A few weeks ago a good friend came to visit me. At the time we discussed my refusal to be vulnerable but the need for it to reach depth in a relationship. My friend said he was totally ok with the mess that vulnerability can leave behind. That life is messy and thats ok. I was more in the mind that I want to control the situation to avoid the mess. And if that meant less depth,  I was fine with that. I didn’t need depth – I am after all the queen of denial – so having some fun and some mild relationships was more than enough. Enter in my current love. (Sorry my Matthew but you have been warned about how I love to share)

Now I find myself smack dab in the middle of this modern love story. Born online…. nurtured offline. And like any other relationship… there is a need for that vulnerability that everyone always talks about. So being the control freak that I am, and my need to be right… I did some research and I came upon this talk. (and the realization that I have been wrong all along)  Watching it, I thought I was her research subject… I also learned a few things.

Having  been out of this space of love and belonging for so long… vulnerability was a foreign and even frightening feeling. I have realized that I have willingly given someone the ability to hurt me. I have allowed myself to care and love someone… and in that, they now can crush my feelings and bruise my heart. All that goes through my head is “This is not a happy place. What am I doing here? Have I lost my freaking mind?”  But I realize now I have just been looking at it wrong. It is true that vulnerability is at the core of shame, fear, and disappointment. But it is also the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, and creativity.

Simply put, I have decided to leave my baggage at the door. Yes. I have been hurt in the past. There have been times I have felt insecure and unsure. My body isn’t what it was 20 years ago. I am not as successful as I wish to be in my career, my life if full of challenges and difficulty.  Hell I am older than this man! But none of that means I am  not worthy of loving and belonging. And just cause I haven’t found it till now – doesn’t mean otherwise. I will choose to believe the kindness that is given, and the sweetness that is shown to me. I don’t know why it has been so hard to believe that it could be real… after all my feelings after all,  are very real.

As the video below shows, we can not selectively numb. I have spent the last ten years trying to numb myself to the possibility of negative human emotion. Unfortunately, my friend was totally right in saying that it also meant I was numbing myself from love, friendship, companionship, and belonging. And like coming out of novocain numbing at the dentist…. coming out of the numb is uncomfortable. It even stings a little. But I am in it. I am here to feel it… to live it, and to find out if this is in fact my happily ever after.

I love that I have found someone who allows me encourages me to be ME. All of me. I want to be my most authentic self when I am with him. I can be funny, sexy, nerdy, goofy, serious, creative, or playful. Its all me, and its all ok. We can debate the origins of religion and then jump to what the best horror movie of all time is. (ReAnimator is high on my list) And no matter what “this” ends up being, I just know I am going to be me. The real, unedited, loves to play sometimes gets a little bratty but always is full of love and laughter me.

I dont know what the future holds. Today this feels like the greatest modern love story unfolding. Sure, It is possible that I am wrong, there are no guarantees. But I am choosing to also believe in the possibilities, the very possibility,  that I am oh so right. That rather than giving someone the ability to hurt me, I have given someone the ability to love me, to care for me, to nurture me, to need me, to want me. And that there is no greater cause to gamble on than love.

Diary of a (not so) single mom – Ana