If I Loved You, I Still Do


And I always will

Photo by Nick Fewings via Unsplash

We have grown apart for a reason or reasons. We know that reason or reasons. Perhaps we’d always known them. Yet we tucked them deep within ourselves and buried them as lies. Our little truths were showing their heads, flashing beady eyes — devils from the dawn. We wanted to escape the crumble, denied the fall. But it still happened. I have loved what some may consider many and others not enough. And I love them all still, and I always will.

Our meeting had been destined to occur but not fated to last. Their presence in my life had its effects.

I have either become stronger from knowing them or wiser. And in my days of believing I’d become weaker, I have learned we design what we truly want and what we truly need. If I stayed, that was on me and me alone.


In The Beginning

Growing up, I was the eldest of seven children, three of my siblings lived with me. I was their “Go-to” person, their safe place. I cooked, ironed clothes, helped with homework, played with, and disciplined boys who would become men. Without going into much detail, I’ll express that my mom was fighting demons we could not see, and we suffered because of it.

Our household lacked the parental units necessary to maintain it and we grew up well before our time. Being children of divorce and separation, we all developed certain psychological “issues” that would linger into adulthood. I struggled with abandonment and fear of loss. I still do.

I am open about this and am the only one who has sought therapy because of it. I know there are still pieces of me yearning to have my “original” family back and a mother who was more active or involved, but I also know the past is gone and there’s no getting it back.

Healthy human development requires needs for physical and emotional care to be met. Unmet needs can result in feelings of abandonment. — Good Therapy

I search for bits of what I wanted my family to be in the people I meet: a devoted & more present mother, a faithful & more responsible father, less violence— curbed dysfunction . . . But I have to remind myself, I cannot go actively looking for what I am missing — it cannot be my ultimate reason for building relationships.

It is an everyday experience in knowing who I loved and why and remembering what I have lost too.


Growth Spurts

I have riddled my adult life with relationships where either I was deathly afraid to leave or my partner or friend felt as though they couldn’t leave. We stuck to each other, okay with the familiar, exasperated with holding on, but denied ourselves the freedom of letting go. I held on much longer than I should have. I did not want to lose them — I’d lost so much.

Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. — Mental Health America

It was obvious that much of my behavior centered on codependency which stemmed from feelings of childhood abandonment and either I was going to stare this truth into its face and take it head-on or continue to deny it. I faced it. I am getting better daily because of this option.

During these growth spurts, I have had to let go of some people I loved and will always love but held on to them because of history or decades of time that lapsed between us. Or . . . I did not want to feel what I needed to feel without their presence — peace. I didn’t know it would exist without them.

I tightened my grasp even if the relationship was one-sided; I did what I thought would keep us together: I showered them with gifts, made more time for them, checked up on them even when the gesture had not been reciprocated. In short, I removed layers of me with any semblance of hope that it would change them or make them stay.

In letting them go and giving them room to run, I also learned not to chase after them — not to reclaim what had been dead years before its actual expiration date.

There is an overwhelming sense of relief leaning into genuine bonds and friendships that come with no strings attached. I am also more aware of pointing out codependency, negative attachment, and fear of abandonment in others and moving away from forming these types of relationships.

Not that I am perfect in the selection of those coming into my life — I never will be. This is a testament that I now know what to look for and how to bow out of or back away from what could be potentially harmful to me.


You Are In My Heart

If I loved you, you had meaning in my life. You were here for a time and if you have vanished, that time has passed and rightfully so. I mourn your loss just as I would the death of the physical body. Your soul remains. I can feel you.

It was wise for us to part, for us to move on and move forward, and I believe this wholeheartedly. I am still learning, still growing, and recognizing parts of me that need fine-tuning.

But I know I loved you, and I always will.


Originally published on Medium.

He’s Getting Married - No, Not to Me

And, I couldn’t be happier for him

To my surprise, on August 29, 2020, I opened my mailbox to their invitation. One of my exes and his fiancé are marrying soon. I guess I cannot really call it a surprise. I knew I would receive an invitation. He and I spoke about it, but I buried it in the recesses of my mind and sort of forgotten about it, until yesterday. This will not be a belligerent recanting of how I am hurt or upset or even bitter. I am undeniably happy for him and his wife-to-be.

*Jay is a catch. He is a man I would be more than happy to recommend to a woman deserving of him. He’s intelligent, witty, creative, and in touch with his feminine side — he is a listener who heard me every time I had something to say. And if there was action needed for us to work, he stepped into that action. We just did not work, and there are reasons for that — all of them outside of our control.

I think it’s important for couples in intimate relationships to recognize when the spark disappears and is no longer attainable to move on from one another in that realm. Jay and I stayed friends — good friends, the kind that check up on each other and have lunch or dinner with each other when he is in town. We had/have so much in common, and that remains. But, I knew, years ago, I did not want marriage. And even if we had made it as a couple, I doubt, if he proposed to me — I would have said “Yes.”

Learning of this significant news caught me off guard. I’d sent him a text message one evening, as I am apt to do from time to time and we sort of fell into a discussion about life and he later said, “Hey! Did I tell you I am getting married?!” To which I replied, “You most certainly did not!”

I wish I could describe the overwhelming feeling of elation to you in my response. I want this for him. I have always wanted him to find happiness and whatever he believes that to be — it is my hope it manifests.


