As originally posted today on Medium.com.
Narcissus gets a bad rap in mythology, which is ridiculously unfair. He was cursed by the gods. He lost his life, even. You know, I really feel bad for the guy, even if he was kind of a jerk. Narcissus made the fatal mistake of rejecting a suitor. Her name was Echo. Never insult a woman who is the personification of echoes. It probably will not turn out well.
Last August, I did something strange. This was not unusual of me, since I do moderately odd things on a regular basis, but I have to say that making a secret facebook group in order to talk to myself was audacious even for me, and I was a little bit impressed with myself. It was to be the beginning of a beautiful love affair.
You see, last August I was going through a particularly rough patch in a whole backyard lawn of rough patches. I had recently discovered secret groups on Facebook. I decided to create a support group of several of my closest friends, and began posting frequent updates on a daily basis. Being a massive extrovert with a tendency to babble prolifically, this was a much-needed outlet, and things were going well. I began to make progress in a number of areas, from getting appointments for medical treatment, to unravelling the labyrinthine government bureaucracy around unemployment, to waking up and taking showers on a regular basis.
I started to get excited. It was working! It was all coming together! I was going to turn my life around, kick ass and take names, make history. All things were possible. In my enthusiasm, I began to expand the group membership to include more and more friends, and then to active lovers and dating partners. While everyone I added was a deeply trusted friend, many did not know how to support me in the way that I craved. After a while, it became apparent to me that my dynamic with the support group had changed for the worse.
My primary relationship was in a deteriorating state. I had added the boy in question to the support group, so I felt awkward and limited in my ability to talk about our relationship. But, I did not want to lose the progress I had been making, and I missed talking frankly and fearlessly to my friends about anything and everything. The internet had been my friend at all hours of the day and night. I still needed this vital lifeline.
Then I had a crazy idea. What if I made a support group for myself, and wrote to myself totally honestly? I could provide my own supportive feedback and love. I decided to try it out.
There was a catch. Facebook didn’t allow the creation of a secret group with only one member. Thus, my evil twin was born. Enter Jackie Shelley: the other me.
Things got really tough for a while. I got a new job, moved back in with my family, and went through a major breakup. There was a lot of painful transition involved. I grew, but I also stopped using my support groups entirely as I got busier and more and more sad. By December, I was seriously depressed. I write elsewhere about hitting that particular bottom, so I will not devote much time to it here, except to say this: depression SUCKS.
In the course of the narrative, Kamal convinced me that self-love was an important force for good. Falling in love with myself might be the magic key to unlock my compassion for others, my spirit, or even my deepest heartsongs. Besides, by that time I really did not have much left to lose.
So, I have a not-so-secret crush on myself. I might even love myself. No one else understands me like me. I can buy myself roses. I can curl up with myself to read my favorite books and watch my favorite movies. I know when I am feeling sick and need extra tender love and care. When my heart fills up with joy so sweet it may just overflow, I can be there to throw handfulls of glitter in the air and dance like a madwoman.
I may possibly BE a madwoman, but I don’t think I care.
I hope I avoid the fate of Narcissus. I will be watching out for echoes. Until then, I will continue to enjoy, and develop, my split personality.