This weekend was truly a glorious, sun-filled weekend here in the south of England. It took me outdoors on both days, first a 45-mile bike ride around Oxfordshire, and today a 10-mile tramp over the footpaths dotted about the Cotswolds. I had some homework given to me by Jeffrey after our call on Thursday, which the walk gave me ample time to listen to.
It included listening to a podcast of a show I’m already very familiar with, and it was good to check back in with The New Man Podcast again, hosted by Tripp Lanier. Episode 80 with Reuvain Bacal: How to handle a breakup or loss.
After listening, I immediately sat down to free-write how it felt for me, whatever came up and from my call with Jeffrey. There are memories of an old, very serious (to me) relationship that still live with me. And this is what came out:
I sit beneath a big tree, cross-legged, breathing in what I’m feeling as I hike around the Cotswolds near my home. Then it hits me. A dull, yet sharp twinge in my lower back – I get it all the time when I’m sat on the ground, unaided, with nothing to prop me up. No support. Support is what I had in my OLD relationship with my first-serious girlfriend, a few years back. And it’s not there any more and I’ve based each subsequent relationship on that, which is not very healthy. How does that make me feel?
* * *
Sad. Scared. Lonely and wishing for her to be back in my life in some way both intimately and in friendship. But what for? What possible reason could I want, no, need her back in my life? Because with her I felt safe in being me and who I was (or who I was trying to be for her at the time).
I spot two large raptors, flying high overhead in the clear Sunday afternoon sky, riding the thermals, higher and higher together. At this moment that symbolises the togetherness I seek; I know companionship is what I want in my life. But is it killing me being alone at this time in my life? Being a single man? No. Not. At. All.
My ex (going on three years now) and those memories still linger because she accepted me for who I was when we first met. All 250-plus pounds of me, a relative stranger in this new UK-land and culture that surrounded me. She made me feel seen, wanted and appreciated. Show me someone who doesn’t want that kind of connection, and I’ll show you someone screaming to be heard.
I’m not that way any more now: 30 pounds lighter, a broken smoking-habit that only numbed me to the riches of this world, and now cycling like a man possessed. This is who I am! I set targets, cracked many goals, and I am loving the ride and being in touch with my emotions this way, and in some way I imagine I’d be alone even in her company as I feel now; it’s a way I could never be with her. Out of the fear that she would leave me. Well, she left me and no matter how much I want to show her how I’ve changed, I can’t.
I’m noticing that a part of me really wants to show her how far I’ve come, in a spiteful way, rubbing her nose into it just a little. That sounds horrible, and it isn’t who I am day-to-day, but that feeling is there and even when I had the chance once before, I couldn’t even hold it together long enough to say so. I was nowhere near as secure in myself (and growing) as I write this then when I last saw her. I collapsed into a leg-shaky, arm-twitchy fool of a man, unable to hold my own space because of the effect seeing her had on me. That’s why I feel I need a second chance, I think I deserve it…but the only way you can escape the past, is by jumping the fence and leaving it behind.