Emotional safety

Today I want to talk about something very close to my heart. When I was 8 years old I met my best friend, When I was 34 years old I lost her. She died in a car accident.

My Person

We fought like crazy, for everything, but one thing I could always count on was that she would never disappear for too long and she always forgave me. Even though we fought I always knew she had my back. I always knew that no matter how bad the fight got that she would always be there. I was always safe. I was never alone.

The year she died we had a disagreement and we were not speaking, but even though we were not speaking she still dropped off my birthday present on my doorstep and left… she had a remote control to get into my yard because we were family. 24 years of friendship gives you a title of family. I was awake and I saw the whole thing, how she was going for her usual 6am morning run and she opened the gate came in the yard left a gift on my doorstep and left. Said nothing , didn’t need acknowledgement, she just left. My heart melted and I was obviously the one who put my tail between my legs and apologised. That was the last fight we had. For the rest of 2014 we were closer than ever. We spoke more, we trusted more and we loved each other more. I didn’t know that our time would end on that 21 September 2014. I didn’t know that when she left my house that night and hugged me goodbye that it was the last hug I would ever receive from her. I woke up the next day to the news of her passing and my entire world as I knew it crumbled.

I fell apart because I didn’t have my person anymore, my sister, my best friend. The one person that knew literally everything about me and loved me anyway. I could lash out as much anger as I wanted, she always new that inside I was fragile and still loved me anyway. I didn’t deserve her, but I was blessed with her anyway. God gave me the greatest gift when he gave me that friendship and he took away a part of me when he took her away.

For 2 years I did nothing with my life but go through motions, I kept everyone at arms length and I was like a zombie. I was alone. I felt alone. Dont get me wrong, I had other friends who I love dearly, but they were all far away and I was so used to having her in my space every day all the time that when she was gone, I left myself for a long time too.

2 years later my dear cousin introduced me to salsa dancing. Little did I know that he was introducing me to a new family. One that would embrace me and take me in and treat me like one of their own from day 1. For the first time in 2 years I was motivated to live again. Truly live. I began to celebrate life again and I began to feel a pulse in my soul again. For that I will always be grateful to my new family. I felt life in me again. Now, I’m not the greatest dancer, even now 4 years later… but I’m still a part of the most amazing family.

My dance family

It was through dance that I met my new friends, my new people. They didn’t replace Maree, but they sure did fill the gaping hole I had in my heart with love and affection. Exactly what I needed. but I still didn’t feel safe. I still kept people at arms length and I kept myself in a protective shell. I couldn’t even allow myself the freedom of real expression in my dance because I was afraid to let go, and to dance well you have to free yourself of all the things that hold you back and just feel the music.

I met someone through dance who turned out to become my new person. I don’t know how that happened, but it did. I trusted this person as much as I trusted Maree and for the first time in 6 years I let my guard down because I felt safe. I felt like 3 years of friendship had given us the foundation that would allow me to be vulnerable. But it wasn’t until the friendship had its first test that I realised, the foundation was not 10 years or 20 years.. it was only 3 years.

You see, I struggle with vulnerability and my defense mechanism comes with a mean streak that I thought I had worked out but I hadn’t completely worked this out, clearly. I lashed out at this person, because I was afraid. I lashed out because everything felt out of control. I lashed out because it what I used to do when life needed it before, when the world wasn’t a safe place for me and I had to protect myself all the time. But my life now does not need me to be defensive in order to protect myself. The people I’m surrounded by are pure love. and the one person that was closest to me got hit the worst when my fears and insecurities came to play.

This is where im struggling. You see with Maree, I always knew she would be back. But now I feel like I’ve lost one of the people I love the most. I feel like this is irreparable and I feel like the old me came out at the wrong time and it was not needed.

3 weeks ago I felt so safe emotionally, I felt like nothing could rock this boat, but it turns out I rocked the boat and it has capsized. The question now is, if I have apologised, if I have admitted to my mistake, if I have done everything within my power and it just seems to be getting worse… what now? What is the next step?

After some soul searching I answered my own question. The answer is love. Unconditional love. People are entitled to their feelings and they should be allowed to express them as they need to. I’ve accepted that the consequence to my actions are that I may lose the 1 person that has had my back and had my best interests at heart. I did that, because I allowed the insecurities of my past back in, because I let my guard down and trusted something that I thought was rock solid but was actually so fragile.

Now I have to face the reality of possibly losing one of the most important people in my life. I have to come to terms with the fact that the new people in my life don’t know how to deal with the old me because they don’t know the old me. and I have to face the fact that the old me is till in there, because healing takes time and I can only learn each lesson at a time. So now I’m stuck with this part of me that I thought was healed, but clearly is not healed completely or she wouldn’t have sabotaged something as valuable like this.

The lesson here is this. That you have to focus on the new improved you, but you have to understand that the old you still lives in you. and every now and then the old you will make an appearance. We never truly get rid of past habits and pain, but we can work everyday to heal and move further away from that toxic person we used to be. Everybody makes mistakes. but its what we do with those mistakes that matters.

I have chosen to accept my consequences and to love anyway. If someone doesnt want you in their space you can still love them from a distance. By understanding their choices and respecting them. By wishing them well and always having their best interests in mind.

Sometimes loving someone means letting them go. Sometimes love is hard and you have to choose what best for the other person and not only yourself. This is the case for me. I don’t know if I’ve lost my friend completely or not. But either way, I understand, and I love that person anyway, not matter what they decide to do. This is unconditional love. Love without condition. Its the purest form and the most rewarding. If you love someone, love them enough to set them free. What they choose to do after that has no condition on the love I feel for them.

I realise my emotioanl security used to lie in a person. Maree. But when she left I learnt how to rely on myself. For a moment I latched my emotional security on my new person, but now that they have gone, I realise that I am secure in myself. Even though I had a slight panic and destroyed a friendship in the process, I still realised that no matter what happens, I’m going to be ok, and Im going to love my friend no matter what their choices are.

We cannot place our emotional security on another person. It’s not healthy, not for you or that other person. That is the lesson I learned from all of this. That people are there for love, and to share life with. But they are not there to make you feel secure. You should be secure in yourself. You should be able to rely on yourself to sort out your emotions when shit hits the fan. You shouldn’t be crushed completely because someone left. You should remember that before that person became your person that you were a fully functioning human and you can become that again. But you should do this from a place of love and understanding, not hate and anger.

Always choose love. You are whole on your own. Just because you make mistakes doesn’t make you a terrible human, but if you don’t learn from your mistakes then you are losing the opportunity to grow. Always choose to learn and to grow. Then do better next time.

Love Tammy

Published by TL Murphy

Daughter , mother, writer, speaker of life.

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