Three Years

I’m wondering how I got here. The expansion and contraction of life. The way time just moves on without us even noticing.

The problem with loss is that it’s always loss. There’s no resolution. There’s no problem to solve. It’s the gift that just keeps giving. It always provides us with reminders and challenges. It has its own date of remembrance so that you get the opportunity to be blindsided even when life is good.

I had a great love. A great love affair. A messy love story. A beautiful family. I fought hard for all of those things and then, in an instant, it was all over. No one asked me if that was okay; it just happened. I didn’t get a vote. I didn’t have any warning or time to prepare. In a flash, all that I had built and worked for was over.

I spent a lot of time desperate to get it all back. Lamenting the loss each moment of each day. Then one day, I decided to fight like hell to find myself. So I took off to do that. It wasn’t anything fancy, just the will to put my life back together and to feel better.

In my life as I wore the title of “whatever” – mom, wife, friend, therapist, etc., I realized that those were the titles I let dictate my life. I didn’t operate from a place of knowing, I operated from a place of doing. I had no idea who I was, what I liked, what I wanted or what made me happy. I just knew that I would never be happy again. That all hope for true happiness had been lost, and I would never get it back. That was a lie I told myself so that I wouldn’t have to try. Try to be happy, that was the job of the people around me. That was my husband’s responsibility – to make me happy. Or, the product of all my “doing.” If I was successful, then I would be happy, but when things were going to shit, which was pretty much all the time, I was sad.

The journey was difficult and so easy. It gave me a freedom I had never experienced. Doing things for myself. Going places I wanted to go. Buying whatever I wanted. Decorating the way I wanted. Experiencing life on my own terms. No negotiation. No compromise. I got to know myself, became friends with myself, started loving myself.

And then I met someone. I fell in love. I wanted to return to being the doer. I wanted to hide all that I had become to please that person. I wanted him to love me. I wanted to figure out what he wanted so I could be that so that he would love me. Crazy talk, crazy thinking …

I felt a sense of anxiety and confusion because I had come to love the person I had become. I couldn’t un-know her. But he saw the me I had become. He fell in love with THAT person. The one that was being and experiencing, hungry for life and experiences, taking risks. He didn’t want the watered down version of me that I started trying to be, and neither did I.

Sometimes I think that in the midst of tragedy, things just might be easier. We know our purpose – to keep breathing, fight like hell. But as things lighten up, it’s so easy for us to go back to our old self. Growth is exciting, purposeful. Staying there is fucking hard.

I see life as expansion, contraction, expansion, contraction, over and over again. Growth and challenge. Feeling free and being squeezed. We grow so that we can be squeezed, and the juicy stuff, all the goodness of who we are, can come out.

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