Learning that I have been unavailable to myself has been a gradual, slow and excruciatingly painful journey. A bit more than six years ago I set out on my conscious quest for freedom. I knew, or thought, that I had to do it alone and not long afterwards I started a new life on my own in London. At that time I had recently finished a relationship with the last man that I believe truly romantically loved me and I had actually recently made a not so 'careful what you wishful for' request basically that the next man I was in relationship with was less available to me. Why? I had my own reasons at the time but on reflection I see that it was because I was truly afraid of intimacy with myself which, if in the presence of an available man, would ultimately bring me face to face with all of the parts of myself that I didn't want to see. Because that's what actually happens in a healthy, conscious relationship - so that it can be transformed and healed. I was deeply ready for none of it.
I knew, truthfully, though that I needed to be on my own for a while. I had not been on my own once in my adult life, since I was less than sixteen years old, and whilst I was very independent on many levels I knew that I needed to live some of my life single - whether I really actually wanted to or not. I intuitively knew that my true freedom lay in that path and although I actually thought I had a certain level of confidence, I was not who I wanted to be by a million miles, I didn't really love myself for a number of reasons and I knew that the confidence I did have was shaky and not really very real.
I got delivered exactly what I asked for. In the six years that followed I have been in and out of relationship upon relationship, or non-relationship as the case may be, with unavailable men.
This has almost killed me, multiple times. In fact, it did kill me, which has actually been the greatest gift of all of it, which I shall share at the end.
I am not going to go into this story in full but let's say that it has been somewhat of a mix between Twilight Saga, Bridget Jones, Eat Pray Love and One Day. It has also taken me to some very dark places.
In the darkest of them all I was suicidal, had lost more than four kilos of weight in a really short time due to stress, not feeling happy enough to eat and smoking instead, started bleeding every time I had sex, developed aggressive adult acne that took a long time to find a solution for and a number of food intolerances.
I have sold my soul to make the guy choose me, isolated myself from friends and family (or they have isolated themselves from me because they, like me, couldn't understand/were afraid of what was happening), completely lost touch with a sense of wellbeing and happiness and almost lost the very essence of what I am, more than once.
I have cranked up so much debt in 'self improvement', sometimes in response to criticism by these men; including manicures, personal training sessions (NOT to get slimmer but to get bigger!), pedicures, facials, hair restyles, online courses, dying my hair, treatments, sessions, workshops, ceremonies for healing from the traumas that these relationships have created, flights and taxi fares to be with guys, long distance phone calls either to these men or to my brilliant Mum in despair, moves overseas, gym memberships in countries for timelines long past me living there, soft (and hard) furnishings and rent payments in a flat that I then had to leave. I am still paying this debt off.
I have smoked so many damaging cigarettes to suppress the grief, on occasions drank alot of alcohol to numb the pain and also abused substances, alone, on week nights. I have missed many meals because I was too unhappy to eat, eaten a shed load of crap at times when I was hungry but didn't even have enough self love to prepare myself a meal and spent so much time waiting, outside, in winter, in the cold. I have lost so much sleep that was vital to my health either worrying, working or thinking or planning or waiting or in trying to convince whichever guy it was that they should actually choose me. The last Christmas that I could have enjoyed with my treasured Grandparents was ruined because I was so depressed and traumatised from one of these break ups that I couldn't be lovingly present.
I have missed out on fun and also, importantly, time that I could have used in contributing positively to the world with all of the love and investment that I instead poured into black holes (I chose to study environmental science and did a degree in Biodiversity Conservation and Management - whilst I have been engrossed in getting to the bottom of this nightmare the Great Barrier Reef has been pronounced f*****g dead!). I have missed out on growing friendships, nourishing relationships and my health. I have lost abundance and wasted money that I inherited from one of my grandmothers that I could have used for investing in my bright, beautiful future - that would also improve and enrich the lives of others.
I have spent so many nights on London pavements trying to convince one of these men in particular that I was actually 'a Goddess' and worth his time. On occasions I have feared for my life. I have found myself lying in a dangerous ditch in Brazil, waiting for the same one of these men to come home because at the time that was actually preferable to being at home and feeling the pain of his rejection. I have been so afraid that one of these men was going to 'hunt me down' because I actually found the strength to leave him before he left me that I have sought the advice of the police and domestic abuse phone lines.
At the worst of this journey I have attracted people that society likes to label as sociopaths, possible psychopaths or narcissists. I don't totally like these labels but for a time they were really useful, especially in researching patterns and dynamics to try to decode what the hell was suddenly going on in my love life which never was a problem before this time period when I was attracting very decent guys.
The weirdest thing was that somewhere deep down I saw red flags and knew that these guys were wrong for me. But I was so pulled towards them and they seemed to hold the promise of giving me everything that I ever wanted. They did. But not in the way that I thought.
The ride has got easier and in the past two years, as I have learnt and acted to change my patterns, listen to and heed red flags and made powerful choices to say NO to more of the same; what I have been sent and attracted in response has been very different. There have been decent guys in the mix from the outset too and perhaps some of them available and not choosing of me for other reasons (and actually there have been some that have been available that I didn't want to choose - because they clearly didn't have the learning within them that I needed), but they have overall been OVERWHELMINGLY unavailable.
