The cliche “You can’t know love until you really love yourself” used to make me roll my eyes and get unrealistically annoyed. I think that was because I didn’t know how to love myself. If I did, I wouldn’t poison myself with alcohol, men, cigarettes, drugs, sugar…I could go on. I know that my sis and I loved each other and our parents. I know that we loved our kids. I could never, however, love a man until I loved myself completely. I chose men who had addiction problems severe enough that they could a) hang and party like I did, and b) be too afraid to lose me to tell me to get help. Until I could live completely alcohol free I wasn’t equipped to fall in love. I certainly didn’t choose people that I respected. Today I’m able to be in a relationship that is based on a lot of things, but the one thing that’s invaluable to me is mutual respect. Oh, and the fact that i’m not blacking out and ending up in Delaware or some shit. We had to stop poisoning our bodies, minds, and spirits and be without a man for a good while. One day my sister will explain more about that and the Man Ban, but for now…it’s one thing that made me recognize what I deserve and what I won’t put up with. I also know that as long as I love me, I can share that love. Those who knew me when I didn’t, I’m sorry! Hurt people hurt people (ugh cliche) but I’m paying it forward now. To give and receive love is an incredible blessing that we don’t take for granted.