Love yourself first. Something that I need to remind myself of, always. And right now. Show yourself love. Even just with the little things. For me, it’s the rose water I splash on my face, the toast and hazelnut spread I sneak with my hibiscus tea before bed, my solo coffee dates where I write and research, my travels and my guided bedtime and sunrise meditations. There are other people and things that I love, deeply, but to show myself love, I try to remember a few little things because… I lose myself easily.
If you’ve been loved by me you know that when I love, I love hard, completely losing myself in you. I’ve changed plans, changed my life and lost my own way. But man, I have loved.
When I met Eric, my husband, I was the best me and when I fell in love with him even before we had much of a conversation, it was perfect. I loved myself, I was happy, I had a job I loved, in a home I loved, surrounded by good company. In turn, I was able to love Eric, just right. We loved fully, honestly and just enough to give each other time to ourselves, time I needed to continue to grow.
Our long distance helped us learn to love from afar and when I chose to move back to him, it was for me. You see, I loved travel first, his country next and then him. Not that I did not love him as much, but I loved more than just him. The sun, the water, my friends, my decisions and myself. I was disconnected from much of the outside of my little world. No stable internet connection, no tv and therefore no news. It was just me, my books, the ocean and my love.
When he moved to the U.S. I started to sense myself slowly slipping away. Not because we were together, but because, it seems that I feel most alive when I am a bit out of my element, immersed in a new culture. I love myself the most during those times. I feel the most alive. So here, in the States my comforts can seem dull and I dive head first into love. I was lost in making sure Eric was happy. I mean, he left his life, his home, his culture and his family for me. I felt responsible for his happiness. I nagged, constantly asking if he was happy. I made endless plans to continue the fun forgetting to also, take time for myself.
Shortly after Eric moved, I was pregnant with Aurelia. This was new, exciting and we were thrilled. My focus switch back to include myself, my baby and Eric. I glowed. Pregnancy for me, was one of the most beautiful times in my life. I felt perfect and I had this tiny life to care for yet still had the freedoms to roam about and make my own decisions and go on endless date nights with Eric without a sitter.
And then, she came. The sweetest love. I love her endlessly. And that love, consumed me. I found the first few months of my life with Aurelia in my arms to be beautifully easy, comfortable and I thrived in it. But slowly, I was slipping. I wasn’t only forgetting myself but forgetting Eric, my husband as well. I was consumed by my love for her, making sure she was happy, snuggling with just her, co-sleeping, rocking her to sleep and being her food source. My mojo went from an all time high to an all time low after Aurelia. I was touched out by the end of a long evening. I felt almost completely gone. I wasn’t able to show Eric the love he deserved because I didn’t feel I had time to even love myself. I’d catch a glimpse every so often but it would fade in the constant nap battles and sleep deprived evenings.
So, I am here now. 2 years later, finally writing this all out, saying it out loud. I can feel myself again. I can feel the love I have for Aurelia as she sings Taylor Swift in the mirror and makes a 30 minute hike turn into an hour and a half as she explores. I can feel the love for myself, taking the time I need to get exercise, having coffee at a local spot and writing stories. And I can feel the love for Eric, how unexplainably wonderful he is, his kind soul always there to support me but also push me when I’m getting in my own way again. I feel the love and I have learned lessons and have learned something about myself. I let love consume me and if ever I feel myself slipping again I am going to fight back, secure myself, the love I need, the time I need and then allow the rest to follow. If I can not love myself fully I can not have the energy I need to love others. I love me. Love you.