As you know, prior to my awakening just over two years ago, my needs and wants were pretty much bottom of my, and consequently other people’s, list.
Did I know what it was I did want? Not completely but I sure as hell knew I didn’t want much of what I had – inadvertently or unconsciously – created !
I didn’t want to live with my children’s father. I wasn’t in love with him and we didn’t share the same interests, passions or beliefs. I couldn’t imagine not having the children there between us (literally in the bed!!!!) to take our minds off our faltering, largely sexless relationship.
I didn’t want to be with someone that I couldn’t process my emotional world with. I’d been in and out of therapy and done lots of personal development stuff since I was 27 and as I’d grown and stripped away more layers of my own onion he hadn’t. This gap was becoming ever more noticeable and I was becoming increasingly lonely from WITHIN the relationship.
I didn’t want to share my space with someone who was a hoarder and whose ideas about how to live together were so different to mine. I like order and cleanliness and these were both grossly lacking, to the point that I felt I was drowning in his clutter and physically, mentally and emotionally stuck (not much of a surprise that my feet hurt so much).
I didn’t want to have sex with a man who… well for starters I didn’t want to have sex with a man!! I was in massive denial about this for various reasons. It suited me to be in relationships with men because I got to play out my father dynamic repeatedly…
Looking for the closeness I never felt from my father, I often used sex inappropriately to try and create that intimacy. Then, disillusioned with the fact that I only got sex and minimal closeness (and ignoring the fact that I was offering sex so was it any surprise that that’s what I got?!), I would retreat from them because I felt angry and disappointed that they weren’t meeting my needs…So I got to repeatedly play out the dynamic of punishing my father by punishing them.
I played this out in relationships as well as by having casual sex, and the punishment continued once I’d ‘secured’ a man through the sexual aspect of our flirtation and ‘made’ them fall in love with me. I would then lose interest and sex became something to be avoided (sex and intimacy most definitely did NOT belong together!). When your self esteem is low, there’s nothing more unattractive than someone being in love with you! Makes you have no respect for their poor taste! Ouch, that really hurts to read that back.
So almost every relationship with a man I’ve had has resulted in me going off the idea of sex with them. Ok, Ok, the gay thing is relevant here too lol.
I didn’t want to live my life as a martyr to my children with no life of my own. This was a pattern I never expected to fall into and yet somehow I did. This happened in various ways…
My ‘big/small stuff’ – patterns formed through a dynamic with my mother that have left me feeling like I can’t trust myself, that I’m not capable etc. left me all at sea in my thirties and so my children became a convenient way to hide from this on the career front. However, while one can hide from this in one’s twenties and playing small and being ditsy is deemed cute, by the time you get to your forties…not so much!
By always putting my children’s needs ahead of my own I had come to a point where I felt unattractive, undeserving of spending time and money on myself, and selfish for contemplating my own passions, desires and wants.
I didn’t want to live a life with little or no creative outlet. I’d been to enough festivals to know exactly the kinds of things that brought me joy – singing, music, dance, writing, crafts – and yet these barely featured in my life.
I didn’t want to live selfishly or self-centredly, only considering the needs of my own family and not a wider community. I’ve always wanted to give more back to the community, both local and global. This feels very hard to do when you haven’t been ‘selfish’ to yourself first and focused on prioritising your own needs.
I didn’t want to be ill anymore. Mentally or physically. I feel very strongly that health and wellness are a mirror to the relationship with ourself so I feel that the fibromyalgia and anaemia are ways of my body telling me that my coping mechanisms, defences, patterns of behaviour, thoughts and beliefs are old and defunct and that I needed to change them.
So darling Lea, I’ve basically listed all the things I didn’t want haven’t I?! But what DID I want I hear you cry?
Well, I don’t think I fully knew the answer to that, partly because some of the things that I wanted were un- or subconscious and my defences were still so strong in certain areas. Deep deep deep down, I wanted to be in a loving, intimate, connected relationship with a woman, for example, but at the same time I was so terrified of that, I couldn’t have even begun to have identified that as a want – Sex? Yes, intimacy? Way too scary!
I think the important thing for me was that I took some kind of action to get unstuck, and trust that the rest would follow and begin to take care of itself, that the path would appear as it were. Lo and behold that is exactly what did happen – granted with many a wobble along the way!!!
I’d aways thought I was pretty good at getting what I (thought) I wanted! But, as you now know, it became abundantly clear that I was in major avoidance and utter denial of asking for what I actually wanted (!) and, unlike for many, it wasn’t because I didn’t know what that was…
Two years ago, if you’d asked me what I wanted the sanitised, totally-in-denial version would have been something like this:
I want to be running a highly profitable business, from behind the screen of my laptop, with plenty of time to myself to work on my business, and a bit of time to spend going out for fun days with my kids and Jonathan (though definitely not taking them out on my own!). I want more time to myself to get in good shape post children, and I definitely want to travel some more as a family. Really, I’m pretty happy with the life and schedule I have…
But I knew, deep deep deep down that what I really wanted was not what I had nor what I would have asked for. So what did I want? I didn’t know the exact details of what it would look like but I knew one key part of it and when I set that intention on that pivotal day in the Spring of 2016, I knew that I just couldn’t keep things the way they were…
I knew then that my one big regret – at the end of my life – would be to have spent my life in a relationship with a man, and not with a woman. In my bravest moments, I could just about admit to myself that I’d probably known this from the age of 17 and yet there I was age 39 still not living that life. So I set the intention – by saying out loud to myself in my bedroom – that I wanted things to change, that I wanted to be in a relationship with a woman, and that I wanted it to happen within a year…
Obviously there were plenty of barriers to this happening – is it the right thing for the children? Should I just wait till they’re older? How will my (then) husband cope?
But I also knew I wanted my children to have a model of two adults in a relationship who were deeply in love with each other – not just friends – but who were passionately, physically and obviously in love and a team in every way. I wanted my children to have a model of a woman/mother who wasn’t afraid to ask for what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to get it.
I wanted to be with someone who also had children so they’d understand the priorities and realities of that (though clearly wasn’t prepared for the many challenges that has also brought!!). I wanted a relationship that felt more evenly matched, more balanced and in which I could be more ‘me’, though at the time I didn’t really know what that meant or looked like in practice.
Those were the things I knew to ask for but in hindsight, knowing what I’ve received since then, it’s not at all what I’d have asked for…because I just didn’t know I wanted them!
I would never have known to ask for…
A relationship with a woman whose own ‘stuff’ so compellingly (and what feels like cruelly at times) interacts with my adoption stuff, but which gives us the opportunity to work through the most painful parts together, and heal.
The experience of exploring my adoption which has been and continues to be one of the most ‘awakening’ experiences of my life so far.
A relationship which allows me to be more fully me than I’ve ever been – to be able to draw upon my more masculine energy without it threatening someone else, to be able to look how I want without having to conform to a stereotypical role in a relationship, to be able to practice being the me that I know is still underneath layers of defences in a safe and loving relationship.
It’s such a tough question: What do you want? And I know from my coaching work that it’s often easier to start with what you don’t want, but there’s definitely something to be said for admitting to yourself what you truly, deeply want and then setting an intention to get it, isn’t there? 😉
Love always xxx