Early in the morning; news of the Orlando shooting, later in the day, a call of a passing of someone close to a family member, late at night, word from my love swiftly ending what I thought was the relationship of my life.
Now, I am swimming in the deepest end of the ocean of grief. I breathe in grief. I walk through grief. I cry and write and do the best I can to show up for it. I stretch and light candles and ask people to hold me. And, still it is here.
If I tell the truth, I can tell you that grief has been beside me for my entire life…likely, the manifestation of early trauma. She grew in her presence as trauma has repeated itself in my adult life. I have always been reluctant to befriend her.
Instead, I have tried to mollify her, primarily by working harder, going from one romantic relationship to another, and doing my best to control the world around me. Over the course of years, I have attended 12-step programs, done plenty of therapy and sought to have a spiritual connection. And, that has all been incredibly helpful, as has been channeling some of my grief into creativity.
But strangely, I have never looked into the heart of this pain. I was so afraid of what I would see there. I’ve striven over the years to heal and rescue others, perhaps because I have avoided ultimately healing and rescuing myself fully.
The spiritual and sexual connection between my now former lover and myself was the most impactful love of my life. He met me fully in all ways; creatively, sexually, intellectually and had an ability to work through every issue with me. Until now. And just like that, it was over.
There is no blame or shame involved in this one. There are some very difficult circumstances surrounding his decision and my heart is only and forever with him. Love like this does not vanish just because the form has changed.
There was a bigger purpose in us being together. It looked like it was going to be one thing to us, but it is perhaps another.
For me, I cannot look to fill the hole with someone else. He is irreplaceable to me. I cannot work myself away from this grief. The pain in my chest will not allow me to do that. I cannot spend or eat the grief away. Those addictions died in me years ago.
So, here I am, at fifty one years old, left with a grief whose heart has never been met. Here is the calling….my calling. I am meant to learn to love her, embrace her, see her, feel her…because she IS me. She is the part I am ashamed of in myself, lonely and sometimes desperate. Sometimes she still gets panic attacks. She is the part underneath the early and compiled trauma and distress that I’ve worked to heal but still has remnants. She’s crying some days underneath the “I’ve got it all together” facade. She is the hidden, the forbidden.
She is writing this missive with me. I see her eyes to the left of me. They are shimmering today, sparkling. She is young. She shows up this morning as me at about four years old in a yellow satin dance school costume that I used to wear around the house when I was happy. She is so grateful to be invited to the party…in this case, the party of my life.
I had dreams last night of women all over the world who have been tortured by the wounds of patriarchy. And of the men, just as tortured because they aren’t allowed to cry, to feel, to love and so they just learn to shut their hearts down on a dime. It was all wound up into many stories and images, but the message was the same.
My lover was a transgender man. This is an important part of the story. His courage in living fully as himself, allowed me, in a way I had never been able to before, to be prepared for this current healing. He is so “out” about his story, that I had no choice but to be out around my own queerness, my own bi/pan sexuality of which I’ve skirted the edges around for my entire life. No more. I am out and I will never go back in. Everything is holistic and for me, everything is about expansion.
As I am walking and talking and basically hanging out with the heart of my personal grief this week I am feeling the stirrings of something new. I can’t tell you exactly what it is yet, but I can tell that something good is on the way. Something that I have not had access to. Something soft and something kind, and something just for me. I’ve not really ever let myself have something “just for me.” I have had a compulsive need to give everything away in service to others, in service to my daughter, in service to the greater good.
But I am ready to sit and drink tea with myself. I am ready and willing to be in my home on a warm summers day, alone, reading for hours, like I did as a child, with no agenda to be “productive.” I am willing to still myself and calm myself and teach myself that the old trauma is over. And, that I do have the resources now, more than ever in my life to meet all of me.
As for a loving partnership that is sustainable? I WILL have it. It has been my quest and deep desire to know the kind of fullness I had with my last lover, but in a new way. A sustainable way. A way that does not involve the old dance of neurotic needs/abandonment. We didn’t have much of that, but one dance step of those on a day of tremendous pressure, felt by both of us, contributed to the hard, fast ending.
As I embrace this self-love and deep meeting of this grief, I expect to be emotionally free in ways I cannot even imagine. After 25 years in healing programs, I am ready for the beyond my wildest dreams time.
Every step of my past relationship was guided by the hand of the Divine, in a very specific way. I feel the ending was/is as well in the hands of the Divine.
One thing I have learned over the years through many ups and downs and all arounds the block and the planet and my inner life, is that we have a standing invitation from both Life Herself and The Divine. If we are willing to dive deeper and deeper, we will go into the unknown parts of the ocean. Very few are willing to do the deepest level of the healing work. And that is where not only the buried treasure lies, but new worlds. Worlds of unknown beauty, sublime mystery and vastness that is not even intuited on the surface of the water.
As my heart is broken and wrecked, it has also been broken open to hold and express much, much more love. As I love my grief, I embrace my own mother with whom I’ve had a difficult relationship, I embrace and write letters to everyone in my life I feel I owe an amends to, I embrace my beautiful eighteen year old daughter with more tenderness and acceptance. I cried in gratitude last night for my life’s work in story because it has always been my North Star. I am letting my friends see me in the middle of my mess and am asking for more help…asking them to love me right now. And they are, and it is deepening my relationships.
So here, from the center of my own grief, I want to share something. Everything else is being burned away. I am loved. You are loved. We are LOVE. Our only job is to receive the gift of who we already are. And, hold that light for others, as we radiate more and more brightly.
You have my whole heart. I am prostrate at the feet of life.