If anyone had told me a year ago I would be madly in love and heading into the next chapter of my life with such excitement and confidence, I would have told them they were crazy. I might have even been rude about it. But, here I am, now taking a second look at my cynical view of fate—as too many things keep working out and proving me wrong. At times I feel as if there are pieces of a large puzzle being rearranged, sliding together, locking into place, slowly forming the picture of my life as it is supposed to be—maybe as it was always supposed to be.
Saying that I have struggled in the past is a gross understatement. From this lofty spot I am in now, I look back and wonder how I could have made some of the choices I have made, how I couldn’t see what was so clearly bad for me—or a mistake about to happen. It is hard for me to fully remember the fog I was in for awhile and how it hindered more than just my vision but also my ability to reason, to make the right choices, to put myself first. It is difficult to remember how cloudy it was when you are standing under a clear blue sky on a sunny day. But, I do remember.
Some of the questions I have asked myself in quiet moments are – How could I have ever been with someone who treated me the way “x” did (insert any one of a list of ex-boyfriends)? How could I have made THAT choice? What was I thinking? I am fully aware that I struggle with my self esteem –I have for a long time. And I hold onto the adage that you can’t truly love someone else until you love yourself.
I had done a great deal of healing before meeting my current boyfriend, and was at a turning point in my life as far as understanding the need to surround myself with positive people who cared about me. But, I had only begun to see myself the way I needed to. I am 40 years old, and the sad fact is—until this relationship, I don’t think I have been loved—truly loved-- for myself for everything that I am—all the good and bad, the in-between, the things no one else knows. It is sad in that sense that it took this long, but it is beautiful in the sense that at the age of 40, there is a rebirth in my life—something brand new that some people never get in a lifetime.
In looking back at all my errors in judgment, missteps and wrong turns, I realize more than ever that it was how I saw myself that was the guiding force. This reflection in the mirror was created by my childhood, and my own experiences, and also by the people I let into my life—and all my insecurities led me to settling for less in relationships and friendships—basically, not valuing myself.
The thing is, it is a downward spiral. If you already doubt yourself, and let someone in your life who won’t value you either, you are deeper in the pit than before. It can be a succession of trips down a painful path, until you are so far gone that finding your way back is almost too long a journey to face. And I have been in that spot. That very spot when there seems to be no map to guide where you are headed, no compass to steer you.
I would never have believed I could be in this place now, not so long after being so lost.
Being seen is a tricky thing. Truly being seen for who you are without any games, masks, or hidden agendas is scary and beautiful all at once. It is disarming and comforting at the same time. I realize over the years all the things I have tried to hide that now I don’t worry about. I am truly myself in all the hours of the day.
I have had to share things I didn’t want to, let go of habits for protecting myself, and believe in tomorrow when it used to be all I could do to get through today. It has not been easy. At the heart of all this is trust-which has been such a foreign concept for me. It is not only trust that this person won’t betray me, but also trust that when I bare my soul, he will still be there accepting me after I tell him some long-held secret. I feel as if I am holding my breath each time I do—taking this huge leap and praying to land safely.
So far, so good. I think the bravest thing we can do is love completely. Letting go and believing in the best of all things. Even as I am in it, I can’t write the equation or pass along the secret. I can’t point anyone else in the right direction.
But I can tell you that there is a way back from the darkest path. You don’t need a compass, you don’t need a map. You need to believe that at the end of it all, with each step... you are worth it.
The real you is worth being seen.