Another Post About Heartache

You may be inclined to think this is a cry for help. It’s not. I wrote it so you know you’re not alone in this madness.

How’s your pandemic going?

Mine’s a disaster.

In the good old days (February), I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with two cats, my partner, and my seven-year-old son. It was beyond small, but we made it work, and mostly it felt cozy. We were dealing with what I thought was normal relationship stress. Things like learning how to communicate effectively, moving through conflict with empathy, and prioritizing the relationship amidst our busy lives. We are very different people, so this wasn’t always easy. We were also trying to grow two new businesses. It was a lot, but it was also exciting. 

Then, COVID hit. I lost all of my work. We’d just made huge investments with the new business. Everything that was tricky about our relationship was magnified in an enormous way. I have to stop agonizing with my therapist over my own relationship missteps and shortcomings. I can no longer nurture the survival of this relationship because we’ve hit a wall and I can’t see our way over or around it. I have to take care of myself and my son.

Here’s a truth about me; I can’t listen well when I’m so unsteady. I lose empathy, or more accurately, I cut it off because I feel too much. It’s been a problem for most of my life, but a problem I’m committed to working on. This commitment only comes with the humility and vulnerability of owning my shit and understanding how it impacts the people I love. Over the years of personal work, I have sat in my shame, learned where these behaviours come from, and have moved that shame into self-compassion. I will do this work until the day I die because I am deeply committed to my evolution and my capacity to love.

If both people in a relationship are not ready or willing to do this, you can guess what happens to the relationship. 

Owning your shit feels like your soul has been cracked open. Like the entire scope of your life, every relationship you’ve ever had, plays out before your eyes and you see everything through a new filter. A filter that sharpens the moments where you’ve caused pain, where you’ve neglected yourself, and where you were aching for love, or help, or protection. It’s so, so much more than saying “I know I did that.” It’s a knowing so deep you want to hide yourself from the world when you feel the impact of all of that self-protective shit.

Until you can stand neck-deep in your own reality, you will continue to lose all the things you love. You won’t be able to stick with the career path you dream of because a little voice will always tell you that you aren’t good enough to make it happen. You’ll choose the wrong people to love you because you’ve associated having to beg for love as normal relationship dynamics. You’ll drive away people who genuinely do care for you because their attempts at nurturing seem utterly strange. 

Until you can wade through your mess, like Leia and the boys in the serpent-filled sludge of the Death Star, you won’t begin to tackle the clean up. And that clean up makes way for the slow realization that you are worth love, support, protection, or whatever else you ache for. You are worth knowing without question how deeply your partner loves and cares for you. As you arrive at that sense of worth, so too will you arrive at the unfailing knowledge that you are created to provide all of those things for yourself first and foremost.

I can love myself. I’m getting better at protecting myself. I’ll have to make some changes (again) to support myself. It’s been lovely having this sweet little den on my own, but with the instability of the world, I need to find a situation where I am not stretched so thin.

How does one plan the immediate future when the immediate future is impossible to know?

I can start with what seems most certain. I say ’seems’ because last year at this time, I was pretty certain of the path I was on, and now the entire world is different. We must do what little we can to create safety and stability right now. 

We must do what we can to mend our hearts and keep moving.