Updated: Jun 3, 2020
Last year I made a vision wall. My head was swimming with so many goals and ideas that a board wouldn't hold it. So I filled a wall. I decided to add relationship goals. I didn't list any physical attributes of my future partner. No social standings, job, etc. I described how I wanted to feel in the relationship. Words like: safe, comfortable, free, stable, joy, passion, etc. Then out of the blue Bear showed up. We both knew something explosive was at hand but assumed it was just a really good weekend if you know what I'm sayin'. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Together we have worked through some pretty heavy emotional baggage. We have a hefty 'his and her's' set. I got scared and I broke up with him. Twice. While I wish I hadn't hurt him with the break ups they gave both of us time to figure out what we want, what we are ready for, who we want to be as individuals, and what our two whole parts could offer to each other as a couple. When we decided to date again after the second break up we started on a much stabler foundation. We were committed to giving our all. To not running when the fear of the past came surging through our brains. Or, maybe I should say, I did. He had his own set of things to deal with.
This picture, and the advertisement for the book it's referencing (which I have not read), have come across my Facebook feed many times over the last year or so. Each time I see it I react to it. At first I shouted, "Everyone is broken! Every single person. No one knows how to love." As I have opened myself up to healing from my extremely unhealthy marriage and upbringing, and turned my attention to healthy boundaries, (As opposed to entrenched, impenetrable walls with every type of weaponry imaginable to protect it.) and spent as much time as possible digging through the mess and chaos in my mind and soul, I found that over time the message changed.
Sometimes when I saw the image I would say, "Well, maybe I haven't had the healthiest people in my life, but I guess it's not impossible to imagine that real, authentic love could exist." Other times when I was angry or self loathing I might think, "Something must be wrong with me to keep attracting people into my life who do not know how to love." That was some messed up thinking, by the way. I didn't choose my parents or my family. How could I possibly take the blame for attracting them into my life? That's one of my bags that I'm working on unpacking.
Even more time passed and more healing happened and I started accepting the truth of the message. We are broken. All of us. Every single person is flawed, emotionally, in some way. What I've finally come to understand is that that's okay. That's what makes humanity beautiful. That's what makes us relatable and able to reach out and actually make deep connections with each other. That certainly does not mean that we allow hurt people to hurt us (Remember - Healthy Boundaries), it simply means there is no one, right way to be human or to be loved. No perfect person and no perfect relationship.
When I finally opened my heart to the possibility of love (which culminated in the vision wall) I felt raw, awkward, off balance, and totally and completely vulnerable. That's the place that this piece came from. I felt like my heart was foreign to me. Like I was trying to fit it in my rib cage but it just would not fit. In my mind I saw an organ transplant and the need for constant medication in order for the body not to reject the new organ. Where could I find medication to stop myself from rejecting my own heart? Was this my heart? Sure felt weird.
Time. Time and patience. Time, patience and diligent work on unpacking my emotional baggage. It wasn't easy. I'm glad I stuck with it. I'm glad I fought the good fight and came out victorious. Not only because I grew as an individual and was able to love myself more by opening myself up to vulnerability. I also opened myself up to a relationship that I could have never imagined possible. One where I can be totally and completely me. Where all my beautiful muchness and all of my flaws can live without judgement and fear. Where I can (Slowly. I'm not perfect.) allow my partner the same freedom. Healthy love does exist. We have to be healthy enough to receive and to give it, and when that happens, we will start to see it all around us.
xoxo Alisa May
ps. I posted this painting for the first time with the following description: "#selfportrait Pulled my heart out of cold storage and tbh I'm not sure what to do with it."
pps. The meme image is from: "Warrior Goddess Training, Become the Woman You Are Meant to Be," by Heather Ash Amara