I’m an idiot at intimacy. A real fool at relating. A complete chump at connecting.
Yet, despite the facts, I find myself here in this beautiful union with a beautiful man and I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t even know how to conduct myself in a functional relationship, because it feels so freaking foreign to me.
I’m at a complete loss.
This relationship doesn’t feel sharp and jagged, like the inner pain and anxiety I’ve been accustomed to for so long. Like the manipulation and abandonment I’ve been accustomed to for so long. Like the troubled inner marriage I’ve been in for too long: a stormy yet passionate affair, filled with tension, arguments, negativity, and a sh*t-ton of criticism.
No, this relationship feels soft and feathery and warm and comforting.
I feel supported and loved and it’s scaring the shit out of me.
Why is it scaring the sh*t out of me?
Because it doesn’t match the thorns I still sometimes feel on the inside. This soft and wonderful outer relationship is at odds with my still sometimes stormy inner relationship.
Are my insides up to the task of softening the thorns so that my heart can fully embrace this wonderful love?
It’s scary to think about a life where I’m not married to my own pain. Where I’m not married to the harshness, the criticism, the self-doubt, the worthlessness, the negativity.
At some point in time, I took a vow to never let myself get hurt or truly love anyone. I vowed to always hold my pain close and snuggle it hard at night.
My pain was my lover. And, it kept me company for a long time.
In a way, it truly was therapeutic to really get to know my inner demons. To know them intimately was exquisite and it showed me how they controlled my life at times. To let myself dive into that deep inner pit, get comfortable, and take a good look around was sobering and oddly inspiring.
But, at some point, I stopped seeing myself as something separate from my pain. It was like I was my pain. Not a person. Not a woman. Not Sarah. Just pain.
This is where working on ourselves can get really dangerous: we can get stuck here, overly immersed in our suffering, married to our pain forever.
We forget something really important:
No matter what awful things we have been through, there is a part of us that survives unscathed. A part that is separate from the wreckage. A part that is so strong, its light can never be extinguished.
It’s this resilient quality that I lost touch with.
I was so encased in my coffin of internal suffering that I couldn’t see that there was a part of me that really, truly was okay all along.
It is this part that I need to let out. It is this part that I now make a new inner marriage to, one that really will last forever.
Once I do this, I can open my heart fully to this wonderful man, who stands before me with love in his heart and compassion in his eyes.
But, as always, the work has to happen on the inside first. The outside can inspire the spark, but the inside is needed to light the fire.
So, let’s set our pain and suffering aside for just one moment.
There is no need to be so attached to our stories of torture. In detaching just a tiny bit, we can become more aware of this inner strength, resilience, and fire that is present in each of us.
We just forget.
Let’s remind each other, often and always: we can embrace and love and learn about our pain, but we must not marry it.
To marry our pain is degrading, and we deserve so, so, so much more. We deserve to be ignited with real love: on the outside and on the inside.
So, today is the day:
I’m filing for divorce.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photos: Flickr/John Bullas