Don’t Hang Up

It’s about 6:40PM last night when the phone goes. I intentionally ignore it, it’s a ‘me’ day.

Matt tries to offer me the phone and I panic, wary that he’ll accept the call in spite of our new rule.

“It’s your mother” he mouths to me.

“I don’t care” I reply, “it’s my Tuesday, my Tuesday evening. I’m allowed to relax and have fun, too”. The call goes through to voicemail, as it should have before.

“I’m not going to tell you who it is, you’ll have to guess” Mum giggles in her message.

Ten minutes later, the phone goes again. Mum leaves another voicemail.

“Hi, just wondered if you’re about but I’ll try again tomorrow. Cheers then, bye.”

I smile to myself because this is exactly what I had with my ex. it’s all fun and games at your expense until you take back your power, when you stop being so available to them. When you slip from their grip, when you remind them how much they value you and how sad life looks without you, it scares them a little bit.

And to be honest, so it should. I’m worthy and deserving of kindness and respect, everyone is.

Do they really think I care about flaws? Do they not think I’m too aware of my own to believe that I have any right to judge others? Everyone has flaws, but the people who truly love you will love you in spite of them. If you don’t want your flaws pointed out to you, don’t point out the flaws in others. Try empathy and understanding instead of judgement and ridicule.

Accept others for who and where they are right now. That’s unconditional love.

That’s what I give.

I am unconditional love, because once I knew what was missing in my life then it became what I would give to the world. I would love and accept others the way that I would want to have been (and want to be) loved and accepted.

I still love my ex – he woke me up from my depressive, post-grief slump that I was in and made me see that I deserve more. I love my Mum too, but I also know that I have to give myself the love I wish she could give me, by protecting myself from her sometimes.

Once I gave unconditional love to the world, I got unconditional love back – in spades. It makes me grateful and it makes me happy everyday.

I did think of my ex again last night, but not in a romantic way. I miss the friendship we had, the competitiveness we had, the way we spoke a similar language in terms of service to our country, even if it wasn’t exactly the same. We talked once about carrying flags for Remembrance Sunday which, you know, is only a honour you’d know if you’ve ever fulfilled that role. He wanted more though and I regret agreeing to more so soon, given how badly it went – not because I didn’t love him but because he wasn’t right for ethical non-monogamy (he has since said so himself). Alas, I was infatuated and I let my heart rule my head. Maybe we both did.

But then as I settled down to sleep I think about my connection with Bill and how that’s so gently simmering away. It feels different and that makes me smile; less intense but much more stable. We still talk, even when things feel a bit unsettled, there’s no months-long uncomfortable silences for us. There’s cooperation not competition too, because Bill knows that ENM is a team game. Sometimes there’s little moments of panic, sure, that little voice of rationale that warns me not to lose another friend.

“We won’t” replies my heart. “This time around? Trust him, it’s okay.”

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