Was It Worth It?

My tiny apartment smells like flowers. Freesias, to be exact. They gift the most beautiful fragrance. I wake each morning to a riot of birdsong, and sometimes a light shroud of mist hovers over the tops of the trees in the ravine below my windows. I am at peace, I am filled with gratitude, and my heart is full of love.

On Wednesday, Beltane, I began university full time. A seed I planted, an investment in my future. Careful steps towards a career.

I’m back in my apartment, and though I managed just fine while I was out, I can’t tell you how good it feels to be home. I feel safe. I feel cozy. I feel like cooking, and puttering and just breathing. This is another seed; building a home for me and my children and opening that home to the people I love. 

There’s someone in my life. It’s so new, not even a full moon cycle has gone by yet. I want to preserve the space we’re building and not share too much, but if you could see me, you would see an ease that has settled across my brow and a peachy flush that with just a thought will spread from my cheeks to my navel. I am in awe of the certainty I feel, not about the future, (because I’ve learned how foolish it is to try to predict that), but in how I feel each moment. I do not want these moments to end, and this sweetness spills into every facet of my rich and rewarding life. It’s like a beautiful, flowering tree that suddenly reveals that it can also bear fruit. 

I want to eat this fruit slowly, for as long as I can.

One morning over coffee and a rainy sunrise in my apartment, this new person told me about how he would come home with various injuries as a kid, and he credits his mom with only ever saying ‘Was it worth it?’. 

Last year, my life fell apart and I was hurt in ways I couldn’t have imagined. The anniversary of that cataclysm happens this Saturday. Nine years of my life with my ex partners came to an end.

Was it worth it?

In nine years, and in the unraveling
I learned how essential it is to honour my boundaries and value my self-worth.
I learned how my behaviour impacts everyone around me.
I learned how to master my emotional response to triggers.
I learned how my childhood trauma affected my ability to be in relationship and to be a parent.
I learned how burying a truth can turn that truth into a bomb when it’s uncovered.
I learned how I love women differently than I love men.
I learned that each person in a relationship has a different experience of that relationship.
I learned that transparency and honesty are essential for me to create safety.
I learned that the best sex comes from deep emotional connection.
I learned what it feels like to want to be a better person because of those you are sharing loving space with.
I learned that I am often wrong.
I learned how dangerous denial is.
I learned humility.
I learned empathy.
I learned that alcohol and pot won’t make things better.
I learned that there is a difference between having anxiety and being in a triggered state most of the time.
I learned the wonder of my body.
I learned what a powerful and excellent mother I am.
I learned that I must constantly grow as a parent.
I learned that I am resilient.
I learned how incredible my friends and family are.
I learned that the people I built a life with for nine years are still my family.
I learned that I have spent much of my adult life afraid to accept real love.
I learned that I am ready to accept real love.

So, yes, I think it was worth it.

Our greatest lessons leave us with scrapes and gouges. We get “loose in the joints and very shabby” a la the Velveteen Rabbit. These chapters, when we feel like we are suffocating on pain, are the ones that deliver us to our higher purpose. They cure our emotional armor and strengthen the muscle that is our heart. 

I was made for love. Love is my higher purpose, and it spills into every facet of my life. My writing, my work, my relationships are all inspired by love. Love for my family, love for my sisters, love for my children, love for my partner. So I will show up, eager and in awe when I am met with energy that compliments my own. I will plant seeds and watch deep root systems grow where I am understood. I will give with abundance and accept a bounty in return when I am accepted. I will share the space within my soul when I know that I am safe.

There is nothing else more worth it in this life.

Have a listen to me on The Heather Report at 10:00 am (EST) on Sunday, May 5th. You can stream this at 4680q.ca

Nobody Told Me About This

Those of you who know me, or who have been reading these posts for a while, know that this year has been a year of recovery. I’ve learned so much about myself; what I’m capable of, what is truly important to me, what I need to feel safe and secure. I’ve built my life again from scratch. I’ve found new ways to understand myself and the people around me. I’ve even tried dating again, sort of.

There was a lovely relationship that happened too soon.

There were several wonderful and exciting people who didn’t quite fit.

