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Reflections of the Heart: Romantic Relationships

Heart symbolizing the love of authentic relationships

Lessons aren't always given to us in school. In fact, the best lessons that we could ever learn come from the experiences that we endure during our life. They give us a blending of color where we once may have believed life to be only black and white. And although they can be fulfilling and informative, they can also be quite ghetto. Over the next few weeks, or more depending on how much comes to me, I'll be sharing the colorful lessons that life has taught me over the course of the past decade. They'll be in no particular order and won't include any names for all the nosey folks out there, but they'll share some insight on what it looks like to be schooled by life as well as the importance of mental, spiritual, and physical health.

I'll start with falling in love. Now, they say that you have to make sure that you and your partner of choice are equally yoked and at first I didn't know what the hell that meant. I thought that meant that you have to be on the same page and of the same mind, and although that has something to do with it, there's so much more. When my husband and I made it official, I was excited to finally find a partner that understood who I was. i felt like I could be my most authentic self without judgement, ridicule, or abuse. I finally found a person that saw all of my many colors and didn't try to make me change them to color the image they had of me. He showed me how to love myself and have fun rather than being a workaholic and only focusing on growth and development. He taught me to talk and laugh through the pain, walk confidently into situations, and be comfortable with being uncomfortable. All things that were foreign to me.

I was used to being silent. Holding everything in until I was with God or my very close friends. I barely even talked to my family about my most vulnerable e feelings, experiences, and transgressions. I bottled everything up until I would explode or find an outlet to release it all. It's how I was raised. I read a book called "Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents" by Lindsey C. Gibson, a must read if you're looking to heal from an emotionally turbulent upbringing, and learned that I was an internalizer which is a child that keeps everything in rather than acting out. I thought it was normal to manage your feelings internally without letting it all out. Once I was in my relationship, I realized that being that way wasn't going to work.

I would find it so tough to open up out of the fear of judgement, being misunderstood, disrespected, ignored, argued with, rejected, or abused. That had been my experience, not just in the household, but at school, church, in the community, etc. Our society in the 90s and early 2000s was brutal. Especially for a Black aboriginal queer boy growing into a man. If you expressed any femininity, intelligence, or variance from the "normal" male traits, you may as well just die. The abuse was brutal and mentally and emotionally made me hide myself and be what everyone told me I should have been. I pressed myself into a box to fit a standard that was never meant for me. Being in a relationship exposed this, and my partner helped force me out of that box, whether intentional or not.

We experienced so many unfortunate experiences because we didn't know that it was safe for us to communicate with each other authentically. We both had internal dialogues that prevented us from sharing our inner most secrets and truest selves. But, it almost seems as if God planned for us to be together because we have been mirrors to show each other not only all the flaws and weaknesses, but the beauty, the gifts, and the strength that we possess. He taught me that if I keep everything bottled up, I end up going crazy, spazzing out, and knocking all the pictures off the wall, or worse. That's not who I want to be. I'm a lover unless otherwise provoked. I had to acknowledge and communicate my feelings so that we could discuss what was real and what wasn't, compare perspectives, unpack what was truly going on and learn to see each other in our truest forms. The intricacies that were explored in the types of conversations following the most heartbreaking experiences are the ones that brought us closer together, and granted us the vision to see that our lives and beliefs needed to expand.

What was once acceptable, was no longer acceptable. What was once off the table, needed to be explored. Who we once were, needed to evolve so that we could be better for ourselves, better for each other, and better for the world that God blessed us to explore and create within. There have been many tears, battles, and hardships, but God has ALWAYS been at the center of everything showing us who He really is and that He has the final say. I learned that we're not at the same step, but if we kept God first, worked hard enough on our own personal journeys, supported each other through the ups and downs, and nurtured our constantly evolving bond, there's nothing that we couldn't to do together. Life hasn't been easy, but with each other, it's been a hell of a ride that I wouldn't change for the world.

The lesson here is that your partner isn't meant to bend to be whatever you want or need them to be. Your partner is there to be your mirror, your support, and your restoration. It has to be more than just physical, there has to be a pure and unique bond that is true to only you two. God has to be present because when neither one of you have what's needed, He's there to fill in all the gaps and show you both exactly what's up next. It's two individuals choosing one another in each moment to journey through the ups and downs of life together. There's beauty in that madness and it's important to let yourself find that in your partner outside of lust, trauma bonding, and status.


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