I gazed at the invitation for a long time. I looked at him and his beautiful wife-to-be and smiled. I shook my head in disbelief — this is happening! Jay is getting married. And I smiled again. The background image is of the two of them, standing in a record store, holding up an album, and on it are their names imprinted announcing the date. I thought to myself, “This must have been his idea.” We both love music and it is one of the first things that connected us to each other.

Now, this woman, this beautiful person he found to spend the rest of his life with, will get to enjoy his talents and all of whom he is.

They prepared for the times in which we live. Because of the global pandemic, the number of people who can physically attend is limited, however, they will stream it live. I will be in attendance from the comfort of my home. I will also send them a gift. I am more than happy to share in his joy in this capacity.

I wanted him to know I received their invitation. I sent him a text message that read: “My invitation came! Thank you! It’s beautiful and I’ll be in attendance from the comfort of my home. I’m so happy for you!” Knowing him as I do, I knew he’d respond within moments — that’s just him. And he did with, “Lol. Ok. Cool. Glad you got it. Did you have any questions about the live stream? And thank you!!”

When I think about who he truly is and who I truly am, we couldn’t last — not on that level, but as friends? There is a beauty to who we are as friends that needs no explanation. I love him and want only the best for him. I have watched his siblings grow up, begin their own families, move away to cultivate and enrich their lives, and I now know he is doing the same.


Four years ago, I may not have been as equipped to feel this way for him — to want him to find true happiness outside of being with me. I held on to some emotions that needed releasing and extracting from my system decades before, but this is what aging does — this is what growth does — it allows you to reflect on what you need to change deep within you and put it into action.

Because of this, I can tell you with no doubt, I am happy, truly happy for this man I once loved intimately and passionately to begin his life anew with his wife-to-be. I wish them wedded bliss–and anyone with evil intentions cannot harm or touch it. And should they want children, that they are happy, healthy, and equal parts of both of them.

He’s getting married and everything in me shouts in elation. And nothing else.


*Not his real name.

My Body: The Temple I’m Afraid to Touch

Beginning a journey with my hands

Photo by nappy via Pexels

In the past, I had been one with my body — I connected with it intimately in a way many others could not. I knew the softest spots, the places that led me to a peaceful night’s sleep, and the best way to cure unwanted fidgeting. I never feared what moved me — invigorated me — consumed me entirely. My body was a place that knew my touch — it knew what to expect from me. Of late, I have lost my way to the path of me and the treasure is nowhere in sight.

Can I get back to that place?

I’m sure I can, but I lack motivation. I don’t have the time. I’m not interested. My body is now the temple I’m afraid to touch and during a global pandemic, one in which being single is still my reality, touching myself should be high on the list of to-dos. It is not.

How can I get back to that place of consistent pleasure and the relief of tension courtesy of me?

Rachel Otis explains in her article, 3 Ways to Support Your Mental Health with Self-Touch:

Often a sense of release and even relaxation arises when we intentionally tend to our discomfort, even with the simplest gestures.

I hope it is obvious, the focus here is on non-sexual self-touch as opposed to sexual self-touch. A soft caress of one’s neck, a gentle massage of your legs, or even the smooth press of your palm can send small doses of healing to problematic areas of the body — relieving tension and pain. She further explains:

Self-massage can be a powerful way to release tension. After noticing tension in the body, I often direct my clients to use self-massage.

I used to be big on managing the pain in my body with self-touch. I focused on it significantly after a rough day by providing peace and comfort with a warm bath and gentle massages to different body parts while I soaked my cares away.

Now, I sprint home from work, walk my dog, hop in the shower, and do more work — work that stimulates the mind, but does nothing for my body. And then my day ends.

I feel myself fading into black.

What I can sense happening is a fear hovering over me as I’ve forgotten how to gain a sense of comfort by my own hands.

Are you familiar with the saying, “Use it or lose it?” Well, I feel as though my it is lost. I want to fight to get it back, but I lack the energy. I lack passion. The daily grind of my primary job is draining me of everything familiar that required a little more of my time and I am reluctant to divvy out any more of it to something as simple as touch.

Touch is our first language. Long before we can see an image, smell an odor, taste a flavor, or hear a sound, we experience others and ourselves through touch, our only reciprocal sense. — Ofer Zur, Ph.D. & Nola Nordmarken, MFT, To Touch or Not to Touch.

It is clear I miss the touch from another human being and I recognize and understand its power, however; I can provide what I miss most. Where, when, and how I will do this still hangs in the balance. I want to center the importance of rekindling my connection with self-touch around positive occurrences, but those are hard to find now. I have a myriad of stressful events taking place in my life, but I do not want to only turn to self-touch when my life is in total disarray. I want it to be neutral — to use it overall and indefinitely.

Beginning again is only an act of consent (on my part) away. If I am to build a positive relationship with my self and my body in the near future, I must not be afraid to get started. You may think, “What are you waiting for?” and you’d be well within your right to pose that question and I’d say, “I don’t know . . . Maybe a head-start?”

There’s no need of waiting any longer. I will get back to touching myself.

It’s time I give my body the gift it has been missing — my hands.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium.

 

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little black dress

womanblackdress
Photo by Anna Shvets via Pexels

in her little black dress, she stood
confidently, statuesque.

I bore witness to a goddess
laying claim to a nation undertaken
by neverending storms–stoicism
epitomized . . .

I bit my tongue
sensual words hung from it
and I needed to be professional.

I needed to see past
the little black dress and into
her heart, her mind, and her spirit.

this is how you lose the old you
in order to capture the new you
and grow apart from them both
eventually.

that little black dress
taught me how to step back
in order to move forward
and she agrees.