I fell for someone recently. I won’t say I fell in the Capital-L Thing of All Things… But I stumbled into his arms, decided I was happy there, tried to stay.

He (is this where I insert an “of course”?) didn’t fall. And I was left clothed in foolishness - for being so honest, so trusting, so hopeful.

And… well, I feel like I haven’t breathed since he left. I am anguished over the spiteful things I said to mask my own gaping vulnerability. I am embarrassed I melted into such an insecure puddle of Stereotypical Female for a few days. I am disappointed in myself for not accepting the situation with more strength and grace. I loathe how silent and gray my days have been without his sweet spirit to carry with me. All these emotions are wrapped around my ribs, pulled taut, tied in such an elaborate knot…

This got me thinking about why we focus on the voids (This isn’t enough… I need this… I want this…) instead of the full, even brimming, parts of our lives that often accompany them. Because if I stop to think – really think, in that uncomfortable way of forcing myself to acknowledge every little positive – this is what I come up with:

Falling for him was a considerable step forward, because it proved just that -  I can fall. For a long time I didn’t think I was capable of ever doing so again, that I had reached some sort of lifetime quota of time spent smitten over a man. But no, that old feeling was there. It returned slowly, gingerly, less ostentatious than before, but it was there, longing to spread its wings.

And the more time I spent with him, the more my old brave self was unearthed. I began trying new things, taking risks, speaking and acting without constantly double-checking, tuning, censoring. The only reason he even knew I fell is because I dared to tell him - how bold, how unlike the Me of Recent Years!

So, as much as I feel the sting of rejection and loss, I’m staying on this path. I may have stumbled into him, I may have tripped us both up momentarily, but I know I’m heading in the right direction. In the past, I made mistakes because I was striving to please a man, to become worthy of his affections by disguising the parts of me that weren’t Made to His Specifications. But my mistakes of late – they’re the product of me putting my own happiness ahead of any man’s uninterrupted comfort, of me reveling in the tiny delights I find in uncovering pieces of myself. I’m making mistakes because I’m aching to live a passionate, brave, colorful, honest life – I can’t think of any better reasons to falter.

So, here I am, living, reawakening and, yes, faltering. I will tend to my wounds, wait until I can breathe again… and then I’ll go running headlong into my next mistake…

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