I think it started the day I asked myself what I didn’t want, I only knew because I had witnessed it at some previous point. But to know what I didn’t want in an intimate relationship I had to know what I didn’t want in me. This required me to be honest with myself as I reassessed my entire life.

Because I had not experienced everything I could not limit my options to just the known, to my own known. I had to reinvent my definition of an intimate relationship, extending the parameters into the uncomfortable and mysterious uncharted.

I knew that I didn’t want a relationship that would turn me into someone I didn’t like. No drama, no lying, and no negating nor dismissing of my part of the relationship. I needed someone who understood that I am not bionic or super anything, I am unable to read minds, or predict the future. I wanted someone who could handle my eccentricities and be comfortable saying “Oh, that’s just Annie.” I definitely didn’t need another me. Egads!

Happiness, whatever it looked like, was the key factor, and had to be personally defined. I needed someone who could support me while I sought my own happiness, as I would them. I couldn’t make someone happy, I couldn’t just will away their pain, suffering or sadness. Being happy had to be a shared goal that we were both proactively working towards and achieving, together.

I worked hard on understanding happiness, finding out what it was for me. Focusing on the small daily occurrences, around me and the world, helped me understand who I was and what I could become. The take away from this was that I could then understand how to support another person. I became enlightened on what healthy support looked like, the do’s and don’ts, the limits and the boundaries. This too had to be a shared goal.

All of my work was done so that I could start to heal from a back injury and to alter my path going forward. I wanted to live a life of purpose, understanding our complex world, the individuals and my role within it. I wanted to give as I had received, from family, friends and strangers alike. I wanted self realization and a deeper level of cognition. When I knew myself better I could understand others better and vise versa.

I uncovered the “me” I wanted to share and the “me” that needed to heal. I discovered where I fit, and where I would feel comfortable existing. I also met the one that had been on a similar journey. Even though my journey was long, it was merely a turning of a page in the book of my life. With the next chapter came the introduction of Shari. It never occurred to me that I could meet someone who had also traveled the path of looking inside, mending those parts of ourselves that we wished we had never witnessed.

As William Hazlitt once wrote, “Reflections makes men cowards.” But those brave enough to tempt the journey, it also heals.

E.T. Aka Annie