In my life I've had a lot of blessings. It's funny, though, how a few experiences can throw you off track and all of a sudden "the luckiest girl ever" isn't so much any more. As we get older we start thinking about things. We beat ourselves up over choices, or the fact we got drunk the night before. You wake up saying "Ugh...What was I thinking." It happens to the best of us. The trick is to not let it define your life. I was not so lucky.
I have always felt guilty about breaking up with one of the best guys ever when I hit my senior year in high school. I wanted to be free....well, that and I thought men didn't have the same emotions that women do (Thanks Dad.) In truth, I think the fact that he always knew who he was, what he wanted to do, where he would go to college, what job he wanted and where he lived was something I couldn't deal with. I was a free spirit, flying by the seat of my pants and taking life as it came; always someone who did what they wanted to do because it seemed fun. Not because it would make me popular or win me some crown. I just had no idea where I was going in life...it was yet to be determined, and I suppose I felt like I needed space to figure it all out.
In the end I devastated him, and in some ways I have never forgiven myself for it. Not to mention the fact I almost immediately entered into a relationship with a guy who would turn out to abuse me - verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically. That adds to the guilt. I had something so special. A one of a kind guy who thought I was the cat's meow. There was no one else for him. Of course, a few years ago, I paid for a background search, in hoping somehow he might take me back after all of these years, only to find out that he's married to a woman who's a runner, he has the job he always wanted and they have one child. Chapter and book closed. Still...I lament. I know I shouldn't, but it's hard not to do when you aren't finding someone to spend time with; someone genuinely interested in you. I want someone to look at me the way he did - those green eyes.....I still remember.
Over time, I began failing myself and being overwhelmed by others' expectations for me. On my 32 birthday my aunt and uncle came to town (they once lived here while he was in medical school). They announced their disappointment in their own children and that I was the last hope for the family name. You have to understand that on that side of my family there is a lot of a pressure to be successful; to be or marry a lawyer, doctor, CEO, engineer, etc. A LOT of expectation. You can imagine my shock. I love my cousins who are successful in their own right and married to fantastic women with beautiful children. Mostly, I was surprised that my aunt would agree. My uncle has always been a bear, of some sorts, just like my grandfather, who passed away before my parents were married. In that family, men are honored and celebrated. They're expected to be extraordinary and incredibly successful. My mother had three daughters. The pressure, apparently, is no less, but my Mom and Dad, due to their own circumstances, would not appeal to that "law".
I've carried that night and conversation around with me long enough. Over the years, I've let it keep me down. Instead I've replaced the opportunity for success with the fear of it. Ironic since that's what I'm so stubborn and determined to achieve. That's what's fueled my fury to keep my business and to make it work. In truth, I had to reach a point where I could let it all go and feel really good about it, before change in my life would happen. My stubborn nature was forcing me to hold on to something entirely uncontrollable.
When my epiphany started was two years ago. A friend I had become close to through a tragic situation repaid me for my love and also effort to help her achieve awareness for her business with a meditation class. It taught me to let go. To let go of others' expectations on my life. To rid all of those people whose energy I've been carrying around with me. Wow, what a heavy load! My Dad, My uncle, the perfect boyfriend, the abuser, my mistakes, disappointments and stumbles through life. I never realized how much it was affecting me. Today, I have a better relationship with my Dad, I'm in a good place with the abuser, still miss the perfect boyfriend, and have learned to laugh or forget my mistakes and embarrassments.
What I've come out the other side to learn is something my friend in recovery lives by: "Let go and Let God". Nothing could be more true. All of this time I've felt unworthy of receiving blessings and love in my life. If only I could have been better. Not made so many bad choices. Not gone through bouts of depression imposed by the pressure and possible disappointments the men in my life would see in me. If only.... I've come to realize that my deciding to move to Kansas City, closer to family and a "safer", more familiar place (maybe thinking I could be a big fish in a little pond once more) was more about me letting go than actually moving.
I can tell you it's been a pretty powerful epiphany. I see the world differently. Instead of worrying about business, and knowing I can just give it all up for a job, business has begun to come my way. It's coming to me in unexpected ways. Clients may want to take a step back but all of them want to come back - a first! And more over, past clients are coming back for smaller projects like consulting and even current clients are referring me all over the place!
When it comes to love, I became insecure. I wanted them to like me so much; especially when I thought they were perfect - tall, good looking, successful, gregarious....- in time I simply shut down. I shut down emotionally to the prospect of a real relationship. Maybe because they sensed my wall, maybe because they only wanted a certain thing, maybe because I felt undeserving after my poor choices, so I just made more poor choices in men. And...there's always the defense that I knew, or believed, I would break up with them, so why move forward.
For the first time, I've allowed myself to be uncomfortable in order to explore the possibility of my heart and what God might have in store for me. After all, He wants me to be happy and successful. The Universe wants that for me, so why, even though I want it, did I not believe I deserved it. Matt* was the first to treat me with respect. He wanted to court me, taking his time to get to know me. I still remember how it felt when we sat on the couch talking and he brushed the hair away from my face. It was one of the sweetest acts I'd experienced in a very long time. While it didn't work out with him because of his disease, alcoholism, I am confident it was God's way of slowly allowing me to experience how it should be. To tell me "Hey, Idiot! You deserve this!" In every way, it gave me the strength to open up and receive from Steven - someone who gives me everything I need in a relationship. This is what I've dreamt of. If you were to ask me to make a list, everything he is would be on it. It's not about what he looks like or the shag rug on his back, for the first time it's about who he is. The rest was simply a defense mechanism which has kept me single for far too long.
Now that I've realized the beauty of receiving, it seems to be coming in all forms. Today, I had lunch with a kindred spirit and the two of us immediately fell in love. She's fantastic and I'm looking forward to working with and building a friendship with her. We even spoke and shared about the power of opening oneself up to receive.
I am worried about my truth revealing itself to Steven. I'm scared of what he may think and if he would leave me for it, but I can't. Between now and the time that may happen is a lot of receiving that I can only believe will cure a number of those truths so they are no longer a factor. He makes me feel like I can do anything and it all started with receiving him.