Love Letter

loveletters3We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

Thornton Wilder

For Valentine’s Day – A Love Letter to My Treasures

This Valentine’s Day I am writing a love letter, not to a romantic partner because I don’t have one of those this year. A love letter to someone, in fact many someones who have been critical to my recovery. Critical to my discovery of hope in my future and even more importantly in me.

Dear beloved friends and family who I will never be able to thank enough if I took a million years:

Now that I am wiping the dirty pain from the window panes of my heart, I am awakening to the fact that I have gained far more than I lost. I would much rather be alone than embroiled in an ugly drama. I would rather be alone than left holding a faded rose, a valentine’s card that should have been for someone’s grandma, and a paperback I already own as happened one V-day. These gifts so casual and easy to obtain as to be insulting from a man who professed to love me.

What has become astonishing to me is how much more love I have in my life than ever before if I will simply acknowledge it. Since I began to care about my life on my own, a huge circle of friends and beloved ones have surrounded me with a cavernous caring and compassion. They have given me perspective, support and therapy, allowed me endless processing and crying time, talked me down from several ledges, bolstered my confidence, and reminded me of my inner beauty and unique love-ability.

They have provided encouragement for just Holly, in all my flawed, big-hearted messiness. They have helped me see that person is enough, in fact she is plenty and maybe even too much for some people to handle. But those people can keep walking. I have been nurtured, given companionship, made to feel valued and needed. They have been my defenders and protectors when I felt inadequate and they validated the gifts I bring to the table. Without the huge heartache, and my crying out for a little help, would I have known this love? Would I have seen that it was already there?

One thing I have recently discovered is how much I have adopted the interests, hobbies and values of the men I have been with. Did I really like white water rafting? Well, no frankly I didn’t it scared the shit out of me and after that one harrowing incident at New River Gorge, I finally drew the line. Did I like drinking every weekend, watching movies and never leaving the house? Not every weekend, no. Did I want to be a roadie and help carry musical equipment and let the “band” practice in our basement when we had a small child upstairs? Not really, no. But I wanted to be a helpful mate.

But I buried me, and now that I am single again and an empty-nester, I am free to pursue my own interests exclusively. I have uncovered a few things:

  1. I will stop lying and pretending that I like to cook.
  2. It is Ok to say no to invitations if you want to do something else – even if it is by yourself.
  3. I knew this, but now it is more present to me: I get my energy and zest from connecting with other people and their stories. I am a storyteller, that is who I am and God, it is so freeing to not just know that, but to feel it deep down in my bones.
  4. I have people that love me enough to let me be completely honest and vulnerable. I was such a people-pleaser I always glossed over the sometimes ugly truths about myself – and my life.
  5. As Robert Plant sings in the Led Zeppelin song In the Light: “When love is pain, it can devour you. But you are never alone. “

So to my beloved valentines and there are so many of you now – I say this is such a Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day.

All I can say is this: I love you all so much for giving me … well, me.

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