Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Being vulnerable does not mean letting go of me

Beginnings. Endings. Closing doors and openings. Stepping into the moment I find a new moment inside, beyond the moment, opening up, expanding this moment into the next.

A weekend invitation. To spend time with a friend at a mountain hide-away. We've known each other three years. We first met when I was writing a business plan for a company he was involved with. He was married. I was not interested in men, regardless of their marital status. He's since divorced. And I have moved into this space where the possibility of relationship is not as frightening as it once was -- still scares me but I am learning to breathe and remind myself, that was then, this is now. Over the past year we've grabbed a quick lunch. A coffee here. A glass of wine there.

"I've got a friends cabin for the weekend," he said on Wednesday. "Would you care to join me?"

There were no strings attached. No expectations. Two adults spending a weekend as friends.

And we did. Spend the weekend as friends. But in the midst of the laughter, the conversations, the sharing of our stories that were deeper than what we'd shared in the past, something shifted. Somewhere between the playing cards, cooking dinner, long tranquil walks along the lake shore and zooming across its surface in a power boat, the wind whipping my hair from my face, the laughter catching on the updraft, soaring up and around and above me, a moment opened up and possibility tumbled into the gap between us. Possibility of something more, of something deeper greeted us with its exciting, and its sometimes terrifying, ability to connect two people through something of greater substance than a lunch grabbed here. A coffee. A glass of wine there.

In my experience, I have attached myself to two types of men. Those who are emotionally unavailable -- I spend my time beating against their doors, hammering for entry knowing it will never come. In my insistence they let me in, I remain comfortable in my knowledge that I will never have to step beyond the confines of my carefully constructed wall masking my fear of being vulnerable. The other type of man is the emotional vacuum. Caught in the backdraft of his heat, the air between us is sucked out as our bodies become fused in a parasitic relationship that leaves me breathless, and afraid. And lost.

I don't do relationship like I used to. But then, I haven't really done relationship since getting my life back 4+ years ago. Somewhere in the journey from then to this moment, I have shifted my perspective. Created a whole different view of who I am and how I am. Turned the corner on my fear of me and embraced me in my truth -- this is my one and only life. And I am all that I am meant to be when I stand at centre stage of my own life and spread my wings. The choice is mine.

I still know fear. Still feel it. Taste it at the back of my thoughts in the after-bite of anticipation that someone has entered my space. Someone else is touching me beyond the everyday touch of civility and friendship. That I could open my feelings up to someone else and be vulnerable.

Not a happy place vulnerability. Scary. Shifting sands. Lost-in-time walking through fear to that place where courage awaits with open arms to expose my senses to fear, to joy, to the exhilaration of stepping out of my comfort zone into a place I've never been before.

This is new turf for me. A new terrain. A place where I have held myself away from. Protected myself from. In this space, I risk becoming blinded by fear, carefully tapping my cane, searching the ground before me for potholes, loopholes, any type of hole that might suck me into believing someone could be who they are and in their truth find me enchanting, appealing, exciting, interesting.

Since Conrad was arrested 4+ years ago, I have dated two men, both within the past year. One had possibility -- but timing was definitely off and as time together opened the door to time future, our directions changed and we went separate ways without fearing hurting the other. The second, I knew from the get-go the possibility would not open up to the vista of more simply because the rhythm of our steps through time did not resonate.

This time.

This time I feel the difference. I feel the pull. The lure of possibility there's something out there, someone in there, in here, around the corner, inside the moment opening up to something beyond more.

To be whole, to be safe without fear of drowning, to be free, I must ground myself in this moment, this place where I am okay with me. With my life. With who I am. I must stand comfortably in the knowing of my "I" and not be swept away with my yearning for more of my creation rather than embracing the truth of who we both are, exactly as we are.

I must stand in this moment, right now, open to what is, confident that I am who I am, regardless of the passion of the wind swirling around me. Regardless of who he is and who I think I could be with him. I must be me inside, outside, within me. And leave space for him to be who he is, inside, outside, within him.

It was a lovely weekend. As I fell asleep last night, tiny tears prickled the back of my eyes. I felt anxiety rising and thoughts of what if...? What if he's not real. What if it's all a lie. What if....? The what if's of time past. Of fear and terror and knowing I was dying through living my life in the web of someone else's untruths.

That was then. This is now.

