You may find this hard to believe but … I know you. I know who you are and I know a little bit about why you are here.
The reason I know you is because I know me, and I also know that each of us are not that different.
You are searching for something more and you’re not opposed to taking your search for something more to unusual places, such as remote online reading. Yeah, exactly. This isn’t exactly the bible or Time Magazine, it’s a blog. And here you are.
You seek something more because in your heart, you know you deserve something more. Also, there’s a whole lot more to you than what others see and think they know about you. In other words, you are kind of a big deal, someone pretty special. So you go to lesser known places for affirmation. That’s why readers read, why bloggers blog and why artists create.
That’s what I’m doing here and I figure, that’s what you’re doing here too. Taking a look into the confessions of someone who gets it, someone who actually says things out loud which might resonate and speak to your heart.
I used to be the most insecure person I knew. I lived in constant terror that inevitably I would be busted and revealed as an intrusive fraud. I used to put on a front to convince people that I belonged, that I knew what I was doing, and to also convince them that I was trustworthy and reliable.
Underneath the front, which was nothing more than a facade of pseudo-confidence, I thought I was garbage, damaged goods, unworthy of anyone’s time. I had parents who likely felt that way about themselves and therefore, couldn’t show their love to me. Their inability to show me love thoroughly fucked my head up (until I eventually fell to pieces and began the work of putting myself back together).
Thankfully, beneath the front I presented, and even further beneath my feelings of low self-worth, there lived and breathed a little girl who knew much better who I was born to be. The little girl in me was born knowing her worth, just as we all are. In the form of screaming infants, we each burst onto the scene like queens and kings, demanding: What’s taking so long? Where the hell is the milk in this place? Bottle, now! Breast, now! Get this wet, shitty diaper off of me! Don’t you know who I am? Ugh. Amateurs.
For the entire fifty-two years of life so far the little girl inside has been whispering to me. Along the way, sometimes I heard her, but more often, too many times to count, I did not.
Then the Love-journey came along and it was like someone handed my inner-child a megaphone. I began hearing her loud and clear with unprecedented consistency.
We are all on a love journey. It’s just a matter of realizing it, becoming less random and more deliberate about our love search. We are born in search of the love which breathed life into us. Like I said earlier, you want more. That more is rooted in our natural and instinctual pull towards LOVE.
We live in a binary thought culture. We have been taught to believe that contradicting ideas can not exist together without disharmony. In other words, we are regularly encouraged to choose one thing or choose the other; it’s an either/or society. Black or white, good or evil, up or down, red or blue, chocolate or vanilla. We’ve been taught to choose, taught that in most cases our decisions must land between opposing ideas.
Well, that’s just bullshit. As human beings we are too complex to practice behaviors driven by such narrow thinking. That’s why so many of us occasionally appear to yo-yo or hesitate or change our minds often.
I heard LOVE JOURNEY through meditation and I was all like, whaaattt? Oh hell no. Don’t wanna. Can’t make me.
Because I thought if I had to be all about love everyday then I couldn’t be my strangely lovable, occasionally shitty behaving self. I thought I had to clean up my act completely. And initially, I was all like, oh hell no, I fuckin refuse. This is me. I’ve come too far in life to shut down parts of myself all over again.
That was my binary programmed thinking at work. Turns out, I didn’t have to choose either/or. A quest towards acting more loving is not a quest towards perfection. Being more loving doesn’t mean I give up my asshole side. I love the jerk in me, she has her good points just like as she has her bad points.
In March 2018 I had been (not so) privately struggling to get a hold of my emotions. I was quickly losing the battle, failing to regain the composure I needed to do my writing work. I had spent the previous eight months before March researching and collecting data for my first book (still writing it, btw). I was feeling overwhelmed, especially in the area of interviewing all the various people. The fun part was over— meeting different black women and hearing their stories. Now there were the professionals to gather data from. This part was way less fun because my insecurities were looming and threatening to strangle attempts at continuing the work.
Who said anything about self-esteem and confidence? All I ever wanted to do was write. Why did self-esteem and confidence have to be such a crucial part of the writing formula? What was with all the emotions bubbling up and making my insides swirl? As I tried to focus on the book writing, I found myself crying often. I returned to therapy. I journaled more. I kept up my writing work, but life in Spring 2018 was filled with frequent angst and unpredictable meltdowns.
Fortunately, I kept up with my daily meditation routine. It was through meditation that I was inspired by my angels to go on a Love-journey. But when I first felt this inspiration, I confess, I was less than thrilled. I hesitated, questioning the intuition. I was all like, wait—what? Are you sure? A love journey? Huh. Really.
If you don’t mind, would you please double-check with the Universe or God, Herself please. Tell them it’s me, Maria. Oh you know, just in case. I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time, umm …. well …. maybe the message got mixed up? A love journey?
Okay, I’m nobody’s angel, but I think I’m already pretty fuckin loving. I’ve loved plenty.
