I spoke with a friend the other day who described me as having lost some of my lightness.
I said I know, I am damaged.
I remember the first time I thought that. It was in the early courting days with TAM, when I realized that I liked him very much.
And instead of doing my usual dive in head first, declare undying love, and neurotically obsess, I freaked out and considered ending things before they really got started.
Instead of pouring my heart out with every sordid detail of my life, exposing every vulnerability, I held back.
I was guarded.
And still am.
Because I know that I can’t handle again what I’ve handled in the past, and I have become disillusioned, wary, and some might say, pessimistic.
I’ve taken off my rose colored glasses and no longer see love as the romantic-happy-ever-after-end-all-and-be-all state of affairs that I used to.
I have moments where I think, “Oh, the honeymoon is going to end any second, things will turn south, and my life will soon be destroyed again.”
My heart has been bruised and battered, my trust betrayed. I have suffered deep trauma. I have lost my lightness, my carefree, optimistic, romantic self.
I have been broken.
And that’s the thing about dating during midlife; chances are, anyone who is single at 50 is probably carrying around some pretty hefty baggage. So two people getting involved may each have fears and defense mechanisms that make intimacy more challenging to create and a whole lot more frightening to maintain.
A lot of damage on this side of the hill.
I don’t know how others do relationships at this point, but I know that for me there has been a lot of push and pull, some panic and anxiety, and a disbelief that I can be loved for who I am even though I know I deserve it.
I’ve spent hours on end waiting for the other shoe to drop.
But instead of having the worst come true, I’m findng that my little heart is reopening.
And that’s what I see is the story of my relationship. It’s what can happen when two people come together after life has beaten them to a pulp. But when two people connect, bringing their combined hurts and triggers and fears, it can be, as I am finding, an incredibly beautiful thing.
Early on, couplings are often about passion and first love, or marriage and children, or a post-divorce freedom-fling. But there is such deep sweetness about a relationship that is all about loving each other for the damage and heartache instead of in spite of it.
I look at this man and understand that he too has gone through his share of brokeness and I all I want to do is love the shit out of him and see his being lighten up. I revel in seeing deep happiness in his eyes. I find so much beauty and joy in accepting him completely.
I look at him and want to love him through his pain. I want to be the person who reminds him of his goodness.
We all need to be reminded of our goodness.
We need to be reminded that imperfection is loveable. I know I need that.
He gives this gift to me.
I am healing because of his love. Healing because I am not the only one who comes to this with flaws that are welcomed. Healing because I am able to love someone else without expecting perfection.
Healing because someone loves me without expecting perfection.
I feel like my heart is a little less guarded. I smile more. I laugh more. I feel less on edge. I feel more joy.
There is sweetness and kindness and gentleness.
My love for this man shares space in my heart with gratitude for this man and this relationship.
I sometimes think “Why did it take so long to find this? Why did I settle for less? Why did I have to fuck up so many times before now?
And I realize that this tenderness comes from having fucked up so many times?
How could I possibly appreciate this for what a gift it is if I didn’t have anything to compare it to?
So in my very rambling way, what I am getting to is this:
This relationship is The One That Heals.