And now, well…I’m not exactly sure what is happening now. It could be a brief glimpse of exactly the kind of connecting I want. It could be a longer, sweeter taste of the kind of connecting I want. It’s far too soon to know anything beyond how very different this feels. It feels safe, and good, and like stepping into a warm bath after an exhausting day. However long it will last, I’m grateful for this feeling, because I’m reminded that it’s possible.

But oh, what stuff this Is unearthing.

Just when I thought I’d resolved as much as I could, processed and unpacked what I needed to. Just when I thought I knew what to do to feel the ways I want to feel, the universe throws this new potential at me, and my subconscious has some surprises in store. I suppose I’m not actually surprised. After so much hurt, romantic vulnerability is justifiably scary. I look at that warm bath and feel relief. My subconscious thinks I could be stepping into lava. You can imagine the internal battle that ensues.

Would more time make this easier? Perhaps, but it could also create a wall so high that climbing it might feel impossible. And let’s not ignore the fact that the mysterious universe has delivered this radiant and wonderful person at this particular moment in time. If I’m going to occupy real heart space with someone, it’s not always going to be smooth. Trust is a real tricky thing for me, and I will need both the right person to build it with, and the self-awareness to separate my own insecurities from the truth that is unfolding before me.

I’m going to need someone who is patient, and not annoyed by having to offer reassurance. I’m going to need to first sort through the swirling mass that sometimes occupies my brain and heart space in my journal, before I bring it to the table. I’m going to need to stay in the present and see what is actually happening, rather than listening to my fear.

Does that sound like a lot of work? Perhaps it is, but it’s necessary, and the outcome is greater strength and command of my own heart and head. And I believe, down to the very tips of my toes, that with the right person, it won’t feel like work at all.

So whatever this is, let it unfold as it should; carefully and consciously. Let me trust in face value and gut feelings. Let me understand that there are two separate experiences of this shared space, each of value, and each with a unique set of needs. Let me trust myself to be brave enough to delight in this the way that I deserve to, for as long as it exists in my life. 

The next time I build a home, it’s going to have a strong foundation.

Try With Me

I started out the month of April deciding I would try to be celibate for 30 days. Things on the romantic front were more stressful than pleasurable. Worry and confusion about dynamics and intentions had taken over my brain in ways I didn’t like. I needed a reset before launching into Spring. I made it exactly two weeks, but in that time, I realized a few important things:

I can’t do casual sex. Maybe if I connect with someone once and then decide it’s best to keep it friendly and take sex off the table, it remains casual. Beyond that, I develop feelings. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, and lighthearted sexual fun will continue to have its time and place in my life, but I know to avoid trying to build space with people who prefer casual arrangements.

I’m getting really good at letting go of connections and relationships that challenge my boundaries in an unhealthy way. I’ve been clear and kind while telling people that the timing isn’t right, or that the chemistry isn’t working, or that I want something deeper.

In the past, I’ve tried to make pieces fit, or make concessions, and these relationships always end with me feeling hurt and mistrustful. I trust myself to choose well. I trust my intuition to illuminate things I should see while deciding whether or not to create space for someone.

Nobody is perfect. The later we are into adulthood, the more hurt and complexity we all carry around with us. It’s impossible to meet people without baggage. I think the key lies in choosing people whose luggage compliments your own. Our life experiences can create strength and support for someone else. These lessons help refine our awareness of what we need.

I’m deeply drawn to seekers who strive to understand their own minds and hearts. People who want to be better, and who want to live deeply in their emotions. Those people are going to be the ones who will at least try to weather the storms with their partner.

I am ambiamorous. This is a new term in the lexicon of loving that I discovered recently. Someone who is ambiamorous is equally as comfortable in a polyamorous relationship as they are in a monogamous relationship. If they meet a partner who is poly, they feel good about exploring that. If love leads them to someone with monogamous leanings, they can exist this way too. So, if y’all were looking to slap some labels on me, please make sure this one is included. (I’m a queer, cis, pagan, single mom, ambiamorous femme)

I thought I knew exactly what I wanted in the bedroom. I did not. If you’d asked me in March what my ideal partner could bring to the party when it comes to sex, I would have said something like, “I need someone who will lovingly dominate me and explore some kink with me”. Or, “I need a horned god who will worship me like a goddess and I will return this adoration”.

