10/20/2014 03:14 pm ET Updated Dec 20, 2014

Love Need Not Apply for Conditions: My Love Manifesto

Paula Daniëlse via Getty Images

Loving myself is the hardest thing I've ever done (and the most rewarding). I wanted love so close and so far away, and I remember imagining it so fondly over a glass of Chardonnay and a cigarette.

Love: It's the most work and the least work. It's the story we wait for as little girls. It's the story we warn our daughters about. It's the story we accept against all odds. It's the one thing, the one emotion and the one action that demands every bit of commitment.

The thing is, I was one of those people that was obsessed with its myth, with its own love story and with its false promise that boasted, "All you need is love." Total lie. The truth is you have to accept it in all its forms: ugly, predictable, sweet, gentle, unkind, guilty and innocent. Love is full of contrasts.

So here's my Love Manifesto. It's not perfect, but neither is love.

  1. My body is my temple, but it can't be every day. I'm not perfect. I'm over it.
  2. I won't write a letter to my 20-year old self. There's no point in going backwards.
  3. Love is free of conditions. I won't say it (or practice it) if I'm not willing to be unconditional.
  4. I will love my sexuality without regret or shame.
  5. Loud music on a Monday night is acceptable. You only live once. Screw it.
  6. I will forgive. I was sexually assaulted in 2003. I forgave him. I thank him for granting me the opportunity to see myself for what I am: a fucking survivor.
  7. Romance is a myth. Screwing up in a relationship is not. It's also the most romantic thing to accept each other at the most darkest of places. And it's the most empowering to realize you don't have to take anyone's crap.
  8. Love is a verb. I will practice it every day. Example: smile.
  9. I will keep myself close. Writing is more than a passion; it's just as much me as my arm (or my vagina). I won't let go. I won't. Vaginas are awesome.
  10. No one will ever complete me. My therapist once told me that a half of a person plus a half of a person doesn't equal a whole.
  11. I love life. I almost died this year. Like actually almost died. I had a staph infection in my neck and went into septic shock as a result. Sh*t got real. It was the first time I ever asked a doctor if I was going to die. Nothing lasts forever. Especially you.
  12. Love is letting go. It's taking a deep breath all by yourself.
  13. I love my freedom (to take a stand). I won't drink the Kool-Aid. Get Jeffersonian up in here: The best government is that which governs least... Gary Webb wrote a series of articles called The Dark Alliance, which noted that the CIA was aware of cocaine transactions and the large shipments of drugs into the U.S. by Contra personnel. His own field disgraced him because they were envious, jealous and afraid to take a stand. Webb was never given the chance to practice journalism again. Years later, after being discredited by the government and his peers, he was found dead from two gunshot wounds to the head -- deemed a suicide. Later his work was vindicated. Do your own research. Skepticism is vital for truth to prevail.
  14. I believe in beauty. Seriously. I'm not afraid of the mirror.
  15. I will always love the whitespace and you... always.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-656-HOPE for the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.