Ponderings on Pain

I walked away from my last relationship thinking that I was strong. Unafraid. Rock solid. I’m not. I mean, I’m pretty tough. I’m unafraid to be vulnerable. But there’s some pain in me that needs careful attending to. I didn’t even know it was there. The pain began to appear when I became sexually active again. In the process of opening myself to another body, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by feelings of panic, anxiety, and frustration. I didn’t know why. The feelings followed me, whether I was in a lover’s company or not. It took me several weeks to realize why I was feeling so upset, to piece together the connection between my present experience and the last one. The dots connected themselves while I was driving. In a snap, it became clear as day. This was real pain, scars that came from a very specific dynamic in my last relationship. The realization was relieving; it’s fantastic to be able to put your finger on a reason. It also made me so, so ANGRY. Fucking furious. I walked around for two days fuming, foaming at the mouth, pissed at my ex for all the ways he was responsible for this pain. “He couldn’t fucking get his shit together and listen to what I needed. It’s HIS fault that I’m in this pain. HE HURT ME.”

Catch Myself #1. Woah. The blame game is not my scene. My ex, he loved me. He is a great man. He tried, the BEST he could to be with me, to give me what I needed. He didn’t know how. That’s not his fault. This pain is NOT his fault.

So then whose is it? Is it mine? It’s mine, right? Because I stayed. I stayed in a relationship that wasn’t giving me what I needed. “This pain is my fault! It’s all my fault!!” Catch Myself #2. That doesn’t work for me either. Because there was more to our relationship than this one, particular aspect. So much more. This was a wonderfully deep, meaningful relationship. I know why I stayed. I have no regrets for that.

So now what? What do I do with this pain? Maybe I’m just angry that it exists. Yeah, that resonates. It wasn’t his fault, wasn’t my fault. But why…why does this pain, ANY pain, have to exist? And here it comes…Catch Myself #3. Because I can’t be happy about happiness and then pissed about pain. They’re two sides of the same coin. If one exists, the other will also come. That’s reality, and it’s a reality I want.

Here’s where I landed. Pain will exist. It will create scars that need to be addressed. Tended to and cared for. With love, a steady and healing hand. But this pain is not an integral part of me. I’m not “broken”. Pain creates a new set of experiences for me to walk through. Nothing more. It doesn’t limit me; it doesn’t limit who I am. I am as I always have been. I glow. I learn. I love.

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