LOVE AFTER LOVE (Derek Walcott)
“The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life. (emphasis added)“
Hello again my dear friends. I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorite poems, “Love After Love”, by Derek Walcott. It has been a long time since we last communicated and in the last 4 years, I have been busy greeting myself at my own front door, over and over again.
Truly greeting yourself, and deciding to love the deeps depths of your physical being and all the colors of your soul, is not easy. If it were, there wouldn’t be so many self-help books and Instagram quotes about it. A few years ago I was dealing with a lot of personal struggles and when I came across this poem, it inspired me to really love myself, really love my life and somehow obtain a level of happiness that I wasn’t sure even existed. I didn’t know how to even start. I saw this poem as an internal goal that I would probably never come close to achieving but something I still hoped for.
The timing was never “the right time” to fully feast on my life. I thought I needed to grow professionally, build on my life goals, strengthen my close relationships, work on a healthier body, and learn to forgive past pains. Don’t make the same mistake I did, as I have spent years waiting for the right time to fully embrace myself, my life, my love, and my happiness. It took me creating life and finally experiencing unconditional love for another being to realize that it was possible to have that same unconditional love for myself. Me, loving myself unconditionally, is still a project I am working on but the time has come where I can finally greet myself with elation. I feel more beautiful, more vibrant, more alive, more significant than I have ever felt before. After years of always hungering for more, today I am feasting on my life.
If you are waiting for the right time, I challenge you to greet yourself every morning, as sometimes the minutes in-between each sunrise can minimize your strengths, make you question your values, re-examine your relationships…still feast on your life. Know that you can continue to grow professionally, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally while loving yourself without any conditions and limits. Welcome both the changes and constants in your life. Praise yourself like you would your best friend. Forgive yourself like you would a close family member, who would never apologize for any wrongdoing, but you forgive anyways. Little by little, time after time, take back the pieces of your heart, whether you had given them to an unappreciating lover, unapologetic relationship, unfulfilling job, materialism, or a higher presence that left you empty. Return the pieces of your heart to yourself, for you are most deserving of your unconditional love. And one day, I hope you greet yourself with elation and feast on your life until your heart is full.
I had a blind date last night and I was praying to God the whole day that I would NOT have a good time. Why?? Because I was crazy about this other guy and I didn’t want any more confusion in my dating life, but at the same time I had to go on the blind date, otherwise I would be thinking “what if” the entire time.
I walked in 10 minutes late and there he was sitting at the bar. Damn, not only was I not stood up, he was there early. I went up gave him a hug and we moved to a table. I looked at him and made a mental scowl and thought, “Damn, I knew God was not going to listen to me.” The dude looked like he walked straight out of a J. Crew catalog, with his blonde hair, blue eyes and perfect straight, white teeth. I never did trust people with perfect straight, white teeth…that is so unnatural.
Right from the beginning the date was a slow disaster waiting to unravel. We sat down and he asked if I was looking forward to this date and I said, “No, I was actually hoping you were going to be ugly and boring…that was my prayer for today.” He just looked at me with that awkward pause playing in the background as the poor guy struggled to find the words to follow up my unexpected comment. In my head I’m like, “Fuck. Ksoranna is on this date and she is going to continue to say crazy things and embarrass me this whole time.” And sure enough, that is exactly what happened. At one point he said that I was being too “negative” and to stop offering him advice on his career path. I told him he had a shitty phone…he didn’t like that I insulted his iPhone very much. I told him that he needs to quit his job…he didn’t like that I insulted his career choice. I told him that he needs to approach women more and not be scared of confrontation…he didn’t like that I called him out for being a pussy.
I actually thought he was going to get up and leave the table because we were going back and forth so much. This is so typically of 2 people who are both stubborn Taurus’. Why do I continue to date people with my horoscope…I don’t know if it’s a coincidence that we never seem to get along. I even warned him about my split personality disorder and he said that I was so weird and that fact was a little “creepy.” Yes, he actually used the word creepy to refer to Ksoranna. She was not too happy about that and was about to really give him a piece of her mind, but I had to calm her down. This was almost as bad as the date where the guy said on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being bat shit crazy, I was probably about a 6 or 7 and where one guy asked me if I was on any medication, to which I confidently responded to with a “yes and I don’t think it’s strong enough for me”. The only thing me and blind date dude agreed upon was religion…yay for the Catholic Church. I am glad he wants to marry in the Church though I feel sorry for whoever agrees to marry him. I have been single for about 3 years. This dude has been single since high school!! That is a definite red flag. He was soo incredible boring, and judgmental, and not funny in a douche bag kind of way. I told him that I wasn’t much of a people person and that I’m not really comfortable on dates and he responded, “yea I can see that.” When the check came he said there was a basketball game he was trying to catch. That is usually my line for why I am running to the door marked exit, so I knew there would definitely not be a 2nd date. Actually I knew it was over when he insulted my love of Jeremy Lin and said my panda bear earmuffs were childish!! How can you insult Jeremy Lin AND my panda bear earmuffs?! Well I missed a Houston Rockets game last night for nothing!!
Despite all that, I was glad I went on this date. As I was driving home, I realized how much I hate dating. It is usually so awkward and uncomfortable and there are only like 5% potentials and the rest of the 95% are made up of “hell no’s”, “probably gay”, “insecure”, or “friend zone material.” So it is really rare that I make a genuine connection with someone…and it is even rarer that the feelings are mutual. And I already had this connection with someone (let’s call him Home Depot) so why was I even entertaining other dates which would probably fall into the 95% category anyways. I feel like God always is testing me to see where my heart is at. For example there was this other guy…he was half Asian, tall, also a lawyer, also Catholic, unfortunately also a Taurus…basically had all the qualities on my list. And funny that God made him available to me after I met Home Depot. I’m not gonna lie, it made me hesitate for a little bit but then I realized who cares about the color of his skin or his height or his religion…I’ve never gotten along with any Asian Catholics anyways!! So I called up Home Depot and told him that I had to see him. Once I got there he asked me how my date went (yes, I am very honest and open with everyone I am dating) and I basically said, “it was uncomfortable and awkward and weird…don’t ever make me go on those dates again…I just want to be yours.” And that’s how the guy who didn’t fit any of my requisites snagged Ksoranna…oh and the fact that I actually like kissing him and he accepts my multiple personalities and Jeremy Lin love and all my guy friends and lizard man voice, doesn’t hurt either.
Dating me is like a roller coaster and not for the faint of heart…or as one of my best friends said “Only the strong survive!” It usually starts out unexpected and ends up being like the ocean…smooth sailing at times, sometimes beautiful and relaxing to be around, and then stormy and tumultuous on some days. I’m sure, this one will be no different.
I can’t promise Home Depot anything. Some days I may be passionate and affectionate, like Ksoranna, other days I may be in love with Jeremy Lin and my korean dramas, like Anna and other days I may be all about work and could care less about men, like Miss Esquire. All I know is that I finally found someone who I WANT to see and can’t get enough of. This feeling may last 2 weeks, 2 years or forever…but I am willing to take that chance. And for me…right now, this brings me happiness and that is enough.