“The hard part, the place where we hope wisdom will find us, is in deciding where and when we must break a promise to be true to ourselves.” ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer
The quote, an excerpt from the book, The Invitation, rang bells of truth throughout me.
I’d just broken a promise of love and commitment to the man I’d been with for the past year of my life—we’d planned to build our lives together. I remember the first time the thought crossed my mind that our love would not last. I was in love and totally enthralled with him, yet a small voice playing devil’s adovate in my mind made its presence known. It whispered to me stories of the future, a future in which I was settled down yet unable to give myself wholly to my relationship because I had never taken the relationship I had with myself seriously.
As a serial dater I had no idea who I was alone, although it would be a few more months until I truly accepted this fact. I like to think it was then that I realized I needed to get acquainted with who I was before I could ever fully love another.
During the few months leading up to the end of our relationship, my mind played a brutal game of tug-of-war: should I stay safe within the comfort of our love? Or break free to follow the nagging feeling in my heart, telling me I had a journey to take on alone?
Ultimately, I chose the latter, though the decision did not come easily. I was already thousands of miles away from him, traveling in Australia the night I ended it. The act was short and left me emotionally paralyzed, even if days later we both admitted we had seen it coming. Regardless, I had never been so confused yet sure of myself in any other moment.
He said he thought that our love was strong, that we could conquer the vast distance between continents that separated us. How could I just leave him with no solid explanation to give other than, ‘I’m following my heart?’ he asked. I didn’t know. I had no other answer to give, no white lies to tell nor comforting words to soothe his wounds. I only knew that there was a yearning deep in myself for independence and it was time to quench my thirst for knowledge in the world around me.
I needed to stretch my soul to its limits.
Months later, I’m still unable to give a truly solid answer as to why I left. There have been nights where I’ve tossed and turned remembering him, kissing his soft, full lips, our passionate sex, his everlasting reassurance that he loved me. Tears of frustration have been shed as I struggled through the ups and downs of my travels without him there to tell me, in his calming voice, that everything will work out just fine.
But still, I continue to listen to my heart, as it’s now my only consultant when trouble finds its way into my path or loneliness keeps me up at night.
As the healing process continues, each day feels anew with the abundance of self-discovery. I’m creating a fresh relationship with myself—one that is healthy and filled with love and honesty. There is no end destination on this journey of solitude I’ve chosen to take. And even though that leaves the questions of why, when, and where wide open, I’ve never felt so true to myself than I do right now.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Christina Lorenzo / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Moyan Brenn