opinions and begin to open as was meant only for me.
Life is a winding road peppered with diversions and distractions. It is curious that at this juncture I am returning to a more authentic self, before the self-critique took over and silenced all the beautiful uniqueness within. These words say it all; “Give back your heart, to itself, to the stranger who has loved you, all your life, whom you ignored…” I apologize to that young girl whom I left behind in an attempt to “blend” in. That beautiful child that was filled with such a loving and creative spirit. That child that was loved but often misunderstood. I welcome that child at my door and into my home. We are one and without each other I am lost.
I am forever thankful to all the intrepid writers that have continued to write regardless of audience. It is in your words that I have rediscovered self in the most glorious of ways. Words continue to matter. Nothing speaks to a seeker more than words of self-discovery. Keep writing my beautiful ones. It is within our words that we will be set free.