At first, I was afraid. I was petrified.
I am not sure why this song keeps ringing in my head as of late. I have been on both sides of that song, I have been the survivor and the one who hurt with goodbye. I have even been both at the same time. I don’t like either role, however. don’t get me wrong, I admire my perseverance and ability to survive for some nasty life circumstances. However, that isn’t really the crux of that song.
I have some odd intimacy issues that I am working through. I would even say that I was dangerously close to a relationship addict. I was certainly in a 20 year marriage that had a multitude of addictive characteristics. After I got out of the marriage and started dating a wonderful woman, I slid right back into some of those destructive habits. It is all I knew and a coping mechanism for some very hurtful internal struggles. I am so thankful the experience revealed some pretty core issues I needed to work on. I am also pretty remorseful that it cost me a love relationship and my best friend in the process. My fear was of being alone. I “kept thinking I could never live life without (you) by my side.” I was petrified that I needed someone by my side to tell me I was ok or I wouldn’t be ok. I feared being alone and clung to people. However, I also was smart enough to know that would eventually be annoying and smothering. I was afraid of attaching and I was always on alert for who I would date next if the person walked out the door. My fear and internal chains led me to feel sorry for myself and state false bravado. Id push women away, desperately wanting them to stay.
When they got sick of it and left, Id go the other way. Id be in a panic that I was alone. Id start to fear loneliness. What if I never loved again? What if I was never loved again? I’d see myself as unworthy, unlovable, undesirable. My chains would get tighter. Id choke. If someone did come back, Id fear the hurt more than desire the connection. Id send them away, proving to myself that I wasn’t worthy. Laying down and dying would have been less painful. I had crumbled, and pieces have much more surface area to accumulate pain.
I used to think that survival was the goal. It sounds so strong in the song. Follow that up with I will stay alive and I heard power and hope. The truth for me is that neither one is all that worthy of a goal. Both imply existence, which is a good start for sure. However, they are not dynamic. Survive and live are akin to existing. You can exist and sit on the couch. You can exist and not grow. You can exist in a shame marriage. You can exist and wear a mask, cowering from interaction and your true self. You can exist in darkness, blotting out existence. You can exist and be afraid. You can exist and be petrified, solid and frozen forever.
The goal is living. Living into each moment. Embracing growth and change. The goal is living who you are and who you are becoming. The goal is perpetual journey into a better and better version of yourself. The goal is to know that when we are alone, we are the same person as when we are not. The goal is to not be afraid of true intimacy with ourselves. I needed to embrace me. I needed to know that when I sent me out the door, I had lost my best friend, my true companion. I needed to know that I could exist without my true self, but I could never live. If I was willing to be accepted or rejected by someone else and maintain my journey, I would grow. I would be able and available for a dynamic, truly intimate relationship.
I do have all my life to LIVE and all my love to give. It has to start inside.