Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, I fell in love.

But it ended.

Badly.

I was told that it was over and that the failure was my fault, and mine alone, and for months I was a destroyed person. Then, slowly, I learned that the relationship had been built on lies. I had been lied to about almost everything, and when I was on the verge discovering the truth, it was easier to end things, lie to me again, and then run away. My sorrow turned to anger.

More time passed, and I realized that I had done my share of lying, too, and that I was partially at fault. I had lied to myself.

Then I fell in love again.

This time, I was manipulated and emotionally abused. I was used and taken advantage of, always believing that I deserved nothing better.

It took four years for me to get away, and to realize that I, alone, was enough. I went to work on myself, and I began to ask the really big questions in life that always see to start with “Why.”

Why did I make the decisions that I did?

Why did I not stand up for what I wanted?

Why was I so eager to hold on to something, to “fix something,” that I didn’t really want?

It was a hard process, but out of the difficulties came real personal growth.

Time passed.

I fell in love again.

This time it was different. This time it felt real, and I believed that it was, but it was quite possibly the worst possible time for it to happen. I was ready and I was willing, but I was the only one who was ready. Yet I have no sorrow about it, or about how things played out. I learned so much about myself and about the nature of love and relationships. The gratitude I feel will never go away. Although, not “together,” I feel like we have a closeness today that I’ve never really experienced before.   Friendship is love.

And so I move on.

About now, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing this on a “travel blog.” The simple fact is that relationships have been on my mind lately. The most epic, and adventurous journey we have in life, is with ourselves, and I’m no exception to this rule.

It’s strange to think about the route I’ve taken to get to this point. I am amazed that so many people I grew up with have children that are now young adults. Since we graduated from high school, most have married, and some have been married, had kids, divorced, remarried, had more kids, and gotten a second divorce. For the longest time I felt like maybe I was doing something wrong. I felt like I was somehow falling behind. I realize now that life isn’t supposed to be anything. I was trying to measure up to a ruler that doesn’t exist.   I was trying to figure out who I was. The older I get, the more sure of myself I become. I don’t think I had much to offer anyone, in terms of a loving, committed relationship in the past. It would have been a horrible situation to be stuck in. I am definitely not the same person I was twenty years ago (thank God), but if someone had ended up with me then, I think the relationship would have quickly crumbled.

As I’ve aged, I’ve had the opportunity to travel more and to explore the world and this has probably been the most self-defining thing I have done. It has given me a confidence and an identity that I didn’t have growing up. I feel like I’m slowly growing into the person I was always meant to be. It would have been unfair to drag someone along through this process.

I think this is why my early relationships were such failures. How can I be there and be present for someone when I had no idea who I was as a person? I couldn’t. I had so many walls around me that I was unwilling to be there, to be present for someone else. I refused to allow myself to be vulnerable, and without vulnerability I could never ask someone else to be open and vulnerable with me. It’s an unfair situation, and one that I now recognize. The result was always an overwhelming since of guilt about how I couldn’t bring myself to be the person that was needed for the relationship. I wanted to be loved, but was terrified to actually love.

I’ve been told that my traveling is perhaps a way for me to run away from my insecurities and my life. I think there is an element of truth to that, especially when I first started exploring and experiencing the world around me. Along the way, though, something inside of me began to change. The more I saw and experienced, the more confident I began to feel. Travel slowly brought me into myself. It showed me who I truly am.

This journey is by no means complete. I’m still very much a work in progress, but it gets easier everyday. My mind and heart have wrestled each other for years, but I’m learning to allow them to work together. Today, I’m surrounding myself with good people who I can be honest with, and show my true self. I can love without guard or expectation.  There is more purity and sincerity to me than ever before. I’m also happier than I ever have been as a result.

So my heart and I move on. Maybe I’ll end up with someone, and maybe I won’t, but either way, the journey has been worth the effort.

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Categories: Events, My View of Things

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