It doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

It’s 10am, and I’ve cried twice this morning, each instance triggered by one or the other of two wonderful men I have in my life; and both for the same reason.

Love.

Both of these men, in two separate instances, overwhelmed me with love. Had it not been for the first, I would not have been so affected by the second.

“I weep for what I’m like when I’m alone”

(Theodore Roethke,“The Sententious Man,” ll. 31-36)

I’ve shut myself away for a long time – bottled things up, pretended they didn’t happen. I believed that to feel is to be vulnerable, that it would somehow invite even more hurt and pain into my life. But someone has recently entered my world, and he is completely challenging my long held beliefs. He’s turning everything on it’s head (in the best way possible), and stripping my soul bare; I have no-where left to hide. It’s overwhelming, because for years, I’ve crafted a persona with a solid undercurrent of “fuck you”. Doing my best to be unlovable, because when you’re unlovable, no-one wants to be with you, and when you’re alone, it’s harder for anyone to reject you –  then B came along, and he started to call me out on my bullshit, and challenged every single one of the flawed perceptions I have of myself.

He warned me from the beginning that I would be powerless to resist – likening the situation to Canute trying, and failing, to hold back the tide. I didn’t know what he meant at the time, I didn’t believe him – but slowly, inexorably, the tide has risen, and I find that I cannot resist it; nor do I want to. I do not want to keep this beautiful, amazing, compassionate man at arms length. So I’ve let him in, and he’s already changed my life in so many different ways, and all for the better.

It’s been a long while since I’ve cried – really cried and let it all out. Not because I was trying to be strong, but because I wasn’t strong enough. Because instead of letting myself feel, I poured alcohol into the emptiness, shoved food into the void, to numb it. But B won’t let me do that – won’t let me hurt myself anymore – he’s taking a sledgehammer to each and every one of the walls I’ve built up around myself over the years, and testing the flawed foundations of my fragile ego. Every day, I let more of the ill conceived notions I have of myself drop away, and every day, I fall for him a little bit more. Even though – or especially because – he made me cry at 9am on a Sunday morning, but for all the best reasons; because he was showing me that it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

Then, fresh off of the back of this wave of emotion, my stepdad floored me with something so simple – a link to a video, sent to me via Facebook. A video about a daughter and her stepdad; a letter he wrote to her to tell her that from the beginning, he accepted her as his own; loved her and cherished her. So, again, I sobbed my heart out – this simple act of showing me how much he cared totally floored me, another challenge to the long held view that I am an unlovable wretch. He showed me that it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

I feel a little exhausted by the sea change I seem to be going through. But each time the tide rises, I feel it a little more.

Love.

And I am really, truly beginning to realise; it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

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