In spring of 2006 I was still majoring in geology, so I was still struggling through college level algebra. I was newly pregnant with Kid3 and exhausted with my full college course load. I took out a student loan. I opened a checking account without telling my ex or at the time my husband. Without getting permission I did this secretly and he found a receipt. Most of that loan went to groceries, but I knew what I had done was wrong by the laws of our marriage and I knew it was an act of rebellion from the way our finances were controlled and handled. I knew my email accounts would be searched next and I was freaking out. I just had a venting session by email with a really great friend, and realized my ex was in the process of uncovering one of my lies. I had my friend go into my email account and change my password. I didn’t at the time see this as financial abuse.
Venting was about frustration, but it was also about my not trusting him to be able to handle or address my frustrations. I didn’t trust him to do what I wanted, and never gave him the opportunity to prove he could. It’s not something I would suggest. I was a faithful wife, but not necessarily obedient. And I’m still figuring out what normal and healthy look like.
In my frantic call and the fear I felt over the situation, this friend of mine was that voice of reason. He pointed out the many ways my life was crazy and he did it in love. I remember saying to him, “I know he’s giving me his very best but I know that will never be good enough for me.” That was a profound moment for me and it was followed by a choice. Knowing I felt this way, I decided my marriage was a choice that I would keep choosing. I decided I could find ways to be fulfilled and do what made me happy. Without trying to upset him, I chose to find little victories for myself while still being his wife.
Today I was talking to a co-worker and friend. I brought up that idea again. You should hold it a minute. There will be people in your life that offer you their very best, and you get to recognize that the best they can offer is still never going to be good enough for you. This has become an old concept for me that really strengthens my resolve to learn to love unconditionally. I want to give from my heart without attaching a price to that love because some people could never afford it, but what happens when my perspective shifts a bit?
I find myself shattered and humbled because I really appreciate the concept that I will offer my best to someone and it won’t be a shadow of what they have earned through the patience and love offered to me. I’m often trying to pay attention to what my physical reaction to a person is, and I carefully look at how they treat those around them, but to someone else, I’m held under that same critical gaze and not measuring up.
As harsh as that may be, I’m at peace with it. I had another friend ask if it would be okay to post a picture of me. She wanted me to see it and get my approval. I don’t really care. For the most part, people will love or hate me (there’s rarely anyone that falls in between) and it won’t matter because I love me and I love how I look.
I was having this moment of doubt and fear as I’m standing in the idea of what it feels like to accept someone’s attention. I’m feeling the stretch and pull of what it means to consider a relationship that is meant to grow beyond company. It’s not love I’m afraid of. It’s the idea of feeling profound and deep love again and having it disappear. It’s the idea of falling in love and planning a future and having that fall through. It’s being vulnerable so I’m no longer in control and rejecting others. It’s being in a space of accepting that I might be rejected.
Do I run? Of course not.
I face my doubt and fear head on. I live each moment in the moment, without latching on to the past or grasping for a future. I exist for the sake of breathing and nothing in love exists beyond that. One day it may take me so far away from solid ground that I will be lost and I get to remember to stay afloat. I will love fully, without expecting anything in return as a barter and I will embody unconditional love. This is how I face that fear. This is how I embrace what could be.