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When I was in my 20’s, I entered a short-ish relationship. We got together because he chatted me up and that was a rare occurrence. Because I was in my 20’s and mature (aren’t we all at 20?) and we were in a relationship, I decided to tell him about something traumatic that had happened to me fairly recently. I looked on in complete shock as he proceeded to rage against the news and rail against humanity . I sat there and wondered if it had happened to him and not me. I wondered if I’d chosen a good partner. I watched the aggression in response and questioned my calm.

After that instance, I stopped telling people the big things in case they too had the wrong reaction, in case they had the reaction I needed them NOT to have. I started to shore it all up instead and to hold my own hand through it all.Sometimes, sure, I’d end up blurting things out or randomly ‘losing it’ at weird junctures. But I served myself.

Now in my 30’s, I am trying to be more open about things as people are open with me, and it’s reminded me of that conversation. Now,in 20/20 hindsight, I know now why that instance stuck with me so much. At the time, I thought I remembered it because he was selfish, reacting in his way instead of talking me through it. Now I know better. Really, looking back, I knew what I wanted to think about that traumatic event and I wanted the poor, unsuspecting man to validate my view. I wanted someone external to walk the path with me and agree each step. I was asking him to process with me. He couldn’t. How could he? I asked him to be me and he failed. Of course he did!

Tempting though it can be sometimes, I do my level best not to go back there in any way. Since then, there are many things for which I’ve needed to beg understanding. Sometimes people get it, sometimes they can’t. But I know now that only I walk the path. I can ask for loving support but not for someone to take over the map-reading. Only I can know what I feel about it and where I should go to next. I can go with their blessings or their confusion or their disbelief, and none of those reactions make a difference if my voice tells me it’s right. I can ask opinion but not validation. Sometimes, it feels like I’m too tired and that it would be easier to hand the reins over, but then I smile because I know that would feel worse. I used to think that strength was cold, now I think it’s the best gift I can offer anyone in my life with whom I share mutual love and affection.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of heaven dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love; Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Khalil Gibran 

in flow

in flow

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