Many people are afraid of getting involved again after the collapse of a relationship. Some people would call them embittered, but beneath bitterness is fear. We have been hurt. We are afraid of being hurt again so we stop trusting men, or women.

I don't want to be one of those persons. This is not to say that I don't have my own fears. I do. Sometimes my fears are so huge they feel as if they will engulf me. But I'm willing to sit quietly in the center of those fears until they become something else, even if I chicken out the first hundred times and have to keep coming back to them.

I know enough to look at the world and see that it is made up both of people who are incredibly generous and open-hearted, as well as those who, in their woundedness, have chosen to turn their pain outward upon others. And these two types of people are not divided up by gender lines. And to recognize them you don't look at their faces or listen to their words, but look at their actions and listen with your heart.

I could tell stories from my relationships that would illustrate this, but I won't. I must have been okay with it on some level, because I stayed. I tried to make it work and sometimes I believed it could and sometimes I wasn't sure.

So, where does that leave me? Have I been betrayed? Truly, madly, deeply. In ways I can't quite wrap my mind around. Does it hurt? Fuck yes. It hurts so much I haven't even allowed myself to feel it all yet. I can't feel the full impact of the pain. I have to take it in doses.

But I'm still full of hope. I may not be as young as most, but I'm young enough and I still want to get it right.  The good news is I'm no longer afraid to be myself, to speak my truth, to use my voice, to enforce my boundaries and, most importantly, to be vulnerable. Perhaps that is the gift of getting it wrong.

Maybe that's what we're all here for. To hold a mirror up to each other. If there is anything I could wish to accomplish with my writing it would be that, to hold a mirror up to each of you that reflected back to you your greatness.

When I say it was weighing me down I could actually feel it. It felt like all this stuff was a web of dark energy that sat over me.  I hated it. I was sick of it. Today something rose up in me and just said no. I said it out loud: "NO!" I said, "I want to be free," and I felt it. I felt it all the way through to my core. I started crying because when I said it out loud I saw myself, in that mirror, and I knew that I mattered and my life was worth more than this, so much more. It felt powerful, like a rush of energy going through me, so I just kept talking and naming everything that I wanted in my life: love, joy, safety, freedom. It was liberating. In that moment, I felt like I could reach out and touch God. I felt something like a fire rising within me and I smiled and cried at the same time.