Award TreeAlthough I am in a very happy and loving relationship these days, lately I’ve been turning my attention to giving myself love. I went to a Hot Flashes reading last night for Left Coast Writers. The theme was “Love in the 21st century” so there were readings on zombie love and S&M fire play along with more traditional steamy stuff. My contribution was Ode to My FUPA, which is about loving every part of yourself. I think self-love is very 21st century. Mostly because we’ve been living with advertising for 50 years and are bombarded on all sides by products telling us we are not good enough and nobody could possible like us unless we use [insert product here] which ends up making us feel rather unloveable.

My task over the last few weeks is forgiveness. The BF & I decided to take a road trip to see the people we know across the US and I’m so excited and at the same time was feeling great trepidation because I have lost contact with many of these people and have not connected with them in six or seven years. You see, my life went into a slow spiral down after my husband passed away. He died 10 years ago and I held it together for a while but a combination of grief, the economy crashing, some unscrupulous con men, and the abdication of a friend who my husband had asked to help me manage my finances, and the absence of a family to help me through the time and lend wisdom in making decisions in the time of grief all combined to sweep me away. I lost my home, my car, and the 2 storage spaces full of my things, my husbands things, and my husband’s family’s things. At no time have I regretted cutting ties from my relatives, but this was one situation where the lack of family really made itself felt. Since then I have been beating myself up for the loss. I am a smart woman. How could I have let this happen? ALL OF THAT STUFF. Gone. I’ve been ashamed to contact most of the people, because how do I explain this?

I finally expressed this all to the BF this week because I was having a very hard time writing letters to people I want to see. He said “if a friend of yours came to you with this story, what would you say to them? Would you forgive them? Would you care?”

Of course not. So this is the lesson for the week. Extend to yourself the love you give to others. The acceptance of who they are and the occasional bad decisions for the friendship and joy of their company.

I understand that not everyone will want to reconnect. So many, many people have dropped out of my life since Jeff passed, and a lot of them I was happy to let go. But these folks I want to see — they are people I loved. And I acknowledge I may have damaged our friendship beyond repair and I accept that.

But I hope that, with this trip my life will be richer by reconnecting. Stuff is, after all, only stuff, even if it is beautiful stuff. People are what’s important at the end of the day. And as I extend to myself the gentleness and forgiveness I would extend to a friend, it became easier to write the letters and say “I missed you. Can I see you soon?”