Fanning my inner fire: Friends who speak from the heart
Many years ago I was invited to speak at a book club, the members wanted to hear what the role of an editor is in the writing process.
I am a writer and an editor, and I mostly edit books, so I agreed to go and talk a bit and answer their questions.
One of the members has kept in touch with me throughout the years, mostly on social media or by email, and we’ve kept up a friendship this way. (We keep saying we’ll meet for coffee, but we haven’t done that yet.)
He’s a writer by profession as well, and a very good one.
We don’t talk about writing, however. We talk about life.
It is fabulous for me to have a friendship with a man who lets me see his inner soul. He recently shared with me a very unsettling emotional experience that he lived last September, and I was able to see into his heart.
Despite the fact that I’ve had many boyfriends, and been in lots of relationships and two marriages, I have rarely seen into a man’s heart. An irony that has not been lost on me.
I am at the point in my life where if people don’t let me into their heart I don’t feel I can connect with them, so him sharing his experience with me was really profound. It was exactly what I needed that day too.
My fiance broke up with me in September 2017, and since then I’ve been coming to terms with yet another failed relationship. I know I can look upon the endings as learning experiences, and to a certain extent they are, but they’re also very heartbreaking and sad too. The learning for me comes after the heartbreak heals a bit.
I know my inability to choose relationships that are sustainable has been because of the abuse I suffered through as a child. I have no doubt that the two are connected. But there’s more going on than that.
There is a self-destructiveness that comes with being an abuse survivor and in my case that ended up manifesting as depression and anxiety. I simply didn’t feel lovable as a child, and therefore I didn’t love myself.
I’ve said this to people out loud, in person and the looks I can get are pretty amazing. They range from “What the hell are you talking about? Are you crazy?” to “I so get that, I’ve had trouble loving myself too.” And the ones who think I’m crazy so don’t love themselves. And I identified with them because I didn’t either.
But I’m learning that I must love myself wholeheartedly and truly to have a sustainable relationship. It’s that simple, and that complex all at once.
So if I haven’t loved myself through all these relationships then I certainly won’t have seen anyone’s heart. That has become very clear to me too.
When my friend sent me his work on his experiences that had caused him so much emotional turmoil and suffering, I knew I had turned a corner. A man was sharing his heartfelt feelings with me. I was blessed.
And he shared them with me I think because he knew I’d get them, that I’d understand, that I cared, and that I’d had a hard 2017 too. And I love that.
In healing himself, he’s helped heal me. And that’s the biggest gift there is in this world full of people cut off from their inner selves, and broken.
Because all it took was seeing the possibility of someone else’s heart that gave me the courage to love my own, and see my own.
I watched a video of Will Smith’s this morning and he said we need to surround ourselves with people who fan our creative fires, not with people who piss on them.
If I stop pissing on my own fires then I won’t let anyone else do it either.
And my friend who showed me his heart definitely fans my fire.
From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor
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