But they were there for me, as they always are, lighting the dark cloak of the night sky, reflecting back what I hope for in each upward glance.
This consistency inspires me, for I have been anything but. Today, when I told my therapist of the false pretense in my relationship, I expected surprise. I got none.
Evidently, a lot of women get into relationships and then do anything they can, including giving up parts of themselves, so that they can be loved. I admitted this to my partner, that I had been ignoring a large part of myself, working diligently on his house, taking care of his family in times of need, because I believe that I need to earn his love. I believe that I need to prove my worth. This is not his fault, though it would be easy to blame him. Easy because then I would not have to focus on what lies beneath my pretense.
It is all me. He never asked for any of it. Furthermore, he has told me repeatedly that I didn't need to do it. I tried to believe him. I pulled back on working on his house, taking care of his relatives, doing extra things for him. But that left me in a panic. I started having anxiety attacks. I saw threat in behavior I had formerly seen as loving. I do not know how to just allow the love to come to me. It seems impossible.
As time passed, I did less, and for that, I struggled with my fear, I pushed him away with insulting behavior, accusing questions, and coldness. I just wouldn't believe that he could love me without my labor, or my sacrifice, or the denial of needs I had so expertly pulled off for years. I would not believe him.
I sit afterwards in the ache of knowing that I have hurt him, ruminating in my deception. I have seriously undercut our ability to move forward into the next year as we have been. I can no longer do this. I want more. I have wanted more all along and until this point, have not been brave enough to ask for it. But I am not foolish enough to blame him for it.
And last night I looked up at the stars. And their courage gave me hope.
I woke this morning still in my ache but also something else. I didn't know what until I looked up this evening and saw only clouds. I remembered the courage of the stars. And I thought that maybe someday, I would do that too.