The great return

Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic ~Frida Khalo

I sat naked on the edge of the bed, my legs tucked beneath me, lost in my own thoughts, as he got dressed. I felt him looking at me, turned my head to meet his gaze, and he said: “He never should’ve let you go.” I looked at him, blinking. I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to refuse him, to explain how I am such a complicated bundle, how there were plenty of reasons my exes should have all run screaming, but I didn’t. I couldn’t because the way he was looking at me stopped me from making any disagreement. I took him back to his car, said goodbye and went on about my day, but I kept hearing his words play back in my head. I tried to make sense of them, and I realized no one had ever said anything like that to me. Then it occurred to me that maybe this was just the first time I had been able to hear it. To hear someone say I see you, quite literally I can see all of you, you have hidden nothing and you have nothing to hide, and you are worth whatever work is required felt like it might be the best birthday present I have ever received. But the truth is my ex-husband (whom my friend was referring to) didn’t let me go. I did. I let me go. Because I didn’t know that I was worth the work. And it is only recently, many years after losing sight of my shore that I have found my way back to myself.

I still feel like my life is a mess. I feel haphazardly. Like I have permanent bed head. Like I forgot my glasses somewhere… again. Like all my bills are overdue. Like I feel dizzy at the end of the day and try to remember the last time I had water… this week. And there is always some deadline for something that just passed. I have no idea how many friends’ birthdays I have been too busy to notice. Like Christmas… did that happen? Is it May?! When do I get to breathe? When do I get to sit quietly and drink tea? Why does everything feel so relentless? And when did I stop being good at being busy?!

This year more than any other has given me stretch marks on my soul, which is how I have come to believe that maybe the hippies are right. In three days, I am turning 28. This is my Saturn returning. I am crossing over a major threshold and entering a new stage in my life.

In recognition of this shift, I have decided to stop picking myself apart with all the ways I am failing, to push myself just a little bit less hard and try to find a way to look at myself a little more gently. When I catch a glimpse of my reflection looking like a hot mess, instead of cringing, I smile, a real smile. When I end up lost on a completely different highway going the wrong direction when all I wanted to do was exit so I could turn around, instead of feeling inadequate, I just laugh. When I show up one minute late to work instead of a few minutes early with child in hand, bags falling off my shoulders and a frazzled look on my face, I let it go. And when I leave work at a reasonable hour to spend time with my son, I don’t allow myself to feel guilty for prioritizing my family. I have realized that if I am able to assume the best in others, then why not assume I am doing my best and let that be enough. Because maybe all this time they were right, maybe I am magic. Maybe we all are.

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