I came across this image on the book of faces. A friend of mine found it among her grandmother’s possessions. It’s been rolling around in the brain banks for a few days as I sort out my own emotions and thoughts on the past few weeks. It’s been an emotional few weeks, to say the least, and why you haven’t heard much from me recently. Emotional doesn’t mean bad, but it does mean hitting deep places which cause growth and change.
In a lot of ways, I think this idea of Risk goes hand-in-hand with the idea of true Trust. Dare I say Radical Trust. When we risk something, we are trusting someone else or the universe or sometimes just ourselves to hold up a metaphorical bargain we make. Trust is hard. I should know, historically I have all kinds of trust issues.
This idea of Radical Trust is something brand new to me. I went on a retreat of sorts where I got to meditate a lot. I was given the opportunity to dig deep and come face-to-face with a lot of my fears and hopes. Facing things from my past, I would have rather ignored. Radical Trust means more than just trusting someone, it means trusting in myself and that the universe will provide.
Up until a few months ago, I struggled with the idea of unconditional love. I’ve always attached conditions to love. You could argue, ask about family, or old friendships, or whatever and I would tell you the same thing. I’d have to trust someone enough to love them unconditionally. I don’t know how. To say I’ve always had one foot out the door with love is putting it kindly. Now you ask, what changed?
Simple, I did.
This year has been about growth and change and sorting out my shit. I’m 33 and I don’t want to look back at my life any number of years from now and only wish I’d figured things out because I’m unhappy and alone or because I couldn’t trust. So I started the year by making some changes to my health. It felt like an easy enough place to start. I’ve lost 95lbs this year, by making lifestyle changes. I’m currently wearing a size I haven’t fit in more than ten years, and my pants are getting baggy again. I feel good in my body for the first time ever. Loving myself is a large part of that. Learning that I am worthy of love, I am an amazing person, and I am a damn catch has been half the battle. I make a fucking awesome girlfriend and I think I’d make a damn good wife someday. It also means being more vulnerable. It’s harder to stay “safe” when you put yourself out there. It’s easy to avoid a broken heart when you never entrust someone with it.
Pushing my own boundaries has always been a part of my growth and it’s one of those things I avoid doing because it’s uncomfortable. I don’t like change, even though we all go through it. You could say this year has been about change and transformation. Letting another person push my boundaries – unheard of. And yet, this year, I let someone. This person might not know the extent to which they have pushed those boundaries but trust me when I say they’ve been pushed in all directions and always for the better.
A year ago, I wouldn’t have been caught dead meeting up with someone I didn’t know. True story. I have a cousin who I’m super glad to know – we’re two peas in a metaphorical pod. But when I had the chance to meet her a few years ago, alone, I poo-pooed the suggestion without a second thought. I’d somehow emotionally regressed to a place where stranger danger is real. The problem is, I’m not five. How are you supposed to meet anyone in this world if you don’t take a chance? This past summer I did. I was not expecting this person to change my life in any way shape or form. I was not expecting anything from them. And yet this person has taught me more about myself and trust then I thought possible. When you open yourself up to being vulnerable, to trusting another person, you open yourself up to hurt. But also to a lot of other potentially wonderful things.
Without knowing it this person pushed my boundaries and makes me a better person. I want to be a better person. No one has ever made me want to be better. I was confident that was all bullshit. You either choose to be better or you don’t. And maybe to some extent, this is still true. I’m choosing to be better. But society and people as a whole never played into that for me. And if there’s one thing I can do, it’s admitting when I’m wrong.
The thing is, sometimes in life, things don’t end up the way you hope. Or even as the worst version of what you feared. Sometimes it’s this weird grey area you don’t know what to do with and it leaves you a bit lost.
But I can say this. I now know what unconditional love is. I realized through this processes, I love a lot of people unconditionally and I didn’t know it. It’s the love I feel for some of the people in my life. It doesn’t matter what’s passed between us, or what the future holds, I love them just the same. I see myself reflected in their actions both good and bad. Maybe that’s part of it. This ability to come face-to-face with a part me that I’m not always proud of. This untrusting, closed off part of me which would rather keep one foot out the door, ready to run than deal with the potential for something that requires trusting another person enough to let walls down. Loving myself, accepting these parts of me, and healing has allowed me to love other people.
Unfortunately, timing is everything and mine is poor. But I’m starting to realize something. My timing might suck but not all the obstacles are mine. They belong to both of us. Maybe there is no such thing as a perfect timing. Maybe we just have to decide to fight for the things we want and walk away from the things we don’t. I’ve come to realize that I want to be the kind of person worth fighting for. I want to be the kind of person someone gets excited about and can’t wait to talk to. I’m allowed to want these things out of life. I’m allowed to want to brighten someone’s day and have them brighten mine in return.
Life has been a lot of things lately both good and bad. I’m trying not to be sad about what has passed (and sometimes failing, I am a human meat sack after all) because I have learned a lot. I strive to learn from each experience life has to offer. I’m not perfect and I often fail at these lessons, but I am trying. I am hopeful for the future and for what is to come. I know I’ve made huge strides in my life this year. My future is bright all on its own. I don’t need someone to tell me that or to justify it for me. I know I’m amazing. I know this year is not over and the next one will be filled with more change, always for the better.