I wrote the following about my most recent ex a while after we met. I knew meeting him was marking something important for me. I didn’t know what the significance was exactly. I didn’t even know if it was a connection that would last. It’s interesting to read this now that it’s over. What’s the saying? Everything’s clearer in hindsight. I think my favorite part about it though is hearing the voice of a woman so sure of herself in the unknown.
Time did tell. You are not here. And I have to be okay with that. I am still her. This woman—whole, magical and messy. I can see the forest for the trees. I felt love and became better for it.
Putting together sentences, I am as shaky and unbalanced as a fawn. How do I express myself? It’s been so long, and this is so new. I don’t know how to speak about it so I thought maybe I could write about it. But I am still overwhelmed and just as shy. No one’s had this effect on me in a long time. Usually, it’s so easy and typical for me to give in. Older versions of myself happily let the rush of romance and connectivity take over. My heart would be on the line before I ever even knew their middle names. Addiction at its finest.
With you, it’s different. I’m different. I am healthier, more healed and confident. I love who I am and the people I already have. I don’t need someone to serve as the balm for the pain of my life. I feel it just as much as the joy now; and I am better for it. I am not looking to be completed and I am not looking to be distracted. I didn’t think I was looking at all, but then suddenly there you were.
I don’t see you as a daydream. You are real, with all your own flaws and complications. So what do I do? I think I do what I could never do before: trust myself and take my time. Sit in the uncomfortable truth that you are still a stranger and I cannot control how this ends up—I can only be myself in it. Slowly, we’ll unfold. You could change your mind. That thought brings up this automatic anxiety, but instead of it reverberating throughout my body, it’s more a fading echo, a ghost from the past. It can’t live here now. When reminded, it fades. I cannot control what you do. God, it’s such a relief. I can just be. You can just be. Nothing could come of this. Something could come of it. Maybe something already has. There were moments where I really thought maybe my heart stopped working this way. When I’m with you I think maybe it could again.
I cry at the thought. Not because of you, but because when my heart cracks open I still feel the grief and shame of every time I was wrong before. Crying feels like letting that go. Crying feels like accepting I could be wrong now, but letting it be. I can’t help it. There is a bundle of pain, nerves and hurt around me when it comes to this, and it’s not a bad thing. It’s a reminder of how deeply I can feel, even when it’s been so long.
I feel more conscious within myself than I’ve ever felt with any previous romantic interest, and it’s not because of you. That’s not to say you’re not special. I actually think you are. But I know that what I am feeling has everything to do with me and the work I’ve done. I am not giving up parts of who I am to be here, and you’re not asking me too. I almost don’t know what to do with that. Maybe this is just sex. Maybe that’s an intrusive pessimistic thought. Maybe that’s the reality. It doesn’t feel that way though, and this being more rather than less is the scarier outcome for me.
I always thought I feared rejection, but the terror is in all the ways you seem to accept me. I have never been here as this version of myself. The unknown space of no longer shrinking to be desirable. No longer masking parts of myself I thought weren’t lovable, and the question isn’t how do you feel about it—the question is how do I feel? And I feel.. Excited. Intrigued. Inspired. Challenged. Confident. Kind. Curious. Passionate. Whole. Level-headed. Playful. Honest. Vulnerable. Open. Okay.
The path is unwinding ahead and I know now where it goes—A place where I become more of who I am and surrounded by people who love me for just that. Will you be there? Do I want you there? Time will tell, and I’m okay with that.