Recently, I had a revelation. I became aware of the affectations I carry into new sexual space, and was rather stunned by this. I thought I was genuine, but I think it was bravado. Now, I want someone who I can arrive with in sexual space and be entirely open; free of preset ideas around what I need, ready to discover what that moment, and that shared energy reveals. I want someone who will meet me at the fire, take my hand and walk with me through it to the other side, grounded and present, and ready to explore any place we desire.

It’s okay to be scared. I’ve been through a lot, and I don’t mean over the course of this last year. It’s hard for me to trust romantic partners. It’s scary for me to believe that they are sincere and invested in building something real with me. It makes complete sense that I’d be afraid to be vulnerable again, but I don’t think this means I’m not ready to try.

According to certain psychological frameworks, I’m an anxious attached person. This means I need reassurance. I may get emotional/weepy when it feels really connected and real. I will still have my own world of interests and things to do, so I’m not worried about being clingy, but I will need to be reminded with words and gestures of how cherished I am. I give a lot of that sort of thing, so I don’t think it’s a big ask. I need to know I’m safe.

The right person will understand this and will be okay with holding my hand until we’re through the forest of newness and uncertainty.

It’s okay to wait. Or not. I don’t know if we’re all like this, but there comes a time in the getting to know a potential lover when I really must know how physically compatible we are. I love good chemistry, and usually if it’s strong while everyone’s clothes are on, it continues to be strong in other circumstances. However, there are those occasions when this is not the case, and this disconnect continues to happen beyond that ‘first time’ which is often a little awkward and a tad uncertain. It’s okay to let that chemistry build before you see how it translates to naked time, but it’s also okay to arrive at naked time sooner rather than later in the interest of researching an investment.

I can ask for what I need. I’ve been seeing someone for a few months who I’m quite fond of. It’s low key, and he was really clear on his own capacity for relationship. We aren’t looking for the same thing, ultimately, but I enjoy his company and he’s become a dear friend. Before I declared my sexual hiatus, I asked him for two very specific things if we are to resume that aspect of our relationship. How I follow through with this will reflect how well I honor my boundaries. Those boundaries, I realize, are everything. They are subject to shifting, and changing, but when I know they are firm I cannot ignore them because they help me create the safety I deserve.

Emotional safety is everything. What do I mean by emotional safety? I mean that I know I can trust my partner. I can lean into them when I need care and support. That I believe in my bones they are on my team and have my best interests in mind. That they will share their own inner world and their struggles with me. That they won’t be afraid to let me know who they are and what they need. That I can be exactly who I am and be loved for all that I have to offer, PLUS all that I have to work through. That I will work hard to be worthy of their love, by being as authentic and vulnerable as I can be, while trusting that they are doing the same.

The early stages should be fun. This period of discovering another person should be wondrous, and delightful. The only thing that should cause tension is the anticipation of that next moment. It should feel like forward motion, and delicious curiosity. It should be a slow burn until both parties are truly sure they want to sink deeper. It should not include anxiously fretting over where you stand, wondering why you have a weird feeling about the other person, wanting more and not being met, or reading text messages obsessively to try to decipher what is actually being said.

On Sunday I had brunch with my darling cousin Alex. How I love to talk with her. We discussed how each of us has our own mountain of stuff to deal with, and how life throws all kinds of things at us. How building relationship can really illuminate complex pieces of who we are. We agreed that at the end of the day, all we can really hope for is someone who will try. Try to create a home, with loving space to share. Try to face the hurdles together. Try to build each other up and see each other realize our dreams. Try to understand and offer loving support when the other person is struggling. Try, and keep trying because it’s a safe place to try. 

Not bad for two weeks, right? I mean, these things were already percolating in there, but there was suddenly more space for me to see what was swirling around. It’s like watching the stars sometimes, these little flashes that twinkle around in my brain.

This kind of clarity seemed sharper when I removed an element that was creating more of an energy drain than any kind of positive force. So much of my identity is tied to understanding sexuality, which I won’t apologize for, but it was kind of amazing to see what happened when I shifted that energy back into myself instead of out into the world.

Sometimes a great, big, inhale is all we need.

Locksmith

The Field