This post is part of the SheLoves syncroblog “A Love Letter to My Body.”
How do I love you? Let’s be honest, this has not been a love/hate relationship. It’s been more like a hate/ignore relationship. Through the years, we have communicated as little as possible; we were estranged. I wished you did not exist, and at times I wept that I could not be rid of you.
I did not trust you. We did not trust each other. I criticized you. I accused you of betrayal. You were always to blame.
And then, there was that first glimmer of understanding between us. We had climbed into the boxing ring together, eying each other warily, circling, waiting for the other to make the first move. The bell of awareness rang; our match began.
I began to understand, slowly, what you were really all about.
Sometimes we were walking together, talking. Sometimes we were back in the ring, full of distrust and circling, circling.
You whispered. Then, you shouted. It was so long before I could really listen. Your voice was so loud in my ears. They are still ringing.
But we are beginning to understand each other. We are beginning to trust — beginning to begin.
I have not stopped believing the lies I believed about you all my life. The truth is so much harder to believe. But I have begun to identify them, slowly. I have begun.
I have begun to let go of the hate and fear, the shame. The shame is the last to go. It is the veil I have worn so long. It covers us both.
Now we are dancing, you and I, circling in the ring. Sometimes you lead; sometimes I. We spin together, our hands touching. I come close and whisper, “I love you.”
We smile. Together.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death. – Elizabeth Barrett Browning