i came across this stunning photo of anaïs nin, last night. it took the wind out of my gut. maybe it’s her facial expression… so still… so serene… so self-assured. and yet, they called her a liar, a deceiver, a scheherazade, a witch, a seductress, a cheater, a shapeshifter, a histrionic. why? because she dared to create her own reality.

but, isn’t this what we all aspire to? to create for ourselves a reality that speaks to who we are… without mask… without veil? but the process is daunting. others enter the picture and inject their own fears and inhibitions… their own emotional turbulences… into our attempts at integration. and we allow them. but anaïs… she did not allow. she dared to write what others forbade themselves to think. she dared to do what others might have done… if only they could do so secretly. she dared to be criticized… tried… judged... sentenced. she dared… because to dare is to be free. she yearned to make her life her own, and she alchemized this yearning into reality. and, others? they hated her, not for who she was… but because she dared, and they did not.

sometimes, this is how it happens: we come across people we dislike… even hate… because we tell ourselves… convince ourselves… that we disapprove of what they do. most of the time, if we stop and give it a mindful thought, our feelings are not at all about disapproval. rather, our feelings are about admiration. they are about what we see… what we want, but can’t… or won’t… do what it takes to have. they are about those parts of ourselves that are imprisoned in the labyrinths of ambivalence… and trembling with resentment.

sometimes, we steal another’s truth because we tell ourselves we can’t construct our own.

sometimes, when we hate, we love.