I have this dream of fully unraveling before my partner. In my mind, this man is unwavering and sturdy. When he says he’ll do something, it’s done. There’s a natural confidence about him that draws others in, and when you’re with him, the world becomes simple and magical. Together we explore and delight in the evening’s golden light, a perfect tomato and the warmth of each other’s presence as we walk side-by-side. We communicate deeply without the need for fickle words. Ours is a relationship built on trust and intuited feeling. This blend is the mortar that allows us to build a strong and light-filled home in which we can each place the things that scare us, make us feel ashamed, alone, unlovable and unforgiveable.
When either of us ventures into these dark places, the other waits patiently above the surface like a supportive spelunking partner. Whatever is surfaced, the other holds with a gentle and curious openness. This thing is then placed somewhere in the light-filled home, no longer hidden nor a specific focus, but explored with time as we pass it throughout our lives.
Because I’ve been waiting to build this refuge of acceptance for my darkest places, I’ve kept these unsavory aspects to myself. There has been some subconscious expectation that they will be shared with no one until they are shared with the one. Equally, this person will be unveiling their depth to me and only me. It will be like standing before another naked for the first time ever. I know it’s a lot to hope for, but try as I might to soften my longing for this rawness, it’s just not possible.
My love is a laser beam, fierce, strong and undistracted taking in the heart, mind and body of another. It is unwavering and intensely loyal. In the face of such intensity, relationships are burnt down time and time again. It is often I who sets them on fire. Then I watch hopefully from the sidelines for my lover to emerge from the flames. Often they do not. But this one, this mountain of a man, is undeterred by my infernal emotions. He knew this might happen. We survey what has else has survived. We discover how our spark became some unwieldy. He takes my hand and together we find a new place in which our house might be built again.
My beam does not turn on often. I have had lovers. I have had boyfriends. I’ve been accused of wearing my heart on my sleeve – as if that’s a bad thing. But the ones who get in deep – who really touch some deep fathom of my being and ignite the beginning of the unraveling, are few and far between. This love has come only once, or twice in my life. As one might expect, these relationships were challenging, some might say, “unhealthy,” but none of this really matters. Mine is a love that does not die. One of these former partners, given the instability of our connection, I have not spoken to in more than 7 years. I still hold him fondly in my heart and think of him often. I imagine it will always be this way.
When my laser has no target, it is like a searchlight, shining hopefully into the void. Will someone see? Will someone come? It is lonely, but I am patient as I’ve learned such things are best not rushed. I know that if someone arrives, the real work begins.
Given these things that I know about myself — things that may be considered dysfunctional – there has been some real questioning about my capacity for sustaining the kind of comfortable relationship that some seem to have secured. These relationships are described like putting on an old well-worn sweatshirt. There’s a naturalness, an ease. Sure, fights happen, sometimes, but nothing like 4 alarms I’ve grown accustomed to. I find this unfathomable. Is the rawness, passion and aching vulnerability I crave possible in such cozy sweatshirt relationships? I’ve made a judgment that it is not, which secures me in my loneliness, but this is a false confidence.
I want to lay my head on a cozy, accepting, person and let them push back my hair without concern for how I will repay them for this kindness. They’ll know that when it is needed, my lap is available for their weary mind as well. I want to take down these carefully constructed walls (on which I’ve displayed only my best qualities) between how I’m perceived and who I really am. This begins by realizing that the house of trust – the refuge of belonging, I so seek – is actually here now. It’s been created by those I’ve only let get so close – my friends, my mentors, the readers of this blog. I see it now. So, let the writing of this post, presented with honesty and much uncertainty, be my first offering from one of my own dark crevices. Here I am, for better and for worse. Thank you.