The HEARTBREAK, The HEALING, AND The LESSON IN IT ALL…
So, there I was again, deep in the heal. Raw, hurt, lost, and ashamed. I knew I needed to heal properly and figure things out, so I would never end up with someone like Mr. 100 again. I ramped up my therapy sessions, started journaling again (I hadn’t journaled since the incident with skater boy), read some prescribed books, invested in a meditation practice, and allowed time to do its thing. A year later, after feeling like myself again, I decided to pursue my next love, becoming a mom, and we know what happened next: the gift that is Kellan.
A year or two after Kellan was born, people started asking me about dating. And to be honest, with his delays and therapies, plus my job and getting acclimated to life back in NY, dating was the last thing on my mind. It wasn’t until Kellan turned 5 and we had fallen into a groove that I started to give dating a chance again. The difference this time around was that I was a single mom to a child with Autism, so I had a very different lens on life and a whole new set of non-negotiables.
Let me take that back, it wasn’t a whole new set of non-negotiables, it was the first time I ever put non-negotiables in place. I should have done this a long time ago, because then I never would have attracted and dated Skater Boy or Mr. 100, but that’s what healing does, it builds standards. It allows you to regain your worth, get straight on what you want, and, more importantly, what you don’t want. With my newfound sense of worthiness, Mr. Nice Guy appeared. There was something about Mr. Nice Guy that felt so familiar, how he carried around a recognizable weight, the 100lb boulder that is shame. Ya see, his heart had been wrecked as well and his soul abused. He was desperately trying to salvage all the pieces of him to feel whole again. He was healing (or at least wanting to).
One of the things that drew me to Mr. Nice Guy was that he was a kind, good man— which I really wasn’t used to. Finally, a man who treated me like I was determined to treat myself: with compassion and respect. He would have done anything for me, and he did, until I realized he would do anything for anyone— including those who weren’t worthy of it. He aimed to please, never said no, and worried about taking care of everyone and everything…except himself. Eventually, I began to feel not-so-special. Three months in, things started to change and that theory of mine paid a visit. You know the one: “three to four months into a relationship, the walls go down and the crazies appear.” Well, his crazy never surfaced, but his unhealed parts did.
Mr. Nice Guy was the type of person who kept himself busy. So much so that I found myself hustling for time in his schedule. He lacked boundaries and therefore would get taken advantage of. I witnessed him get overwhelmed by it all; it was affecting our relationship and sadly he was unwilling to make any changes. And as we know, nothing changes if nothing changes. It became very clear that Mr. Nice Guy had some healing to do with his past and work to do on himself, but I couldn’t work harder for someone else’s healing than they would on themselves.
I believe the universe sends you mirrors in the form of people. When I looked in the mirror that was Mr. Nice Guy, I saw myself in my past two relationships, where I was trying to help and please everyone else but myself. Hustling for my worth. His mirror showed how I was, what I fought to get out of, and where I would never return to. Life was presenting me with a choice: do I stay in something that’s comfortable and familiar, or do I change this cycle once and for all? It was at that point when I realized how far I had truly come. I had finally gotten to a place where I wasn’t going to stay in something where I was settling for ‘less than’, hustling for love, attention, and my worth. Been there, done that. Twice. I had fallen in love with Mr. Nice Guy, but my love for self was greater.
When Mr. Nice Guy and I broke up, it hurt like hell. I loved him, but after some time away from it all I don’t believe he loved me as equally. I think he loved the fact that I was so very different from the women he was accustomed to dating. I think he loved the fact that “I didn’t need him” (his words, not mine). I think he loved the fact that he had something else to keep him busy. I think he loved the fact that I was the calm in the chaos of his life. And if I am being completely honest, I think he was scared shitless of my love. For it ran deep, deeper than his capacity to not only receive it but to grant it as well.
And therein lies THE lesson, folks. THE lesson I was shown in my relationship with Skater Boy. And then again in my relationship with Mr. 100… and well, we repeat what we don’t repair, because the lesson showed up yet again with Mr. Nice Guy, the third of my traveling professors. I believe he was brought in to my life to shake me silly and provide THE lesson, for the very last time. That lesson is: you have to love people where they’re at, and sometimes you need to leave them there.
Ya see, I thought if I over-loved and over-functioned, then these men would eventually level up to the love I so desperately wanted and deserved. But instead, I chased after their love. Always trying to prove my worth to men who really didn’t feel worthy themselves. Instead of loving and leaving them where they were at, I stayed. I broke that chain of unworthiness when I finally got right with the lesson.
In this new phase of my singleness, this lesson has taught me to accept that we all have different depth levels when it comes to love. Bishop TD Jakes has this saying: “when you are a 10-gallon person, you expect love at a 10-gallon level… so if you fall in love with a pint person they could be giving you all that they have, but it will never fill you up.” And that’s just it: whether it was Skater Boy, Mr. 100, or Mr. Nice Guy, they were giving me all the love that they had. I wondered why I never felt full, but there I was, trying to pour my 10-gallon love in to these men who couldn’t receive it. They were overwhelmed by it. This lesson, right here, has changed my outlook, my expectations, my life.
So here I am, presently loving MYSELF at a 10-gallon level, (ok, so some days it’s more like 6-7 gallons – but I’m human 😉) which leads me to my next chapter. One would think that when something breaks enough times it stops working…nope, not my heart. She’s a tough mother-effer. I am grateful for my blood-pumping, 10-gallon love tank, because it led me to my forever love. The person whom I have been traveling this earth trying to find, wondering why I was coming up short every time. The person who will do whatever it takes to make me happy. The person who won’t leave or allow me to. The person who not only mirrors my worth but shows me how much deeper my love for self can truly go. The person who not only learned the lesson but now lives the lesson. My 10-gallon forever love…I introduce you to ME!