I felt something really uncomfortable about my birthday coming up, and it wasn't ageing.
The discomfort was in a more raw fear that I hadn't acknowledged until my birthday made me suddenly aware.
My fear of being alone.
I'm 30 next week, and to this date I haven't experienced a healthy romantic love. Imbalance, addiction, old patterns, dysfunction, low self esteem or detachment? Yep.
REAL love? Free from ego and all the pains that come with ego? Really standing there as a vulnerable human being infront of another vulnerable human being and loving openly without closing down out of fear? Nope.
Most people don't know that I experienced anxiety from a very early age. My parents divorced when I was a baby and being as young and ill-equiped as they were to deal with the pain of co-parenting and all the associated things that brings up (I so get it now, it is HARD at times), my personal experience was one of deep abandonment when my Dad wasn't a stable part of my life.
This fear of being abandoned has permeated my life ever since and manifested in many different ways. But usually, in being abandoned in my personal relationships, or, being the person who abandons if I feel too vulnerable.
I also experienced the biggest violation of trust a child can, sexual abuse by a very close family member that went undetected and that I had suppressed. Much of my early childhood I still don't have memories for. It was only as I was discovering something similar with one of my daughters recently (not to skim over this, but it's not for this post) that my old pain, memories and realisations emerged from my subconscious mind where they had been buried out of self protection and survival. This is common where a child disassociates from a traumatic experience with someone they are relying on for survival, and often results in memory loss.
This resulted in a core feeling of deep distrust, to my core - not just of others, but of myself too. If the people who are meant to be protecting you can harm you in such a way, in what and who could you possibly trust in this world?
You can imagine the cocktail of stories and associated actions I was taking into relationships. And it therefore probably isn't that surprising to know that I am now a single mum to 2 (amazing) girls.
I have taken it in my stride, and most days I absolutely love our little girl power trio, and I would never change the course of my life and give up my daughters who came from every moment before.
I moved into this phase of my life with (I feel) as much ease and grace as one can when faced with the situations surrounding both of my girls' dads (abandonment, emotional and verbal abuse, severe addiction, unsafe and unhealthy environments), and I thought I was largely ok with being alone, until my birthday popped up and I realised it meant, being alone.
Suddenly not ok.
My first impulse was to create a party, or something, anything, so I didn't have to be with the reality that I am alone (romantically) in this phase of life, and the pain that comes up around that when I am honest about it.
30 is a big date, a milestone, and I will be alone for it.
I needed to sit with that (a lot) over this past week.
I am still shifting and moving through my old pains that have prevented me from picking the kinds of people who would be good for me - you know, emotionally healthy and emotionally available people who WANT real love. And being ready to transcend my fear of being abandoned or abused, and receive that love.
So this year, I won't have that special someone to share my birthday with. I may not have that person for some time, or even ever.
But what I do have is an awareness and self compassion that I haven't had before.
I've had so many beautiful (painful) lessons for my personal growth on this life journey.
I have 2 amazing daughters who I am responsible to teach HEALTHY love to, how to trust, how to receive love, how to have strong boundaries, how to be vulnerable, how to feel worthy - and to do that, I must model it myself.
So I put forth these intentions for my 30th year:
- To move further toward the direction of my heart, my self worth and my ability to be ok being alone, so that if that special person comes along, I am not derailed by them, but am able to walk beside them as a whole and complete person in me.
- To surround myself with beautiful tools that offer me strength and daily reminders.
- To have fun, play, be light and free.
- To model strength for my girls, but more importantly to model softness. To model femininity and vulnerability.
- To continue to open my heart (I write this with a drop of Geranium essential oil over my heart to support this), despite my natural tendency to shield or close it.
- To trust through my fears and not let my past dictate my future
- To continue to be open, raw and vulnerable in my work with others, because I know so much of this is experienced but goes unsaid and just results in more isolation and shame.
- To accept that I don't have all the answers, but I am open to growth and stepping more into my power, strength and posture as a leader and someone who has something valuable to offer this world and every woman in it - and I can most certainly do that, alone.
And with that, I look forward to 30 more than any other year so far. And that surely, is something worth celebrating.