A little over a year ago I decided I wanted to start dating again after a long hiatus, or a sabbatical if you will–because a sabbatical is rest from work. And dating is hard work. When I mentioned this to a good friend of mine, she was excited and said warmly, “The world has missed you.”
I thought that was sweet. At the time I just thought she meant that it would be nice for people to have the opportunity to get to know me–lucky boys would get a hot date so to speak. Ha! (My delusions are only problematic when I’m sober and I broadcast them to the world, like right now.)
I learn something new everyday. You’ve witnessed my slow learning style so I’m apparently always learning. My journey through life’s lessons and self-exploration has been a slow, meandering trip. In discovering Enough of Me, I finally just realized what she meant–I’ve learned my Something New for the day (albeit a year later).
It is this: That my decision to start dating again signified my choice and decision to begin living fully; to embrace and show my authentic self and soft underbelly (figuratively and unfortunately literally) to the world; to open my arms and heart and soul to the reality, not just the possibility, of getting hurt.
That I was choosing to show up to life. And that I was choosing to give the World the gift of Me. That All of Me–my wit and sarcasm and kindness and temper and intellect and selfishness and organizational skills and stubbornness and moist scones and aggressive driving habits and dinner parties and cursing inappropriately around small children–are all actually gifts. And that the world missed me in it. That the world is a better place when I’m fully engaged in it. I add color and laughter and tears and frustration and hugs and screams to this joint. With all of that, I have a valued place in this world. I couldn’t have said that sentence a year ago and truly meant it. I believed I was decent enough, but had many flaws to fix before being presentable, loveable, worthy. I believed once I improved, when v2.0 was released, THEN we could have a press conference and I would be worthy to roll out.
So back to the reality of getting hurt that I just mentioned…So this story unfortunately does not end well for me–there is no happy ending for me in this. I showed up for life, and it was both a joyous and difficult process. Because I decided to really show up, this turned into the most appropriate and healthy relationship I ever had. I however now have an intimate relationship with Grief, and most moments I suffocate and choke on it, it is so overwhelming. Especially at night, when I swear to you, time passes slower, and the grief slowly creeps into every pore and settles into each cell, until I think I just might literally explode into thousands of little shards. But the sun rises and I’m still in one piece. And truth be told, I’m a little disappointed the energy hadn’t dissipated and I can still acutely feel the pain in every fiber of my being.
But because I chose to really show up, these days of mourning are punctuated with moments of clarity and peace, where I know the end of the relationship had nothing to do with me. In the past, I would (and I dare say every female has done this as well) dissect every possible reason things could have gone wrong–things I said, things he said, things I did, things he did, things I should have said or did, things he should have said or did. I would talk ad nauseam with friends trying to lay blame and get self-righteous with anger. This time, I know simply that who I am, and what I have to offer, is not what he is seeking nor wants right now. I don’t take it personally. Because I know who I am. I know I have tried to be as kind and respectful and gracious and giving as possible. I know I have moments where I have failed. I know we are both imperfect.
And each day, with every relationship, two imperfect people must decide whether or not to go another day together trying their best to be kind and respectful and giving. And sometimes, one of the two wakes up and says, “No thank you, not today.” I understand that now. Does it make it any easier? Not much, this still really, really sucks. And when I say really, really sucks, I mean really, really devastating. Do I regret showing up for life? No, I learned a lot about life and myself, and experienced feelings and things I never knew existed. I am fundamentally changed in very positive ways by this relationship. Honestly though, I wish I didn’t have to pay for that experience with these endless tears, this rip in my heart, and this chunk of my soul where I feel so empty inside.
And so the image above says, “Just show up, Be brave, Be Kind, Rest, Try again.” I showed up (check!). I was brave (even when I was scared). I was kind (mostly). Rest (I’m trying–does drowning sorrows count as resting?). Try again. No thanks. It might be time for another sabbatical. And tonight, I have a double date with Loss and Grief.