Sunday, October 27, 2013

{Dating Tales} Guarded

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I'm hanging out on the Lower East Side at happy hour with wo of my girlfriends and after a few five-dollar lychee martinis, I get started with some details about this thing I've got going on with The Guy.

Specifically the fact that I'm all screwed up when it comes to dating and relationships and that I might kinda, sorta, really benefit from seeing a therapist.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Sigh. Catch yourself up by reading this. And then bear with me as I share my theory, y'all.

I talk a lot about my past on this corner of the web -- my crazy, unstable, and very, very messy upbringing. At the age of five, I was a witness to my family getting evicted from an apartment that I lived in since birth. I was five-years-old. Five! Let that marinate for a minute.

That night (when I was five-years-old... five!), we slept in a shelter, which is where we stayed for the next couple weeks until my mother took us to my maternal grandmother's house. And so began the crazy, unstable, emotional roller-coaster that would be my life.

I was in and out of foster homes, enduring emotional and physical abuse, not really feeling like there was someone around to protect me and look out for my well-being. (Well, not anyone other than my sister. But she's three years older than me so she didn't have that much power to be the grown-up that I needed in my life. She tried though.)

I learned a few things from that upbringing... Resilience. Heck, look it up in the dictionary and you just might find the biography of Alicia Harper. Faith. I had to trust in God to get me through those years of hell. (He never said the weapon wouldn't form; He said it wouldn't prosper -- Isaiah 54:17). Optimism. I needed to look forward to a better tomorrow in order to make it through my today. Love. Kindness. Joy. Hard work. Independence. Drive. And a slew of other qualities that makes me the Mommy Delicious that I am today.

For that, I'm thankful.

I managed to get a full scholarship to a great university and I truly looked forward to the life that I'd create as a grown-up, which, I proclaimed, would be nothing like the one I had growing up. 

Fast forward a few years to my first serious adult relationship. Aiden's other parent. After enduring emotional, financial, and physical abuse, we all know how that one ended -- not good. I still suffer from PTSD and have flashbacks of those incidents from time to time -- it's not easy to get through that kind of trauma. I went through a year of therapy after that and it really helped me to pick up the pieces of my life, learn some hard and heavy lessons, and move forward.

Resilience, at its finest.

What's crazy and freaky and mind-blowing is the way the cycle of events works. I left the drama of my upbringing only to create it once again in my adult life. And I barely escaped it in my adult-life.

See what I'm talking about when I say I need therapy? More therapy? 

I guess we have a tendency to gravitate towards things that are familiar to us. There's comfort in that, even if it's unhealthy.

The thing about the horrific events that have taken place in my life is, while they've helped me to learn so much about the great things about life, they've left me shattered. And guarded.

Extremely guarded. Abnormally guarded.

The scars of my past have made me very protective of my thoughts and feelings and situations in my life, and I don't know how to share them with others. (Except for when it comes to writing. I can put it all out there in an article or blog post.) 

Enter The Guy. He's nice and sweet and smart and handsome and honest and comes from a good family and wants to build something with me. He's the guy I've been praying for!

During the cocktail therapy session with my girls (hey, it's cheaper than a regular therapy session), I went on and on and on about my guardedness. (Is that even a word?) I've been guarded for so long, not really letting anyone in my heart for so long, maintaining these superficially relationships with folks that I genuinely care about for so long.

Sigh. 

I'm finally at a point in my life where I don't have to be this way anymore... and I don't know how not to be this way. Here I have this perfectly good (and good-to-me and good-for-me) guy who just wants to love me and like me and go at this thing together... and I don't know how to let him. I want to be successful at this, but I, must admit, I don't know how to do this. (My Type-A personality is not okay with this, by the way.)

He's been patient, I guess. But we're at the point where he's starting to think that I'm hiding things from him. But I'm not. Not intentionally anyhow. I genuinely don't find it necessary to share certain things with him.

He's all like, "But... we're trying to build something together, why wouldn't you think to tell me about that?"

And I'm all like, "Uh... uh... I need more time to process your question and formulate a response."

I don't think that's gonna work for much longer though.

I take another sip of my lychee martini and I spill it all out to my girls. They sit there and listen to me, order more martinis with me, wallow when necessary, validate my feelings, and lean in for hugs when I need them. Then they give it to me straight and tell me that, yes, I do in fact need to speak with a therapist about my guardedness (It is a word. I'm proclaiming it.)

Gotta love girl talk.

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