Monday, January 12, 2015

What I Learned in 2014 by Valerie Hall


I turned 45 in 2014. In those years, I had raised a tiny boy to a beautiful young man, been married and divorced twice. Owned homes and businesses and felt on top of the world in material ways and started over more times than I care to admit.

In 45 years, I'd watched my mother be happy, nearly die in a car accident and have her heart broken completely in half. And always ... always she rises again -- impacted, but never changing in her capacity to love and show forgiveness and acceptance. I'd lost my birth father to cancer, my dad to continued estrangement and hurt deeply because of it. Hell, I still hurt.

In 45 years, I've known joy... gain... success, failure and such deep pain that I could literally define desperation and darkness with just ONE page of my life's story.

In 45 years, I've wanted to give up, throw my hands in the air or simply harden myself. I do admit to allowing myself to go numb. To be a pretty little shell of a person... smiling while inside I felt nothing at all. "Going through the motions" is probably one of the loneliest feelings in the entire world.

In my 45th year I also learned to really LOVE. Don't get me wrong -- I've loved deeply in my life time. Pure love for my son. Devoted love for my mother. Familial love and loyalty to my siblings, aunts, cousins, uncle. And, as I said before -- I've been married twice. But in my past relationships, I was still learning so much about ME. Still carrying around the hurts and traumas of my childhood, still running away from certain aspects of my upbringing and still living to the expectations of OTHER people over personal happiness or fulfillment.

But, 2014 was different. I'd ended my marriage in 2010 and spent the years since then learning about ME and quite honestly, learning to accept myself and loving who I am as a human being. I learned to be proud of myself, to let myself off the hook for past mistakes and to be open to the goodness that the Universe had in store for me. I saw EVERYTHING differently once I learned my personal worth. During that time - I'd met some women worth getting to know better, tested the waters of what it could be like to share time and space with another person but stayed true to what *I* really wanted in my next relationship. I may have hurt others during that time but for the most part, I tried my best to do so in truth -- without malice. I didn't always handle it as others may have expected -- but I don't regret staying true to me.

In 2014 I fell in love with someone differently. I'd told myself that I no longer wanted a relationship based on dependency or fear of loneliness. I'd grown happy with spending time alone and I needed my next love to be MORE. Dependency is so fleeting. To need simply a "warm body" requires little more than a physical attraction and a pulse to produce that sense of "warmth". Neither did I want to stay with someone because of the things that we owned or because our families expected us to do so. Nor did I want to stay with someone because I didn't want THEM to hurt while *I* grew numb inside.

At 45 years old, I wanted to fall in love with someone who made me smile, who's smile made my heart flip over every single time she shared it with me, or when I caught her smiling at something during some random moment. I wanted to fall in love with someone that made me LAUGH and who "got" my sense of humor... my brand of silly and crazy. I wanted to love someone with my head, my heart, my body and my soul. I wanted to love someone that I CRAVED physically while also knowing they had what it took to build a life together.

At 45 I wanted to love like a grown up, while also giving myself permission to forever be that little girl who still has fears, who has bad habits of self-protection and when those habits showed themselves, I wanted to love someone who knew how to HOLD ON to me and CHOOSE to do so. Every single time.

The Universe/God truly does answer prayers, in the right time. So I would suggest you be truly ready to receive the answer -- because sometimes even blessings come with some challenge.

I've been challenged to EARN this love. Every day. Every moment. But, in 2014 I learned that sharing a loving relationship with another flawed human being is a DAILY choice. A constant ebb and flow of hanging on and letting go. Hanging on to what's important and lovingly letting go of the things that no longer matter -- the things not worth fighting about. I've learned to love with my heart and not with my ego and I've learned that I will make mistakes and so will she but I count my blessings when I acknowledge that not ONE mistake has ever been made intentionally. That through LOVE you learn to accept a person's idiosyncrasies as they accept yours. That the relationship you share should be treated like a small child, depending on its' parents to protect and nurture it and that few things can damage a truly united front.

LOVE is a gift and it's what this life is all about. Tiny moments of connection to another person's soul. Moments when you FEEL that all is right in the world when you truly SURRENDER to that connection... That sense of peace you feel deep down, knowing that the soul intended just for you is within your reach ... sharing a heart beat, a breath ... or a smile.

We argue and we disagree -- but I've learned that these are the challenges that push me to keep growing. To stop waiting for someone else to bend to my will or my way because I do NOT know everything. She is the prettiest mirror I've ever viewed myself through because I see EVERYTHING through her eyes. The good is so very good because she loves deeply just like I do. And the not-so-good? Well, those things are each an opportunity to get it even MORE right -- every single day. To learn something different, to stretch... to love because of and in spite of. I've learned that even with my kindness, I can be spoiled and selfish and that because of love, she chooses me too.

As a little girl my heart thought love looked like some knight on a white horse. As an adult, I no longer wait for some Disney version of love. Instead, I look at my life's partner and see her for the hero she has become to me. The one who hangs on to me when I'm a tornado ... who lovingly reminds me to call my mother, to check in with that friend who let me down, to eat and to rest. The hero who holds me when I cry deep ugly tears and wipes my face as she kisses my forehead. The hero who is still teaching me how to BE LOVED ... how to have more faith and how to let go of the fears that are not fact-based. She is my rock and the softest of safe havens for me.

In 2014, I fell in love and learned what that really means.

Happy New Year!

Valerie Hall is an insightful woman with a heart of gold. She is a IT professional, a business owner, a wonderful mom and an amazing friend.

Valerie can also be reached on Facebook and Twitter.
Create Love Founders
Imani Evans and SharRon Jamison 



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