“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and thats what everyone wants…But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything thats holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you will ever meet, because they tear down your walls and help you to awaken.”
Its interesting how thoughts, ideas and most importantly emotions evolve over time. Even 6 months ago I would have read this and come to a completely different conclusion and therefore reaction to these words. Now, I can confidently say, it brings me an inner peace I thought I would never posses. It makes me cry, actually, because thats something I do now just as much of out gratitude as I do for sadness. I see a man my age on the city bus in a wheelchair, I feel his pain, and I get off the bus and cry. I take a moment to enjoy a cool breeze on a hot day and I cry. I have a powerful yoga practice and I cry. Sometimes I get overwhelmed mid sentence and cry for seemingly no reason at all. In the last 14 months I have softened in a way I did not think was plausible. You see, just as the last big post I made one year ago-where I revealed what had been going on in my life in a VERY public way, and asked for help, the path for growth really began. There are many things in that post, particularly at the end, that aren’t necessarily true anymore. Or maybe they are, but that I look at them in a very different way now. For 27 years I was really just living with my eyes wide shut.
You see, I did meet my soulmate. I believed that then; I didn’t for a long time, but I do believe that now. Society has us believe that soulmates are these beautiful people, the other half of ourself, that allow us to be “complete” in this journey of love that we call life. They can be our compliment, a similar person, or they can be the polar opposite, the yin to our yang. When we meet them we know the connection instantly, and one way or another we live together, happily ever after. And when we lose them a part of us will always be gone, because without them we are not truly whole.
What if your soulmate isn’t a fairy tale? What if its the brutal, gut-wrenching, violent truths of life? What if your soulmate is a monster? A master manipulator, abuser, pathological liar, who cares for nothing more than to obtain complete and utter control over you for their own sick pleasure? What then? How do you deconstruct that? How do you believe and come to accept that this person who only ever wanted to destroy you, goes by the name that elicits such hope and romantic optimism within our society?
Well, its pretty fucking hard. Last fall, my soulmate recontacted me. It had been 6 months since I had heard from him. With the same spew of lies, half-truths and ploys to try and string me back in. You see, whatever woman he had been destroying since he pushed me away was obviously gone from the picture, and for reasons I’ll never know-there was something about me that was considered unfinished business. Something that wanted to bring him back into my life. As painful as that was, I am thankful for it each and every day. Because without those moments I would not have seen his true colours for what they were. I had sunk into such a deep depression at this point, over the loss of my soulmate, the one person I was supposed to be with for the rest of my life, that I could barely see the light of day. I mean, what was the point without a romantics one great love?
That is why this quote means so much to me. Because of my soulmate, I was forced to face absolutely everything that was dark about my life. I say forced, but I really could have chosen to ignore most of it, suppress all those emotions and just continue on as regular old Erin that many of you knew so well. Many do that, and there have been so many other times where I have done that too. Its the easy, comfortable, well-known route out. However, I was ripped open in such an unimaginable, unexpected, profound way, that I flung myself into therapy without even really knowing what I was doing at the time. Thankfully, that was the beginning of having the courage to open the door to that dark room of every single demon that has lived inside of me for the last 28 years. And so that is where I have been sitting, truly sitting, for the last 7 months. Sure, I’ve been in the room for 14 months, but I didn’t actually have the guts or awareness to start doing what I needed to do until much later.
In the last 14 months, I have lost my old self, I have lost all the people I considered my oldest and truest best friends, I have walked away from so many relationships, and said no more times than I ever have before. I have unapologetically spoken my truth, over and over and over. I have learned how to cry, and how to sit in my pain, sadness and deep sorrow. Boo hoo, right? Don’t feel sorry for me, don’t offer your condolences for this “terrible” thing that has happened to me. Fuck that. Embrace it. Embrace the horrendous pain that is life just as much as you embrace the limitless possibilities and the great loves. I am a completely different person than who I was 14 months ago. I now know of all the ways I got myself into such a mess, and thankful that I now have that insight, experience and wisdom to be better. That doesn’t mean what happened to me was fair, or just, or acceptable.
On that note of acceptable… I get so riled up now, when I see people who talk about someone as if they are such a great person, and yet there they are being terrible or abusive to their partner. SPEAK UP. If you see or hear something you know is not right, in your heart or in your gut, SAY SOMETHING. The reason abuse, emotional, verbal, physical, is still so rampant in our world is because the victims stay silent, the bystanders stay silent, the friends stay silent. WE NEED TO SPEAK UP! God damnit, for that poor woman or man or child who doesn’t have the strength because they have been beaten down so badly, do it for them. Do it for the improvement of humankind. In fact I don’t really care what you do it for but just do it, please. And it is never EVER too late to say something. Ever.
So I refuse to be silent. My post last May has helped at least two other woman, abused by the same man. And for that I am so thankful, and it doesn’t matter how many times I have to go through a world of pain hearing his voice when he calls me from an unknown number telling me to remove such post, I will not. I will not stay silent, and I don’t care for any of you reading this that think I am too public, or too open, because raw, honest vulnerability is one of the most powerful tools we have as humans. If just one of my sentences can help someone else not feel so alone, or give them faith, optimism, hope; then its worth it.
Today we would have gotten married. It was supposed to be on top of a mountain, with all our friends and family. It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. That’s what society tells you. I still am, and probably will not be used to this for a long time to come. The fact that a brutally failed engagement is now part of my story is not a fun one. Even after all this it is still hard to let go of what could have been, had things only been so very different. I cannot pretend that I have accepted it or made peace with it because I probably never will. My innocence is gone, and I will never get that back. If I ever get to a place where I can fathom such a commitment again, I know I will be reminded of everything that will never be. But that is mostly my grief speaking.
I won’t give up. It has taken so much work, a lot of introspection, and a lot of frustration and tears to get here. To give things another shot. To believe that I will ever be truly happy again, because now I think that looks and feels a lot different than it used to. I can’t say that I believe in romantic love yet, but maybe someday I will get there. The amount of times I have now shown up to my friends, without being able to give anything, and yet they still hold me, reminds me each and every day that there is still so much love that is true and real out there.
What a way to be humbled. I used to think that I would never need a therapist, that I didn’t really have anything wrong with myself, or my life. What a huge ego I had, what judgements I made about those who sought help. My head was stuck so far up my ass, back then. But the beauty of life is making mistakes, and then changing and growing from them. So I have worked really hard to release the shame and guilt around decisions I made. My life is now governed by pre and post. Pre and post soulmate.
Soulmates. We aren’t always meant to be with them forever, and they aren’t always meant to love us in all the ways that are healthy. Sometimes they don’t love us forever. Sometimes they don’t love us at all. But they will, without a doubt, every single time, challenge you and make you question everything you ever were, are, and give you the freedom to choose who you want to be-but only if you are brave enough to walk through the fire.