There is no Evil Maria, and I’m hanging up that title for good. There is no separation of self, either for the sake of self-preservation or for excuses of not getting better. There’s just me – and I get self-destructive, and so, so very sad, and exhausted, and angry and mean. But there is also just me – and I’m also strong, and passionate, and fierce. I’m stubborn and deserving of love. There is no one to fight; no one to beat. There are no ashes to grow up and out of; there’s just me. I can dress up in spandex leather (which Alex would love), and find a theme song (which would probably be Leonard Cohen), and put on my boxing gloves and fight Evil Maria. I can yell at her, strike at her, destroy her and reduce her to tears. The truth is, though, when I fight her – I’m the stuck with the consequences. The truth is – I’m the one wearing the scars from our battles. There is no resolution to be found in anger and bitterness. There are no answers in hate. The resolution in this journey will come from acceptance and self-compassion, and and so, so much forgiveness. Self acceptance is not a road to giving up; it’s a path to love.