Recently, I had an interaction with a man online who professed his love for me before we’d even spoken on the telephone, skyped, or met in person. I recognized in him similar qualities in myself, which is to say “falling in love,” before getting to know a person, and making that person my everything. Reading some of his messages to me, my cheeks burned in shame remembering the way I behaved when in the midst of my love addiction.
I’ve been deeply embarrassed of my past self, wanting to sweep all my history under the rug, and furthermore, pretend I never wrote a book, which addresses love addiction among other things. For those of you haven’t read it, Just a Girl from Kansas, is a memoir from when I moved to San Francisco and everything that happened in that first year. It’s also a story about obsession and fantasy. Since it’s been published, I’ve wanted to burn it, take it all back, pretend I never wrote it, and hurry past that period of my life like a person crossing a sewage drain.
Interacting with this man recently made me realize how important my book is because it’s not only a book about addiction, obsession, and fantasy, it’s also a book about coming out of those things. A book about realizing how no man is ever going to fulfill me in the way I wanted to be fulfilled because the fulfillment I seek is an inside job. That is anything but shameful. Seeking a new way to live is courageous and commendable.
Also, my spiritual teacher says, “[T]he arena of spirituality is based on divine love. You may or may not be a learned person. You may or may not have a good history. Your only qualification is that you are the affectionate progeny of the Supreme Progenitor. You are His object of affection … The Father’s love is for all. [O]ne must not forget this fact – that the Supreme Entity is with you, and loves you like anything.”
It’s like that post I wrote the other week, “We are the Beloved.” I am loved unconditionally, which means no matter what I do, I am loved. Now what I’m learning is to love myself in the same way. To love all the “shameful” parts of myself, all the parts that I don’t want others to see, because it is only by loving them that I may absorb them and let them go. Also, as my recovery mentor reminds me, we often undergo hardship so we may help others. After all, according to Ram Dass, we’re all just walking each other home.
I dream of a world where we love ourselves unconditionally. A world where we know there is nothing shameful about us. A world where we realize our deepest, darkest secrets may just help someone else. A world where we come out of the shame closet.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.