They might be going away, living away, have recently broken up with a girlfriend, might still be with a girlfriend, definitely won't be wanting a girlfriend or just plain old emotionally aren't available.
For all of last year I was single, and in this time I underwent a massive transformational journey and developed a greater level of 'self-love' and resilience than I had ever had before. Whilst a few men made a fleeting appearance (all still mostly unavailable) I really made a strong, concerted effort to get to the root of this issue. I gradually saw that I no longer had to worry about attracting dangerous men but I still had some really painful encounters in which I would attract promising mirages in the desert. Masters of illusion that were very different to what I had experienced but were still unavailable and never going to choose me, even if they might have suggested or seemed to and even might have thought themselves that they would, at the beginning.
A key issue of later has been the legacy of this pattern and defence mechanism within me that I had developed to prevent more of the same; a hyper-vigilant, anxious, complex trauma response within me which threatened to ruin any future relationship with any future available man anyway. In the finale of this traumatic saga I sabotaged a relating scenario with an amazing, once in a lifetime - have never felt anything like this before - really think he is it, man because I couldn't quite trust that he would be available to me. I scanned him for unavailability from the outset, not wanting to risk investing in someone again who was not actually even present to be invested in. I pushed him to his limit and he left.
I soul searched for two weeks in heartbreak, looking for reasons for why he might have so abruptly jumped ship and started to see all of the ways that I had actually ruined this because I was looking at him, his actions and his words through my own lens of fear, based on my past experiences.
I delved so deep into my own soul and instead of hardening to the pain or him or even myself I held the whole thing with love and courageously took responsibility for every bit of my part in the failing of the relationship, looking at all of my issues and myself head on. I was committed to owning and transforming all of them, knowing how powerful the awareness was to do so and how committed I would be to embodying it, with also the right support in hand to really, truly do this. I processed it all and compiled it all and shared it all with him in love but it was too late - 'I had ruined it'.
And there was one more thing... He had realised in himself in the same amount of time and revealed to me that he had actually not been available in the first place.
Whilst I stood by all that I had owned and was still committed to transforming all of my fear so that the next partnership I was in would not be sabotaged by my past I then knew a missing piece of the puzzle in why I had been triggered so hard in it in the first place and saw that, actually, a large amount of my fear and distrust were actually my intuition and inner knowing and that fear was then clearly warranted.
I didn't want this particular situation to end like this but I know that I did everything, in the end, I could to give it the best possible outcome. I showed up, I was willing to work through my and his issues and I stood in love. I actually thought that it was part of our path to have a trial by fire and show each other some big hard truths about ourselves so that we could create something uniquely incredible and conscious and once in a million lifetimes from the ashes. But he didn't want that and I respect it and that is what I have needed to accept. All we can ever change is ourselves.
I've already spent way too much time trying to change others.
What this finale showed me, in taking (or burning) me to the ground again, was that the missing piece I needed for my freedom was my own self availability. In other words, 'it's not you, it's me... it’s me being unavailable to myself which has meant that I have attracted you to be unavailable to me'. I had already learnt, by then, that everything we find in others is mirroring ourselves to ourselves. So if we are attracting someone lacking empathy, for example, we are being shown the places in ourselves for which we lack empathy. I knew this before, and I was working with it, but that final time that this happened I was wise and ready enough to totally own the whole thing - or my parts in it.
I'm glad that I died to my old self that didn't love herself and I am grateful to every person and relationship along my journey that has mirrored what I have ultimately needed to see. But I don't believe that it had to or has to be so hard. I could have actually died completely on all levels on this mad quest and never lived to tell the tale. It was dangerously hard and I think that this is such a big issue for women right now. I see so many women in my life in relationships where they are desperately or subtly trying to make their man (or man to woman - it works both ways) see their value and choose them and it's all because they aren't truly choosing or valuing themselves.
I find it dangerous how there are alot of articles and 'movements' out there that, although well meaning, are actually reinforcing this pattern by identifying men 'sociopaths' or 'narcissists' and listing their red flags which women should be aware of without FULLY mentioning where this whole thing comes from from the women's side (or vice versa gender-wise). They big up 'empaths' - the supposed opposite to these other labels, amplify their innocence and glorify us women with 'big hearts' that 'give our love away to men who don't deserve us'. Yes, to an extent this is true and I have needed to read these articles at certain points on my journey but we need to look inward, not outward, at ourselves, to solve this puzzle at the root. Let's not sit around damning men or damning women without transcending through to the real of it all.
The worst, but best, part of this whole story is that it has been my entire creation.
No, I didn't deserve what I was given at earlier and sometimes later parts of the story and I can't own parts that aren't mine - I contributed 50% to each and every relationship and experienced a shed load of dysfunction and wounding from the other side. But, I have to see my part in casting for the same role over and over and we have a big level of choice in what we allow for the most part (accept where we don't and we cannot leave and are truly trapped in certain situations - I've been there too).
After all is said and done, the truth remains that we attract something of what we are in our partners. To ourselves. We are mirrors.
And knowing that is my key, not to unlocking the heart of someone who is never going to be available to me, but to unlocking my own heart for myself, so that I can also be available to others. To change the ending of my own story.
This video tells a common tale in this story far too well.