I love writing about relationships as relationships teach us about ourselves. They hold up a mirror reflecting back to us the parts of ourselves we need to know and come to understand. Relationships seldom last a lifetime instead lasting just long enough to teach us the lessons required for a more enlightened state of being, awareness of self. We take every ounce of learning with us into new relationship experiences that await us down the road. Ending one relationship opens doors for new relationships to enter, a concept many find difficult to understand, holding on tightly blisters and all. So, how do you go about writing relationship stories without hurting the other. This is the challenge but, I write this story from a place of understanding. Relationships are destined events whether the time together is short or long. I believe they require documentation of some sort, in stories or on our soul, maybe both. Writers write anyway as relationships cannot be deleted on paper nor in real life. Call this story fiction if it pleases you, easing reality with floating feathers lulling you into dreamland, for the perspective is all my own, my vision, my experiences, my own view of the world. My truth. This story is about one relationship held close to my heart for many years. One that taught me more about myself than any other. One which fills me with gratitude, as the lessons have made my becoming a precious gift. No further lessons to be learned, our paths have now separated. I go in peace and thanksgiving. Perhaps one day we shall meet again, travelling a new landscape filled with laughter and joy. I wish you well as you continue on your journey my friend. Thank you for the gift of your lessons.
She moved into our neighborhood recently married, children on the way. I became the babysitter to her children. My role defined as someone helpful as our age difference was a span of 20 or so years. After her second child was born, I was invited to take a trip with her family to help out with the children. I was dating the love of my life at the time, someone not approved of by family. What I thought was an opportunity to travel instead moved very quickly into a trip to convince me to ditch my boyfriend. Red Flag# 1. I listened to her lectures with respect. You did not talk back to your elders at that time having been raised believing elders were much wiser and knowledgeable about yourself than you were. I returned home from that trip slightly scathed but, somewhere deep down inside I knew better. I married him a few years later and remain married today. Lesson #1 Trust yourself.
Over the years, I settled into the ebb and flow of the relationship and the expectations required of me, the standards, the values, the traditions, the conservative way of life. I tolerated the berating when I was perceived as being out of line, not measuring up somehow, the going along to get along, continually giving of my own gifts asking nothing in return. Standing beside her in her times of crisis and turmoil with non-judgemental support. Simply being there. Forgiving. Overlooking. How many times did I remain quiet for fear of confrontation and being rejected. How many times did I toss and turn inside. How many times did I turn the other cheek. Red Flag # 2, 3 and 4. Lesson #2 Speak and Live Your Truth
I am now nearly 50 and excited at reaching yet another milestone in my life. I planned out an entire week-long list of events for my friends and family leading up to the grand finale, a party at my home hosted by my spouse and I. During the week there were lunches and spa days, girlfriend parties, joy and celebrations. I was turning 50, had worked hard and made it. Or so I thought. Still, I was not allowed to have control over my own life and steer my own ship even coming up to 50 years of age. My party was, shall we say, reworked by my friend and moved up by one day in the guise of surprise. Everyone was called on my list and told to come to our home one day earlier. Returning home after a day of being whisked away so preparations could be made and people hidden in my basement, I attempted, somewhat feebly at surprise and joy. But, deep down inside I was devastated for there is nothing I like less in life than surprises. My spouse, having delivered the message numerous times that I would not be impressed, fell on deaf ears, for once again, she knew better. A week of beautiful events shattered by a memory of disappointment and discomfort. The Not Quite Final Red Flag. Lesson #3 Do Not Give Your Power Away.
I continued to stay in the relationship because it was familiar and comfortable for others, fear of loss, the unknown and most of all unspoken expectations bound me to stay the course. I thought I had learned all there was to learn but, the Universe in all its wisdom had one more lesson in store. I agreed to take a car trip with my friend that lasted 2 1/2 days going and 2 1/2 days returning. On that trip she navigated the route, the words I spoke, my relationships, my knowledge and challenged again my own beliefs and knowing. She seemed on some kind of mission to make me see the error of my ways, stomp on my soul, put me in my place. This last trip was in essence a replay of the first but now I am older and wiser, comfortable in my own skin and recognize the interplay between us coming full circle. The awakening. I have been a passenger on her ship travelling a life not my own. The Final Red Flag. Speaking up and standing my ground, I was promptly dropped off on the nearest deserted island. Mutiny! Thank goodness I did not have to walk the plank. But, I knew I would be OK for it was on the island that I began to build my own ship in quiet and solitude, gaining strength day by day. And now I navigate my own life with an ease of breath and happiness in my soul. Lesson #4 Steer Your Own Ship.
On a positive note, it took me a mere 30 years to learn the lesson. I may never have learned it at all. And interlaced between it all were so many joyous times and experiences. And now like a balloon completely filled, I have let it all go with love and gratitude. People and experiences are not bad. Individuals we call friends are wonderful human beings. Don’t forget, we too are a someones friend with lessons to teach. So, do not look back with sorrow and sadness and negative thoughts. Instead say goodbye, grieve and then say hello to the new friend that awaits you with lessons written in a new book and language. Till we meet again. Lesson #5 Be Grateful, Always
We all have relationships, with ourselves, our friends and family, our pets, our communities, with nature and the environment. With our God and our spiritual beliefs. That is why we are here. It is not always smooth sailing. Seek the lessons and honor the calling the of your soul. See yourself through the eyes of another. Trust your own vision and most of all steer your own ship. Your soul is your compass. Dare to take the helm.