My heart beats just for me.
No, really it does. It's in my body beating, happily (or so I assume) pushing blood around, giving my lungs a nice hug.
But of course I love me. I've got these organs working hard for me every day. Why would they do that if not for a deep love of me? My arms are always by my side, soldiers keeping guard. My legs propping me upright, propelling me forward. They are wildly committed to me.
But of course I love me. Don't I? Wait. Am I allowed to love me? Is that too selfish? What makes me think that I'm loveable? What about that time (x twenty zillion), I said something hurtful? That wasn't loveable. Or that time, I cheated on a 4th grade spelling test? Or that I time, I quite clearly proved that I wasn't to be trusted by my parents (again, that 4th grade spelling test). Or that time I punched my brother in the face and did not feel remorse?
All the times I felt small. And acted aggressively.
All the times I felt unsafe. And cowered.
All the times I felt lonely. And lost myself in emptiness.
The tally of wrongs, growing--wildly committed to keeping me small.
My heart may be beating only for me, but my brain takes great pleasure in beating on me in a very different way--a huge baseball bat pounding home runs. Would I ever tell my daughter to hate herself for every infraction or misstep? "Hey, kid remember that time you lied to me? That means you're gonna have to take it down a notch. Don't even think you can be magnificent now. It's not in the cards in this lifetime. Sorry."
I would tell her to come dance with me. To look up and feel the sun smiling on her face. I'd tell her to try again and again and again because there ain't no shame in falling down. That no matter what, I love her. And then to myself, I'd remember.
All the times I felt small. And engaged with curiosity.
All the times I felt unsafe. And protected myself.
All the times I felt lonely. And found my own company satisfying.
All the times I have loved with my whole being. Even when no one was watching.
The tally of rights, growing--wildly committed to keep me flourishing. The small slights, forgiven, the oh shit moments, smiled upon and let free.
What would I tell you, young Robyn?
What do you need to hear?
It is the same, each and every time.
She says: Tell me I am safe. Tell me that they won't hurt me.
They won't hurt you, little one. Not on my watch. Be you.
But of course I love me. A decision has been made. And because of that, I love you too. This is not a small thing.