What the water gave me

He said the truths I currently hold about The Lover archetype needed to be rewritten. Reexperienced. Sometimes I don’t know things until a little air has touched the words. As I speak a thing, I know immediately whether it is a truth or not. I am continually surprised at the number of untruths I think and say. I hesitate to call them lies, not because that isn’t what they are but commonly we assume a lie is intentional. A premeditated untruth telling. These “them” that I speak of feel valid until I hear them. Sometimes as thoughts but sometimes as I said they need air to breathe and then I can say with certainty “that’s not true.”

So, what did I currently believe about The Lover? It was in the forefront of my awareness. Mostly because I have to rewrite that story often. It’s the chapter with the most red ink. Well first there was the untruth that men leave (and the oft unmentioned rest of that sentence is…) because I am not worth sticking around for. This particular untruth has taken nearly a decade to undo. Mostly because it was cemented in the stone of my heart walls only partially exposed and it was too much work to unearth. But now I know fully the depths of that untruth yet it’s been chanted like a mantra for so long the echoes still reverberate off the chamber walls. Though, it has grown faint.

The untruth I am facing currently is around condition. Men love _________ women (and the unspoken rest of that sentence…) so you must become that woman in order to receive love. Huge, right? Our culture is inundated with these messages about what women must be, do, and look like in order to be attractive to a man (I recognize my heteronormism here and I will leave it partially because “man” represents my experience and because our cultural messages are typically about women pleasing men specifically). So, once I am confident but not too confident, assertive but not aggressive, pretty but seemingly naturally pretty and never too high-maintenance, then I am worthy of love. And these standards are arbitrary with inconsistent values and measures which vary by subcultural context and over time. For example, attractiveness looks a lot different in rural Iowa in the 50s than it does in present day New York. So this idea that I must become something that is intangible, dynamic and arbitrary? It’s incredibly false. And I’ve been working on telling myself I do not need to become anything more than who and what I am. And believing it. Singlehood is not a disease to be explained through a host of determining factors: strong-willed, smart mouth, plus-sized, over-educated (as if there was such a thing). I have to stop looking at my traits, my pieces of me, as being detriments or ailments in need of healing. The only dis-ease in need of treatment is the belief that who I am as I am is not good enough.

I read an article today which outlined why some women were perpetually in shallow or nonexistent relationships. And I saw myself in so much of the piece. I had been the woman who accepted far less than she deserved because I was undervaluing myself. I allowed men who had no desire to know me spiritually to know me physically. I entertained suitors who had demonstrated minimal interest in me because I was telling the story that I did not want anything serious anyway. I made all the “basic” mistakes because, well because I was not being honest. And the untruths when you hold them tight as beliefs they start to influence your behaviors.

So, when he suggested that The Lover needed a new story, I agreed. I’d been working on it. It was such an important part of me. And so it deserves a new truth. One that speaks to my worth. One that speaks to unconditional acceptance. One that speaks to valuing and appreciating my character heart and spirit. I was content to be loved in pieces because I was unwilling to even look at the whole of me. Even writing that felt…it gave me chills. I was content to be loved in pieces because I was unwilling to even LOOK at the whole of me. And now after so many poor choices, bad behaviors and instances where I allowed skin to triumph over spirit, I’ve stripped down bare at the river bank and I’m looking down.

In this reflection I can see the physical being with the knock-knees and the full cheeks but I also see the unseen scribed across my skin like tattoos. Im allowing my eyes to wander, taking me in, questioning, wondering and finally hopefully accepting. Not just the parts I like, but all of me. My moodiness and my quick temper must be loved as much as my empathy and my charisma. I am working on it. I swear I am.

…and one day hopefully soon I can step into the water into my reflection into my self integrating light and shadow me with my potential and I can give into all that I was am and could ever be. Submerged fully in Self. And resurface baptized in full recognition that the God within me makes me a divine and perfect being. Worthy and valuable. Honorable and good. And I will stretch out my arms and walk back towards the earth open and full and ready to live my story holding always to the water and what it taught me.

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