What a difference a decade makes
HMD….That’s what the subject line of the email said. Curious, I clicked on the message and immediately regretted my choice to do so. It was from him.
Have you ever made a decision or a choice that in hindsight you realized was incredibly stupid? That’s the story of how this email ended up in my inbox. And I’m finding that this story isn’t all that uncommon or unfamiliar but I’m getting ahead of myself.
It’s a weeknight and I’m traveling for work. My husband is at home taking care of our toddler-aged daughter and I’m in a sexy dress with just a bra sitting at the hotel bar drinking a whiskey, neat. The sexy dress is because I want to feel authentic to my truth; which is, I’m falling in love with this friend of mine I’m supposed to be meeting for dinner and I want to look and feel attractive.
He sees me in a way I haven’t felt before and it’s intoxicating. It’s almost as if he sees through everything outside of me and into the core of who I am. Our energetic connection is unlike anything I’ve known up until this point in my life; it’s raw and powerful. When we are near one another it’s like someone put my skin on extra sensitive and it’s buzzing with electricity.
Only at this point in the evening, my friend has started an argument with his girlfriend and is no longer coming to dinner. I’m drinking to take the edge off the pain I feel at this change in plans. It’s not an unusual course of action for me to have a few drinks after work. These ones are sliding down smoothly.
Theiry, the bartender and I are almost friends, based on how much I travel and how often I’m at this particular hotel. Javier is my waiter for dinner. I alway sit at the same table. Although I wasn’t supposed to be with Theiry or Javier on this particular night; I am.
When I first started traveling, I hated being alone. Routines like the same table and the same people took the edge off of my loneliness.
On this particular evening I’m feeling extra intentional about dulling my pain receptors. Theiry asks about my choice in attire. I explain that I was stood up. Cue the guy at the bar next to me to engage in a conversation. I don’t remember his name. He too is married. It’s a friendly enough conversation but there’s something underneath the seemingly innocuous conversation.
At some point, in my now inebriated state, he walks me back to my room.
We end up sitting on the couch in my space, talking. He rubs my feet. That’s as much physical contact as there will be between us. Thank goodness, because this isn’t the first time I’ve invited a stranger into my space and the other few didn’t end as easily.
These are challenging things for me to share because I look back now, as my daughters are older and I’m on a sober curious adventure and think “WTF were you thinking?!”. It doesn’t make the story any less true.
The foot rub guy stays in touch via email even though I ignore every single one of them. This HMD one is the only one I remember vividly because it was a well wish: Happy Mother’s Day and that struck me as interesting. That on Mothers’ Day, I would be someone that would cross his mind; a stranger, in a hotel room, on a random business trip. Clearly, I also meant something else to him. I don’t believe in coincidence so I know that this human is part of a much larger web of interconnected experiences that led me to the life I have today.
For all of these little pieces, I am grateful. (The gratitude will come, in time, for your stories too).
This story took place over 9 years ago but I thought of it for the first time this past Sunday and I haven’t been able to let go of it. When that happens it’s usually because I have this work - this writing, this sharing, to do.
Looking back at myself from my current place in time, I see a lonely and unhappy woman, numbing herself and putting herself and her safety in jeopardy, to feel something other than the truth of her real story. To feel anything at all, other than the pain of the life she’s built that she doesn’t yet see a way out of.
I see a woman afraid of her own company, because she doesn’t love who she is and doesn’t like what she sees.
I see a woman living the life she was taught was “right” because it most closely fit the mold of others, all the while doing self-destructive or “rule-breaking” things to feel closer to some semblance of alive.
Now, almost a decade later, with a firmer grasp on my own inner knowing, more connected to my intuition and the benefit of time and wisdom, I can articulate this story.
At the time I could only tell you the narrative. I’m a new mom, I travel for work, I fell in love with someone who isn’t my husband and I’m acting out in ways that are destructive and harmful to everyone, but I can’t stop, because stopping and surrendering to my life as it is now, is equivalent to death.
I realize how dramatic this sounds. I also know if you’ve been anywhere close to this point in your life that you know exactly where I was at.
Deep breath, lovely. I see you, I know you, I’ve been you.
There’s another way. It won’t be simple. There will be bumps and bruises along the path, not only for you but also for those you love. It’s also 100% worth it.
However, the most important question I want you to ask yourself right now, that came from a remarkable coach I flourished with named Lola Pickett; is “What do I need right now?”
That’s the question I want you to ask yourself. What do you need right now?
Then, find a safe place to speak (or write) the answer out loud. If you don’t have a safe space, I’m here.
Tomorrow night is a full moon. It’s a time for releasing things that no longer serve you. Now is the time to begin the steps toward releasing the layers of life holding you back from being the truest version of yourself. Reach out if you need a helping hand. I’m here.