Fear of Falling

Photo credit: Winter I; 2010. J. Wilson (author), Moonheart Studio Fine Photographs.

I lost myself for a while there.

I tried so hard to make you happy, when you were determined not to be, that I lost myself in the process.

Every time you disapproved of or ridiculed something I loved, I put it down.

Every time you criticised me, I got smaller, less sure of myself. I did everything you asked of me, but I never did it correctly in your eyes.

You let me know it.

I gave up hobbies, friends, dreams… because I believed in you, in us, in the promise we’d made to each other.

You left me long before I found out I was fighting a losing battle.

And I was just… there, adrift. I wasn’t enough. You didn’t want any version of me. You didn’t want me. Period. Full stop.

But I was this person who was molded around you. And I had no idea how to move on. My heart, my mind, my soul… were all still bound to you.

Marriages break up all the time. It’s sad, but after a while my friends couldn’t understand why I struggled so hard to move on.

How could I have failed so badly? I had a single purpose: to make my partner happy. And I had failed. Utterly.

It was more than two years before I could admit that our marriage had not been a healthy relationship.

More than three years later, in a tense situation, I simply shut down. My best friend was apologetic and convinced I was angry at him, and I said those words for the first time.

“I am a survivor of long term domestic abuse.”

It came out without a lot of thought. I didn’t think of myself that way. I don’t think I’d ever said the words even in the privacy of my own mind. But there they were. There was no taking them back.

It’s taken almost another year to really start my journey back to the person I was all those years ago. Not necessarily before we met, but before everything went wrong. Before I lost my way.

I bought high heels again. I subscribed to loot crate. I started my own theatre company. And I decided I couldn’t ever open myself up to that kind of relationship again.

Four months ago, I was in a really serious car accident. I spent nearly three months in nursing homes and hospitals. I’ve spent another six weeks recovering at home, and I’ve still got at least another six weeks before I can go back to work. All those weeks of forced inactivity caused me to do a lot of soul searching. And I realized I can’t just turn off the part of me that craves a deeper, more intimate connection.

Because rediscovering who I was, who I am — also means rediscovering my heart.

I’m not the person I was, of course. I can’t turn back the clock and pretend the last decade never existed. But I am rediscovering who I am now, and learning again that my approval of myself is the most important thing.

And so, one foot cautiously in front of the other, I’ll learn how to walk again. And maybe after that, I’ll learn how to fly again. Even if I am really afraid of the fall.

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