Please. Don’t make me beg.
So yah. A Love-journey it was.
I didn’t even know what a Love-journey looked like. Was it like a tour? Was it what musicians or comedians did, performing in various cities, at different stops? I didn’t have the funds to travel around, so I figured that couldn’t be what I was expected to do.
Okay, great. So I get to live life as usual, except .… I’m on a Love-journey. Right. The angels weren’t giving me much to go on. They’re often cryptic like that.
So I fudged it, like I always do. I guessed. I did the things I thought were required of someone on a Love-journey.
I smiled a little extra at strangers. And if, while on line at the grocery check-out or sitting in the waiting room for a doctor’s visit, some random stranger made small talk to fill the silence (something I tend to loathe), I chatted back with actual enthusiasm. I was determined to give the Love-journey my best effort.
I complimented random female strangers on things I saw about them that I liked— earrings, hairstyles, blouses, sneakers, boots, dresses, cell phone cases, even their smiles. That last bit once brought me a side-eye like, no, lady, you are not my type.
Many of the responses were pleasant, some even responded with delighted surprise. But there were a few strangers who either flat out ignored me or thanked me warily, glancing around for security should the need arise. Some days it felt good and some days I felt like an idiot loser.
I began to whine and drag my feet in private mental battles with the angels. Did you double-check with God? This is bullshit! It’s not even the Christmas season, I look like a lunatic. Why me? Nobody else is acting extra loving out here. Hello! I live on Earth with flawed mortals, irritating humans just like me. A little help, please.
Still, I managed to press forward, determined to continue with attempts at being more loving. In my heart I knew the angels knew what they were doing, even if I was being a baby about it. I was willing to operate in the blind until the Love-journey revealed its purpose in my life.
I wrote my way through the experience, sometimes publicly on the blog, but more often privately, in my journals. Eventually something inside of me began to shift in such a subtle way at first, I almost missed it.
In the beginning I assumed a Love-journey meant more patience and charitable behavior on my part towards other people. I thought I had to seek out individuals, those who might need a boost in their day and offer my love. I thought the journey had to do with being more like Jesus or Buddha or something. That was part of it, but not all of it. Yes, the point was to be more loving, but not just to others around me. I was also meant to be more loving to myself.
Again, I thought I already had that covered in the love department. The Love-journey would show that I knew way less about love — especially self-love — than I thought I did.
So I did this, tried being more loving to myself. I cranked my love dial way up, turning the love glow onto myself, shined the light of it into my own face every single day. I greeted myself in the mirror each day, looked into my own eyes and said, I love you, Maria. I smiled at myself, said, good job when I did something right, and I said that’s okay my love, when I made mistakes.
I began to change. Oh my god, I began to feel love for myself way more than I ever thought I could.
Positive mantras and slogans, the popular recent trends employed as tools for self-love are barely effective beginnings of truly loving oneself. What I learned, what I now understand as irrefutable fact is, self-loving actions must be as deliberate and meticulous as the love shown to a new infant or new lover.
Our social system has done a number on our collective and individual minds when it comes to our understanding of the concept of LOVE. There has been so many mixed messages. I can see why the announcement of a Love-journey might be met with skepticism, my own included.
Love is the basis of all human accomplishments because love is at the root of every single creation. Through the passion which inspires an idea and the sequential actions that create a thing, Love can be found at its root— from a crocheted mitten to the design of a skyscraper, from the lines of a poem to the construction of a bridge, from the writing of a web design to the cultivation of medical cures, and on it has gone throughout human history.
But social dictates around love has wreaked a bit of havoc and confusion in our instinctual wiring, causing us to hesitate, to question ourselves when our own heart has always known what to do. We have actually been led to believe that there can be such a thing as too much love. Men especially, are watched closely for too much love in their behavior lest they be perceived as having too much feminine energy inside them (ha! they should be so lucky).
All of us, women and men, have been schooled that beyond our intimate circles, love is to be tamped down and/or offered sparingly. If there is too much of it you might be viewed as a bible-thumper or Jesus-freak or gullible, naive prey, deserving of any predatory machinations which befall you.
And in recent years—from what I’ve seen of the past decade, especially in online campaigns against this—there has been an enormous movement against self-love. The word narcissism has been wielded like a weapon on blogs, on social media, in movies, on television and in books. Society has made it one of their top priorities to police our self-love activities. Too many selfies? Despicable. Self-congratulating? Heinous. Self-prioritizing? Selfish. Self-promoting? Egomaniacal. Self-assured? Hubris.
Wait, Maria ….
Anti-self love campaign? By society? Why? Why would any instrumental member of the societal paradigm ever take the time to ascertain the use of imbedded messages to steer us clear of self-love? That doesn’t make any sense. Surely, Love is too frivolous a thing for any leadership to worry about. Love is for the little people, the less serious among us, right? Love is something left to women to play with or fret over. Love is not the priority of power holders, certainly not the priority for the movers and shakers, those who spearhead or those who rule.
