“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” A Course in Miracles
My brother Alphonso was my mom's favorite. Undeniably attractive, he was her spitting image. He, too, lived life on the edge just as my mother continued to do well into her 50s. Those two attributes made him the clear front-runner. My bearing no resemblance to her and behaving ever so cautious made moving up in rank highly unlikely.
My mother died when I was 19. With her death, I felt utterly abandoned. The pain I felt from her departure went well beyond the emotional letdown I experienced when she interacted with my brother. Certainly, a change in rank was now impossible. I had no choice but to accept defeat.
For decades, I’d live under the shadow of the story that Alphonso was her favorite. I’d date guys who were taken with his great looks, one even saying, “that’s your brother? He’s so good lookin’, what happened to you?” The story was costing me in more ways than I could imagine; it had become one huge barrier to love.
Over the years, I grew to love Spirit and myself. As I shifted from pain to joy, remnants of my mother’s love flooded my memory. The story took on a different lens. I recalled the walks my mom and I took to the Rockefeller Green House. The countless times we spooned on the couch, watching “Hee Haw.” The hours we spent shopping at May Company’s bargain basement. And there was the time my mother shared that she was saddened to learn of my conception. “Yet another mouth to feed.” But when I arrived, she determined that she couldn’t have imagined life without me.
I continue to change the narrative. To remember the love, not the disappointments. The kindness, not the slights.The wins, not the losses. As my journey progresses, I now make different choices. I accepted the job promotion knowing I didn't have to be perfect. Said no to the guys who made references to my body instead of my mind. Accepted that not everyone would like me. And that was okay.
Barriers still rear their ugly heads, all stemming from a lack of self-love. But the stings have lessened. I don’t aim for perfection, just better. In many ways, I am like those in recovery circles. When the nagging defeatist voice recalls the story, I turn down the volume. I celebrate the number of days that depression no longer grips me. I don’t go to the haunts of my mind that replay the story. And I remind myself that just for today, I will be happy.
I am the love that I seek. All journeys bring me back home…