On Autonomy and what I’ve done so far to get there

A new friend reviewed my OKC profile and said this: I’ve never read a profile with such awesome and breathtaking honesty. I’m working hard on learning to be autonomous. I’d really like to talk about our respective journeys.

I replied:

Your timing is great, yesterday I tripped over a metaphorical root on my journey and it’s good to get centered around where I’ve come so far.

I wish I had figured this out when I was in my thirties! See, I grow most in relation to others, so I don’t want to be alone. Yet I have been so wired towards care taking and codependency that many of the relationships I’ve been drawn to have cleaned me out.

So here are a few pivotal bits that have been significant for me:
– I asked safe people what they do. And listened hard.

– I watch Brene Brown’s TedTalk on Vulnerability over and over.

– I do onto others as much as I can. That means actually saying my feelings, asking for touch, saying thank you a lot.  Why? Because it is true, it is vulnerable, and it is what I LOVE when it happens to me. 

– I admit when I fail and my emotional frailty crosses over to being something I “use on” my dearest loves. I unfortunately have to do this alot.

– Therapy, yoga, meditation & a Constellation Workshop that put the family dynamics I was taught into perspective. 

– I’ve tried to focus for a year on this simple concept: I can be alone, at peace, with an open heart. Now I’m working on: I know how to live healthy, whole-hearted and emotionally graceful. Ha!

– I went to a www.hai.org workshop even though it was way outside my comfort zone, and am now benefitting immeasurably by being part of a community of people who teach me something new almost daily.

– I keep dating and stepping bravely into new friendships, finding opportunities for intimacy, and trying to maintain an understanding that love, intimacy, family, and sexuality are separate and distinct and don’t always need to be coupled.  Of course, its great when they are, but I don’t have to hold off on experiencing these things ONLY when they converge.  I need them all. Somehow exploring the writings and thinkings of non-monogamous people has really helped with this, though I find the poly community itself not to be a place I’m super comfortable with.

– I feel HER. She’s my future life partner, and I can’t picture the bulkshit OKC variables like her looks or job or hobbies or past because that’s not why she matters. — she matters because she’s mine.  I can feel her in a kitchen, stopping to wrap her arms around my waist as I make a big mess preparing for some family/friend gathering.  She is hearty, gentle, sexy and brave.    But I’m not ready for her yet, so I’m taking this time to grow and feel genuinely worthy to step in when she shows up (or is ready, maybe I already know her, maybe she’s me?). That includes appreciating every person and experience that I have that is not IT as one that gets me closer.

Here is the toughest one, because asking for it is the hardest part. – I strive to keep as friends (or at least to myself love honestly) each person I’ve been romantic or intimate with, unless doing so is hurtful to them or dangerous to me. I love really worthy people.   This is turning out to be really tough and I have to learn that space and time is a big step towards maintaining a connection. I think starting as friends is a key element, as is really seeing them for who they are, so I can get my own BS out of the way. But there is something about holding the truth that life is long and endings can be framed as transitions to a new stage that makes it possible to risk loving again. Asking someone I’ve hurt to keep me in their life feels like an audacity I have no right to exercise, yet doing so feels emotionally critical for me because I experience loss and abandonment so acutely.

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