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My last serious relationship ended over a year ago and I was pretty solidly single for most of that time. I spent a respectable chunk of these solitary days reflecting on and untangling the reasons why that relationship didn’t work. I also put myself in new situations that forced me to grow and went on countless first dates. Given all of this, I thought that by the time my next partner came along, I would be ready to jump head first into the beautiful throws of new love without a moment’s hesitation. I was wrong.
Instead of being giddy with delight at the prospect of falling in love again, I found that as my feelings for this man grew I became increasingly terrified and anxious. My last break up had cut me so deep that the prospect of getting hurt again reduced me to tears. Over the last few weeks, I have lain in bed beside him in the early hours of the morning staring up at the ceiling thinking, ‘I could just bail now. I could just get up and leave and never return and save myself from inevitable pain.’ But something has made me stay. Perhaps the possibility of a wonderful, new beginning is worth more than the fear of another heartbreak.
I have spent many hours (and I am still doing it) berating myself over these conflicted feelings. I kept asking myself why I couldn’t just be happy and enjoy this period of exploration. What I had failed to acknowledge was how completely natural and ok these feelings were (and still are). Of course I’m scared! Relationship baggage doesn’t magically disappear over time – no matter how hard you try to throw it out. Despite all of this, I have decided to continue this journey and see where it could lead.
I have told myself that when I feel the panic rising I will bring myself back into the present moment with my new lover. I will be mindful. I will show up for him. I will remind myself that he is not my ex. I will allow myself to be vulnerable with him even if it is difficult. I will communicate about the hard things.
I will gather a ladder and lean it against the shelves of my soul. I will climb up into the dusty corners and reach into the back where so little light goes. I will gently carry down the bags that few people have seen. I will lay them down before me on the floor and then beckon for my beloved to come and join me. Together we will open the bags and I will show him, ‘Here, this is where it hurts.’ We will unpack the baggage together.
Yours in quiet hopefulness,
Peaches and Cream