I texted this randomingly to one of my friends today, “I stopped loving you the day I decided to start loving myself.” I knew she’d understand what I meant. Years ago, that was the mantra I used to get over a man I had been dating for many years who mistreated in me in pretty terrible ways. While I have moved on from the relationship and have grown so much over the years, it is not without a struggle.
Let me first say that I don’t struggle to see my value any longer. I have self-love and I am overly blessed with love from my family and friends. I have had so many deep, meaningful relationships with this group of people. Yet I still struggle with romantic love. A few hours went by and I texted this again to the same friend.
“I feel wretched. I feel like there is not one person who can actually love me for me. I feel unimportant and like I wonder why I’m so unworthy of love. Maybe the Universe is trying to send me clear signs that I’m meant to be single. And I have been spending years fighting this. Why? Why can’t I just let it go. The thing is I always hope. I always try again. Only to be disappointed over and over again. I feel like I’m just trying to learn some skills, some pathway to help me survive this life. And everytime I think I’ve got it figured out, I am back to where I started. And I realize I know nothing at all.”
I have done countless research, reading, and meditation about all types of things that relate to all of this. I know all about energy vampires, the law of attraction, and every other kind of spiritual hooky stuff that I actually do buy into because I am super into the woo woo life. I have spent time with the appropriate crystals, worked on balancing my chakras, done EFT tapping on meridian points, worked with my spirit guides, chanted and prayed to the Divine, and done a considerable amount of herbology and other assorted witchy rituals. None seem to get me any further than the point I am right now. Which is back to square one.
I read somewhere (likely a meditation book) that the ability to love is a skill and we can cultivate that. But what about the ability to be loved? Is that not something we can cultivate also? I already know how to love. I am an all-in friend. I will give a lot. I’ve had many loving relationships like this. Yet still in this one area, I resign myself to the fact that maybe it’s just not for me in this lifetime. Maybe I have not acquired the skill to be loved?
This month I will turn 43. When I turned 40, I went to Mexico alone on a bit of a spiritual trip and learned a lot. I learned that I am quite content with just my own company. The truth is I feel criticized a lot in relationships for every little thing I supposedly do wrong or say wrong, but I like me just fine! I’m not perfect-far from it. I don’t expect that from others, so I am always baffled why that is the standard for me. While I was on this trip, I started to reconcile some things in my life that weren’t the vision I had of my life when I was younger.
A lot of people ask me why I don’t have children and why I am not married. Then they seem to look at me odd and run down scenarios of what must be wrong with me in their head. I used to feel so ashamed that I did not fit into some standard that I thought was required to be happy. I strived to be “normal” and I was most certainly never normal. Normal was some goal I had, and I went after that with a ferocious intent to prove my normalness. When people ask me these questions I have so many responses running through my head. Namely it’s none of your business and I don’t need to explain my life to you. To my friends I would say, there is so much that goes into this response to such a question.
I am not where I thought I would be at my age. In many ways I am much further than I thought I would be. I would have loved to have children. I very much believe I have such mother energy in me and would be very good at this role, yet that is not what the Divine had in store for me. So the next question I get asked when I tell people I can’t really have children due to fertility issues is, but can’t you adopt or do IVF? Well, I guess I could but not really. Those kind of things are expensive and I go through life on a librarian salary and as a single woman which makes things infinitely harder. I also wonder about pushing open doors that have not opened for me naturally. I am not against this for others, but every time I have spent energy trying to force something into being it has not turned out well for me. I think if this path was meant for me the barriers would have lifted in some way. They have stayed closed.
Six months ago, I had to have a few biopsies for some abnormal cells. They are still present, small, but still intruders in my body that I wish would go away. I have to go soon for follow up testing. I recall the doctor sitting down with me with a concerned look in her eyes. I was alone in the room getting the news because of the COVID environment. “Now you don’t have any children, right? You weren’t planning that at your age, right?” No, I told her I had reconciled that a few years ago. Still it hurt to hear.
I left that doctor’s office alone but just fine. I’ve always been okay on my own. I have always been strong. A good friend of mine has always said she feels so alone even though she has been married for years. I used to worry about getting older and being all alone. Who will take me to the doctor if I am sick? What will I do when the last person who loves me unconditionally leaves the Earth (my Mom)? How can I manage? I am going to manage just fine. Just like I always have. I might be alone, but I’m not really alone. I have a lot of ancestor and spirit guides always with me and they are actually quite a chatty bunch.
Back to where I started with this post. The need to let go. We often say, “well you need to let it go. Practice letting go.” Letting go is a standard thing we say in the woo woo business. “Oh your life will be SO much better if you just let go.” So here is what no one does tell you. Letting go sucks! Yes, it is not some spiritually enlightening, fabulously cleansing thing that leaves you feeling euphoric and like you just saw a unicorn in your back yard. It feels wretched. It’s soul crushing work. It will try you and make you cry again and again, and again in my case. It will feel like the world is unfair and unjust and like one big giant suckfest. It feels like everything is designed against you. It blows big time! And what will happen is that everytime you think you are actually there, that you have let go, you start to cling back to that thing again because the fear becomes so overwhelming. The power of this fear is so intoxicating. It makes you believe that you need this thing, whatever it may be, even if it is entirely not for you. And you will scream and shout and do everything in your power to cling to this thing because the devil you know is easier to accept than the fear of the unknown.
Right now I am in a phase of letting go. But this is a process and it takes time. I am not there yet. I started at 40 and now at cusp of 43, I am almost there! That is three solid years of work. I am completely exhausted by it.