I used to wait for someone to see me. I think that’s what we are all looking for in this world. We just want to be seen. We want someone to acknowledge our existence as important. I used to think that when someone else loved me, and saw me for what I really was, all the beauty and miracles and rainbows inside me, I would be whole. But as many different kinds of love as I experienced, no one ever fully saw me. Not because they were cruel or selfish or sightless, but because they lived inside their own minds, as I lived in mine, and they too were busy trying to break through their own dark prisons, busy trying get people, to get me, to notice the rainbows inside of them.
So I decided to notice my own rainbows. I decided to believe I was enough, even if no one else noted it. I wanted someone to protect me, so I decided to protect myself. I wanted someone to cherish me, so I decided to cherish myself. I wanted someone to believe in me, so I decided to believe in myself. I realized I was seeing other people as middle men, as messengers from Love to me. I was suffering under the notion that if I could just get one person to love me fully, I could touch Love. I decided to cut out the middle man and simply believe that I was worthy of Love. I decided to try tear down the prison in my mind, the one that made me believe I was unworthy of Love, even if no one else helped me. (Some beautiful people did help me, thank God. You always get helpers when you need them. They can’t be the path for you, but they can walk beside you on it sometimes.)
For me, the world’s paradigm for love—find another person, shove them into the empty hole you believe lives beside you, marry them, expect them to be everything for you, live in misery—fell so short of the love inside me, the love I wanted to give, the love I wanted to receive. So over time, I left that paradigm in the dust and decided to be in love with life. I decided that love had nothing to do with ownership and everything to do with that lightning that zinged inside me when I saw a deer or a cloud or a blade of particularly splendid grass. I decided that the very air around me was alive with a force that loved and saw me. I decided that force (which was Love) was interacting with me on a constant basis. I heard its voice in songs and saw its love letters on billboards and whispered my love for it to dogs and cats and homeless women on street corners.
Some people called me crazy. I didn’t care. Or I did for a while. But then, through the years, as I kept walking this path, and believing in Love, I really stopped caring what people said. I realized what they said about me had everything to do with them, with their journeys toward Love, and nothing to do with me. And that even if all of humanity turned against me and decided to kill me, I would still be utterly loved. They were not the middle men. I am not the middle man. Love has no middle men.
I used to live in horror. There was a real and constant agony and loneliness and terror and confusion inside of me. I would look into my soul and find horror, all mixed in with the rainbows, part of the fabric of me. Now, after believing in Love for so long, after walking this quiet, private, beautiful, agonizing path that made people think I was crazy but brought me closer to true freedom, I search my soul, and I find peace. I find Love. Not that I don’t ever hurt. Not that I don’t ever fear. Not that I don’t ever feel confused. But those things are not the essence of my being any more. I can quiet my mind and let those transitory emotions fall away and find a true peace and wholeness and love at the core of my soul.
I wish I could give away the miracle that has happened to me. I wish I could show people who hurt like I did that there is something bigger and truer than this game we are all playing, this self-loathing and keeping up with the Joneses and grappling for crumbs. We don’t have to live like that. One of the songs that started me on this path, one that I heard the voice of Love in, was Tom Petty’s “Refugee.” He said “you don’t have to live like a refugee,” and I decided to believe him, and I found out he was right.
No one has the power to give you love or take it away from you. It is already yours by birthright. The moments that take your breath away don’t have to be witnessed by others to be important. They are important because they are stored in the fabric of your fathomlessly beautiful soul. You don’t have to live like a refugee. Cut out the middleman. You—perfect, amazing, breathtaking, impossibly gorgeous you–are already loved. Even if people hate you. Even if people call you crazy. Even if people call you ugly. Even if people call you evil. That is about them, not you. You are loved. Believe it.