On this day, six years ago… I got married. As of 10 days ago, my divorce is final. I vowed til death to love and serve and cherish this man. And that is what I tried with all my heart to do.
I focused every waking minute of my time on my partner (and eventually our child)… tracking his well-being, cooking for him, doing things the way he liked, worrying about if he was happy, navigating his moods and give give giving without reserve.
And what he would tell you about our time together is that I was controlling, emotionally abusive, and manipulative. He would tell you how I punished him over and over for his mistakes, never fully forgiving or letting go. He would tell you how temperamental I was & how scared he was of triggering me and setting off a shitstorm of emotions. He would tell you how he pulled away and hid to keep the peace.
He would also tell you now… how much I loved him, how much I cared about him and how above and beyond I went for him on the littlest of things.
But the thing is… all the while I was loving him so much, he couldn’t FEEL it or SEE it.
Oh, and I didn’t end my days in a pink, fuzzy swoon thinking “Oh I love this man so much…” I ended most of them feeling resentful and exhausted and totally unseen after a day of cooking, cleaning, mom-ing and wife-ing aka “loving”…
I knew in my heart that there was a fullness to love that I was missing. I knew it was meant to be more. And I did a lot of things to dull this hunger.
I binged-on food, wine, cigarettes, gossip, social media, & Netflix.
I mastered the blame game.
I bought things.
I focused on my physical appearance and fitting in.
All of these things only made me feel worse about myself but I was so desperate to avoid the monster under the bed. When its tentacles would slip out into the daylight, I would laugh them off or stuff them down deeper. Until I couldn’t do it anymore and I would lash out; spewing anger, frustration, and pain that had been brewing for hours, days, weeks, years… Then I’d tuck it back neatly under the bed, out of sight, until its next appearance who-knows-when.
I felt helpless and totally out of control. I was waiting for my husband to step up and love me better so that I could start being happy. I wanted to be loved the way I was loving him (the way I *thought* I was loving him…).
The truth is, I wasn’t loving anyone. I wasn’t loving him. I wasn’t loving me. I had no idea how to love. I knew it was something I needed to be doing but I had no examples of healthy love in my life. And what I was reading on the internet only solidified my belief that my partner was supposed to fix me… that my unhappiness was his fault and therefore his to fix.
I would read my yoga and meditation books and read about self-love but nothing ever taught me HOW to self-love. Again, I felt broken and helpless, like I was just made with more flaws that the average person. And that was shameful.
I stayed stuck in this spiral of shame –> depression and anxiety –> looking for answers —> failing at implementing the answers —> more shame —> more depression and anxiety… and round and round I went for years before finally getting some support.
I started learning about energy and receiving energy healing and was taught about boundaries and how to self-love… and slowly, piece by piece I came home to myself. I’d been wandering around outside of my own heart since childhood. No wonder I spent most of my life feeling like an exposed nerve. Naked. Raw. Vulnerable. Alone.
And so…. fucking… scared. All the time.
And in hindsight I can see it so clearly. The problem isn’t that I wasn’t loving “right” or wasn’t good enough at being a wife or partner or because I was unforgiving and hateful. It’s that I had made someone else my priority. Because I was taught by the world that that was love.
And as it turns out… that’s not love at all. That’s fearful love. Empty love. Resentful, “you owe me” love.
If your love life is “failing”… I invite you to consider that maybe you’re not the one failing. Maybe your definition of love is failing YOU.
And maybe you’re capable of full-body, heart-cracked-wide-open, brave, vulnerable, REAL love. Maybe you’re not broken or damaged after all. Maybe you can heal and experience the sweet expansiveness of a safe heart.
Maybe you can fall madly in love with you, not as a chore or task to complete before being able to love others. But because you are yours. Before you are anyone else’s.
Tend your roots, friend. Give yourself space to exist. Give your heart permission to bleed and beat and feed your Soul. Follow your hunger. Follow your heart. She wants you to Remember. She wants you to Feel. She wants you to have more. It’s possible.
— Lauren Venable, WE Community Member
Lauren is a single mama, meditation teacher, and energy healer living consciously in South Louisiana. Her work in spiritual embodiment empowers women to challenge their stories and shift their energy to experience deep healing. She offers a range of healing services including guided energy healing sessions, online classes, and 1:1 deep dive journeys. She also has a line of crystal-infused self-care items that she hand makes in small batches with natural ingredients and so much love. All of her products are designed to bring a sense of Sacred ritual into daily life, which she believes is the key to present, passionate, turned-on living!