When my friend told me she didn’t
know what she didn’t know
about not loving herself
until she did know,
I decided I also wanted to know.
This is what we do here, you know?
Open doors to each other’s journeys,
(sometimes it’s just a crack in a window)
sometimes it’s walking each other home.
My friend was on her own walk in the dark,
but in that one sentence she shared her flashlight
shining it on my biggest door,
which was standing right in front of me
but quiet, ancient, dusty
until the light made it gold.
And I opened it right away,
earnestly, though it was heavy and slow
and started the journey of getting familiar
with my mind and heart,
while my body whispered in the back,
like a flirt: and don’t forget about meee!
And then one day I found myself on a mountain
starting to like the eyes I’d been talking to in the mirror,
and a year later I spent three hours
in a consciousness that felt like minutes
inside the room of my heart,
keeping my hard memories sweet company,
falling in love with the way this walk was going,
preparing myself for time travel
with future and past selves
and those moments I’d be alone —
the most sober alone I’d ever been —
and yet it didn’t feel so bad anymore.
Sometimes it felt so good.
And two years later I’d find myself
on a first date and realize the highlight of the night
was catching myself in the bathroom mirror
so wide at my reflection, overcome:
Oh… hello! It’s you! How I’ve missed you these last 90 minutes!
Oh, I love you. God, you’re beautiful.
You are so beautiful. And then:
I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
— Surprised, and giggling with this connection to myself
who was also something else,
those anxious first dates forever reframed
by my new (old) companion.
And now, a year later the walk has brought me
up the spiral to a deeper self-love,
and it’s a shape that’s big enough to fit and
voice a pride that feels so sincere it needs another word,
a self-trust as wide as sky, and wider still when I trust earth
and body and presence,
holding me without holding me,
a fairy tale rewritten,
trusting my ability to radiate joy
with others, and ease with myself,
and receive, receive,
the gifts that are still coming.
© 2022 Alma Ortman. All Rights Reserved