Being Women

Trusting Myself To Love, Again

I am in love because I chose to gently lower my guard and be beautifully vulnerable with this wonderful man with whom every moment shared is worth my while. I have no regrets whatsoever.

I am a 44-year-old single mother. And in the least expected ways and time, I found love – or maybe love found me – again, and I wasn’t even looking!

I loved to watch the aww moments in plays and movies and had youthful dreams of having at least a sliver of it in my adult life. However, the past 20 years of my life had me thinking cynically that love and romance were a mere figment of a movie maker’s imagination scripted by a sappy writer who sculpted gullible minds into believing in happy ever afters.

My history as a survivor of a violent and turbulent marriage informed my cynicism strongly. While I was wary about love and relationships, I was careful not to burst the bubble for others. I was particularly careful to avoid placing my impressions on my children and the youth I meet through my work, who happily court the flurries of hormonal crushes. I could only hope that practical logic was infused in the joy and playfulness of their young love.

I was an expert at playing it very, very safe. Vulnerability sounds great on paper but is too dangerous in real life. Intimate partner violence, betrayal, and difficult past relationships often leave deep and lasting scars on the mind, psyche, and spirit. Not many of us are willing to risk putting ourselves through potential pain knowingly. I knew I, for one, wasn’t willing to take on that risk. Getting burned once was enough for me to put the ‘Road Closed’ sign on relationships.

Having taken my time to heal gently and unhurriedly, I know that I am a self-aware woman physically, mentally & emotionally. Life had moulded me into this independent, extroverted, strong-willed, and unapologetic woman who also had a wry sense of humour and enjoyed social interaction. I accept and acknowledge my natural sensuality, passion, and vibrance and am deeply comfortable with my femininity –energy that easily and effortlessly allows me to completely own my space.

However, I was unwilling to let my guard down and trust easily. I found it a frivolous waste of time to date just for the sake of dating. The fear of getting hurt again was intense. I couldn’t afford to spend time over relationship woes when my priority was raising my children. It was safer to avoid the risk of heartbreak altogether.

Shortly after my birthday in 2020, I remember waking up to a strong feeling that was gutting. It wasn’t loneliness, no, but a deep sense of yearning. I was tired of being alone and not having someone in my corner, who wasn’t my parent, sibling or child, or a friend with a life of their own. I was missing someone to share my life with who would be on ‘Team Luvena’ just as I could be on theirs.

Companionship and intimacy. That is what I missed!

It was surprising that I was even ready, let alone being mentally prepared for these uncharted waters. I sensed a tiny crack in my armour this time – a slight willingness to dip a little toe-in.

I wasn’t looking for anyone to subdue intellectually – I was looking for compatibility. I was hoping to find someone who wouldn’t feel threatened by my strength and intelligence; someone who matched my values and would not take advantage of my softness. I was sceptical of finding such a person and I wasn’t planning to look very hard either. I was just going to wait and watch. I think I had put out an ask the Universe, ‘The Secret’ style, and was willing to see what the Law of Attraction would send my way– if that was even a thing!

Imagine my surprise when I was literally and unexpectedly, in total Bollywood storyline style, thrown into a sea of complete strangers, only to find myself bumping into one person repeatedly – with no agenda whatsoever! Our conversation was unmistakeably easy. The comfortable acceptance of wit and humour was refreshing! Our similarities were striking as was our ability to smirk at each other’s obvious flaws. Without agenda, we showed up as flawed individuals just being who we are.

And just like that, we found that place that felt like home right beside each other.

I can go on to explain how and why it feels so solid, but the point is that I had healed enough to put my heart out and try again. All I can say is how grateful I am for having been able to trust myself to trust another so deeply and even now, after all this time, feel thoroughly safe doing it. My litmus test was my family and children’s confidence in my choice and action.

We have our complications, sure we do! But what adult life lacks those? My assurance lies in the complete trust in myself and more importantly, getting out of my own way. Whose permission does love need? Whose permission did I need? No one’s!

Life is too short to live in fragments of fear and what-ifs. We only need to allow ourselves to feel, to love, and to be loved – deeply and wholly; to laugh loudly and cry messily; to bravely step into our wholeness within and without. What else is our purpose if not to bring out the best in each other through a life well lived?

I am in love because I chose to gently lower my guard and be beautifully vulnerable with this wonderful man with whom every moment shared is worth my while. I have no regrets whatsoever. I am a 44-year-old single mother. I choose courage and trust to allow myself to be loved as a woman, again. If not now, then when?

By Luvena Rangel

Luvena Rangel is a National award winning Yoga teacher trainer, thinker, writer and international speaker based in Bangalore. She is an unapologetic advocate of diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion and shares deeply on sociopolitical and cultural issues. Her friends describe her as a ‘cycle breaking’ parent and she wears that tag with pride!

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