Lost + Found
After every breakup, I have wondered how much more I can take — how much more disappointment, how many more secrets, how much more loss of identity I can handle.
That was the past.
In the two and a half years since my last significant relationship ended, I have discovered a self that doesn’t need a relationship but wants one. The woman I am now is so much wiser. She can be strong and soft. She can embrace contradiction. She sees into the heart of situations, into the darkness of her emotions. She has learned to summon forces from within that most people don’t know lie quietly there. And she knows that this relationship will be so different from all the others because she can’t lose herself anymore.
Here is the story:
He saw me from behind tinted glass in the early spring at an archery tournament. I had no idea he was there. We both remember the moment, though he wasn’t in mine.
A month and a half later, our paths crossed more officially. We spoke briefly in the woods of southwest Virginia. I remember the hat he wore, how he sat on the side of the mountain. When he was close, I pointed out how much alike our bows were. Months later, he told me he waited around for me that day, hoping to talk to me more, but it only a few words we exchanged that day.
Two weeks later, he walked past me in Pennsylvania. I remember the way he looked at me, but he didn’t say anything.
Thanks to Facebook, we started talking — about music, our non-archery hobbies, our lives. He was nice, we got along, but I wasn’t entirely sure what to think of him yet.
In Ohio, we shot an archery course together. We began to hover around each other, as if caught in one another’s gravity field. (Later, we determined this was technically a first date, since he paid for me.)
There was a 10-hour drive together to Indiana. And our orbits drew closer. There was something between us, and it was obvious.
And then he said he didn’t want me, not now. I nearly walked away. But one more encounter revealed how his fears were holding back. I think he decided to surrender because from that point on, he was there for me. After a car accident. While I was traveling for two weeks on the West Coast. During the two months of moving preparations and moving and settling.
Tony is exactly what I need right now. Sometimes, we call people into our lives without knowing it because they can teach us exactly what we need to learn. He teaches me, often unknowingly, and I teach him too, because that’s precisely what I’m meant to do.
It feels so different from every past relationship. Stronger. More vibrant. I exist in relation to him, in relation to others, but now I know I exist first and foremost in relation to myself. I’m not going anywhere this time. And that allows me to be more than I’ve ever been and to love without boundaries.