I've been feeling the strains of beginning anew lately. Let's face it - starting to date someone is always messy. New person, new energy, new triggers and sensitivities. But being widowed makes it even trickier. After almost 3 years without a man by my side... I am a completely different person than who I was with Drew. I am far more independent. I don't even think of it as being alone these 3 years, but that I have been in a very deeply committed relationship to myself. I'm discovering this is making it hard for me to navigate the landscape of a relationship with someone ne
I found a rhythm there, in the space of my solitude. I have come to a place inside myself where I deeply and genuinely love being alone. Where - much of the time - I would prefer to share time only with myself rather than others. A place where my solitude leads me into creative worlds unlike any other... allows me to see the world in new ways and the focus to ponder deeply on subjects which I often write about or photograph in my work. Being alone has in fact become my very favorite place.
And so the question is... just how do I navigate bringing another heart into my sphere? How do I balance these two worlds? How do I do so in a way that doesn't push this person away - and does not make me feel like I am cheating on myself? How do I help him to see and know it isn't personal, but something far deeper and more spiritual for me? That ample, deep, rich, free times of solitude are what root me deeply enough in myself to be my happiest self and do my best creative work?
I don't have any answers right now... which I hate.
The hardest part is that this is a new part of me. I never dealt with this in my relationship with Drew. I had a 9-5 job like most folks. And when I was off, I spent majority of my time, gladly, with him. But being a working artist and being who I have become is a whole other ballgame. My work never stops. My work and my life have become one thing - and solitude is a very integral part of that. I have to make efforts daily to isolate from friends, family, media and all the rest of the world in order to keep my creativity flowing. It is a constant fight for balance - even before he came into my world.
Today I think, I will allow myself a break. This is the first time I am doing any of this. The first time I am setting out to create a business deeply tied to my emotional and spiritual self. The first time I am learning how to live again after losing the love of my life. The first time I am letting new love in and the first time I am learning how to carve out space to still be committed to myself. And I haven't a clue what I am doing. In any of those areas. And that's OKAY. All I can do is my best... to take care of me, and to keep my heart and my creative work a priority, and to make room for this new person in my world to the best of my ability. And I think I am trying really hard to do all of those things.
I guess the most important thing is to remember... I am learning. The new woman I am has different needs than the one I used to be. It's going to take time to get to know what she needs out of a relationship and out of life. Naturally, I am fumbling. I am falling. I am tripping all over myself. I am making mistakes. I am thrown totally off center. I am having freakouts. I am stressed, and confused, and feeling a bit lost... BUT, I am learning. I am loving and laughing. I am sharing and growing. I am enjoying this new person who brings me so much joy... who has been doing his own learning through all of this messiness. I am living life again.
Sure, it's messy. But often times it is the messiest parts of our life that teach us the most. Drew's death taught me that, and it's an important lesson I need to remember. Adventures are never without hardship. They are always filled with a level of uncertainty. The beautiful part is that - for the first time since he died - my mind is now preoccupied with the new ventures in life... not with grief and death. That alone tells me I've come a long, long way.
No matter how chaotic my world is right now, I am glad for all the reasons it is. I am glad to have work that matters to me. I am glad to have formed a bond with myself over these years that I now deeply cherish. I am glad there is a new person in my world that I want to make room for... even if I haven't figured out how to best do that just yet. I am glad I don't know what I am doing and it feels challenging and everything seems uncertain - because it means I am living life adventurously. And I know in my heart Drew would be so proud of how I am facing the challenges that all of these new adventures in my life are bringing. Let's do this.