There comes a time when it’s a good idea to take stock of why we do the things we do and why we hold tight to the “rules” that are in place – put there by us.
For myself lately, a renewed interest in connecting and a new relationship has given me some motivation to take a closer look at the “truths” that I’ve held for a few years now. Time to question the “why” behind the beliefs and the boundaries, self-imposed as they are.
Looking at my firmly held, and often repeated, conviction that I am happiest in a non-primary style of relationship. The strongly held belief that I don’t want a primary relationship – that it isn’t a relationship dynamic that appeals to me. That I want to be the secondary, the third wheel essentially. Single. Solo. Poly. Open and unable to be hurt because I’m not actually invested or committed to something that could hurt me by being gone one day. Always one foot on the other side of the door basically. Starting an interaction with someone by expressing clearly that I value my independence and solitary status above all else pretty much ensures that you are relegated to being held at arm’s distance; and that’s been what I have told myself for so long that I believed it.
Then little by little lately, feelings started peeking in and thoughts started circulating. Feelings of wanting more than what I said I did. Feelings that scared the shit out of me and made me want to reinforce the walls and re-establish my boundaries – fast and hard. Also though, feelings that have made me start asking why exactly I have decided on the dynamics and the limits I’ve placed on myself and those I am involved with.
It has been a ride the last few weeks of looking , honestly , at my feelings. Weeks of realizing that some limits were placed not out of an intention to enrich my life and to see it grow, but rather to hedge the bets against being hurt again – they were put in place out of fear and pain. Coming to see that it’s not bad to admit – to myself and to someone else – that I want what I believed for so long that I didn’t want. That awareness can bring understanding. Knowing finally that making decisions based solely from a place of fear will only result in a confined and limited existence. An existence that won’t protect me anyways – there are always going to be risks. Starting a relationship and having it feel great and having your first thought be that it’s going to be horrible when it ends isn’t a good way to live. As I’ve heard lately, what if it doesn’t end?
To be able to experience good, I have to be willing to risk the possibility of hurt. As one of my favourite sayings goes –
“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” Erin Hanson
A gathering lately of friends – people who are, oddly, not necessarily closely connected yet are also,more close than can be explained. Tribe. Family. A weekend that words don’t really do justice.
Words that still elude me trying to bring essence to the awareness of my experience. A soft knowing that happened in a moment when a smile broke out instead of tears. When I knew that, at that moment, healing meant laughter and silliness and the elation of flying and sharing space with a few amazing women. An oddly secluded and intimate space of time, safe, secure, simple and easy and just… yes. No words. Just feeling.
Feeling that in welcoming joy in, it wasn’t going to be with tears and pain. The wind blowing in my hair and ruffling my skirt around my legs as I giggled and joked and connected – with my Self – and more importantly with the people who I was blessed to be with during that time. The wind and the sunshine, the calmness and the joy in the women with me, the water, the trees, the dirt, the rock that brought me back to my senses even, all of it bringing feeling back.
Words try, but they can’t tell what has to be felt and seen with the heart instead of the mind. Sometimes it takes something so deeply in your body to take you so deeply out of it.
Open to feeling happiness when you don’t want to be open to feeling hurt?
You can’t be is the simple answer. One that I am starting to realize. we all have past hurts that affect how slowly we dip our toes in the water the next time. How cautiously we decide to see where the bottom is as we edge out deeper. What happens though when the past scares and hurts have you sitting on the shore instead of even hesitantly wandering in, no matter how slowly?
What happens is where I have been for the past three years essentially. Either making very conscious decisions to not let anyone close – physically or emotionally – or becoming involved only with someone who is “safe” because of their built in limitations on where the relationship could ever go. Simple. Easy. Safe.
Devoid of emotions. The opposite of hurt and sadness is not happiness or joy; it’s apathy. Feeling nothing may avoid feeling hurt but eventually it hurts worse in its own way.
The hard part is that to expose yourself to what is needed and wanted – joy, happiness, laughter that you actually feel, softness, liking someone a whole lot 😉 – also means that the floodgates are open and that you expose yourself to being hurt again. You’re vulnerable and that’s scary. Terrifying actually.
Lots of looking inside lately and trying to decide what to do. Sit and watch from the shore where it’s safer but feels like I am missing something that could bring so much more into my life or do what feels right and say fuck the toe dipping and just splash in. If the bottom falls out underneath me, I know I can tread water or swim.
The knowledge that I will be just fine is enough to give me the nudge.