Updated: Dec 26, 2021
I’d liken it to PTSD…a post traumatic stress disorder that would more accurately be described as a post traumatic stress reaction. It was situational and momentary…fictional. But that sinking feeling in my stomach…the gripping around my heart…the slight dizzy and nauseous feeling was all very real.
We were driving back from Boulder and a song came on that triggered a very real memory. A memory that somehow managed to weasel its way in and attempted to manipulate a current situation.
I don’t remember the song that came on, I just remember the lyrics included the phrase “I love you“. Unconsciously, my brain locked in on that and began planting the seeds of doubt about my relationship with Mr. Universe.
He said he loved me…but maybe he just meant that he loved me…you know, like I love my friends. Maybe he didn’t mean that he was in love with me. I’d never gotten caught up in the difference between the phrasing until The Taste used it as an excuse. He had said he loved me and then later said that loving me was different than being in love with me. Whaaaaat??? That’s bullshit.
I thought it was a shitty thing to say, especially to someone who you’d spent so much time with…made plans with. It was confusing at best because I’d felt like he loved me…was in love with me. To me, the two are the same…until someone tells you they aren’t.
I thought I’d discarded this memory as the rantings of someone that couldn’t deal with the truth…with a reality that was messy…with a grown ass relationship devoid of excuses. I guess I didn’t…there it was.
All the sudden, I was sitting in the car questioning what Mr. Universe’s intent was. Was I hearing something he didn’t say…or didn’t mean? Was I getting ahead of myself? Was I setting myself up for a clarifying conversation down the road…to have the rug pulled out from under me again because I trusted someone’s words…because I elected to believe that Mr. Universe was purposeful with his words?
Before I knew it — or could stop it — I was headed down a dark rabbit hole. The bottom fell out of my stomach…it was hard to take a deep breath…I wanted to throw up. I had taken a memory from a previous relationship and supplanted it into my current relationship. WTF…
After a few minutes I caught myself, hit reset, and then got pissed. It made me angry that I’d allowed myself to be in a relationship with someone that could say something like that to me, and it made me even more mad that I allowed his words to affect me…still. He didn’t deserve that kind of power. Mr. Universe didn’t deserve the transfer of doubt. I didn’t deserve to revisit those old feelings of being unlovable.
I know that people who make others feel unlovable or lesser in some way are just redirecting their feelings about themselves onto others. I know this intellectually and instinctually…but those wounds run deep and there are still a few scars. The scars don’t mean anything more than I allowed myself to be vulnerable…trusting…with someone or a situation that I shouldn’t have…that I misread because I was given misinformation.
I know there were questions in the back of my mind but I choose to ignore them…to push them aside. There was no part of that relationship that made me feel good about myself, other than the attention I got. It didn’t build me up…didn’t fill my tank…didn’t leave me feeling refreshed or energized. It left me depleted.
Mr. Universe is different. If questions pop up, we discuss them. Things don’t get tucked away…pushed down…buried. I feel good being around him…happy…energized. We have serious conversations about as often as we have silly ones. There’s a direct, honest, heartfelt exchange…and lots of laughter.
When an emotional scab gets picked, I need to stop…take a breath…and apply some pressure to stop the bleeding. I need to ask myself if it’s real or a phantom pain. I need to pinpoint the trigger and release it. To replace it with something real…an affirmation…forgiveness.
In one way, I’m thankful for the trigger yesterday because it helped to frame why I felt like I was holding back…a little….because I was. Just another situation where I was waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. Figuring that out, though, takes away the power…the fear.
The Taste doesn’t get to claim all of my scars. They’ve been there for years. That relationship just provided a framework for me to negotiate the lattice work of wounds and pain. I should probably send him a fruit basket as a thank you. That relationship might be the one that finally allows me to heal…to feel and believe how worthy I am…which means every relationship that follows is more real than anything I’ve previously experienced. That is powerful. That is the point…growth…truth…love.