top of page

Day 996 • I Love Me?

We had just finished watching some sci-fi program when my wife softly sends an affectionate "I love you" from her chair to mine. "I love you, too," I answered without any feeling of obligation to return the sentiment. With no thought about any particular reason, I followed that with, "Do you?" I was feeling good about us, and I just wanted to say something different to keep our exchange from being routine. "Do I what?" she responded. "Do you love you, too?"

This happy little exchange happened a couple of nights ago, and I still don't understand what happened next. There was suspicion in her voice that I took to mean she thought I was repeating something from one of my affairs. I'm sure I did that eye-roll thing that I can't seem to help when I feel I'm falsely accused, and then she did that thing she does when she feels the onslaught of thoughts and emotions connected to my acting out, and another thing led to another thing.

But that's not really what I'm writing about today.

Somewhere during the back-and-forth, she asked me the same question back. "Do you love you?"

I was not ready for that, and I was even less prepared for the answer that just seemed to glide out from some unfamiliar part of my soul: "More than I ever have."

Did I say that out loud? Am I allowed to assert that, much less think it might be true? I don't remember ever thinking it before, much less sharing that with another person. But there it was, laying in the air between us. Yes, I did qualify it a bit with that "more than..." bit, but I think that was my shame that added that clause to keep me from rushing into a simple "Yes" that would have been even more unbelievable.

Whether our conversation had slipped into an argument (which is what I said) or just a lively disagreement about unspecified differences (which is what she said), my self-love expression didn't affect the moment much. After a few seconds of not knowing what to say next, we both returned to the process of making our points.

A few minutes later, we had a beep-beep-back-up-the-bus pause as she asked me again if I loved myself. I repeated what I'd said and added that if I didn't love myself a little, I couldn't love myself more. I don't remember when I might have crossed the line between general self-hatred and loving myself a little. Still, I knew that I had found something that allowed me to say that, to believe that, and even to acknowledge how much I have hated myself for as long as I can remember.

Maybe this was just a moment that will pass like lactose gas, but I don't think so. Neither does it change a lot, except for everything it changes. It is significant, but that was two days ago. I still had to apply effort to get through yesterday, and I'm still working to be sober today. Hopefully, I'll say the same thing tomorrow.

In the meantime, it's nice to be loved by one more person, even if it's just me.




bottom of page