Almost

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heart growthI used to have this special ringtone for my boyfriend’s text messages. For three years that special “ding” told me that it was a message from him. I deleted it from my phone in early May when I realized our only texts were about separating our lives and our belongings, and every time I heard his special “ding” it only brought fresh tears to my eyes.

I was standing with a group of people Sunday morning when I heard that special “ding” from someone else’s phone – and after a few moments I realized something important. My heart didn’t jump. I wasn’t overcome with anxiety. My eyes didn’t fill with tears. I heard that special sound and it hadn’t affected me. I kept my peace – and that accomplishment brought me even greater peace.

I carried that peaceful feeling with me throughout the day, and I let myself think about him, and our life together. I usually try really hard not to think about him. I miss his voice. I miss his hugs. I miss the way his neck smells. I miss the way we always used to hold hands. Despite our ups and downs, I really did believe our love for each other would transcend any real or imagined obstacle. I loved him so much – I wanted him to be the right man for me – and he almost was. And I was almost the right woman for him. Almost.

God – that’s just so demeaning and insulting. Almost. What the hell is almost? The fact is neither one of us fully accepted the other without judgment. I guess that’s what almost is. Almost is not accepting someone for who they are. Yes and no are definitive. Yes I accept all of your beauty and all of your flaws, and I can live with you. No I can’t accept all of your beauty and all of your flaws and I can’t live with you. Almost is just some kind of a bullshit judgment dump. “Gee honey, you’re awesome, and you’re almost awesome enough, if you would just change (insert bullshit judgment here).” Almost is just so f’ing hurtful.

I had to face the fact that I was as guilty of almost as he was. Accepting this unpleasant fact about myself felt like a big step. If I won’t fully accept my partner for who he is, and if he won’t fully accept me for who I am, then I shouldn’t be there. It seems so simple. I guess I just had to take the reeeeeeeeeeally long way around to get through this particular lesson.

Sometimes my lessons come gently like a leaf floating on a breeze, and sometimes they come like a brick to the side of the head.

I guess I needed a brick. Or maybe just a familiar ringtone.

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three little words

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Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane

I was cleaning out a drawer last weekend and I found something I wrote almost ten years ago. I had just come through a divorce, and I was beginning to really dig into the idea that I could create the life I wanted to live – I could create the woman I wanted to become. So I made a list. God knows I love a good list. I wrote:

I want to be….

Kind.

Forgiving. I want to be able to forgive others and forgive myself. I want to let go of the past.

Generous with my spirit and my gifts – time, talent and treasure.

Loving. Able to give and receive love freely.

Fearless. But not foolish. 

Compassionate. One who seeks first to understand, then to be understood. 

Honest. Always. With myself and with others. 

Direct. But diplomatic.

Silly and Serious. I want to be able to sit comfortably in both of these without fear and be able to enjoy both of them freely. 

Faith-full. As in full of faith. To live every day grateful for God’s perfect love, and sharing God’s perfect love with the world. 

Fair.

Flexible. To be able to embrace change whether it’s change in my routine, change in my breakfast cereal, or larger scale change in my life. 

As I read my words from years ago, I felt the strangest feelings bubble up in my chest. I felt sort of sad, then sort of happy, then sort of peaceful, then sort of…ohmygod…sort of…this is so weird…sort of…proud of myself. Then when I realized I was sort of proud of myself, I became immediately ashamed of myself. All of the messages had started playing in my head “you’re unkind”, “you’re disrespectful”, “you’re selfish”…. Those messages that had started out as external messages, and had quickly become my inner voice of doubt and shame. There is that icky feeling again.

Then something really amazing happened – something that should have happened a long time ago. I got really mad. All of a sudden all I could feel was this deep, pure anger. I’m not talking about just being really pissed off – it was bigger than that. But I’m not talking about being enraged either – it was more authentic and focused than rage (which to me has always appeared to be out of control and terrifying). This felt distinctly powerful – even primal – it was a flash of life-force sort of energy.

 “NO I’M NOT!!!”

Omg – who is this woman? Who is this beautiful warrior? I like her.

No I’m not…three little words that turned my inner world from anguish to acceptance. Three little words, just seven little letters, that brought me back into focus. Those messages simply were not true, and I could finally see it.

Thank you, primal warrior voice from deep inside me. I’ve been looking for you for a very long time.

I should have silenced those messages a long time ago. But I couldn’t do it. Because I believed them. I believed I wasn’t kind enough, I wasn’t respectful enough, and I wasn’t selfless enough. I just believed I wasn’t good enough.

Now I know better.