This is probably the simplest ritual that I have ever done, and at the same time, by far the most difficult. When Andrieh told me about the latest challenge- do a ritual of any kind, 30 minutes for 30 days, starting sometime in December, and document daily, I knew this was what I had to do. I had known for a while. Though I believe it was originally a Louise Hay thing, Brene Brown said it to Oprah. Yes, that’s right, this month’s challenge is brought to you by Hay, Brown and Winfrey. I feel like I lose bad-ass druid mage cred even uttering those names. What’s next, am I going to fart a rainbow?
So what am I doing for 30 days, you may ask?
I am going to look myself in the mirror, and repeat the mantra “I love you Caroline. I really, truly love you.”
I sat down at my mirror, with a concoction of herbs in my chalice, and I tried to start. I must have sat there for five minutes of the ritual unable to bring myself to utter the words. The L Bomb is an itchy word for me. I never heard it growing up. When I’m typing it on my phone, I often mistype “Live” instead of “Love”. I’ve had various boyfriends use that word towards me, but it wasn’t until 3 years ago that I actually believed one of them was genuine in his declaration. Those who said it before either had an agenda, or loved some mental construct that they placed upon me. In fact, about 10 years ago, I almost married a man who said that he was incapable of feeling love, and therefore, would never say it. We were actually working on wedding vows that didn’t contain the L word.
That’s not to say that I don’t feel love. I love very openly and freely. I fall in love fast and hard, and stay in love far longer than I should. I let my love overshadow some really scary red flags, like somehow “but I love him” makes it okay that he’s abusive, or can’t hold down a job, or hasn’t done his taxes in 10 years, or lives in squalor. I have no problem feeling love. But for most of my life, it has been unrequited. I don’t dare utter it first, for fear of chasing away the subject of my affection.
Just this Christmas, I gave gift certificates to my father and sisters, and hummed and hawed over whether or not I should sign off with “Love Caroline”. I did anyways, and it felt so awkward. It is no wonder that I was diagnosed a few years ago with Adult Reactive Detachment Disorder, and why I have so much trouble forming romantic and close friendship bonds. Love is dangerous. Love is painful. Love is forbidden.
So I sat there, with my potion, taking sips in between the mantra. I decided to throw my first name in there, a name almost no one knows. I stopped using that name when I was 14, and ritually killed the little girl that she was. I became a different person. I became Caroline. I burst into tears at the mention of the word “Love” and her name. There may have been a select few over the years who have loved Caroline, but no one ever loved that little girl. Really, not even me. She and I have almost nothing in common. Today was the first time anyone ever told her that she was loved.
Of course, even with a half hour of repeating this mantra, I didn’t believe a word of it. I felt like a huge fraud. But, day one is done.