I wrote a manifesto celebrating celibacy then the manifesto took on a life of its own and offered up a miracle: it released me.
Life is showing me that what I was holding onto in my declarations was fear. I had not given myself credit for the healing I had done in the year-plus I had already lived through post separation and divorce. That time was not null and void simply because I wrote it off as grieving and survival and failed to see the transformation that had been occurring all along.
The truth is, I am suddenly feeling like myself. For the first time in several years. And this shift just happened within a few months of writing my celibacy manifesto. God’s timing is often different than my timing — the surprises go both ways. This surprise caught me doing a hard double take and seeing happiness. This surprise was a damn good one.
I’m looking around and I am seeing all the love. I am engaging with the people who matter. Mistreatment and conditioned responses will really make you hide from connection. That is part of the isolation period that comes in search of healing. While I have to actively operate out of awareness and do the work not to hide from emotional intimacy, I am re-connecting with the goodness in people. I am seeing the abundance available to me when, and as, I am ready for it.
Maybe just saying it all out loud and pledging to an audience my commitment to be better sent a spark out into the universe that could not be stopped. It was the signal: she’s figured it out. She knows what she needs to do now. She’s ready. Yeah — I said it, I’m ready. It turns out that the manifesto I wrote was actually a love letter, a love letter to myself.
My celibacy and conscious non-dating manifesto was written in October 2021, and then it was published in December 2021. I had already spent more than a year not dating and celibate. Now I’m sitting on about two years. I latched onto a motto towards the end of this past year: Life is a trip. That phrase comes to mind again now. Life is a trip. Life is a trip I cannot plan for, only prepare for. I can analyze and visualize and theorize and then I have to adjust my sails because, ultimately, I have very little control over the ways the winds change. That’s really the blessing of life, isn’t it? We get what we need.
So what the hell happened that transformed my mindset? How did I go from prepared to stay celibate for another trip around the sun to knowing it was time to start mingling and open myself back up? I decided it was time. Sounds simple enough, yeah? The only reason it seemed so easy to “be ready” was because I actually was ready, with an acute mental clarity. In all of those celibate months, I had actually done the work to transform myself.
Emphasis should be added here: that I did take the time. There is a fear that by writing this sequel, I might denigrate my previous message. I absolutely do not want to do that. Taking time to rewire your brain and habitualize yourself with health is the greatest gift. Focusing on myself for a year and a half has left me without a single regret. I took the time I needed and allowed myself that reset. A human being, that’s what I am — being as the operative.
Here is the magic, here is the how: I didn’t use other people to fill a void, make me feel good, or distract me. I sat with myself when it was uncomfortable and I felt all of the feelings that were necessary to feel. I felt them so I could work through them and let them go. I sobbed and got angry and stayed in bed numb some days — until the weight became lighter and lighter. If I had jumped into casually dating around, or into a new relationship I would have never confronted all of the emotions I needed to face. I would have shoved them down inside of myself, until they pounced out unleashing themself onto a helpless victim who hadn’t caused my baggage. I never wanted to potentially hurt someone because I had been hurt. I refused to continue a cycle of pain. I worked out when I wanted to completely break down and give up. I got physically stronger to derive a feeling of mental strength along with all the feel-good endorphins to fuel me, I ate clean, nourishing, wholesome food when I wanted to exist on pizza and ice cream. I scripted the future I wanted for myself (write it all down in the past tense, everything you want, as if it’s already happened) when I thought that taking one more step forward would be excruciatingly unbearable. Writing down the possibilities and dreams as if they had already happened birthed new earth beneath my feet.
I loved myself so hard, there was no room for anything to grow within me except healing. I’m talking about the self love that is holding yourself in a bear hug, rubbing your own cheek on your shoulder, maybe while crying, and telling yourself, “I love you so much and I am so proud of you.” I showed myself the love everyone in my life had been unable to give me. It worked. That was the trick. I loved myself. I loved myself wholly. I loved myself authentically. I loved myself with the discipline necessary to make healthy, good choices for myself — those are the choices rooted in love. I loved myself enough to teach myself to be better. You have to be your own hero. If you can be your own hero, instead of remaining the victim, you can save yourself. I was my own hero and today I find myself standing, strong, in a place where I am ready for real, whole, authentic, healthy, communicative, and actually loving love for the first time in my life.
The gift of a toxic spouse is that they highlight how much you do not value yourself. In the aftermath, after you escape the trauma bond, you are given the opportunity to learn that you are incredibly worthy. If you are prepared to grow and learn, this will be the biggest turning point in your life.
I’m making an assurance with myself; I am not missing out on living life under the pretense of trying to protect myself. Protection was very necessary for a portion of this journey, but it doesn’t serve me anymore. I want to actually be walking the tightrope, not sitting in the audience indefinitely. Life will always be a tightrope balance of taking risks versus playing it safe. I’m learning to discern which to choose with each step. I’d like to leave you with this — analyze yourself, often; learn to recognize how you tick, question your choices, revisit and revise, utilize your accumulated wisdom and discernment but keep taking risks. Keep living your life. I’m ready to open my heart back up to living, wide open and vulnerable. She’s ready because I taught her how to be.
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