[Exercise: Tell me how a relationship ended.]

They rarely ended well. Of all the pretty boys I dated in high school, this one was the most attractive to me, at the time . . .

tall, lean smooth, olive complexion drove a red sports car slightly older, sophisticated

I felt so proud to have his arms around me and felt high when coveting eyes stared in our direction. Our relationship ended as abruptly as it began. He left me for a white-skinned, big-boned, strong, athletic type who went to Mt. Carmel—a more prestigious Catholic school than the one I attended. I felt incredibly jealous, and convinced of my broken heartedness, I stared at his picture and cried for days.

Only later, in my mid-30s, did I come to understand my own narcissism—my love of beautiful things, beautiful people, beautiful images. My own self-concept revolved around my looks, the things I owned, my accomplishments. Lost in a sea of emptiness, I gradually sought out and uncovered my true nature. I learned to value the inner, spiritual qualities that are the only real truth. Everything else dies. Breaks. Gets old. Withers away. The real self can only be found and nurtured within. I get that now. I get that the light that enlightens me also enlightens every other human being. That’s what I search for now, in myself and everyone else—that light, that truth, that beauty—that for many is so deeply hidden and is sometimes covered in muck. Some are convinced of its non-existence, but I know that it’s there.