Lessons in love

I learn best by watching, then doing. All my life, I have watched people do a multitude of things. I learned that bangs aren't for everyone from my sister in the 90's. I learned that being extra drunk in a tight dress at 3 am looks terrible on everyone. I learned that heartbreak can kill you. I've learned the importance of saying sorry. That trusting your instinct is usually the difference between having a life you love and one that is just decent.  I've watched people, strangers to my own family be in relationships, mostly shitty, self-compromising ones. What I've witnessed over and over, were men unwilling or unprepared to show-up for a partnership, that they had already, partially stepped into and women who threatened or manipulated the men, in their lives, to get what they thought they wanted. Only to later be disappointed by the lack of consistency, willingness or negative reaction to the pressure. (I can unpack this more, if need be but stick with me) This exchange was normal to me. I even dated people with the understanding that relationships "are just hard." More often than not, I have had complex, murky relationships that were without definition. This type of dynamic has left so much to clean up and resolve at the end of things. 

I remember many years ago being what I thought was madly in love. I got very ill one night and went to the hospital. After a few tests they told me that what I was experiencing was a miscarriage. I had no awareness that I was pregnant, so it all was very shocking and disorienting. When I told the guy I was dating, he responded with the most puzzling words: " we can move in together, get married, whatever you want."  The short presence of a child was enough to get this man to want to commit in a way that, for the previous two years, he had little interest in. I told him if he wanted to do any of that, to ask me on a Tuesday, not as a reaction to anything. He never asked again. In more recent years, I was involved with a man who "couldn't imagine what our lives would be like together", when we had spent the previous nine years involved.

I was raised to think these type of moments were merely the hard parts of relationships and girls who become wives stick it out, fight harder, dig deeper, when, in fact those moments when your spirit struggles to know if this is right, are perhaps signs that this is a lesson not a destination.

I will admit, I am always drawn to deeply memorizing characters, they are typically the underdog, but really lovely, brilliant and complex humans. I always bet on them and THAT has been my mistake; wanting to be the thing they won. Wanting to be a prize, thinking I am a reward. I am a woman unto myself, not related to the life trajectory of another. I must always bet on myself and be with someone who will do the same. This creates a personal value system that does not shift, based on who is in my life, but allows me to maintain a level of self-love and care that is important for a healthy relationship. So often I hear Maya Angelou's voice in my head saying "love liberates." It has been the measuring stick for many things in my life recently. So, this morning was profound. I had a realization.

I am dating a person who welcomes me. Holds space for all the ways and things I am. A non-judgmental, open-hearted, kind and generous person. A person who thinks communication is king and THAT is fucking awesome. All the lovers I have ever admired, hold a quality of liberation for one another. That is love to me. Who ever knows what will come of a current dating situation and truly the outcome is secondary to all I will learn, but I am so grateful to be reminded that this kind of relationship exists, that I can have it and that I am worth opening up for.

Now, I don't know if any of this will move or shift you but it has made a world of difference for me. I welcome your thoughts.  I will always share what I have come to know as truth. I hope you try it on for size! Live in Love.

Mine and Yours, 

Natalie!