Where’s the Wizard When You Need Him?

Where’s the Wizard When You Need Him?

 

I was thinking the other day, trying to remember the first time I felt afraid. I had two images pop into my head. The first was when I was young, under 10. We were living in a small town in upstate NY and it was a time where you could wonder down the street and play at the neighbor’s house all day and no one worried about your safety. My older brother and I were playing at a friend’s house, it was getting towards dinner time, but we were having too much fun to adhere to the time set to go home. My mother had a fierce whistle, one that could be heard from our house down the street and it was our summons to come home. That day, still entrenched in our fun, we didn’t hear the whistle and my mother had to come find us at our friends and she was not happy. I felt fear that day of the consequences that would ensue when we got home.

The other time was when my older brother and I had taken golf clubs up to the local baseball field to hit some golf balls just for fun. On one of my back swings I caught him square on the cheekbone and the blood starting gushing. We ran home, me in total fear of what would happen to me for being so careless even though it was an accident.

I don’t recall the “punishments” of either memory or if there even were any. I just remember feeling afraid of disappointing my parents, letting them down and knowing I had made a mistake in both scenarios.

Fear is such a strong motivator. I can recall in life being asked if I did or said something and my immediate response is to want to deny, deny, deny. I didn’t want to be caught, was afraid of the consequences and would attempt to avoid at any cost. Of course this is not a way of living for me and have learned that I need to be honest. It’s that fight or flight instinct that kicks in and wants to dictate an initial response. If there is trouble let me get away from it. And that trouble can take various forms: losing a job, anger from a partner or friend, rejection, etc. Fear can also stop you in your tracks. People avoid situations and experiences because they are afraid to try. Individuals can be paralyzed by fear.

I’ve learned to have a working relationship with fear. When I feel afraid, I generally force myself to go towards the situation, action, or person that is initiating the fear. You see I don’t want anything to control me, so I push. I feel if I let an emotion stop me then I lose the opportunity to grow and change, intellectually and emotionally.

Lately though, I have felt my cowardly lion force its presence front and center.

My upbringing did not offer a lot of stability and security. I have spent years working to overcome my insecurities, my limiting beliefs, and my hurt, to work to find confidence, happiness and security. It’s an ongoing process that I accept as a journey through life. I’m ok with that most days.

What I have found though, in my needing to face the disruption that occurred in my life with the change of my significant relationship is I had created a safety dome around my life, an illusion, maybe a dream of safety. I had based my security partly on being in a relationship, knowing that no matter what came my way I had a partner who would walk with me. Better or worse, MY heart was committed.

When this crumbled, I had to face my immediate fear of survival. It motivated me, as fear can do, to be sure I could provide for my family and create a secure and stable home on my own. I put my head down, so to speak, worked and have created a financial cushion of safety for my children and myself. Job well done me.

So, why am I still afraid? I began to see, being vulnerable was again a challenge. I wanted to remain in control of my experiences, and of the people around me so I could avoid being devastated again. I would examine each scenario, action, non-action, and conversation and would attach definition so I could feel safe.

Still, trying to create the dome, and still it was an illusion.

I’m remembering the words I have told countless friends, my daughter, my self, over and over again. If you are going to love, you will feel hurt. It’s a song for goodness sake!! LOVE HURTS!

As I continue to go day to day, I recognize how afraid I am. First, doing life without a partner is challenging for me. Yes, I can do it. Have been doing it, and doing it well. But my desire is to share life with someone. I like waking up next to the one I love. Starting a new day. I even like seeing them start their new day, so much ahead to experience and share. Possibilities.

I realized though, fear/anxiety was permeating my life in a totally new way. Even where I had made great accomplishments I was unable to attach the confidence I thought I would attain having reached various goals. Fear was prevalent, on a daily basis so I began to look at what I was afraid of. Here it is.

I am afraid to risk my heart again. Truly put myself out there, open and vulnerable, knowing I can be hurt. I understand I must open up my heart so wide that the risk/return can have the potential to be great. But I watch myself from the outside, and see where I hold back. I have become so timid. I fear rejection, disappointment.

I am afraid I won’t be seen. If I don’t have someone next to me, where I am my most vulnerable, do I exist? And by this I mean, we share our most tender parts with our partners in life. We allow ourselves to be most vulnerable, this is what builds that intimate love connection that is special between two people. It’s a commitment expressing I will see your most vulnerable self and love you, no matter what. There is comfort and security in that sharing, in that deep relationship. So if I don’t have that in my life, no one to share that with, do I exist on that level?

I am afraid no one will see my worth and want to invest in me. I have friends tell me I need to see my own value first. Trust me, I think I’m a great package. I have my faults, I’m ok with them and I know I work to be a better person every day. My fear is my time will run out and I won’t have the opportunity for someone to value, love and cherish me.

Now I wish I could interject the long pause that has just happened, to keep myself honest with all of you reading this, as this is my greatest fear that is consuming me as of late.

