True self-love is all about forgiveness. The first and most important person to forgive is yourself. It’s important to open yourself wide and look deep inside to the shadows of your soul. Accepting and even embracing the parts of yourself that you would rather hide from the world. These parts are your true blessings. Your flaws and fumbles are what make you human and they also make you, you. This is a letter I wrote a couple of months ago.
Dear Old Friend,
I saw you in my dreams last night and today I am inspired to write this letter to confess and confide in you some truths about our past. You may never read this because I may never send it, but it must be written while I have the courage and motivation to do so.
You have always held a very special place in my heart and I believe you always will. I am so grateful to have had both the pleasure and the pain of sharing a little bit of life with you, as your friend and otherwise. I want to tell you two things. This is difficult for me to admit, even today.
Maybe you remember coming to me one night when we were in our early twenties. I was in a relationship with Russell (name has been changed), our mutual friend at the time. You were hoping for an intimate connection and I turned you away. It wasn’t because I was in love with Russell and it wasn’t because I didn’t love you. I had a secret.
I had contracted the genital Herpes virus from Russell. Of course, I wanted to protect you from that, but I was also protecting myself. This was not something I wanted to share about myself, it would have been too painful. So I chose to hide my truth. Forgive me.
Believe it or not, my next confession was even harder for me to accept. Very deep breath. I lied to you once before and it was a much bigger lie. A HUGE lie. I am so sorry. I have managed to forgive myself and hope, that in time, you can too.
There was no baby. There was no miscarriage. I am tearing up even now as I write this. I made the whole thing up. I recited this lie so many times and for so many years that I may have actually believed it myself.
The first time I admitted to fabricating this story was in therapy about eight years ago. My therapist helped me understand that I was trying to cope with how messed up my family life was at the time. My Mom was put in a nursing home at the age of forty-five and I was being shipped off to another state to live with a father I barely knew.
I loved and admired your family very much. I desperately wanted to be a part of that. So my sixteen year old mind created a family of my very own. A child that didn’t actually exist, except in my mind. A child that gave me a connection to you and to your family. Something for me to cling to when my world got turned upside down.
It was never my intention to cause you pain. I have only ever felt a very deep love for you, your siblings and your folks. I miss you all and think of you often. Finally, at age fifty, I am finding ways to heal my old wounds and get peace. I wish the same for you.
With love, your old friend,