Regardless of who comes in, or out, of my life, my truth is, I am a fearless woman touching hearts and opening minds to set spirits free. I am me. Exactly as I am. A bundle of nerves. Of cells united. Of cells dividing into beauty, courage, passion, fear, anticipation, determination, trepidation and a host of other feelings that pull me from my centre -- if I let them. My responsibility is to be true to me. To stand centered in my values, beliefs, morals, dreams.

The choice is mine.

In this moment right now, I choose to surrender and fall into love with me, all of me, warts and all so that I can be free of the expectation that someone else's life entering mine will make my dreams come true. My dreams are mine to create. To set free. To share. In my surrender, I open myself up to the possibility that relationship is not what I thought it was, but rather, what it becomes when two people step freely into the arms of possibility, confident in their ability to be whole, exactly the way they are. Knowing the possibility of more is an exciting journey of a relationship unfolding in time.

No one else has the secret to my happiness. To my dreams. To my life.

The choice is mine.

For today, I choose to be vulnerable to this moment where I am fearfully and fearlessly stepping into waters I've never swum in before.

I'm okay.

The question is: Where does fear of being vulnerable pull you under? Where are you holding onto your fears for fear if you let go you'll drown?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope he's not to quick to send flowers . .

tell him from me, he's a very very lucky guy to have caught you in the space you are in . .

in my business I was taught it is location, location, location

I've come to learn that just as important is timing, timing, timing

there is some other magical ingredient . . call if fair dust, call it magic, call it whatever you want . .but without it you cannot make magic happen

you, my dear, have this magical quality . . I know because a little smudge of it rubbed off on me and I was smitten; but then, there is that timing thing . .

I wish you all the joy that overcoming your fears may bring - the guy, he might be 'the one' or just an incidental traveller along your path . . the magic is in how you feel when you feel the way you feel right now; sometimes it comes at a price that is challenging to pay but I believe you will take full measure of it and give lots back in return

hugs,

mark

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thank you, Mark.

What an awesome comment -- and person you are.

L

Paula Joy said...

You describe where I am. Not in regards to a relationship with a man, because I am married. The end of your post lifted me and I want to be like that.

Anonymous said...

That is so beautiful, thank you so much.

I battle the same fear of vunerablity. Even as I was reading this, anxiety was building within me.

I've never been in a relationship, the thought scares me to death. I get anxious every time someone takes an interest in me.

I'm trying to work on living life courageously.
Living bravely not safely.

I'm so thankful to have a story I can relate to and be encouraged by.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

That is so beautiful, thank you so much.

I battle the same fear of vunerablity. Even as I was reading this, anxiety was building within me.

I've never been in a relationship, the thought scares me to death. I get anxious every time someone takes an interest in me.

I'm trying to work on living life courageously.
Living bravely not safely.

I'm so thankful to have a story I can relate to and be encouraged by.

Thanks again.

M.L. Gallagher said...

HI! Thank you for joining in the conversation and for sharing your light on my path.

What you wrote is very powerful -- to live bravely, not safely.

I love that concept. Wow!

I'm glad my story encourages you. Two+ years later, C.C. and I continue to deepen in love and commitment. It is not always easy -- some days it's downright scary. The joy for me is, I know that no matter the weather, I'm okay!

Hugs

Louise

Anonymous said...

WOW! You blew me away. The rawness of it - was me. My feelings. My fears. My weakness.
Now, I have strength and my fears are turning into braveness because I want what you have - love of self.
Bless you and thank you from the bottom of my heart,
FLP

M.L. Gallagher said...

Hello FLP -- thank you for dropping by and for taking the time to comment. I wish for you a peaceful heart and wings to fly courageous into the unknown

blessing,

Louise

Anonymous said...

Thank you - I needed to hear exactly what you've expressed in your article. I've been married ten years and this past year has been a tough one for both of us...realizing that "relationship" as we've known it in our marriage hasn't entirely been working well for either of us...currently working through the pains of making personal change for growth. We've separated, worked on our own personal issues, and we are coming full cirle to step back into the realm of relationship and its new meaning for us as two individuals who have chosen to share a life together. I have read books, researched online, and shared with others ideas about relationship/marriage. Your article has brought all the thoughts and ideas that have been floating around in my head together in a clear and simple message that I can live by. I will share this with my husband - it's what we've both been trying to wrap our heads around! Thank you again - you are an amazing person!

M.L. Gallagher said...

hello Anonymous, -- thank you for visiting. You inspire me! It is soothing and encouraging to hear you speak of 'second chances' today. I appreciate your words and thank you!

Louise