Safety nets

When I met David, the net that held beneath me had frayed. There were gaping holes and knots undone. I could see straight through to a bottomless place. It felt deep and dark. And I was scared.

My marriage of eleven years had been ending and I was on my own for the first time in my life. A studio apartment became my home and I took a lot of pride making that small space my nest. I created profiles on dating apps and got dressed up to go to work. I met friends often for walks and lunches and made coffee shops a staple part of my life.

I was exploring a new me and while scary because it meant looking into a different horizon, it was a chapter I was ready for.

When I met David, I was especially vulnerable. I’d just undergone a laparoscopy to remove the endometriosis that held onto me for years. The recovery was painful and I was alone. David showed up the way he does in life…fully. He checked in on me and brought me gifts. He took me to dinner and made me laugh despite my aching stitches. It was early in our knowing each other, but I felt that he saw me sincerely and loved me fiercely…right then and there.

Unused to this kind of care, attention and love, I squirmed under it. I didn’t know what to do with it. It was like someone handed me a beautiful butterfly and as it tickled my hand, I freaked and shook it away. It was like that. I wanted to shake the beauty away.

Our lives intertwined and we have loved each other for many years. In retrospect (because there is so much time for that)…I notice the codependence that grew with our love. It’s not so much ugly or shameful as it is limiting. With time, I started to expect David’s support and gushing words of admiration. I waited to be adored even in my broken moments. I leaned into his embrace, accepted his generosity, and craved for his version of me. For a time, he pulled me up and with time, I just held on. He was my safety net.

Apart now, both physically and in relating, I’ve found myself hanging onto the worn rope of the net beneath me once again. There is cool air coming up from the canyon of the dark abyss, a quiet hush except for the echoes of my crying, of my self reflection.

What am I waiting for? Another relationship, job, project to lift me? What would happen if I pull the knots apart further, slip into an opening, and let go? Where does this darkness lead? Does it need to be intimidating? Can it simply be liberating? Has life not always supported me?

Seems to me the safety I’ve been attaching myself to has not been so real. The careers, the partners, the places I call home…these are not meant to bring security into my life. Yes, they add to the fullness, to the beauty experienced. But, they are also impermanent.

Knowing, accepting and holding myself through all the things, all the changes, that is real. That is constant. That is safe. The only thing left to do now, is to release my grip and just let go.

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