28 September 2014

Acknowledging the After Effects of Detachment

One year ago this October began the end of my Epic Detachment.  I had spent the summer working on emotional independence and had found a safe and easy place in my marriage that didn't require any risk or vulnerability and I liked it there.

But when autumn came Pete had some solid recovery under his belt and I started to feel a draw to engage into a relationship with him.  He wasn't so volatile and I could sense that he wanted to reconnect, and he was learning ways to have empathy and compassion and ownership of his wreckage.

It has been a year of ups and downs, as most years are, but Pete and I have been working to stay connected and I have been making efforts to be vulnerable and take risks.  Opening my heart means it might get hurt again, and that's scary.  I've heard women talk about living with open hearts without getting hurt but I haven't mastered that art yet.  (Suggested readings?)

It's autumn again and I'm finding myself stuck.  Pete has three months of sobriety, which seems to be the new length of his cycle and I'm feeling anxious about an impending relapse.  Is it my gut? Or is it fear?

The truth is- my place of detachment was safe, and I find that it's a daily effort to avoid going there.  I KNOW that risk brings reward, and that a physically and emotionally intimate relationship with my husband is  both risky and rewarding.

It used to be my default to rely on Pete, to NEED him, to long for him and crave his attention and validation.  But detachment, for better or worse, cured me of those feelings and now I find myself defaulting to emotional independence.  I think this applies in all relationships, when we are hurt or betrayed we shut down and withdraw and we do it to protect ourselves.  But then eventually we find that we are surrounded by walls and there is no one that can get in.  I want to let Pete back in, but I'm scared and out of practice. I don't know how to be vulnerable with him, naturally.  I am tired of being suspicious and jaded, I almost long for the naivete that I had when I married him and gave myself so willingly and wholeheartedly.  

I love seasons. I love watching the physiological and scientific processes of the earth unfold. I got to thinking about what the purposes are for each season when I discovered that the seasons don't fulfill a purpose so much as they make the best of the circumstances.  For example, winter wasn't necessarily designed to accomplish something, it is the effect of the earth's position in regard to the sun, and earth has simply accommodated.

Summer has become the season of growth, fall the season of shedding, and spring offers rebirth. I love fall- it is such a great reminder to me that change can be beautiful.

I've been naive, and that was okay. I've been vulnerable and it was lovely. Until it wasn't.  I've been detached and it was a season of peace.  It was the way I accommodated to my circumstances.  Until it was time for a new season.

I'm not sure what new hybrid of vulnerability and detachment awaits me - but something is coming and I am sure it will be just the change the earth of my spirit needs to continue onward, surviving, reinventing, thriving and then starting over.