Am I in love? With someone besides myself? Am I in love with myself? Will I ever manage to love myself in all my aspects? All the different parts of myself that I try to hide from the world, and especially from my kids, and especially from myself. The fat parts, the aging parts, the ugliness, the horrible thoughts of self-doubt, second guessing as if there was a right answer and I had missed it. In an unexpected conversation, this unexpected question: am I in love? I wonder if she meant am I living with someone. Or perhaps: am I in an exclusive intimate relationship with someone. It's a common question, yet I wonder what is behind it. Is it am I identified as being in a relationship, or am I identified as a partner, identified as my partner whomever that might be...and what the partner does. I felt obligated to answer. As I felt obligated to attend a social function this evening. After realizing that I didn't want to go, and that my internal conversation was bullying me towards going with great reluctance, and out of a sense of obligation, I stopped. I gave myself permission to skip it, without an excuse or explanation. So I walked through the back garden and lingered in the cool rain listening to a distant cardinal checking out for the night. He wasn't going anywhere either, and he wasn't shaming and blaming himself either. I noticed the progression of my birch tree changing color. She knows it's time to prepare for winter and just does it, no nonsense, no questions, no mind games. Perhaps I can learn a lesson from her natural wisdom. Perhaps I have and I'm not giving myself credit for it. I keep those less attractive parts of myself in a glass jar and when I hear their voices chipping away at my self esteem, my confidence I put the lid on to take the volume down a bit. The truth is that after many years of anorexic type behavior, compulsive exercise, attempting to conform to cultural expectations, and approaching dance from the stereotyped definition of a dancer, my goal is to be well nourished with nutritious food. My somewhat compulsive work habits are becoming more relaxed as I am less interested in my role as a rescuer. My financial status stable and I have discovered a growing trust in my ability to generate revenue I live in a growing abundance which replaces my identification with the word poor. I have not abandoned myself: I am successfully thriving. I appear to be learning from my mistakes. When I choose to spend time alone I don't feel isolated. I give myself permission to be less than perfect, to practice detaching in non violent ways without beating myself up for needing to learn new or more advanced, effective skills. I'm entitled to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I can say "yes" to my life even when it means saying "no" to someone else.