Twenty odd years ago in my early twenties, I experienced the breaking up of a friendship that was the most deeply traumatic experience of that kind that I’d had before or since. It was a painful lesson that no matter how much you love someone or how good you are to them, it just might not matter at all in the end. If they have some other shit to deal with, and think they cannot deal with said shit with you around, or maybe believe that the shit is attached to you somehow, it can be quite easy for them to cut you out. And you’re sitting there completely bewildered, stunned, crushed. Neither your heart or mind can grasp why or how someone can turn like that.
For over a week, I cried myself to sleep alone in a hotel room. I was between apartments and was meant to stay with this friend until my new lease started but it quickly became evident that this was no longer possible. I could have stayed with other friends, but felt like way too much of a disaster. I needed the alone time, too, to try to start to make sense of what had happened and to grieve.
On one of those rough nights, I decided that I would no longer make decisions based on fear. It hit me that choices made out of fear wouldn’t save me, help me, protect me. They wouldn’t help me grow, to be a better person, to have a happier life. Choosing to be with someone because you’re afraid to be alone, or choosing to keep a shitty job because you’re afraid of taking a new risk, or choosing to stay in a city you hate because the devil you know… nothing good will come of this. From then on, I would make decisions based on love. Love for another person or myself or for adventure or for the planet, whatever it was.
In the years since, I have come back to this frequently. When I find myself at a crossroads, I make myself pause and really consider what is driving me to lean toward one choice versus another. If I find that underneath all of the logic and rationalizations and practicalities and intellectualizing is a big ole mountain of fear, I know that isn’t the correct choice. I know I have to go the other way. Maybe it’ll have to wait a month or a decade, but eventually I will have to go the other way. I thought I could cross this lesson off the list years ago…
Recently, however, I’ve been reminded of this as well as some other lessons I’ve been learning (and relearning) along the way. Some of us (like me) believe that saying that life gives you a lesson over and over until you figure it out already. I was smacked hard with the realization that while I know these lessons in my head– FEAR kept me from implementing them at critical moments. Life was all, LOL, let’s try this again, sweetheart. And now I’m like, oh fuuuuuuuuuuuckkkk. Right. I know this. Dammit. Ok. Try again. Learn again.
Some of these other lessons include trusting my intuition, being honest with myself and others– trusting that we can handle the truth because if we don’t, nothing good can come. In fact as I’m writing this, I’m realizing it all comes back to FEAR. Fear is why I didn’t follow the many lessons I’ve already learned.
Ok. Trying again.