dating · fear · isolation · love · recovery

"I want to go to there." Good thing I am.

Where there is smoke, there is fire. And where there is fire, we take off our knitted gloves and hold our hands to it. 
It’s not that bad. This work. It’s tragic and awful, and would certainly raise eyebrows in most circles. I just got through chronicling the years from high school through, “Then I got sober.” 


The phrase “shit show” comes to mind. 
And yet, I remind myself, in small, calm handwriting at the end of each of these morning writing sessions that I am not that person anymore. That I have been shaped by her experiences, surely, but that the shape and essence of who I am can’t and couldn’t be eroded. 
Someone commented yesterday that I am courageous. And as I go through and into this work on healing my relationship to relationships and love, I know that I am. 
Not (only) because I’ve chosen (or been “forced” by fate) to do this work at all, but because of all that has come before that hasn’t broken me. 
Injured, scarred, frightened me. Sure. But I sit here today, in my sweats, a space heater licking my calves, half-philz half-trader joes coffee in my mug, and I’m not broken. 
I have been through things and experienced them in a way that makes me cautious to the point of isolation against romantic relationships, but that doesn’t make me broken. That makes me habituated to a way of being. 
It all comes, for me, down to safety. With others, in my body, in relationship, in intimacy and authenticity. To slowly peel back the traumas and defenses and reveal that there’s nothing to be scared of anymore. Nothing that can harm me the way my high school/college/post-college years did. 
I won’t say that my love life in sobriety has been a cake walk or the pinnacle of wise. It used to have a lot of the same patterns as my drinking days. But it doesn’t anymore. 
However, there’s a middle ground, I know, between wanton and nunnery. 
I want to go to there. 
I want to go to the place where I am safe, even in exposing myself. Not because other people are so trustworthy, but because I am. Because my spidey-sense is coming back, and I want to get to a place where I trust it. I don’t have to tap out of the dating game entirely. I just have to listen when the alarms go off, and act accordingly. Take action accordingly. 
In previous iterations of my love-life, I have pressed the override button so forcibly, for moments, I did break. 
But, I’m not that girl-woman anymore. As I said, I’ve been shaped and molded by her experiences. But I also have my own inherent grace, fortitude, and hope. 

And so, where there has been smoke (read: my love life), I have sought the fire (read: my fearful heart). And it will be there that I remove my (boxing) gloves. And learn to love and trust my own self. 
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