"Fear is faith that it won't work out."
~Sister Mary Tricky
The thing about vulnerability, about letting go, is that the hardest part about it is actually doing it. It's feeling exposed, feeling in need, feeling like you can't control everything within you and around you.
Lately, I've been blessed to have someone in my life who allows me to be fully me. At least, that's what he says. My heart believes him. But then my mind gets in the way with old interpretations of past experiences, causing me to have doubt.
I have doubt that people will do what they promise, that what they say is what they mean, and that there won't somehow be a bait and switch, where suddenly I find myself feeling the fool. There's a sign for my Hawk and Lily workshops that reads, "Fun happening here!" If I were to swap out my logo with an emblem of myself, the sign I'd be holding is, "Scared is happening here!"
I want to believe that everything is going to be okay. I want to believe that if I surrender whole-heartedly, circumstances will unfold beyond my imagination. I want to believe that there's someone I can count on, that as I start to open up my heart in ways beyond what I normally feel comfortable with, I won't be met with devastating disappointment. Basically, I want to believe in true love and not the kind of make-do love I've been involved in for so long.
I have high expectations for myself, so this is something I'm actively working on shifting in order to have no expectations at all. To put my best self forward and let everything else unfold just as the Universe believes it's meant to. Since everyone else is a reflection of me, the more I can work on being kind and giving to myself, the more I'll see that in those around me. I won't have to silently beat myself or anyone else up when things don't seem to meet the lofty goals I've arbitrarily set.
I know that I put these faraway markers in place as barriers to entry — if you can't get past them, then I won't get hurt. But, what ends up happening is that I stand in this lonely no-man's land. Literally, no man.
So, I'm working on it.
But, I'm never, ever going to stop dreaming big. My life has proven that it's got a purpose and that the wildest of experiences is more than probable. I want the romance, the grand gestures, the sweet thoughts, the life of my dreams with the partner I've always hoped I could share it with. The travel, the creativity, the family dynamic that we define, not society. The pursuit of our ideals, of sharing in our spirituality, of making one another smile from our hearts to our lips and then back again.
I want it, because I would gladly do the same for the man I fall in love with. My heart is over-flowing with how much I want to give and how much I'd like to receive. I've just learned to hold back, as I haven't been quite discerning before with who deserves my attention and intention. I haven't felt safe enough to be genuinely vulnerable, to let go and trust that I'll be caught, that my head will touch the pillow at night with a hand behind it and the small of my back, guiding me into sweet slumber with cuddles and kisses.
I will never ever compromise again in asking for these three qualities from whoever is the man I've had to slobber multiple toads to eventually find:
1) He's my best friend. We can absolutely be ourselves with one another and know that no matter what, we're home.
2) I can say with my whole heart that he is the best person I know and he feels the same about me.
3) Our love for one another inspires others to love more. It shows the next generation of young women and young men what a healthy love can be. By simply being in love with one another, we embody honor and respect, and remind everyone to have faith that goodness is possible.
When I pause, when I sit quietly in reflection, I can see how the hurt I've experienced in the past is still so raw. From family to friends to boyfriends, it hasn't been an easy road. It's no wonder why it's been tough for me to believe that a genuine, healthy and fulfilling partnership filled with romance, intimacy and affection is not only possible — it's possible for me.
I don't want to keep asking, "Where am I going wrong here? What am I doing, Universe?" Because, of course, I already know the answer, which is why I'm actively working a mind-body program to change this. I don't have the heart to let it get broken again or, more accurately, stomped on and kicked, then chucked into the sea, where it drowns in pervasive salt stinging its wounds. I want to show up as my best self for the man of my dreams. He deserves that as much as I do.
I want to love. I very, very much want to love. But man oh man, is it hard to let yourself be in that place where you are fully seen. I feel like I've never tread so slowly and quite so carefully before. It truly is like inching forward, but even at times, inches are a distance too great to risk, so it's more like centimetering or, at times, milimetering ahead. The turtle pace is because it's good right now and what if more than this changes things? The turtle pace is hesitation and fear. The turtle pace is rationalization. But, didn't the turtle win the race in the end?
Today, my friend Q said, "You're a planner. You want to know what the next step is going to be. I'd highly encourage you to enjoy this moment and just be in it as it organically unfolds."
Q is a doctor. I've helped her with Reiki to calm her nerves and she has loved me from the moment she met me. When I shared with her recent events in my life, she surprised me by saying, "Yeah, I thought so. I thought he would be more your style. But R told me not to butt in." R, being her boyfriend, who also has been my champion since we first went surfing together. The two of them together not only show me what a sweet relationship can be, they also watch out for me that I'm finally cared for in ways I haven't been before, in ways they both believe I deserve.
"You're a nice person, Judy," Q affirmed. "You deserve a nice person who's good to you."
"My friend J says the same thing," I responded. "When that other guy was being a jerk to me, J called him out on it. He later told his girlfriend, 'Judy's a really nice person. I felt like I had to stand up for her.'"
"Exactly," Q told me. "You deserve a really great guy and I believe you'll find him."
In the past few weeks, just as I suspected would happen with the more work I do on myself, my approach to relationships has shifted. I no longer want to choose the person who's unavailable or who my intuition tells me from the get-go isn't the right one.
And, of course, the Universe tests this theory.
Because before, when I knew I wasn't ready, I'd see someone else my eyes would fancy and the good guy would fall away. Today, I not only chatted with that hey-good-lookin'-what's-cookin' dude, but ended up at a cafe bumping into two other guys who'd approached me before as well, and got a phone call from a third who complimented me throughout our conversation in numerous ways.
None of them mattered anymore, because the person I've been thinking about wasn't any of them. The person I want to call, the person I want to see, makes me feel good in ways I believe I've only just begun to explore. And, interestingly, I can't seem to find the words to express this to him, because I'm afraid that doing so may make everything evaporate, that maybe he won't feel the same way, and all of this simply shows how fragile I am towards what's lovely when it comes to love.
My other dear friend Ro told me the other day that it's important, like in yoga, to keep your prana in tact. Talking about something too much, creating stories around it, is the same as letting your life force escape. Instead, the point is to enjoy it for what it is in this moment.
This is what vulnerability is. Real vulnerability is taking the risk. As much as people say I demonstrate this trait in my writing, real vulnerability to me is picking up the phone. Giving him — or anyone in my life — a call. Asking him for something I'd like, maybe even something I need, or simply just to hear his voice and let him know my truth. Then, it's about trusting that if he's able and willing, he'll show up for me with arms and heart wide open.
I don't know where things will flow towards. But, as he told me yesterday, there are pretty much two answers I could get when I ask for what I need.
Yes or No.
I believe sometimes there's a third, Maybe.
Like maybe I'll be able to do this. Maybe I'll find what I've been looking for one day soon. Maybe everything is unfolding just as it should in perfect order and Divine Timing.