I was born with wings—with a fighting spirit who refused to be like any other person.
I craved independence and the infinite sky. I often stood at the edge of the ocean and wondered what lay beyond the horizon, where the water and the sky met. I wanted to find that place. I wanted to embrace it and call it my own.
Thinking outside the box was the norm for me.
I would never accept that every question had only one answer. I knew there was always more ways than one to do something. And I had to find it. I wouldn’t settle for mediocre and I wouldn’t settle for no. The wings I had taught me that I could fly wherever I wanted. I could be whoever I wanted to be. I didn’t care what others thought and I didn’t defy authority, I just lived life the way I saw fit.
Quirky, yup, that was me. Sometimes I spoke too much and sometimes it didn’t make sense. But they were still my words. People didn’t always understand me and that was okay. I didn’t always want to be understood just accepted for who I was.
I certainly believed in taking risks—always pushing the envelope. I could risk it all when it came to jobs, moving from one to another until I found my place or moving in and out of my parent’s homes and walking away from people who were toxic to me. I was confident in who I was enough to know I could use my wings to fly when I was hurt or bored. When a part of my life no longer served me, I just moved on.
In almost all aspects of my life, I was able to live the most authentic life possible.
Yet, when it came to my heart, I lost those wings. In the midst of two marriages, I allowed the essence of who I was to dry up, to be buried deep inside of me with the key thrown away. Instead of allowing my dreams and hopes to flourish along with my significant others, I found myself living an existence that was different than who I really was. I changed my thoughts, feelings, emotions and needs according to how my partners thought I should be. Invisible chains held me down—not allowing me to express my truth. I lived being told what to do and how to do it.
Night after night I cried. I knew full well how I was bending more than I should. Yet, I couldn’t find the courage to fly again. I changed who I was for the other person. How could I do that to myself? Where was that fighting spirit and that beautiful butterfly?
I began to see that if a man wanted to stand by my side in life they had to love me for myself. Authentic, true unconditional love is a full and total acceptance of the other and that was all I wanted.
One Sunday night it happened. He didn’t show up with fireworks. He simply walked into the backyard of a house party I was at and our eyes met. At that moment the authentic part of me sprang back to life. The voice, buried inside of me for so long told me, “This is it, take that leap of faith. You won’t regret it.”
So I did. I followed my inner voice and began to let him in. It didn’t take me long to know what I found was rare. Looking at me, I could see he saw more than just physical beauty. He was drawn by my very core. He saw the dreamer in me, the need to find and search for all that I wanted in life. My chaotic mind didn’t scare him. And to this day, it still doesn’t. I can be fully naked in front of him both in body and soul and he craves me for all I am.
He encourages me to be crazy, to stand at the edge of the ocean and wonder about what is beyond that horizon. My body melts into his and I know without a doubt the essence of who I am is all he wants. I realize now a healthy relationship is one where we let the other person be an individual and never change for anyone.
My wings have grown again. The beautiful butterfly, who I once was, has been found again. Every day, he encourages me to keep flying, keep dreaming and keep being myself and to never, ever let anyone else tell me otherwise. I found my voice again. That quirky, spirited, independent woman has broken through the chains.
This time, I vow never ever to be held down again.
Author: Leigh Ann Berger
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock