Feel Again

I had a good friend of mine tell me that I needed to allow myself to feel again. I’ve been cautiously guarding my heart for so long because of how badly previous relationships crushed my soul. You see, I haven’t entirely gotten over my fear. I think all of us tend to have our hearts guarded at various points in our lives, and when our hearts are wounded, we often don’t recognize the people who are possible healers to enter. Every person on this earth can love unconditionally, but when our hearts shatter, we are less likely to open ourselves to new possibilities.

This scenario is the case for me. I recognize the signs. Hell, I’ve had enough psychology and counseling classes in my lifetime to realize that I’m stuck. I haven’t wanted to settle, and in the process am finding that if someone doesn’t share my drive and ambition, I’m not giving them a chance. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing. It’s a reality.

Why is it so hard to trust what we feel? I think it’s because we like to be in control. We fear people will let us down, and if they do, we have every reason to say we told them so.
A month before my wedding, I almost called it off. I let my now ex-husband talk me out of it even though my gut told me not to go through with the ceremony. The night of the wedding, I knew I had made a colossal mistake. The first sign came at the wedding ceremony when there was no food for him or me. Everyone else had the opportunity to get a bite, but all we got was the cake. After the ceremony, we went back to our home, changed clothes, opened gifts, and got on the road to our honeymoon. When we arrived in Raleigh, he pulled up to a Holiday Inn and informed me he had reserved the honeymoon suite. They lost the reservation. There was no place to stay.

We then drove another hour away and ended up at a truck stop in Wilson, NC. Oy, what a nightmare. They had one room left. Everywhere else in the state of NC, Taco Bell was always open late but not in Wilson. They were closed by 11, so we found a nearby Harris Teeter, got some frozen dinners, and went back to the hotel. We decided to grab a shower. The water was scalding hot to cold. The final straw for the night came when he turned on the heater in the room, and it caught on fire. Both of us were wondering what the hell we had done.

Over time there were more cracks in the relationship. Life was escaping my eyes in every picture taken. I didn’t want to deal with the reality of making a huge mistake. I know our divorce hurt both of us immensely, and he will never know how much I hate we hurt each other. We weren’t a good fit, and I don’t regret loving him. I began having feelings for another man while I was married. I didn’t act on those feelings because I didn’t want to bring him into that drama. Instead, I existed through visits to him, never admitting my true feelings to him or me until much later. He was involved off and on with someone else who hated my guts. Their relationship suffered for various reasons. The chemistry he and I shared was noticeable to everyone around us. We didn’t want to face how we felt. I regret that the one man I wanted I couldn’t talk to because I got so clumsy around him. I forgot what I was going to say or why I became drawn to him. My vows were important to me, but many would say I gave up on my marriage. The truth is I didn’t want to allow my ex-husband to kill me. He’s never been diagnosed with a mental illness, but he displays seven out of ten symptoms for borderline personality disorder.

The night I lost a baby was the night I recognized that my marriage ended. Too many events transpired leading up to that occurrence that told me while he may have loved me, he loved me as much as he was capable of because he froze instead of taking me to the hospital. I had a myriad of emotions ricocheting in my soul. I was losing a child, my marriage, my trust in someone that I defended left and right, and worst of all, I felt like a complete and utter failure. I wasn’t able to carry to term, I wouldn’t be a mother, and I damn sure wasn’t enough of a partner to remain a wife. He pushed me so far away that I was angry, hurt, alone, frustrated, confused, and empty. It was little to no wonder that I had feelings for another man with how he treated me.

Why didn’t I act on those feelings? The truth? I was terrified of being rejected. I also didn’t want to rock the boat. My marriage was ending, and I didn’t want to drag him with me through one hell of a messy divorce. Plus, he was involved with someone off and on he worked with, which is always tricky. Eventually, I took a risk, which was one of the most challenging times in my life. Most of my friends are men. The reason is that the men I’m around don’t play head games with me. If they like someone, they let them know, and rarely have I seen any of them get so tongue-tied around a woman that they can’t think. Many people have accused me of sleeping with these men over the years. That’s not going to happen. The men around me are like brothers. There is nothing about them that I find remotely attractive. While many people don’t understand why I prefer being friends with men, others understand well. If I hadn’t had so many women play games, I might not feel the way I do.

After lots of conversation, I’ve learned that I will remain alone if I don’t allow myself to feel again. There are worse things in life. But when you’ve met someone you know in your heart is the right person, you recognize that if you don’t acknowledge their needs and yours, you will be forever doomed to repeating the same patterns.

So here’s my thought for you today. If you’ve been burned by those you love, give yourself time to heal and start to feel again. Only then can you get past the pain, betrayal, and sting. I’ve been opening my heart for the last few months, and it’s been tremendous at how much I’ve changed. I’ve finally begun to discover myself and found that I have a lot to offer others. It’s okay to go through transitions. Don’t allow yourselves to get stuck and not move forward. Life is an adventure. Allow yourself permission to take adventures and journeys along the way. As you defeat the fear, you’ll find yourself open to a world of endless possibilities. Have a great day, everyone.

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