The social system …. it’s just so big. It may not be perfect but it has been working to keep things somewhat orderly for all these hundreds of years. Such were my doubting thoughts. I wasn’t sure if I should believe the wisdom revealing itself along the Love-journey. After all, I am but one person in a world of billions.
Besides, I’m just a blogger. What could I possibly know about all of this?
There she was, Old Maria, poking her head out, refusing to believe her own eyes and ears.
But the Love-journey was showing things to me that I could not ignore. Love had begun to take hold in me, dominating my life on numerous levels. I was beginning to believe in my own thinking, desirous of giving myself a safe, loving space to express. I had become my own baby, my own precious little girl. So I told myself, go ahead, speak.
I’m not the fool I thought I was, after all. I considered, my ideas may actually be valid. Wait. As a matter of fact, I am actually pretty fuckin smart. So I continued, dug in deeper with what I was learning.
Yes, society is mammoth, operating under a daunting looking social system and yes, we members of the country’s populace number in the billions. However, anything can be broken down for understanding, including the known world. If you break it down to its smallest parts, if you take a closer look, and if you can find yourself in the equation … you might begin to make sense of it. Yes!
We are merely humans beings in a human family. We each need Love. Even if we don’t frolic in acts of Love every day, even if it is only the memory of its sensation which sustains us, none of us can thrive without having experienced some semblance of Love.
I didn’t merely imagine an anti-self-love campaign among us, it’s not a fantasy. It exists! It isn’t an accident that so many of us are awkward around excess kindness and loving acts in the company of strangers and/or casual acquaintances (unless there’s a tragedy. It’s acceptable for us to be loving with strangers during near death accidents and mass destruction). There are implicit social rules around Love and most of us follow them, whether we realize it or not.
My four biggest Love-journey lessons are:
- Love can not be mastered or exhausted, hence, there is no end to how deep any of us can go with our love. The reset button must be hit every single day and we must begin the practice of it all over again.
- The world — as in our societal paradigm — wants us to fail. Not only does the world want us to fail, it wants us to fail spectacularly so that it can be there to pick us up when we fall. As a remedy for our woundings, the world offers consumerism as a quick fix, albeit temporarily. Like addicts, we are ever in pursuit of that first high, buying cars and homes and designer clothes to give us that endorphin-like feeling of accomplishment. And if those things don’t work or are unaffordable, there are also food, alcohol, makeup, apps, porn and a litany of other less costly, distracting paraphernalia to keep us occupied.
- Our societal paradigm is also designed to keep us inept and bungling at love. We are discouraged from practicing love consistently across a broad spectrum of life’s activities. If we adhere to social dictates about love, we will limit our loving attitudes to family, friends and the close-knit circles which inevitably shrink as we age. And since, for the majority of us, 75 to 90 percent of our time is usually spent working, in school, at chores and attending to life’s errands, we will spend more time engaging in loveless activities than in loving ones. During the considerably smaller down time that we each have at our disposal to be more freely loving, we are less practiced at it. Consequently, we have the tendency to inadvertently hurt the people we love the most without understanding why.
- You have everything you need in order to be, have and do anything you desire in this world. You were born with all that you need inside of you. No matter what kind of challenge or difficulty you face, all of the solutions lie within you. You are brilliant! The world works mightily to keep you from knowing this fact.
Finally, my self-loving actions brought me to the pastime of knitting and crocheting. Last Fall, when my angels guided me to start shutting down work projects like blogging and podcasting, the grand plan was for me to sit in silence for a few weeks. The purpose of the silence was to create more distance between the world and me, in order to gain more perspective.
Even though eventual genius was brewing, I could not see that at the time. I thought the angels had lost their minds and that I was going to be bored out of my fuckin skull. Not to mention, I was in the midst of writing a book. The thought of sitting around being quiet made me nervous. I couldn’t help but wonder, is that really a divine message or is that me procrastinating?
What the hell, angels? But of course, they were right (again), as they always are. At the time, the idea of sitting in silence, in deeper in solitude, for weeks or months, felt like torture. So my inner-child whispered something brilliant: yarn. I taught myself to knit and crochet via Youtube tutorials for the past five months and all kinds of goodies have been created since that time. All because I loved myself enough to listen to my own inner-wisdom.
That’s it. The end.
I know this was a lot to read and I thank you for reading this tome. I can’t promise a speedy return to the blog because I am still writing (and editing) my friendship book. There was so much more I could have written here about love, but I had to leave some things out to keep it at a blog-readable length, while still making sense. I leave you with this:
I love you, reader. And I SEE you too. I also happen to know that the genius within you needs further unleashing. So let it rip. Start getting more deliberate about the Love-journey you, yourself have always been on.
Sending a big hug and a fist bump your way. Keep shining!