I actually learned this a couple years ago and when I can stick to it, I feel so much happier. Forcing things has always led me to chase things that aren’t meant for me. When I’ve gotten those things, it doesn’t do anything for me. Or I realized that the path I was on was where I was supposed to be and I messed up more by trying to get to something else.
It’s hard to just stop, breathe. and accept what will come WILL COME when it’s supposed to. And what isn’t supposed to be yours, will never be yours. If something feels truly impossible, step back for a second. Is it just something hard in this moment? Is it something you need to work a little harder to accomplish? Or does it feel wrong way deep inside you, like this isn’t right at all? Sometimes you have to really work at something but sometimes your soul is telling you that this thing isn’t meant for you.
I haven’t always given up on something that I let flow. I just set a time limit in my head to revisit it in a day, a week, a month, several months, next year. And when the time limit comes, I might have forgotten what it was completely. Or it happened on its own before my arbitrary time limit. Maybe other pieces changed in time and it’s no longer relevant and easy to just let go.
The only hard part of this for me is friendships. I hate letting friendships go. Sometimes I try really hard to not let a friend go and we end up hating each other. I have two of those in more recent years. I am working to accept that people outgrow each other in friendships too. When I think of it in terms of how that friend is no longer what I need in my life, it’s slightly easier to let go. Military life means you move away from people and grow apart. If you end up back together in a future assignment, you can pick up where you left off. Or you can stay connected on social media and like/comment on their stuff.
I’m not a great friend most of the time. I shut down randomly. I disconnect and won’t answer my phone, text messages, or emails. I get too overwhelmed in my own life to be a good listener. I say I will do something and then I don’t. I forget often what I said I would do, send, or say to someone else. So I get that I am a person that others probably feel like they need to outgrow. That’s ok because I wasn’t able to really share deeply who I am with them so they couldn’t be a close friend anyway. Looking back throughout my life, I can see this pattern clearly. People thought I was fun and interesting, I shared just enough of me that they liked me enough to hang out with, I listened to them well, I shared just a bit more, they wanted a deeper friendship, I was unable to deliver. They left.
How do I get to a point where I can trust someone enough to tell them that my brain has been rocked by so much trauma since I was a kid that the VA determined I am barely functioning? That on good days, I look and act fine but inside my head, I am assessing everything I am doing, wondering when the next bad day will come? And on those bad days, I am not reachable. I won’t be able to tell you what hurts and that I might want to cry all day for no good reason, other than the pain inside me is so deep that it seems to have no end? Or how you think you know me but you don’t. You only know the facade I put out to the world. How can I be a good friend to anyone when I am so busy hiding my pain and living a fake life?
The thing is that I did let one person in, my wife. She knows all of this. How did it happen? How was I open enough ever for her to find her way into my heart and soul? Honestly, I don’t know how it happened. We talk about that time all the time; when she was so broken she didn’t care and to reach her, I had to let her in enough to see that I was equally broken in a different way. To get her to trust me, I had to trust her. It seemed so easy with her. After years of running from people who got too close, or who I was scared would get too close, I stopped running. I couldn’t run from her because it would’ve destroyed her. Early on I didn’t trust myself. I was a damaged runner; a person who could not let anyone in. But she needed someone. And all of the beautiful, emotionally mature friends she had were busy in their own worlds unable to say the words she needed to hear the most. The words that I have never been able to say to anyone else…I will not leave your side. I will not run. These people couldn’t offer her what I could. The universe brought us together when we were both at rock bottom. When we both wanted to die because living was too hard. And together we let the individuals we once knew ourselves to be die. We both let those versions of ourselves die and take with them the things that no longer fit.
We never forced anything, we just talked about our pasts, our presents, our futures. And the more we talked, the more our futures became one future, together. We told each other almost everything about the past, but we hid the feelings we had for each other in the present because what we had felt too valuable to lose. But those feelings grew on their own, so strong that they eventually burst out of us and we were left to find our way to the future we were meant to have. That was truly the first time in my life I didn’t force anything. So many times I wanted to tell her how I felt but decided against it. “Still too soon,” I would tell myself. But I didn’t know when it wouldn’t be too soon. I let myself just flow down this path until the time was right. We both felt it that night when we finally told each other how we felt. It was so amazing, so unexpected, so unforced.
I relive that night in my head often, because I didn’t feel so broken that night. I finally wasn’t too much for someone who I desperately wanted to be with. No one ever felt like such a perfect fit before her and no one ever will again. No relationship is perfect, but the love that fuels the relationship is perfect. It knows how to be patient and how to be present, the humans feeling it just need to heal, grow emotionally, and not be afraid to be open with each other.
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