“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection”
– The Buddha
The concept of self-love is something that’s thrown around a lot, isn’t it? I used it years ago when I was promoting a book I had written for preteen girls … It’s a nonfiction titles that encourages girls to open their minds, expand their horizons, and explore what’s inside! My marketing pitch always included a generous sprinkling of the key words that every librarian, school teacher, and parent loved to hear: Self-love! Self-confidence ! Self-esteem! GIRL POWER!! WOOT WOOT!!!
What the fuck was I talking about?
A few months ago, I came to the stark realization that I’ve never really had a clear grasp on those concepts — especially self-love. I sat alone in a darkened room and allowed that painful understanding to billow through me like smoke. It started as a ball in my chest and unfurled into the memory of quiet girl who loved to sing and dance, was good in school, and had dreams of city lights and a life of friendship, freedom, happiness, and love.
At some point, that carefree girl faded away and in her place stood a bitter woman who was willing to push down her own needs for the happiness of everyone else. She lived her life in snatches of time, coming out of her tight little shell to spread shriveled wings for a brief moment, but always retreating back inside. Even this blog has played a role in that game of hide and seek … a brief, passionate escape hidden in plain sight. I write in this space with no name and half a smiling face — anonymously outspoken, secretly strong, an inspiring example hiding behind a giant bouquet. No more.
I am Felix.
My real name is Felicia. I started using the name “Felix” as a way to blog and take part in online lesbian communities without outing myself to family. That was more than 5 years ago. The name has certainly stuck, and I often feel like the life I’ve built as Felix is more real than my actual life.
Felix has attended pride, gone to lesbian bars, made connections in the LGBT community, and lived and loved as a woman who was not afraid to embrace what life held for her.
Felicia has spent years tiptoeing around a bitter husband, and her children have never seen their mother truly happy. They’ve never seen her at all, really. For the sake of my own sanity, it’s time for Felix and Felicia to become one. I don’t know what that’s going to look like, but I’m finally ready to find out.