Some days, it seems like there’s nothing a bottle of red wine won’t fix. So you stock up on the cheap stuff for most of the lazy, late summer days of 2011. By then, your heart has cracked and you’ve all but gone numb. By then, Roswell will be dead and the rape will still be a fresh, gaping wound.
You keep stocking up on cheap red wine as summer bleeds into autumn. And by then, you are a ghost. A fog. A figment of your own imagination. You are sleepwalking through life, punctuating your days with men who do not love you and wine that no longer works.
One day, you confide in a coworker about your current state of shattered pieces. That seemed to happen a lot when you lived in Boston – on your own, far from home, spilling your secrets to a bunch of strangers. But, that coworker recommends that you talk to somebody. And when she says somebody, she means a therapist. In the back of your mind you think “But, I’m not crazy.” In the front of your mind, you think “Maybe, I should just go.” And some series of events and paperwork and sleepless nights will lead you to the office of Ann Drouilhet. This is where you first learn what it means to love yourself.
Between July and November 2011, you were gone. Absent. Dead on arrival. But, that November, you were resurrected -shaky feet on the ground, clouded head finally above water.
Self-love does not happen until you are first honest with yourself. About your needs. About your wants. About your demons. About the ghosts that haunt you. About your vices, about your insecurities, about your monsters underneath the bed and the skeletons in your closet.
Honesty is the prologue. Only then can love fill the rest of the pages.
This is something you will learn time and time again. You will have to be more honest with yourself about how you yearn for a committed relationship in the face of fly by night flings that characterize your mid-twenties. You will have to be honest with yourself about your need for stability, even when it conflicts with your free spirit. You will have to be honest with yourself later in your twenties about money and credit and what it really takes to build a solid financial future. You will have to be honest with yourself over and over again – before you can ever be honest with anyone else and damn sure before you can love yourself even a little.
But, before all of this, you will have to just be out there in the world, a little bit unsteady. Before all of this, you will have to be gone till November.