I am afraid this man that I have loved, what feels like a lifetime in my heart, will not take the chance that is necessary for us to begin again. I am afraid, fear will win and he will stay locked in his illusions and fears and I will not take the risks and if I do they won’t be enough. I’m afraid this love we share will stay below the surface and not have the chance to bloom. I’m afraid this man was my chance at a deep love that got intersected too soon and now is lost in a fog.

My Self Proclaimed Mission If I Choose to Accept It

My Self Proclaimed Mission If I Choose to Accept It

 

I have been contemplating this issue: can you teach someone how to love you? There has been information, far more researched than I have done, about learning your partner’s love language. Other information regarding, loving yourself so you can express this to your partner is another valid point of view. So I am venturing into this area, can I teach someone to love me?

Listen, I’m not talking about “getting” someone to love me, I believe that feeling must exist first before moving forward. But, can I have the self-awareness, clarity, patience and the teaching abilities required to accomplish this task?

I have hesitated writing this blog because I don’t want it to come off as bashing the male gender. So here is my disclaimer, I LOVE men!! I like their energy, enjoy their humor and company. Often choose to be in their company over same sex gatherings.

Having said this, I am acutely aware of the differences that are so apparent between the sexes. Again, I feel the need for a disclaimer, (political correctness and all), not all men are the way I may describe them. Not all women are the way I may generalize them. But, c’mon people, books have been written, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. There are innate differences. I have come face to face with this often recently and I began to wonder, with some mad super hero skills could I bridge the gap. Would it be worth the effort?

So let me begin with a bit of honesty and believe me, this is tough to share being I want approval and acceptance. I have made a commitment to myself, in this blog, to be honest. So here it goes. I am venturing into the waters, perhaps physically and intellectually shallow, albeit deeper emotionally, (ok, now I’m just avoiding stating this), revisiting a relationship with my ex. Yes, the one that left for another woman. Yes, the love of my life. Yes, the one that has been a main focus of this blog and the one I have been attempting to recreate the exorcism as seen performed by Linda Blair, spinning my head around and spewing the symbolic pain and hurt from my soul. Yes, that guy.

I have wandered around the emotional, relationship desert and realized I love him. My heart and feelings had not lessened in the depth of love that existed for him. I kept trying to expel him from my life and heart and continued to feel he, at this moment, is my choice. He remains, the love of my life. I have prayed for god to changed his heart and actions or change mine. So, the two of us are faced with the opportunity to see where this relationship may go.

There have been many gifts this breakup has afforded me. I have realized I made his life, my life. I melted comfortably into his needs, desires, wishes and dreams. Time away has allowed me to see my dreams and my need to have MY life, separate of his. I have also learned compassion, empathy and understanding are all wonderful things to offer my partner. I also see where I need to lay down clearer base line needs, perhaps rules, for this relationship or any other I may venture into.

We had a recent conversation where I was talking about feelings, (not his strength), and he said, “You know I’m not good at these type of conversations”. I said I understand but they need to happen, perhaps in small doses, but in order for us to be successful they will have to happen often. I spent a few more moments talking about feelings and then said, I heard the emotional timer go off. He’d done a good 5 minutes of intense conversation and we could move on to a more neutral topic like sports.

So I have had 8 almost 9 months to move my emotional self to a different space, one more confident with myself. Perhaps understanding what I need/want in a relationship. Even figuring out what I want my life to look like separate from a partner. I’ve come to enjoy my time alone. I have learned how to fill my heart and soul to some extent. I am still finding those activities, both recreational and business focused that are building a stronger me, more secure and confident me.

So I am attempting to create a different relationship reality than I have had previously. My ex, (we haven’t established he’s my guy so the label remains the EX), is a typical guy (ok folks, remember the disclaimer). He loves sports, doesn’t really want to talk about feelings, wants to keep things comfortable and focused on him and ultimately wants me to know he loves me without really having to say it or show it too effusively.

Can he learn? Can I? In fairness, I am as different to him as he is too me. I just perceive myself to be the emotional superior in this relationship and I think he would agree (I mean he would, after the planets align and Ireland win the 2018 World Cup), but he would. I know I have the capacity to see him and his needs and in fairness to him I see changes he is willing to make and is making.

I know honest communication is key. No more can I tip toe around issues that need to be brought to light. And no, he won’t bring them up. He’s that kind of guy. Yet, he has been willing to listen and participate in some honest conversations about where we need to start from, finding new directions.

I’m not without faults and I definitely have my own learning curve, which I attempt to keep in check. I want to be successful at this relationship thing. I hope it’s with this man. He still gives me butterflies. When he is open and lets me in, there is nothing better. I am cautiously optimistic. I’m hopeful. I’m also keeping my options open until he is able to claim I’m the one. I need that from whomever I partner with.

I know I deserve to be someone’s priority. I know that person needs to take the same measure of risk I’m willing to take. I’m willing to risk my heart, what is your bet?