non-attachment and the single girl
The last six months of my life have been interesting. It’s reminded me a bit of the period in my life I called the nun phase.
Years ago, after a break-up from a short-lived ex who literally emailed me to break-up with me and then refused to talk to me ever again (except for a short convo when I showed up at his apartment demanding to talk to him), I realized that I actually wasn’t all that heartbroken about him. The break-up did disappoint me and made me sad–but not for the obvious reasons. On some level, I realized this guy was not going to stick around. I knew he was opposite to me in so many ways. I knew we had different goals in life. I knew he was someone small while I was someone meant for more.
And while I loved him, sure, I wasn’t in love with him. I wasn’t giddy about him. I wasn’t all that attached. I was just enjoying something different than what I was used to. In a nutshell: he wasn’t my ex-fiance.
And that was what I was mourning. That ex. That life. And all of the tendrils that went with it and the Year of the Cyclone. Basically, losing love the year my mother also died.
And that grief triggered other grief. My unresolved grief related to my father.
It was a lot. And I knew I had to deal with it–head-on. So I resolved to not have sex–to not be seriously involved (because I don’t actually sleep with people I don’t love) with anyone for at least a year. It went on for longer than I thought and made a comeback a little while later. But, during that time, every guy I could possibly ever like showed up in my life and liked me back. It was a confusing, exhilarating, heart-breaking, healing time.
I eventually ended up with the 2nd real love of my life and was happy–really happy–for a little while. Thinking maybe, just maybe, I’d healed myself. Maybe I wasn’t this bruised person who would never find love. And I forgave my exes and was in a really good place emotionally for a long time. Until the thud happened and my life fell apart again.
I hold on tight. I was taught to do that. That things could be lost so easily. That things that were mine could be taken away in a heartbeat. One false move and poof. It’s probably why I have ptsd.
It’s also why I’ve been single so often. When I love someone, it takes me a while to open my heart again. I have to process things a long, long time.
The last six months have been odd for me. Something has shifted. So, the debacle that was the Canadian, Round 2, happened. I was pissed. Normally, that pissed-off stuff is a mask for pain and sadness. Normally, that stuff makes me a hermit and I go underground for months–at least–hating on men and keeping my distance. This time? Nope…it was just rage, really. I never actually really cried more than a few minutes, and even then, I knew it was like how I cried when I was little and was getting a shot. In an odd way, him being such a colossal ass made it easy to move on. Because I always knew he wasn’t right. And I was so settling when I let him in again.
And that’s why I took to the old dating site I’ve hated since I bumped into it years ago. (Online dating and I have a long history–and let’s just say–it’s not a good one).
I never thought I’d find anyone to even like as a friend–let alone be infatuated with. And I didn’t for a while. Then, when some dude who’d emailed me before offered friendship instead of the high pressure make it all happen now stuff people do–and I felt safe because he was so obviously off-limits–I ended up maybe almost loving him.
Of course, it fell apart before it ever really started because he was–in fact–a nightmare. Which is a reminder, once again, that I know all of these things long before they slap me in the face.
But it did something wonderful. It allowed me to see that the person I used to be who really really was capable of loving someone–who was vulnerable even when it was unwise–was still alive and kicking. It allowed me to see that I could–in fact–be happy in love again. And so–rather than hibernating and processing my broken heart (which was–I’ll admit–heavily bruised)–I stayed open and met others. And found more surprises waiting. But I wasn’t just going to go for broke. I established boundaries. I made my impulsive, impatient heart wait it out–mostly out of real necessity because of my crazy life right now–but also because…well…something wasn’t right. I couldn’t figure it out just yet, but there was something going off in my gut telling me to slow down.
An odd thing happened. I’ve noticed that, this year, I’m not so attached to these feelings. I have the crazy feelings I used to have–that infatuated what-if feeling–that comes with making genuine connections. But I’m less apt to believe they’re everything. I’m more apt to enjoy them at face value, take life as it comes, and not hold on to anything. To give it room and space and allow myself air.
It’s made for a lot of confusing things because I’m the girl who desperately holds on–who strangles things to death and allows others to define her happiness. But, these days, my happiness has zero to do with my love life. My heart is not shattered by things guys do or don’t do. I freely accept the moments we have, but I don’t define anything based on it and my boundaries are intact–despite significant opposition.
I came to this realization a few minutes ago that–while I’d love for more to happen in my love life–I don’t actually need it right now. I don’t need to push for anything. I don’t feel like I’ll die without it. I just accept whatever it needs to be. This is new for me. It makes me wonder, I won’t lie, if maybe I’m just not that into the situation. Maybe the person is not right. Maybe it’s the wrong timing. But, honestly, all those thoughts don’t fit this feeling. I don’t really actually care about right or wrong. There’s just connection and disconnection. I don’t question the connection at all. But I don’t feel the need to cage it either. Maybe that is not being in it. But it doesn’t feel like it used to either. It allows me to accept how I feel and how they feel. It allows me to weather the storms they throw at me. It allows me to not be defined by anything except what I choose to be defined by.
It’s freedom. And it feels so loving to me to not force myself to hold on so tightly to something that really can never be mine. I don’t own anyone’s heart except my own. And I’m really not interested in that right now. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel that infatuation sometimes. I just don’t actually need it to be whole.
Maybe this is healthy. I can’t really say. But I’m alright with this. And whatever else that happens, or doesn’t happen, because of it. I’m not going to be part of the tug of war dances that used to rip me apart. I’m not going to reassure you. I’m not going to curtsy to all the demands and stormy ponderings. It’s silly.
I will share openly and freely. I will laugh and say what I need. I will keep my heart open. But I’m not going to be part of the dramatic free falls that were so often my sources of heartbreak in the past.
I’m not afraid to lose any of it. And that is a miracle.