Shedding my skin
And all that petty baggage.
Shedding my skin.
The following is an account of the day I vowed to love myself.
I got up and showered, packed my things, committed the instructions from Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It to memory, chucked three apples in my bag then set out through the door.
I was planning to go to the nature sanctuary by bike as I have every time before, but on a whim decided to go on foot.
That's what whimsy is, isn't it? Not being able to predict your future behaviour, just knowing future you will be unpredictable enough to lead you to fun, frenzied realities.
So I began my treck, knowing it would be at least an hour of walking both ways, knowing it would consume most of the morning. But it was worth it.
I was worth it.
I had stayed up late the night before, achieving nothing in particular but thoroughly screwing my sleep and alertness today. I struggled to keep my eyes open as I marched through the swirling streets, across bridges and past bodies of water and skyscrapers and victorian housing, through places I had traversed countless times on wheel but so rarely on foot.
When I found the sanctuary that had existed so thoroughly in its perfect imaginary state, it was full of construction noises and dust from both sides. I decided to continue my journey to the nearby park instead.
Once there, I sat on the grass against a small tree, pulling out my notebook even though I had been so sure through my trek the first thing I would do would be to lay in the grass as though I was asleep. My legs were very sore. But whimsy had other plans, so I pulled out my notebook and began to detail a particularly glorious dream from two nights prior, recounting it in detail, reliving and immortalising the experience.
After I was done I sat and thank, watching the clouds pass and blowing ants off of my hands and jacket.
Then I was ready. I held my pen in my hand again, turned to a new fresh page, and wrote 'I forgive myself for', then the first of my sins. Then the next, then the next, then the next. I wrote until my hand was sore, until my backside was sick of crouching against a tree and I sprawled against the grass. Each crime brought more to mind, and the task I had been sure for months would take but half an hour stretched on beneath the changing weather, the sun intermidetally peaking through the deep forboding clouds.
My sins stretched through my entire life. Things I had thought long forgotten I held against myself. From things that happened to a Space irrecognisable from me today to things that I said yesterday.
Many, many small bugs crawled on me throughout. I gently blew them off. I continued writing.
Past the eigth continuous page of sins I began to grow curious whether I had begun to repeat them. I squashed the urge to flip back and check. Not until I was done, not until there was nothing else.
Keep moving forward.
Knowing they would all be dust soon I was more honest than I had ever been in my life. I'm not a secretive person, there is almost nothing I wouldn't share with you and nothing I don't share with myself, but I was still surprised by the brutality of my honesty. Things I didn't know I was hiding from myself surfaced.
I etched them onto the paper.
The words, the guilt, the unpunished events flowed from my mind to my hand to the ink to the paper.
I had not brought my phone, or watch, or any connection to any other minds — so I can only say an indeterminate amount of time later I rose from the ground and flexed the muscles in my legs as I paced along the shimmering grass.
And I wrote, after 8 pages of sins:
And I forgive myself for not taking determinism seriously. In all my feelings, in all events, in all my thoughts and in the thoughts of others.
They were all destined. All of it.
I forgive you, Space.
You can let go.
Then I kissed what I had written and began to speak aloud my sins. For each I would forgive myself, or mull on the thought until I did. For hours I was there, pacing in circles in through the grass and trees reading out my sins and forgiving myself for them. Page after page after page.
When I was done, I started again.
Some took seconds to find love and forgiveness. 'It was destined' was all I had to say.
Some took much longer, for they were entangled.
Some were true, many were feelings I did not renounce. I defended them with a firey honour for I loved them, though was prepared mentally to let them go when I was ready.
Some I resolved to change, to stop postponing.
There were themes though. With no intention of my own some themes kept repeating. The theme of not remembering determinism. Of not keeping in mind sonder. Of not speaking truths.
So many more regrets were because of things I 'never' did then those which I did.
So I resolved to try.
I'm gonna tell them. I'm gonna tell them everything.
And when my voice was soare from reading, and my hands were sore from scribing, and my feet were sore from pacing, I read them all one last time and found a stick for each. I tore the page out of the notebook, poked four holes in it and pierced it through the stick.
I forgive myself.
I threw each each false papery flower as far as I could into my beautiful river. The first four pages were instantly carried by the wind right out of my view.
The next I watched crash onto the water. It bopped along the surface for a long time, not dissolving into the water in an instant like I thought.
"No one can get you, not even if they wanted to," I thought to the paper. "Your secrets, they're gone."
I could see the green ink expanding as it sucked in the water. Illegible to me, with my eyesight.
Illegible to a satellite? To a fish?
You bubbled me away and you didn't even tell your friends. My friends.
I'm gonna tell them. I'm gonna tell them everything.
I forgave sins, threw in the paper. At a point I had four of these paper flowers around me, then I threw them all together.
I refused to drown any bugs in the process.
The rain became torrential then, as the gods cleared away my sins, washed me of my past.
I finally felt, and understood with a deep piercing depth just how destined it all was. How destined every conversation I've ever had was, how destined every thought I ever had was. Every thought, every precise cacophony of emotion in every single moment. Every event, every drama, every conflict I've had, none were exceptions in destination.
Neither was my future, I realised then.
And I kissed the final paper flower topped with forgiven sins into the water, watched it spiral out of out my hands, my control, into the wind. The stick dethatched from the paper midway, flinging off in an opposite direction. They floated, bopping along the water.
Then you really are better than her.
My future was precisely as destined as my past, as precisely as destined as my present.
I'm not reality, reality flows through me.
Part 2: The Vow
I was forgiven and I was cleansed, starving spent and drenched.
But my job wasn't over.
I picked up my pen, and the rain quadrupled.
I found a clean, blank page in my notebook. All the sins were gone.
My hand quivered and my heart crashed inside my chest as I brought the ink against the page, and sank the vow irrevocably in the sheet.
I knew as my pen danced across the page that whatever I wrote was final, that if I wrote 'to hate myself' instead of 'to love myself' that would be my life. It was called an unbreakable vow for a reason.
I wrote that day with more power than I had ever written anything before in my life:
I vow to love myself.
Fully and truly and deeply, in every action, in every thought, in every choice, in every desire.
I love you, Space.
I kissed the page, then began the way home.