It was probably Sunday afternoon.
Sunday afternoons were my favorite. It meant the hardest part of the school weekend was over, and I could enjoy the rest of the afternoon knowing I would soon be out, and I would have a month to “recover”. (Of course, the school weekend always felt like I was recovering from “the real world”).
I was relaxed, ready to take the last dive into pushing my boundaries and blurring comfort levels as I took a swim through my subconscious heart.
“Choose love” I was telling myself. I could hear the urgency in my voice. “This is it, Maëlle,this is when you choose love.”
Like it wasn’t obvious. Like it wasn’t hard. But it is, sometimes.
Or at least, it appears to be. Which –in a world ruled by perception– is all that matters.
Sometimes forgiving, letting go, and being grateful comes out like a punch knocking your teeth from the inside out.
Sometimes letting go means trusting again, which means putting down our barriers, which can be terrifying. Terrifying. So why choose love? Why choose forgiveness? Why choose letting go?
That’s exactly what I asked myself, as I clenched the side of the chair, trying to do the work, trying to hold myself accountable. There’s an inner conversation that happens that sometimes happens in a milisecond, other times it takes years. This time, it was one of those milisecond exchanges that felt like a struggle where both sides were fighting for the same thing. It went something like this:
“Are you doing everything you can to be happy?”
“Are you doing everything you can to be happy?”
“What changed between the first time I asked you and the second time I asked you?”
“I had new information.”
“Which is what?”
“That I’m not doing everything I can to be happy.”
“What else could you be doing?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then how do you know you’re not doing everything?”
“Because if I were, I’d be happy.”
As I came to that realization, I remembered. I remembered I had been happy for months and months at a time. I remembered I had been happy for years and years and years. I remembered that compared to how long I had been happy, my unhappiness had been very temporary. That while it had felt out of my control many times, it had been in my control many more times, and I had been happy.
“What happens when it’s not in your control?”
“I keep trying, until it is.”
“And what does that mean right now?”
“That means choose love.”
“So choose love.”
So choose love. What did that even mean? Choose love.
For me it meant forgiving myself. It meant to stop identifying myself by yesterday’s story, to trust that tomorrow’s story would take care of itself. To choose my story for today. It meant knowing that I had gotten myself through it all. It meant I had asked for help, and known how to take it, but that I had also beaten my demons on my own. It meant acknowledging that, knowing that. It meant choosing what felt good. Not easy, Good. Easy can feel good, but nothing feels quite as good as when you’re just going for good. Being comfortable will never feel as good as being free.
But this didn’t feel good. It felt scary. It felt like a lie. Like it was unstable.
And so I did. The moments that had gone by on that weekend, or the week before, when I hadn’t chosen love. What it would have looked like, if I had forgiven, if I hadn’t been scared. It would have been real moments. It would have been me. Because I was love. Choosing love meant choosing myself. And if that hurt, it was definitely much less intense, and much more worth it, to hurt for a moment and become closer to who I was, than hurt for the rest of my life, trying to protect myself from the inevitable pain of a life of not choosing love. I realized how often I had lied to myself, because I had gotten hurt, and I had retracted, and how painful it felt to not live like myself. To not believe in myself. To not know the truth. Had it not been obvious this entire time? “You’re not good enough” made me feel like shit. How could I think that a stability of that would feel better than learning how to be in Love all the time? How could I, the queen of transformation, be afraid to loosen my clutches around the comfort of self-loathing and instead surrender to warmth of love, just because it meant an alteration to how I thought?
What did choosing love mean at that moment? It meant believing that today I can make different choices. It meant choosing happy songs, and downsizing on people that made me feel upset. It meant saying more of what I felt, but keeping more secrets to myself. It meant depending on myself more, but letting people in more.
It was an amazing Sunday, as all Sundays always were on a school weekend, and I chose love. And I’ve been choosing love ever since.
That doesn’t mean a lot of anything to a lot of people, so this is what it should mean to you: stay in the now. Let’s try every day, to just feel free. Go for quiet peace, if exuberant joy seems like poppycock to you. Go for warm acceptance of self, if self-love seems flakey or arrogant. If empathy gives you hives, try humility.
At the least, a spoonful of gratitude keeps the ego at bay.
And if you think that all of this sounds like a big ball of mush, you should know that it’s exactly what you’re made of, because you’re nothing but a big marhsmallowy ball of super amazing, undeniably adorable, magically wonderful, ooey-gooey love, whether you like it or not and want to be a big cynical baby about it.
Don’t worry though. I’m choosing love for you too.