An often repeated catchphrase of RuPaul, one of my very few celebrity heroes. At least, it is the second half…the whole line is “If you can’t love yourself, how the Hell you gonna Love Somebody else?”
I don’t know, I don’t know.
Do not the fuck even start in on me about loving myself. I have tried very hard for a very long time to do so. There’s no future in it. I don’t find myself lovable in the tiniest detail. And despite all the ‘Yay! Go! Me!’ that our culture crams down our throats every single day, I am deciding to accept that I find myself utterly unlovable. I am deciding to be okay with that.
I do have some very nice qualities, I can see that. They don’t amount to enough to make me lovable. As some people loathe coconut or lima beans, I loathe me.
For years, I followed all the perky advice of therapists and counselors. I made lists of my positive traits. I spoke affirmations. I read so many self-help books that Deepak Chopra would gag. I gave 110%. And now I am over it. So over it. I think I can find more useful applications for my time.
For me it boils down to that central question…if I can’t love myself, can I actually love someone else?
I think I can. I believe I do. I would charge grizzly bears for my daughters. I have done without a fair amount in trying to see that they did not have to do without very much. Neither of my girls would probably rate me as a good or great mother. But I have no doubt that they don’t lose any sleep wondering whether I love them. With every fibre of my being. Don’t believe me? Your choice, but try to hurt one of my kids at your peril.
I have a tribe of friends. Do I love them? Do they know I love them? Probably it depends on the friend, or the day. When I am at my worst, I retract as deep into myself as I can. I’ll quit talking to people for, literally, years at a time. Some friends do not appreciate this tendency. And I appreciate that it hurts them, alienates them, and angers them. But this is me. Like a bear, I need to hibernate. I need to go deep into my cave and listen to the voices, see what they have. But that cave belongs solely to me. It is not a place of sharing. There is almost nothing in life that I won’t give you, or share until I have none left…but that cave is mine, and mine alone.
My greed of this small dark place is not a miser’s greed. I do not retreat to gloat over some wealth. I go there to wound and be wounded, to suffer, to bleed, to die over and over and over again. You don’t need to go in there. It smells bad. The atmosphere is not healthy.
So, yeah. I love my friends. And I think they love me. At least most of the time. But there is a thing I do, and will keep doing that just pisses them off. Trust me, I beat myself bloody over pissing them off and hurting their feelings. And I apologize, but I know I’m a dreadful friend.
Finally, there is this man who lives here.
I don’t usually know why the man stays.
I’m crazy about him, I guess that is a plus, but it is weighed down significantly by the fact that I am crazy. I do all I can for him, but at this stage, that isn’t so much…when I had money, an income, I could try to better spoil him. Now, it is all I can do to try to cook for him, and do little things around the house.
I struggle to need as close to nothing as I can, to not want…I’m not sure that is really much incentive, but what else can I offer? This relationship reminds me of those terrifying mirror mazes on the Boardwalk when I was a kid…all I see no matter how I look, no matter where I look is my own distorted images.
He might love me with all his heart. On my best days, I like to think so, and feel warm and safe with that. Most days are not best days, and those days, it seems more that he patiently tolerates me, the grinding poverty, all of this…because he currently has no better option. Honestly, if I thought he had a better option, I would support him in taking it. I have before, just historically, his better options haven’t been better…
I never expect to feel as secure in any relationship as I perceive a non-schizophrenic self-loving person might feel. I’m generally okay with my life existing in a question mark. Perhaps, today, I am weary. Perhaps today, I would give anything for a hot shower, but I also know to not worry too much.
Tomorrow, I’ll be somebody else.