Yesterday went sideways for a painful moment or two. I am more resilient than I was even a  year ago; some tears, some words, and a hot soak in Epsom salts later, I was okay. Saddened a bit that I am less skillful at face-to-face communication than I would like to be. Irked with myself failing to recognize that communication is not always what someone else is after, at all. Still…okay. The evening ended quietly, and pleasantly, and I managed to pass an interesting milestone that is quite new for me, although it was  painful moment – I asked my traveling partner to go, rather than continue an unpleasant moment for both of us. I didn’t regret the decision. I didn’t candy coat it. I didn’t go after him, changing my mind. I didn’t plead for him to return – or even actually want that. I took care of me, gently and without guilt or fear. Last night, I needed me.

I miss living with my traveling partner – the convenience of his nearness and warmth is lovely – but one advantage to living alone is being more able to invest in my self-care, and to continue to pursue progress in therapy at a time when much of what I am working on/through/with touches on intimate relationship experiences, emotional self-sufficiency, free will, and developing/maintaining a comfortably adult sense of self with an injury and trauma history that tends to push me in a co-dependent direction with any being that may wish me more good than ill. Living with me is not easy on anyone – me, included. For now, developing that relationship I have with myself is an important part of what I am doing lately. It’s harder to do living with a being I adore with whole-hearted enthusiasm, commitment, and affection so strong that I routinely put love – and my traveling partner – ahead of my own needs. This is a poor choice over time, I know, and I’ve felt it like a weight tied to our experience together. We both need a break from the chaos and damage, figuring out how to get one has been a challenge. How unfair that he has to deal with it at all? He didn’t bring me to this place, but he’s been quite a good sport about walking part of this journey with me in spite of that… but… I am my own cartographer. It doesn’t just ‘have to be that way’ – it simply is. Eventually, following someone else’s path leads me predictably astray from my own. There’s no ill-intention to it; we are each having our own experience.

It was my traveling partner who first made that observation to me, in these words, “we are each having our own experience”. It has been a powerful observation that holds great meaning and perspective for me.

A good reminder

A good reminder

This morning I woke gently from a night of deep restful sleep. No tears. No nightmares. No residual ‘ick’ or emotional hangover. This is an interesting change, and I’m not inclined to question it. I feel appreciative of progress made over time. I am living my own life – right now. There are still going to be some painful moments; emotion is part of my human experience, and there is no ‘happy ending’ besides the one I create for myself.

Yesterday is behind me. Today is ahead of me. Tonight is hours away, and it is still the middle of the work week. There is plenty to do here at home – some housekeeping, a few remaining moving in tasks, a stereo to hook up. I decided to give up on the huge wall-mounted monitor – even on its stand it takes up too much wall space for something that is of little importance to me; I am quite content watching movies, anime, and favorite shows of all sorts on my laptop, or a bigger monitor than my wee laptop – but I earnestly prefer my wall space be reserved for art, and don’t really watch much television at all. On the other hand… music doesn’t sound the same on the laptop, even with my sound bar. It’s not at all the same as listening to music through a good amplifier and great speakers – filling the house with sound, and feeling the bass in my bones. I want that experience back in my day-to-day existence with the music I like best, myself. It’s been more than two years of compromising my musical taste because it wasn’t preferred in the household – now the household is mine, and I play the music I love, myself.

Somewhere across the distance of life's journey, I am connecting with myself.

Somewhere across the distance of life’s journey, I am connecting with myself.

I find this slow process of unfolding and becoming and allowing myself to acknowledge, accept, and invest in my own taste and needs without distraction or compromise both interesting and sometimes quite emotional. So far I am delighted with the results, and not inclined to take direction, or be blown off course by what suits anyone else – even my traveling partner. This sometimes sets up some powerful internal conflict as I untangle me from all the baggage that isn’t actually ‘me’. Love is what it is, and loving well demands that I open my heart to others – but also that I nurture my own heart, and satisfy my own needs. When I take the best care of me I am more able to love well…but I may not be the person my lover assumes me to be. Is there risk that love will be lost along the way? That’s a complicated question that lacks a clear answer…but I am certain of one thing; I can’t love easily if I am not the person I actually am, and any love returned to me can’t easily be experience, enjoyed, or sustained if it is intended for someone other than the me that I actually am.

The sum of many parts.

The sum of many parts.

This is not a sad morning, or moment. I feel encouraged and strong, and something like the way I feel in that moment at a trail head, pulling on my pack, adjusting the straps, and double checking my map before I head down the trail, eyes wide with wonder, awake and aware. I don’t know where my path will take me, and I’m okay with that. Today is a good day for solo hiking.