*Reader submission, photo of author*

“She crossed the street and drifted into my arms as if no time had passed. The hug, the whole hug, was of another dimension out of place. Her bloodshot eyes sang to me in the glistening of the moon. The warmth of that song held me up, almost to fly. It was practically too much to take.

I let my walls down, if only for a moment, to feel the presence of a soul I once knew. Baaaaam crumbled her walls to the tune of a song she’d never heard. All at once the intensity rose and tears fell as the soft curly one was back. Lovelight shining through with seemingly no end in sight.

I told her that with it all she isn’t mine, but that I choose to cherish these moments of defenseless truth, that the dream will end with the morning light, and back into the box on the top right she will go. That I must stand tall on my own and build and build and build, because that is who I am.

“More more more,” yelled my head, heart, body, soul, mind, fibers and molecules . The softness of clarity set in with a slight hug, and in an instant, it was gone. I was left wanting more but more than that I want me.”

What a load of shit!

In that moment, perhaps I did want more of me. But in that moment, the truth of my human condition, of my alcoholic condition, was and continues to be that I crave to love another and to be loved almost as much as I desire food and water.

Why? Why when I know that something, someone, even thoughts or dreams don’t serve me for the better, why do I allow myself to drift there?

Why, at the age of 27, do I still look at my life compared to the life of those around me and wonder when it is going to be my turn?

Why do none of my accomplishments or positive steps satisfy me enough? Why do I go to bed at night feeling like something is wrong with me because I’m single? Why is it that the beauty that I see in the lives of so many whom I love is the same beauty that keeps me up at night?

Seeing as this is my whole truth as of today, I must be honest and not beat the shit out of myself. My most recent relationship, was the healthiest version of love I’ve ever experienced. I learned more about myself and about giving and receiving love in a healthy way, than I ever thought I could before finding my “one true” partner. I learned that I am capable of lovingly accepting love in all of its forms especially when it hurts the ego. That it was no longer me alone in the face of the world, rather a unit. That I was able to give selflessly rather than act out selfishness wrapped in selflessness aimed at controlling the love so that it would never leave.

I experienced whole trust in a woman, something I had never felt before. I created a connection through listening to and playing music with each other, a connection that I didn’t even know my soul could feel. I learned how to step back when my partner was going through something that wasn’t mine, how to allow her the space to feel and process without my input and help. Most of all for the first time I didn’t allow myself to “seal the deal” in my own head; we weren’t married or getting married, we were living life, learning life, together, one step at a time. All of this without deciding that she was “it.”

My goal now is to take these lessons with me, to apply them to loving myself and to keep building internally. How? How can I experience such a level of depth with another person and then need to pretend internally that I don’t feel that way?

The answer is that I don’t know and I’ve stopped trying to pretend that I don’t feel that way. I choose to focus my energies on accepting how I do feel. As my mom always says “that’s life in the big city”. Looking myself in the mirror seeing the pain, the wear and tear of all the loves lost and shattered, is a harrowing experience. Yet in truth, it is needed, one hundred and fifty percent needed. Without looking at myself in that light I can’t ever move or grow. I am grateful for the moments in which I remember that the end of my most recent relationship had nothing to do with me. When I remember that during the conversation she told me that I am too good.

I’m grateful for these moments because they allow me to put my inner work into perspective, the mountain that I need to climb gets a bit smaller.

I didn’t fuck this up, I wasn’t an asshole, I wasn’t controlling, I wasn’t dishonest. She just wasn’t the right person and it certainly was not the right time. The work becomes more and more about getting with my higher power, accepting my lot in life, and continuing to build and be the man that I’ve spent years becoming.

I have spent this mourning period sleeping under the stars with friends, playing my music, rock climbing, surfing, going to therapy, and staying connected in my way to the fellowship that keeps me going and growing. I cannot say that I am healed but I can say that I am better. I can not say that the questions have dissipated but I can say that the unhealthy ones get asked less and less.

“Thinking a lot about less and less and forgetting the love we bring.”


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Baltimore, Maryland