Coin Tosses & Gut checks.
So I called Lane today...yep only took me 8 months to work up the courage to call the man that I loved more than any other and ask for closure. I just couldn’t handle never speaking again the way we left things. I felt unfinished. I needed closure.
He answered and I bumbled my way through why I was calling him. There was mention that the magic coin said it was ok to call him. There was derision on his part that I allow a coin toss to decide such things.
I said that I just wanted to hear his voice and to know he was ok. We exchanged awkward pleasantries. Then he said “well, I have to tell you I am seeing someone seriously and she is here so I think I better end the call.”
I said and meant, “I am so very happy for you. All I have ever wanted is for you to be happy. Goodbye Lane."
He said, “Goodbye Erin.”
As I hung up the phone, I burst into tears. I cried for 20 minutes. Choking, gut wrenching sobs. Not because I wanted him back, not because I was sad he was with someone new, not because at any point in time during our conversation did I miss him. I cried because I realized I had been holding my breath all this time and it hurt. My clinging to the idea of this man as the one for me had died so long ago but I stubbornly held on waiting for him to move on before I could allow myself to do the same. I know, what the fuck, right?
Then the relief came. It came in waves that flooded me with oxygen and my chest liberated a sigh that was so deep in my chest that it almost was a gasp. Like some demon exercised from my heart. I felt clear. Sad. Free.
I spent the rest of my time cryking (crying + hiking) checking in with myself as a mother checks in on her teenaged daughter and her boyfriend watching a movie...
Yep, I am ok. I am sad but not because I want him. I think that I am sad because I don't.
To cry, to be sad. To let go. To accept the fact that I am not and never will be his first, his last, his everything as he proclaimed once upon a time.
“What are you going to do now?”
Well I am going to finish this hike. I am going to call a trusted girlfriend that has walked this entire journey with me and I am going to tell her how I feel.
“How do you feel?”
Relieved. Happy to not be possessed anymore. Load lightened. I don’t have to think about him anymore. He is someone else’s concern. He is someone else’s love. He is someone else’s problem. I am sad but not because of him. I am sad because I waited all this time for something that was officially done years ago. I put myself on a shelf believing he would come back for me...he didn’t. I guess I really just needed to believe that the love he professed was true. But it wasn’t. He was not there for me and I stuck around even after he was long gone hoping all hope that he would change and make me a priority.
“Why do you do that?”
I think I have trouble experiencing love. I can give it but I can’t receive it from just anyone. Men need to be unattainable for me to love with my whole self. It has always been this way. I have only truly loved the ones that I can’t have. I can see now that I did this because it was safe.
“What the fuck does that mean?”
I mean that I always thought that no one ever loved me enough or right or whatever. Today I realized that isn’t true. There have been several really good men that have loved me and even tried to make a life with me. But because they were available for love, I couldn’t love them with my whole heart. I could not meet them in the places that Lane and I met. I could not share the things that I did with him. I could not give freely and fully of myself. I just couldn’t. It never occurred to me until today that me getting the love hasn’t ever been the problem - it is in the giving of love that I have been deficient.
I only gave love to those that didn’t want it, couldn’t handle it, didn’t reciprocate or were too fucked up to care about anyone but themselves. I did this because they were safe. They were never really there to begin with. The fact that I was in love with them was just another fancy story I talked myself into. I was free to give my all because they didn’t want even 50% of me. So I gave 100% to see if that would change their minds....it didn’t.
And while I wish Lane was different...he isn’t. He was just another man that was only safe to love because he was never really there to begin with...he was not committed to me. He was not jumping in and partnering up with me. He was not the love of my life. He was just the last unavailable man that I will ever give my heart to.
“So what now?”
I think I have some work to do...I mean it. I think I really have to look at the fact that I have always been searching not for someone to love me but to find someone that I can love safely. I need to feel safe to love with my whole self and that is a real struggle for me.
I am scared because what if I find someone who loves me and is present - am I going to be able to reciprocate? Am I going to be able to give like I did to Lane? Am I going to be all in? I mean really all in.
“Do you think you can?”
I don’t know but I do know that I do not run from challenges in my path. I kick the motherfucking shit out of them. I persevere. I am strong and brave and relentless. This one is formidable - I know it because it lives in my gut - I feel it right there every time I think about really giving love to someone who truly loves me back. I get this fluttery feeling in my gut that makes me feel sick. It was the day Lane left (initially) that I felt emotional pain in my body for the first time. It was visceral and cutting. Since that day, I have felt all emotional pain right there...in my body, in my gut. While that may seem like bad news, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. For decades my ability to feel emotional pain on a physical level was non-existence. The pain that I felt that day with Lane was so sharp that it reconnected me, well, with me.
So yes I think I can love someone who really loves me back now. Well maybe not today but soon. I have survived the worst heartbreak I could ever imagine...seeing how very much I did not love me. Seeing all the ways that I did not have my own back. That I did not care about me - how often I would settle for crumbs. Seeing how very much I used loved of others as a means to get away from having to look at me. All the while telling myself the story that I was unworthy and not picked when, in truth, it was always me not picking me. I was doing it to myself...
In fact, I think that I am the most ok that I have been...ever. Like my whole fucking life. I am able to lean into pain. I am able to confront the fear. I am able to love me even when I do stupid shit things like call my ex-boyfriend at 8 am on a Saturday and find out he is in love with someone else. I love that woman. While she may make major (and minor) life decisions by the toss of a coin...its who she is and I think maybe, just maybe, she is all done apologizing for that.
Deep breath...God, it feels so good to breathe. It feels so good to feel lousy. I am so grateful for this beautifully awful day.
Because I had my own back...the whole time and I never once allowed myself to think anything less about myself. I made the call and I took my lumps. I felt the pain and while there may be some aftershocks that follow, I am so very happy to be me. And even happier that I am now Lane free.
“How do you know?”
I erased all his voicemail messages I have been saving for years. And I didn’t cry at all. It felt good, right and true. Finally.