Last year I was diagnosed with attachment disorder. What the hell, I am a grown ass woman who has logged a billion hours in counseling sessions of ALLLLL varieties. When the therapist tilted towards me, and with empathy beyond compare, delivered her assessment I wept hard for a zillion reasons. I cried because, from my viewpoint, that was a diagnosis for a child. I cried because the little girl in me was awoken and finally felt seen. I ugly-booger cried because it felt so damn good to know the truthiest truth. Sometimes hearing piercing words bust in and bust us open, and for a moment EVERYTHING makes sense and it hurts so dang much in the deepest part of us and we see and feel the wound we have been covering. Then we start to heal.
We all have childhood scars. In my childhood I was blessed with lots of amazing humans coming and going. When we are little, you don’t always understand why they go. When you are a child you don’t understand why grown-up do the seeming unpredictable things they do. My childhood lens was that grown-ups don’t stay and that their promises cannot be counted on. I took this childhood perspective, packed it up, and carried it as a foundational truth in my adult life. I believed people you love don’t stay. More importantly, or tragically, I believed you must keep a snitch of distance from people because when they leave it hurts so it is best to not get super attached to them.
I met Joshua when I was 19. We were attracted to each other instantly. Our love story is book worthy AMAZING. Our first real encounter was when he offered to let me listen to his mixtape on a plane ride from Chicago to Switzerland. We were smitten from that moment on and as we traveled around the world together, on a college abroad program, we fell deeply in love. Our epic first kiss was on the steps of the Acropolis in Greece, our first dance was at a ashram in India, or first fight was on the streets of China. For 180 days we circled the globe and I broke up with him no less than once a month. I did not want to let him in my heart because I figured he would leave and it was best to break up first, before big emotion, because everyone leaves. But he didn't leave, he wouldn't leave.
In South Korea we stayed in gender specific college dorms with a guard at the lobby desk to ensure the chastity of the female students. One day, I broke up with Josh and ran up the stairs to my room so he could not follow. Unthwarted, Josh returned to his room, disguised himself a girl, and then returned to my dorm and bolted up the stairs. You can imagine my surprise when he busted in my room demanding to talk it out. He was not going to give up on me.
Soon, after endless theatrical displays of his commitment, I fell extra in love with his overt flare for the dramatic and truthfully I got tired of shooing him away. So he stayed. So we stayed together. That was 21 years ago. He has not left yet. I think we might last.
Or it might not last and I am ok with that because here is what I have learned since my therapy reveal. People leave for reasons as diverse as the people themselves and you can’t make them stay. Normally your people leaving has very little to do with you. Them leaving is not something you can control. I have learned to love people in the moment and not anticipate the future. Presence in right here. I am all in to this day with Joshua. I love the humans that we are together and I value, appreciate, and celebrate this shared moment. It’s all I really have control over, damn it.
Joshua is my everything. I love him without end and I am beyond certain that I will love him forever. I know that one day Joshua will go; He may leave, he may die. Our time together is beyond precious and fleeting, as all of our time together is. Thusly, I choose to not live in fear of those I love leaving me, because they will. Surely they will. I embrace every sacred moment with them and I love the heck out of them and tell them as much every chance I get.
I also love myself. I know my worth and my strength. If the whole world crumbles around me, I will be a phoenix who rises and finds love again and again and again. My value is not attached to my relationship with Joshua. My importance is not tethered to who loves me or who is currently by my side. I am wicked strong and brimming with love to share with whomever walks with me. You are endlessly strong too. Your worth is immeasurable and your love is a gift to all who journeys with you.
I send you love you today and always. My greatest hope is that you know your worth and that you All-In-Lean-In to whomever happens to be on the path with you in this season of your life and the next. Enjoy the this moment and know that you are strong enough for whatever the following moment holds. Love Big. It’s worth it. No matter what.