Two Lifelines of Hope for Relationship Anxiety and Fairness

by | Jun 2, 2024 | Break Free From Relationship Anxiety, The Community Garden | 13 comments

I’m delighted to share these two beautiful poems – and a photo! – from Zoe in London, who is one of our longtime community members. As you’ll see, Zoe has a gift for language, and often draws on her passion for the universe in her writing. Victoria and I have had the pleasure of getting to know Zoe in our Patreon Zoom gatherings, where she always inspires and blows us away with her wisdom. I’m honored that she’s willing to share her story and creative expressions with all of you here in the Community Garden.

***

My relationship anxiety started about 6 months into the relationship in 2017. I recognised the incessant rumination from previous anxious periods and wondered if there was such a thing as relationship OCD. To my relief there was, but this didn’t stop the painful and agonising few years that followed.

It was partner focused, so I found myself constantly questioning and doubting if he was right for me:

• Is he smart enough?
• Does he take himself too seriously?
• Why can’t he be more emotionally intelligent?
• Does he try too hard with my friends?

The one person who my heart wanted to run to, fear wanted to run from.

I’d compare him to every other man I interacted with, and analyse everyone else’s relationships. Fortunately, despite the countless occasions where I wanted to break up with him, a very quiet voice said: ‘Not yet, don’t go just yet.’

I took the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety course in 2020 and it allowed me to understand the role of projection, family scripts and societal pressures. All those questions I asked were actually my own insecurities and to this day I cling on to your words: Are they willing to learn about love?

The poem is about sadness as my darkness made me totally blind to his beautiful essence; shame as I was aware and yet couldn’t control the suffering I caused him; and desperation because part of me silently hoped he’d wait for me to overcome my fear so that I could appreciate all that he is.

He is my most precious gem, made of stardust, the only one of its kind in the whole universe. We got engaged in the Redwoods in April 🥰.

The world is my oyster, you the pearl
Iridescent, your nacre bears scars from the eons of stars
That both you orbit and orbit you.

Colour blind, your lustre is fragmented
I could treasure you for eternity
Maybe there’s light at the end of my tunnel vision

Wait on the shore, just a moment longer
Until I can sea straight, until I can orient to my love,
My most precious gem.

***

This next poem is about fairness. On some level we know life is unfair but why is it so hard to truly accept? I thought if I could understand this, then maybe I’d be able to accept the chaos of the world, the untimely deaths, unforeseen relationship breakdowns, chronic illnesses, career stresses.

To me, it seems that no matter how much we love someone, this can’t protect them from the reality of life. It’s as though our perception of them is on one train track, and reality runs on the other track. Sometimes our perceptions do align with reality but when tragedy, big or small, befalls a loved one, we’re faced with the gut-wrenching realisation that these two train tracks never intersected. And it’s being in this space, between two independent train tracks, that brings such heartbreak.

Standing between two parallel tracks, the space stretches solemnly.
To my left, Perception forges ahead.
‘She’s such a gentle soul’, I smile
for her well of being will surely flow from my fond whispers.

Steaming ahead, to my right, Reality brings her life to a stop.
‘She was such a gentle soul’, I cry.
But all tears freeze in the face of unapologetic winds.
So I just stare at this train obliterating the distance with indifference.

The geometry of these ancient lines derailed my entitled illusion
for they never crossed paths.
Their separateness only felt now as karma has been obstructed.
Who told me there is an intersection? For it feels like a belief older than time.

Tell me it gets easier, waiting in this chasm, to be sucker-punched
by these two blinkered railways.
The Perceptions inside this small sphere of mine offer no guarantee;
they simply define the pain I feel when colliding with Reality. 

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13 Comments

  1. From one London poet to another – thank you for this!

    Reply
    • Oh thank you, Joshua. This means so much as I never saw myself as a poet…and still struggle with it! You are so welcome 🙂

      Reply
  2. I’ve been navigating such acute grief about “what I thought might become” and “what is” (my own perception, hopes, and dreams versus reality). The second poem was unbelievably timely for me and deeply validates my current experience. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • I’m struggling with this too. It’s so painful and confusing trying to unpick all the feelings. Sheryl’s work is like a lighthouse when I feel like this guiding me back to shore.

      Reply
      • Denise and Laura, I am so glad the poem resonated with you both. I’m sending you both an abundance of light during your time of darkness, and I’m right there with you <3

        Reply
    • Wonderful poetry, Zoe! Thank you

      Reply
  3. Wow, potent and powerful. The first poem reminded me of the song Divers by Joanna Newsom.

    Reply
    • Oh my! Thanks so much for introducing me to this Brittany, it’s beautiful!

      Reply
  4. Sheryl, thank you for embodying the freedom we seek! You are standing between the parallel tracks with a sense of devotion and constancy, and for so many of us, that makes you Superman! My inner child is jumping and yelling for joy, “Finally, I have words for my experience!”

    Reply
    • Hi Calvin! Just to be clear: I didn’t write this post. I’m sharing these beautiful words from one of our community members, Zoe, in this Community Garden :). But I’m sure she’ll be delighted to read your comment!

      Reply
    • Calvin, your words are so touching. To give your inner child a voice is an honour 🙂 Mine is jumping with joy alongside yours!

      Reply
  5. Zoe, your poems and perceptions always shine so brightly – both here and in our Patreon meetings! I always look forward to hearing your shares and so appreciate your thoughtfulness and depth. ❤️ I too cling to Sheryl’s words – “is this someone with whom I can learn about love?” Thank you for sharing your writing as well as your journey through relationship anxiety. I feel grateful to be in this community together! P.S. An engagement amongst the redwoods sounds beautiful!

    Reply
    • Dearest Cindy, my gratitude for your words, you, and this community runs deep. I am so fortunate that my reflections are met with such compassion. Thank you <3

      Reply

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