Love used to look like that one boy who caught your eye. His smile sending shocks through your chest. And when you were ignored, your heart melted. His lack of love sent your self-love running.

And you wish you could say it only happened once. But ten years pass and you can predict the motions that follow. Now you look in the mirror and you see a blur. Who is she, staring back? A mind imprisoned by the words and actions of others.

Where do you go next? This place is so desolate. The opening above seems so far up. How will you make it?

One day you find solace in whispering your own name. As the word presses past your lips a step appears. Excited, you say it again. This time louder. Nothing. What happened? Why didn’t it work?

As time passes you slump down on the step. One day you recall your favorite memory. Another step appears, almost causing you to retreat to the bottom. Your favorite memory creates a smile. And you start seeking what else used to make you smile. Several more steps appear. Now you’ve figured out the system.

The mission is to find yourself. Each day you must choose to rediscover who you are. When you make it close to the opening, you find yourself tired. You haven’t rested in so long. It’s hard to lay down during the constant climb.

You think that maybe it would be better to climb back down to take a break before continuing. But as you take your first step down, the top one disappears. And what worked to reveal that step before, no longer works. Now what do you do? What haven’t you done yet?

At just that moment you say, “maybe I don’t need to climb any higher. I know who I am, and I love her for it.” At the utterance of those words, you can’t even blink before the hole begins to shrink. It’s over.

And with a new definition of love, you climb out. Ready to pass onto others the gift you have received.

With self-love, from her fortress. ❤

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