I awaited his response to my anxiety-ridden admission that I wanted a partner—specifically, him as a partner.
He liked it free and easy, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when the answer finally came:
“I’m not sure I should jump into the first relationship I get into after my divorce.”
To be fair, I am just now ready to admit that I want something more, even to myself. It took all my courage to wish he was ready too.
Now the abandoned child starts telling me the story she has been telling me for decades. How can a voice inside sound so loud?
I am unworthy of love.
I am unworthy of commitment.
I am unworthy of respect.
Logically, this is not true, so why does it feel so real? Why, after all the growth, confidence, boldness and bravery, do I allow myself to believe, much less entertain, these thoughts.
I want to:
run until I collapse.
scream and yell.
cry until I sleep.
Somehow each of these options feels like an admission of loss or defeat—not something to embrace just yet. I recently made promises to stop choosing to suffer, even in the face of such a savage test to my resolve.
And so, I will:
take deep breaths.
move my body.
lean on my tribe.
After the blackness is lightened to gray, I will once again gently take my abandoned child into my strong arms and hold her tightly, reminding her to keep her heart open. I can grieve for the lifetime of loves that left through divorce, death and disinterest while protecting hope of love, affection, acceptance, respect and support.
I will remind myself of these truths about myself and my fellow humans and challenge any voice inside or outside to disagree:
We are a privilege, not a convenience.
We are not dolls who can be played with and put back on the shelf.
We are worthy.
Author: Lisa Foreman
Image: Sloane Smith/Unsplash
Editor: Toby Israel