I’m holding on. Things are changing, shifting, healing. I’m healing. He’s healing. Our relationship is healing. I don’t know what tomorrow holds. I’m still scared, terrified really, but things are moving. I’m still willing to believe in miracles.
I watch the last few weeks like a reel to reel zipping through the projector, whirring past my vision and slowing to a crawl at those moments when I found grace in myself, in The Man, in the kids, in our life. I can hear the tumble of locks releasing, dusty doors creak slowly open, small beams of light shamelessly touching darkness, sadness and grief, illuminating what’s here, what’s good, reminding me to look.
There was no lightening, no cataclysmic change. Just subtle movements, unfolding, finding newness where we thought there was only rust and rot.
Well, there was this one thing. I decided to start showing up. I stopped complaining and railing against the ways The Man wasn’t showing up in our relationship to my satisfaction. I told myself “self, you are a fucking hypocrite. Where do you get off? How can you expect anything from anyone when you are so busy being SUCH an asshole?”
I can be kind of hard on myself sometimes. But sometimes hard things require hard truths.
I started being more kind. I started being more compassionate. I started seeing him they way I wanted to be seen.
I reached out and touched him.
One of the things I’d stopped doing was reaching out. I had taken my fear and resentment and anxiety and built a fortress around myself. From behind that wall I launched grenades, there was heavy artillery, there were cannons. I pretended I was protecting myself from the hurt I just knew was coming from him. But what if it wasn’t?
I waved my white flag. After he’d had a challenging day I got out my grounding oils and gave him a massage even though I was tired myself. I started giving more hugs. I started asking for them. I held his hand. I touched his face. I looked in his eyes.
I started saying how I felt.
Behind my fortress I packed my feelings into those cannon balls of passive aggressive bullshit and shoot them at him. I expected that after being knocked over by them, he’d be able to look at those hard iron cannonballs and just ‘know’ that there was a feeling buried under layers and layers of thick ore. What was I thinking?
Well, I wasn’t thinking. I was scared. I started to say those very words. “I’m scared” and “I’m afraid”, “I love you”, “I miss you”, “I need…”. I started to say hard things, truths, with love and compassion. I’d lived behind that fortress so long that it felt awkward and hard at first. But I did it anyway. I had to.
I showed him my heart again. This time without listening to the fear that once caused me to pull back like a turtle in its shell. We were, we are still, at risk of losing each other and I just know that I truly have nothing left to lose by being vulnerable. I have been facing one of my worst fears and I have to do it with an open heart if I have any chance of surviving.
In truth, I didn’t just do it for him, I did it for me. Being harsh and cold and closed off, living in that fortress, that’s not me. I thrive with a wide open heart, free, caring, loving. I had to get back to myself, for myself. I had to remember who I really was before the fear swallowed me.
A tiny miracle happened, it’s not just me who is changing.
He’s different, too. There are other factors at play for him, but I like to think that part of it was me coming out from behind my walls, palms up in submission, calling a cease fire; me taking his hand, looking him in the eyes and saying, “I’m here, all of me, let’s do this, together.”
He’s receptive. He’s scared, too, but his eyes and heart are more open than they have been in a long while. He’s reaching out. He’s talking about his feelings. He’s apologizing for things. I’m seeing him in ways I’ve never seen him, in ways I thought were just a fantasy. We’re learning how to trust each other again. We’ve been so careless with each others’ hearts for so long that this new found gentleness we have with each other feels surreal, like a dream.
It’s still hard for me to trust him, so I’m trusting in the Universe, or God, or whoever she is. I’m trusting that there is a Plan and this Plan does not include me suffering forever. This Plan includes joy and beauty and so so so much love. I’m trusting that all I have to do is show up with an open heart. I have to believe this. And in order to believe it, I have to live it.
So, I’m living it. I’m alive, I’m here, I’m showing up. I’m still scared, but I know wherever I land will be the right place and I know that landing will be softer if I’m living with an open heart along the way.