I’m in the midst of going through a major transition, both interpersonally and intrapersonally. It’s been a long time coming, but for the past few months I feel my upper limits have shifted and reached a new climax I did not know was possible for me, and had only dreamed about and longed for from a distance. Much of it has been a long time coming, but recently there is an element of my own journey of healing and growing that has not been able to fully come alive because I’m realizing, it needed just the right environment and context to facilitate this change – a growing, healthy, reciprocal, intimate, relationship with the opposite sex.
It’s been a game-changer for me. No amount of isolated self-help books, 12-step meetings, prayers, journaling, or therapy could bring this about, even though I wholeheartedly believe they in their own way played a role in preparing me to be in a healthy intimate relationship. I needed a felt-sense experience with someone else who could be emotionally available with me, despite how vulnerable it felt for both of us, in order to get to the next place of growth. So much bullshit I’ve believed about myself and about relationships is being confronted, not just intellectually or theoretically, but experientially, one risk taken at at time. I feel more lucid and grounded than I’ve ever felt, even though the new experiences are scary and require tons of courage to go through and I sometimes fall down in the process as I try to make sense out of this emerging new normal, I can get back up faster. I now see this kind of relationship for what it is – a rare gift that has immense value and I will treasure it for what it is.
I did not go out and expect this relationship to turn into what it naturally has on its own, not that we don’t take ownership of our contributions to being where we are and heading towards where we are heading. It’s the compatibility and synchronicity on so many levels, which makes it feel just so natural and effortless. I cannot take credit for being so ingenious and all-knowing for the impeccable timing of where we each were at internally on our own journey and how our paths crossed when they did. I have been open and forthright within myself and others by consciously and persistently longing for this type of intimate relationship. The pain of NOT having it only reinforced how much I longed for it but could not manufacture it on my own, no matter how hard I tried or how badly I wanted to. An intimate and loving mature romantic relationship cannot be produced by one person alone, no matter how strong-willed and determined they are, just as one person cannot become pregnant or get a woman pregnant without the necessary participation of another in the natural process of coming together sexually to create a new life of a baby. Outside of an immaculate conception or in vitro-fertilization which is manually or technologically assisted fertilization which still by the way requires both an egg AND sperm, one cannot create a new life alone. Similar to the creation of a new life, the type of relationship I longed for could only be produced with two people coming together and connecting by both of their longings for this same type of relationship and deeply valuing the process and maintenance of it, and both owning the process and maintenance of it.
For us, it first started as a friendship that began a long long time ago when we were both little defiant adolescents, and not as a romance. Now, it is both. This is my best attempt at trying to describe the indescribable of how I experience this relationship. I experience movement in this relationship towards having more safety and freedom to be me, to not have to cap my emotions or thoughts, even though I do experience fear while being vulnerable, more than not, the feedback loop is reinforcing that the risks are worth it. I am learning one step at a time that I don’t need to hide those parts of me out of fear of being misjudged, mis-attuned to without attempts to repair, not that I am perfect and don’t need to grow and change. Quite the contrary; it becomes more and more clear to me in this relationship just where I need to grow and change, but I am empowered to do just that, because I feel held, seen and heard and embraced – not pushed away in this relationship when my shortcomings pop-up. When my vulnerabilities become felt and apparent to me and when I share them with my man, I am held in love. The hiding, in order to protect myself does not call to me so much, I want to come out of hiding because my man wants to more fully see me, all of me and this gives me courage.
Partnership – that is exactly what my relationship feels like. It is a monumental part of what is redefining my new normal. A deep friendship where there is chemistry, romance, trust, and love with a desire to welcome all the parts of one another, not just the ones that make us feel comfortable and at ease. My man can take me, all of me. Again. Monumental for me. He wants to take me. All of me. I can turn my more intense-complex inner-parts way up and I know he can take it. He will not withdraw and shut me out in order to protect himself from drowning from all the parts that make up who I am. He will draw me out more, even if whatever feelings, words, or thoughts are indeed a LOT to handle, he can handle himself while handling me. It is imperfectly messy at times, and yet it is real – the mess is real and I want what is real, not a neat fake response. This dynamic is irreplaceable and not able to be artificially manufactured by me. Much of this comes within him, I may nurture it or call it out of him, but it is his. I can grow, heal, change and learn to love myself and him more and more, it is freeing even though I can feel the risk-taking as very palpable at times. I have many areas I need and want to grow in, and this relationship expedites that because my partner is willing to also take risks with me. We have reciprocity, we are growing in our trust and our love towards one another and towards ourselves at the same time. We are both learning so much from this relationship already, and I can’t wait to keep growing and learning with him, the struggle is worth it. There will be uphill battles, no doubt, that is life and I fully expect those to keep coming, I am not ignorant of reality. But part of not being ignorant of reality also means acknowledging the rewarding parts of reality, love that motivates me to fight the good fight. I am in love and I am being loved. No bullshit. But when our inevitable bullshit surfaces and we become aware of it, we affectionately call it out and love each other out of needing to bullshit ourselves and one another, one step at a time.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:8. Fear hinders love. Love hinders fear, they are not partners. I am finally getting this now, much thanks to being with an amazing man whom I deeply love and deeply loves me.
Babe- I love you, you know what this picture symbolizes….it symbolizes something that we did not manufacture on our own…it showed up for us when we least suspected it. Thank you for helping to re-define my normal, you don’t even try to do that – it just happens when you’re naturally being who you are when we’re together.