“I’m not exactly a commitment-phobe, I’m just commitment cautious.” It was one of the stories I’d been telling myself for years, and of course it was true so long as I wanted it to be.
I’ve been in a somewhat complicated, somewhat organic process of discernment. Deciding to retire some of the old stories I’d been telling myself that no longer worked in service of the life I wanted to lead. My love story was one of them. In asking myself what I truly wanted, I found some relationships harder to maintain. Though I struggled to hold on to them, I had also become increasingly more curious about what might happen if I let them go?
One came wrapped up in a beautiful gift box and a thick red satin bow. It looked like all my childhood dreams come to life. That husband, that home, those kids, and quiet suburban splendor. Only, I searched myself and couldn’t seem to find the joy for it. Why wasn’t I happy? Wasn’t this everything I ever wanted?
I contemplated the possibility that perhaps I didn’t trust it. History has told me that at some point the other shoe will drop and your breath will be taken away, and not in a good way. I knew you would do this. I forced myself to lean into the discomfort. Daydreaming about a wedding I didn’t want to begin a life I no longer craved. It was a little too safe. A little too provincial. A little too much like the dream and nothing I could hold in my hands.
And then one night I remembered who I am, today. Stood fully in my present and faced my fear head on asking the hard question: is this still fantasy or is this real? He had no answer and that was all I needed. I packed up that story in a box of other beautiful things from my childhood and I tossed it into the ocean on a drive home. I said to the water, I am not yet ready to leave you. And she crashed against my feet in sweet agreement.
I wanted love…I want love. But not at the cost of who I am. Not at the expense of my spontenaiety. Not without regard for my love of travel, an unweighted life full of laughter and artistry. I wanted long conversations about any and everything. I was no longer afraid to open my mouth and did not like the timidity of my old self. I never wanted to go back there. I needed someone who respected my wants and heard me when I spoke, and even when I did not. In fact, I wanted someone who listened for my pauses and spoke the language of my silence. I did not want a grand big life, I wanted a deep rich life.
So my story changed. But in a way, it didn’t. The words before read of a girl who was unsure of her own heart and asked the world to tell her who she was. My story now is of a woman who knows.