Today, as I was catching up with a friend, I was reminded of a conversation I had earlier this year with my youngest son, Devyn. He and I were hanging out one day then he turns and said he was glad I was no longer an independent woman.
Admittingly, when he first commented, my first thought went to, "What? Of course, I am! I have been on my own since I was 15 and raised 3 children on my own...how could he...why would he..." but before I got too far down that rabbit hole, I had to stop and take a breath. "What makes you say that?" I asked. He said he was happy that I was letting love in and trusting again. Ouch. Ok, son, thank you for that reality check. I knew that my independence was an issue in my previous relationship, and like other areas in my life this year, I realized it was time to take a deep dive into my independence.
Let me be fair; it wasn't my independence that was an issue in my previous relationships; it was my extreme independence. My...SNAP..." I DON'T NEED NO MAN"...DOUBLE SNAP WITH A TWIST independence that made my partner feel unneeded and unappreciated. Yeah, that one...this is the one my 16 year old son pointed out to me. His natural instinct of a male protector/provider role was kicking in. The one person I can always count on to have zero filter and give it to me straight is him, my mini-me. So of course he would catch it...and comment on it. And while I tried to be conscious about it later in life, I knew I still struggled with it. Time for a self-check-in.
When I asked myself the questions of why's, and when, and how did it start? I realized for me it wasn't a control issue. It was a trust issue. Trusting someone to not let me down. Trusting someone and allowing myself to be vulnerable and not take my vulnerability for weakness. Trusting someone not to throw their help or their contribution in my face. Like most things, this also started in childhood. The truth was I wanted to trust and share control, I just didn't know how to.
Extreme independence is a trauma response. I learned how to close myself off to all the bad that could be. I sat high in the tower. Protected. Isolated. My fortress of pain, each brick told a story to justify its place. Here I was safe. If you can't get to me you can't hurt me. I sabotaged relationships and opportunities. Sometimes consciously, mostly not.
What I didn't realize is that while I was laying each brick and building my fortress, I was blocking my own blessings and pushing some people away, intimate and otherwise. When you build a tower this high, you can't filter out the bad and only get good. It doesn't work that way. When you block one, you block both. I struggled with asking for help, even from my children, let alone accepting unsolicited help. "I'm good...I got this" was a response to it all.
This year I have learned that not only do I value and cherish companionship, but I also have an opportunity to redefine love and what love means for me. I desire interdependence and have a need to trust someone. The reality is no one wants to get hurt, but sometimes that happens. Yes, it's painful and frankly sucks. But I have also been through enough in my life to know that I will be ok. I can cry. I will grieve, and I can love again. I am surrendering myself to the good this time. I am trusting the Universe with my heart. It's a little scary to think about sometimes, but being alone in that tower, because I have unhealed wounds and I am pushing everyone away is a lot scarier. I have an opportunity to love myself in a deeper way than I ever have and share that with someone.
I'm focusing on the energetic vibration of love. Today I'm loving myself in complete surrender to create a safe space for me. I can stand strong in my boundaries. I can be strong or vulnerable. I get to love myself in ways that are healthy. Protect my peace in ways that are not compromising or suffocating.
Love, after all, is the most powerful force. It is love that heals. It is love that carries us. It is love that sparks the light in the darkness. Love is compassion and kindness. Love is tender and strong. Love is laughter. Love is forgiveness. Love is strength and vulnerability. Love sees your scars and all and hugs you. Love is silly and playful. Love is beautiful and bright. Love is a smile or a brush of a hand. Love sees you with acceptance. Love is trusting. Love is holding on and letting go...free-falling into the unknown without care.
So, while I love my independence, I look forward to interdependence and the love that comes with it.
Be well and stay safe, family.