Where do I begin?
I’ve never been so confused in my life. (Not true, but you can imagine what’s next.)
Last week, I was gifted with…myself. My friend treated us to a girl’s serenity weekend in Switzerland with her aunt who is a bit of a healer. While her aunt lead us through exercises that opened our hearts, our minds and our iron gateways to tears, we exhaled.
I exhaled pretty hard. Comforted by candles, we set our intentions and during that exercise, I had a moment. A big one. My friend’s aunt said some trigger words: “nurture yourself” (of all things), and suddenly I was out-of-my body wailing, which lead to hyperventilating followed by several moments of them rubbing my back and holding my hand while I tried to pull myself back to this world. I don’t know where I went, I don’t know what happened, I just now know that I 100% need to take care of myself because when I don’t, I hurt myself. Deeply. Black hole deeply. And the hurt comes pouring out like that.
Taking care of myself means going running because I want to and not because I worry I’ll get fat; it means being nice to myself when I mess up, it means putting myself first. It means writing.
Knowing that I can do these things is easy. What’s hard is this: change.
My dad got married recently. It is his third marriage. I only think this trifecta is worth noting because each woman he’s married is vastly different from the other. This shouldn’t be such a huge surprise, as people clearly change from decade to decade. As I stood in their wedding, I thought, what do I need to change about myself in order to get to this point? What IS it?
I’ve been told I’m cold emotionally. I’ve been told I’m controlling. I’ve been told I’m selfish. I can see the truth in these things: I’m afraid to be vulnerable in crucial moments for fear of revealing information (ie, feelings) that can/will later be used against me in a gunfight with my own words as someone else’s bullets. I’m afraid to let go of doing what I know because I don’t like to be called “stupid” or appear as though I don’t know what the f*ck I’m doing in every situation at all times in every moment of every second. And lastly, I can’t always find the words to express myself verbally; to show someone I care, to heal them when they are hurting, to say the right thing to make it better. I can barely do this for myself. So I keep my words to myself. Selfishly.
I hope I can be more warm, less controlling and more giving. I hope I can change while still honoring and nurturing myself in ways that I’m still (at 46) learning how to do. But what do I do? How? There is that black hole inside me that likes to howl when I touch it. When I open the door to it. How do I nurture myself without betraying someone else or even myself? I don’t know what to do. I’ve had one meaningful relationship in my life. One. In 2009. (Yes, it is okay to ask, “What’s up with that, Pep?!”) Here’s something: Back in 2003 in NY, I was crying to my therapist and he asked me, “What is the common denominator in all of these failed relationships?” I thought for a moment, Kleenex in hand and said, “Men?” He blinked. “No, Peppur. You.”
I know I need to change. I know I need to let some things go, including that of still going for certain dreams and seeking out certain stages. I know I need to let go of fear and let go of things that no longer serve me. I believe I’m ready for the change, but like a child being lead away from Disneyland at closing time, I often turn, with a finger pointed at something shiny, “….But…!”
I’m in a relationship now that pulls me in places I don’t want to be or feel comfortable being pulled. I question daily if it is the pulling or the place or even the person that is uncomfortable. I try to be open and honest and willing to change so that a relationship can grow…just like the baby I want.
[And then there’s that. The Baby Elephant in the room. If I don’t change, there most likely will be no baby. There will be no relationships. With anyone. There will be no euphoric baptism in a shower of love instead of tears. I will be sucked deeper and deeper into that comforting black hole.]
I hope I learn how to not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
I’ve been told I’m not ready for a relationship. I was told this while in the Relationship Numero Only. So, something hasn’t truly changed in all these years. Unless, maybe I just don’t really want a relationship, says the Common Denominator. I need another therapist.
What am I afraid of?
I’m not afraid to be alone. I cried about that through my 20s. I’m not afraid that I won’t accomplish what I want in life. Cried about that through my 30s. What I cry about now, in my mid-40s, is I’m afraid I’ll never learn how to turn the frickin’ key in my heart, soul, psyche that unlocks that door to abundance. Because, behind that door is all that I’ve ever wanted. And I know it. Maybe all it takes to turn that key is a little bit of nurturing. Or to simply stop being afraid to let go. Because maybe, just maybe, that black hole isn’t a black hole at all. Maybe it is a big soft fluffy bowl of marshmellowy mushies swimming with babies and stuff. I pray I learn to let go.