I never meant to start a secret affair with myself.

My therapist is wrong a lot. Her name is Brenda or Stacy or Steve or something. She says I need to “stop doubting myself” and “learn to love myself” and “remember people’s names.” She thinks she’s all high and mighty with her “thorough background in counseling” and “scientific and data-based approaches to problem-solving.” Who does she even think she is?

I know me better than she does. Duh. But I have to keep reporting back to her because going to therapy makes you better than other people. Her latest advice was simple: “I think you’re ready to get back into dating.”

I strongly objected because the last time I went on a first date I ended up curled up on the floor and sobbing in the middle of a PetSmart, but she insisted that I try anyway.

I forgot about the task for a few days. Then in one fateful moment, as I was walking by the bathroom mirror, I caught a glimpse of my own reflection.

There was a glimmer in my eye, an undeniable spark in my gaze. I turned away quickly. Had I seen me? I wasn’t sure. It ignited a tantalizing fire in my guts. A thousand thoughts filled my head. What would Susan or Randy or whoever say about this? Was this okay? I decided to be patient and wait it out.

A few days later I was cooking in the kitchen, and as I spun around to place a glass in the dishwasher, I caught another reflection in the glass on the oven door. I saw the most fantastic set of hindquarters I’d maybe ever seen. I scanned upward to learn more about the beautiful creature this glorious rump belonged to, and in an instant a few things happened: we locked eyes and both looked away in embarrassment; and I realized it was me.

I was stunned and ashamed of myself. I’d been caught. But at the same time, I wasn’t the only person at fault. I’d also been checking myself out. I was equally as guilty as I was.

I knew this was a critical moment. I had to say something to myself. I tried to muster the courage to speak up, but words would not form. So I made a panic move.

I winked at myself. I winked back.

Days passed.

As the first step in what my “classically-trained” therapist would likely have called “an alarming series of unchecked impulses,” I bought a burner phone. I put it in a drawer.

I forgot about it for a while, then found it when I was cleaning. My hands were shaking. I hoped so desperately that I’d left a message for myself.

I opened up the notes app. My heart skipped three whole beats.

“Hey,” I’d written.

I froze. I didn’t know what to say to myself. Would I read too much into it? I usually read too much into things, but would I read too much into things? Should I confess my crush? Did I also have a crush on me? Hypothetical, but if I just said something crazy like “I love you,” would I freak out and would I even believe it and would I ever talk to myself again? I mean I knew I was interested but if I knew that and I also knew that would I still want myself and would I still want to be wanted by myself?

I threw caution to the wind and wrote anyway.

“Oh God I love you, also idc that this won’t keep my therapist off my ass”
“I have as much of a complex for you as my therapist does about her master’s in counseling”

“Hey,” I said back.

It didn’t take long to escalate. One moment the camera folder on the phone was empty, the next it was filled with X-rated images. I felt alive. I knew exactly how to turn myself on. I wanted to pleasure myself, to feel my skin with my fingers, to feel my own hot breath in my mouth.

I decided I could never tell Kayla or Dale or whoever about this. She wouldn’t understand and would probably say stupid phrases like “dangerously delusional” or “possessing disturbing similarities to a psychotic episode.” I would keep this secret from her, and I knew that I would also keep this secret from her. She doesn’t know me like I know me.

Who knows where this will end up? Either way, I have a date tonight.

If all goes well, I might even make myself breakfast in the morning.