My best friend is in love.

For the first time in a long, long time.

She sent me giggly texts this morning and I beamed ear to ear.

Maybe it’s too soon, but we both feel the same way! she gushed. Too soon-schmoon, I told her, You’re both on the same page, so say it!

I don’t think we let ourselves love enough. We need love and contact and honesty and openness and I don’t know why we close off, doubt ourselves, refuse to let others in. I don’t know why we force ourselves to suffer alone, to be alone, but it doesn’t need to be that way.

Restless dreams last night and I woke up this morning, sweaty, overheated with a heavy weight of emptiness on my chest. I dreamt (again) that Steve had left. When I reached for him, he was there, blessedly solid with his deep heavy breaths and I sighed and wrapped my arms around him.

You’re too fat. You too slow. You’re too lazy. You’re too cranky. You nag your kids. You nag your husband.

I hear it, still, and finally, today I had had enough. I laced up my sneakers and ran as fast as I could for 35 minutes. I said it over and over again in my head, You are good. You are kind. You are enough for everyone and for yourself. By the time I was done, I felt better.

It’s frustrating, in a way. I thought that once you built self-esteem, it stood strong. I didn’t realize it wavered, searching for encouragement. I didn’t realize the demons waited, lurking around the corner, for moments of weakness. Snickering at you behind their hands.

We shield ourselves from love because we are afraid of being hurt. We shield ourselves from acceptance of ourselves because we are afraid that it’s not possible.

I don’t think we let ourselves love enough.

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