I have not written anything in a long time. It is hard to put words down coherently in the midst of a storm. Also trying to decide what stays protected and who stays protected can be challenging to navigate so I left well enough alone, until now.
Today I woke up with a need to purge. My writing always happens this way. Like a soda pop ready to explode after a vigorous shaking. That’s how I feel. Like everything in me has been shaken to the bone and if I don’t try and make sense of it the only way I know how I am likely to explode into oblivion. So, for now, here is what I need to say.
Really loving someone is terrifying. Sure, it is fun and loving and kind and squishy and all of those amazing feelings that the right person at the right time can bring with them into your life. If it wasn’t this way we would never love. Why would be bother? But like everything in life where there is a good there must be a bad. Where there is up, there is down. Light, dark, happy, sad, happy, angry. Life must balance out. I don’t know why it is so intent on this balance but it is always there waiting to recalibrate us at every opportunity. Like the exhilaration at the beginning of a relationship. You know, that all consuming happy feeling, the butterflies, the excitement of late night phone calls and the oh so incredible sex? We think it will always be this way. We believe we have together unlocked the secret of life in each other that nobody else has and we trust in the fairy tale narrative that the princess always gets her prince and he his queen. Funny thing is, nobody has ever bothered to write a book beyond the fairytale. Why? Because nobody wants to read how fucking hard the next bit is. How scary and frustrating the balancing out the happy is. How it gets dark and twisty and messy when compromises must be made and what happens when one or both refuse to change.
I wonder how we would be if, instead of the euphoria that takes up the first 6 months of any new relationship we actually really saw the person lying beside us in the bed. I wonder if we did would we be so quick to make everlasting promises to each other? We are all broken in some way. We all have battle scars. We all hide them in the beginning and we all choose not to see them in each other. Maybe it is pure biology at work. The survival of the species kind of thing. Maybe we need not to see each other for some time, as if we truly did would we have the courage and the stamina to go the distance with each other, the so called walking wounded.
Maya Angelou once wrote, “When people show you who they are the first time, believe them”! My goodness, how utterly, completely profound. Words to literally live by, right? Except when love comes to town it screws with our sense of reason and we tell ourselves this does not apply to our great love as we all believe, and have been taught for centuries that love conquers all.
I remember when my last love showed me who he really was the first time. I knew he was showing me. Every single fibre of my being knew. It was like someone hit me on the head with a two by four and screamed, “This is who he is. You will never come first”! I got it in stereo. From the universe and from him but yet I shook it off as something said in the heat of the moment and I chose to ignore that feeling I had way down deep in my being that I had been given a clue to what would come next if nothing changed, but change is scary and hard and messy so I ignored all of it in the name of love and I walked not so blindly into the rest of my relationship.
I loved him so hard I thought I could change him. I know! Even as I type the words I feel stupid for buying into the love fixes all bolloxology. Love cannot, will not ever fix anything or anyone that does not feel they need fixing. Period! We can convince ourselves all we like that this is not true but we all know that it is.
We only think we can heal someone.
We only think we can fix someone.
We only think we can change someone.
We only think we can.
I did us both a disservice the day I chose to ignore when he showed me who he really was. What motivated him, wounded him, challenged him. I like to think that that day I chose love because I really believed we would make it but looking back I chose him because I was terrified of a life without him. It’s a confusing hot mess loving someone the way I loved him. More than anything I wanted us to work. I wanted to be the one to take away his pain, his loss, his hurt, his fears as I so desperately wanted him to erase mine.
We didn’t make it in the end. Life is all about communication and compromise and we lost these eventually. Every single day I still wish this not to be the case but such is the way of loving someone. We gamble with the most vulnerable part of ourselves. Sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t.
I am taking my time to heal. It has not been easy. Actually, the last 8 months have been the most difficult ones of my life and that is saying something! When you choose to walk away from someone you deeply love because you learn that love does not conquer all what is left in the space where he lived is nothing but pain. It is a new pain for me, a pain that I am not sure I am able to withstand again. It has eased somewhat over time but it is still there and has the ability to catch me off guard and bring me to my knees. It is hard to erase 5 years of life with someone in such a short time but I trust in those that have walked this road before me when they tell me that it will pass. That the pain won’t stay. That I will love again and that for most of them looking back their loss brought so many greater things.
I cling to this. I have to.
Will I choose to believe people when they show me who they are the first time from now on? I like to think that I will. Having experienced the pain of ignoring it it will never leave me and that, is something I do not desire to repeat. That’s the greatest thing about life. I get a chance to try again and as utterly terrifying as this may be to me, what is life without love?
I don’t plan on finding out.