To hear my mom tell it, Harlequin nearly ruined my sister. ‘You’re so deep in those romance books,” she’d say, “you won’t know what to do when real love comes around.’ Granted, when my sister was a teenager it was always a safe bet that wherever you found her–on a random Saturday, after dinner, or on long car rides—she’d be wedged in between the flimsy covers of a love story. I was too young to know what any of it meant at the time, but our mother was worried, despite her own affinity for daytime soaps and Dynasty by night, and that was enough for me.

Harlequin Romance closer
Harlequin Romance taller
Harlequin Romance hissy fit

It’s not like my sister was a hardcore romantic or that my mother had taken some kind of pledge against young love, but we got the message loud and clear that it just wasn’t healthy to pine after a love that was never going to come.

I might have been too young to get the full picture at the time, but I knew enough to know that the threat of too much love, however real or imagined, was dangerous.

Fast forward a few decades and I saw how deeply my mother’s admonitions had informed my own relationships: They only want one thing. Rely only on yourself. And Jesus. You can do bad all alone, no need to drag some man into the picture to ruin your life.

Truth be told, I was through with love before I even started.

christy-loveDid you ever know Christie Love? She was a 70’s TV fast-talking undercover detective who always got her man. She was lean and stunning like Whitney Houston in her prime. Instead of throwing the book at her targets, she’d clock the unwitting subjects with her purse and offer a sassy one-liner every time: “You’re under arrest, sugah.” Christie Love was a hard-working heroine who had the bad men in her back pocket and handled the bureaucratic good guys with equal ease. She was a boss.

Christie Love’s control, effortlessness, and power were unmatched. She wasn’t afraid to show up unannounced, to kick ass from one side of the room to the other, and to leave with exactly what she came for. She was what some might call a maverick; she went her own way, mostly within the confines of the law. Sometimes, not.

I call in the example of the detective because while she herself was Love in name only, what she represented rang truer to the real deal than any romance novel or sappy soap ever could.

As a Bitch Slapper who’s all about cultivating an adventure of belonging in the self and creating a home in the heart, it means self-love won’t always be windswept and tidy, waiting high up on a hill and clad in gossamer and rippling abs. That’s the old story we can all do without.

Real Love and self-acceptance call us to put away our fantasies of perfection and to show up prepared to kick down the walls that separate us from the TRUTH of our own hearts. It won’t always be easy, and will most certainly be painful at times, but so goes the path of the heart.

Authentic Love—the stuff the great mystics and spiritual teachers tout—offers us this message throughout the ages, and it’s one we’d do well to embrace.

Rumi, the Persian mystic and poet said that our only task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within ourselves that we built against it.

What are some of the ways you’ve held yourself hostage from your own loving adventure of the heart? Where do you need to kick some ass, flip the script, surrender, or go boldly in to write a newer, truer Love story on your own terms?

Take some time to think about your response. There’s no rush.

Better yet, come get yourself some inspiration at the Bitch Slap event on November 3rd . It’ll be an evening of self-acceptance, discovery, trust, belonging, adventure, badassery, and more. Trust me, it’s an amazing team of talented women. You’ll want to hear what else we’ve got to say on the subjects.

This evening event showcasing 6 Denver experts (and one hilarious Emcee!) in spiritual/personal development is:

  • A unique opportunity to gather in with like-minded visionary women (and a few brave men) who also love to laugh.
  • Like going to a TED Talks evening, but funnier, edgier, more irreverent and raw.
  • A chance to see a new perspective and experience a startling breakthrough in something important to you.
  • A great choice for a memorable girls’ night out!
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