When he texted me I knew who it was before I even responded.
The phone number was different so I didn't recognize it, but the vibration within me told me it was Smiley. I was a little hesitant to respond because I knew that with him came growth. Not the kind of growth that is pleasant, but the kind that makes me stretch and contort and dig deeper than I want to. I responded, and our journey began again. This time, we would embark on another phase, a different dynamic than we had ever had before. In the past, we had been friends, we had been lovers and we had briefly been in a committed relationship with each other and at that time in my life, that was the brass ring for me — to be his lady. But as all things come to an end, so did that. We never completely disconnected even when we were no longer in contact. There has always been something unexplainable between us, and I knew if he was returning, something was unfinished. So I began on this journey with him. I accepted the role as his mistress and knew consciously I was choosing this path because something was going to change in me. I did not know what, but I did know from the past experiences that he brought great turmoil and expansions with him.
We have been involved in a relationship for a number of months all in secret on his end.
While on my end, open and shared with everyone I can, to expand on my commitment to transparency and disclosure. I've shared this walk as I've taken each step with those very close to me and those who have yet to know me. I've shared the joys and passion of it, and the challenges and questions. As the end draws near, I have grown again in ways I could not have without him in my life. Smiley has forever been a gift of challenge and struggle and breaking bonds of my own limitations and fears.
It took me awhile, and a whole lot of support from those around me who held me during my breakdowns and my emotional purges as I once again came face to face with my shadows. Those parts of me that I hate to feel and acknowledge because they are so painful. Once again, I got to know desperation, fear, self-loathing and sadness. I became reacquainted with my old friends: inadequacy, rejection, ugliness, unworthiness, loneliness and grief. All those places I had once thought healed, reemerged to show themselves to me in the light of day. Those places that were not healed or forgotten, they were just temporarily bandaged and set aside.
Through my affair with Smiley, I had to learn for myself what he really was and why I loved him so. I did not know why I loved a man who did not love me equally. I did not know why he brought out in me things that others never had. I did not know why I accepted him completely, without question and chose to always be devoted to him under any circumstances — even under this circumstance — cheating on his girlfriend. As we communicated almost daily and became intimate with each other, it felt simultaneously fabulous and tortured. To have him in a way that was part-time, and only on his terms was a terrible feeling. At the same time to have him at all was a beautiful feeling. I committed myself to this until I understood why the situation had come into my life.
As time would pass and he would tell me how much he missed me and loved me, it would be blissful.
But, then he would disconnect when he was home and being the dutiful boyfriend. It became hard for me to understand how he could play both roles so seamlessly. I did not understand how someone could divide themselves between two people. How each day he could send me messages or pictures or voice mails telling me how he loved me and wanted to see me so badly. Then he could go home that very same day and be with his girlfriend as if there was no other woman in his life. It became harder and harder for me to understand.
I told him more than once that he had to tell her the truth.
I told him that he and I were given the choice to enter into this relationship with each other, but he didn't give her that choice. I told him that she would not see it as a small thing to have been lied to and deceived. I tried to explain to him that as a woman she would see his having invited another relationship into his life as an ultimate betrayal of her trust. I tried to get him to tell her, to not let it continue longer and longer than needed. He did not agree with me. He was quite angry that I should suggest such a thing and felt I had betrayed him.
As all of this unraveled before me, I continued to search for my lesson in it all.
I wanted to understand what he had come back to show me. What still needed to be brought forth — to be healed? I slowly began an emotional roller-coaster ride that was like a frightening trip into the darkness of all my grief and sadness. Everything came forth to be felt with electrified intensity. I was losing someone I loved deeply and in a way that would be painful and unpleasant and his anger with me was palpable. I was feeling how deeply hurt my heart was after having supported and loved him so much. I was immersed in grief and sadness and despair. I felt as if rejection was a fiery thorn cast into my chest. I was in darkness and desperate pain.
As I continued to move through this and was supported by those around me, I slowly began to see clearer.
I began to see a vision of the reality of our experiences. I began to see all that we had shared and not shared through a clear lens as a removed witness watching a movie. I saw it all without the attachment and emotion. I saw our experiences for what they were and not what I wanted them to be. I began to distinguish my story from the reality. I began to name it and understand it. I did love him, and freely gave that love without condition.
But, there was another part that I didn't know was there.
I was devoted to him. I had given him complete adoration, commitment, trust, veneration, and acceptance under any circumstances. I began to understand that devotion was something completely different from love. Devotion was a thing that was fed and nurtured. Devotion was blind in many ways and required sacrifice from me. I was devoted and I gave and gave and gave. I put energy and thought and planning into it. It was not the same as love. Love is spiritual and eternal and free. Devotion required energy and strength from me. I began to understand that he had done nothing to earn my devotion.
I began to see that he had not reciprocated any amount of effort toward me that made him qualified for my devotion.
It was a painful awakening to realize I had given him this devotion all along, and he had not returned it. I became aware of what it meant and how I sacrificed my own feelings to always put his first. I understood that his needs were always put before mine and I allowed that. I understood that his love, or his version, had always been conditional with me and everyone else in his life. I learned the lesson that had come with him. I learned there is a difference between loving someone, which is free and divine and eternal, versus being devoted to someone. Devotion is something earned, it is something we qualify ourselves for. It is something that we make ourselves worthy of and it should always be reciprocated in an equal amount.