It's the beginning of fall now, the temperatures are beginning to get chilly and leaves are starting to change their hue. It's a season of change when we bid farewell to summer and all the good times we had and begin to prepare for the long winter to come. But this year it's not just summer that I must bid farewell to. I just broke up with my partner of the past four years. It's ok, we parted on good terms and agreed to remain friends as I always hoped we would be able to do, so I guess that much is a blessing. But still, change is hard, and I'm not one that usually deals with change very well. I've always been that way. I never got over my parents divorce when I was young and it prevented me from having a relationship with my mother, I was never able to adapt to moving around the country growing up and I became very socially awkward and developed severe social anxiety, and I never got over my own divorce either and that kept me from being able to love again with my whole heart. I feel like molding clay that's been baked, any slight changes can break me. I wish I was more resilient, but I'm not.
I usually adapt by replacement. When I lose something dear to me, I feel an urgent need to fill the void as soon as possible, and in my desperation and haste I don't always make the wisest of decisions. It's a common flaw among the women in my family. Always replacing one man with another, not always taking the time to heal, much less properly vetting the next guy. It's the fear of being alone; is there anything more frightening when you've already felt alone all your life?
It's an endless and vicious cycle that has allowed and perpetuated all kinds of abuse and trauma, not only from others, but even from yourself. You can batter yourself more viciously than any abuser, cause your own cuts and bruises can go much deeper than anyone else can reach. You convince yourself that you're not worth loving and no one else will want you, that you're not going to find anything better so you better settle for what's in front of you, and so you allow unresolved injuries to poison another relationship. And it's not a cycle that's easy to break. So what do you do in these times when you find yourself back at the beginning of another revolution of change?
You can start by not listening to yourself! It's been said that insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, but the only thing you know how to do is repeat the cycle. So continuing to go at this alone in the same ways that you always have before should be obvious that your next journey is just as doomed to failure as all of your previous enterprises that crashed and burned before.
You need an advocate. A sister, a friend, someone you trust to advise you and guide you through this process, this difficult time in your life. Listen to them. It's going to be hard to do, because you think you know what you need, you're sure you'll be just fine, and I know you don't want to be a burden on anyone. You don't want anyone to know how much you hurt, or that you're not strong enough to handle it, you want everyone to think that you'll be just fine, that you've got this all by yourself. And so we repeat the cycle.
But not this time.
This time I'm going to try to take the time to heal, I'm going to connect with my sisters and listen to them and allow them to nurture my wounded heart and guide me through this challenging time. I need to trust their guidance because they can see more clearly from a perspective that's not clouded by pain or past trauma. I know everything in me wants to jump into the next relationship to fill the emptiness inside, but that could just be repeating the cycle of toxifying another affair with my own poison yet again. Something has to change, the cycle must be broken, and my past has proven that I can't do it alone. Fortunately I know I'm not alone. I've got an amazing community of friends and a strong sisterhood that I know I can reach out to. That's something I never had before, and that gives me hope.