Coming Out: The Unexpected Truth About How I've Fallen in Love with a Woman

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” - Lao Tzu

Part I

When I was 18, I fell in love.

It was the first time.

He was the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen.

Dark curls and green eyes. Guitar-playing, bread-making, nature-loving beauty.

We wandered through forest trails.

He taught me to listen to and recognise bird song in the nature reserve near my home.

We sat by the sea and ate homemade bread and tahini. It was the first time for the tahini, too. I remember the way it stuck to my teeth.

We took trips to the abandoned quarry. He strummed his guitar. I sat. I listened. Joy. 

And we'd meander home guided only by the moonlit sky.

When he kissed me, the world stood still.

These were moments I never wanted to end.

But then he had to leave and not long after I heard he'd met someone else. 

You see, he didn't love me the way I loved him.

My heart broke.

It was the first time.

Part II

When I was 29, I fell in love again. (I know, it took a while.)

It was the second time. 

He made me laugh like no one else in the world.

We walked miles and miles together.

Talking.

Laughing. 

My cheeks ached.

My sides ached. 

He was generous and kind and ridiculously sarcastic, which only made me love him more. 

And when he kissed me...

Well, he never did kiss me.

You see, he didn't love me the way I loved him.

My heart broke.

It was the second time.

Part III

When I was 32, I met a girl.

I fell in love.

It was the third time.

It was confusing because I'd never fallen in love with a girl before.

But she was beautiful.

We walked for hours together too. 

We laughed.

We cried.

We shared our deepest fears, our greatest dreams, and our darkest secrets.

Sometimes she'd whisper sweet things in my ear and I'd smile and whisper something back.

I slept with her by my side. She was so soft and gentle. 

Sometimes, when I couldn't sleep, she'd gently stroke my arm or twist a piece of hair round and round her finger. It soothed me. She soothed me. 

And in the morning, when she looked at me with those beautiful eyes, I saw how much she saw me. 

And one day, she looked right at me and said, "I love you."

And for the first time, the person I'd fallen in love with loved me back.

And so instead of breaking, my heart grew bigger.

It fused with hers and swelled so much with love that the world seemed more beautiful and magnificent and full of possibility than it ever had before.

When I was 32, I fell in love with a girl.

That girl just happened to be me.

The art of self-love

I've been thinking a lot about self-love these past few months. Partly because it's a theme that keeps coming up with my clients. Partly because it's a theme that keeps coming up with me. And partly because everywhere I look there seems to be a sign guiding me towards looking more deeply at this thing called self-love.

I truly don't think there's any great secret to loving ourselves. It's just that by the time we come to be truly conscious of the fact that we don't much like ourselves, let alone love ourselves, there's a whole lot of very time consuming work to be done to get back to love. 

We openly work at every aspect of our lives. We work at the diet. We work at the career. We work at all our other relationships. But the one thing that might unlock everything we want and everything we desire, we refuse to look at. 

It's woo-woo. It's hippy. It's touchy-feely. It's weak. Self-love is for weirdos. Tweet that.

But here I am, entering into this weirdo world, stepping into this new kind of relationship with myself. Loving myself.

This tender new relationship snook up on me gradually. Over the past few years, we've been getting to know each other, her and I. There's more work to be done. Conversations to be had. There'll be ups and downs, I'm sure. Arguments and fall outs and making up.  

But if there's one thing I know, it's this:

Loving yourself, truly, madly, deeply, is the key that will unlock your greatest power. Tweet that.

If self-love is something you instinctively know you need to embrace more in your own life, I've got a few simple ideas to share with you today to get you started. 

1. Tell yourself you're awesome

I have a friend who seems to have no problem with self-love. So I asked him, "what's your secret?"

He told me quite matter-of-factly that he looks in the mirror every morning and tells himself how awesome he is.

Ridiculous? Cringe-worthy? There's-no-way-I-could-ever-do-that-it's-all-a-bit-too-touchy-feely?

You may laugh and call it silly, but you know what's really crazy? 

Telling yourself how stupid, ugly, or worthless you are every day.

That's seriously nuts.

And yet so many people do it.

Stop.

Stop it.

2. Metta Bhavana (Loving-kindness)

A friend talked to me about her Metta Bhavana practice: A five-stage Buddhist meditation practice to develop 'loving-kindness.' I'm no expert on this (yet) so if you want to read about it in more detail, take a look here

Below is a short description of the five stages of the practice.

Stage One: A focus on feeling love for yourself. 

Stage Two: A focus on feeling love for a friend.

Stage Three: A focus on feeling love for someone neutral.

Stage Four: A focus on feeling love for someone you find difficult or dislike.

Stage Five: A focus on gradually extending feelings of love outward from yourself, through the people in stages two - four and then expanding further outwards to all those around you, your community, your city, your country, your continent and to all beings in the world.

3. Shake it out

I've been using dance to practice self-love for years. 

I put on something I feel good in, pick whatever music I'm loving at the time (currently this, this and this - don't judge me) and strut it out like you'd never believe in front of the mirror in my living room.

And you know what? I really believe I look seriously freakin' awesome.

Try it.

Over to you

Blog posts without comments are like birds without wings - not as nature intended. Please add your beautiful voice to the comments section below and share:

  • Any self-love practice that's worked for you that could be useful to the community.
  • A personal story from your own life about self-love.

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