I am grateful to an ex-girlfriend for teaching me how to love in a new way. For a chance at practicing the art of non-possession. I never thought I could be friends with a former partner because of my messy feelings that result from attachment, but I realized I was being given an opportunity to witness her radiance again. It befuddled me a bit, but it was an eye-opening experience like, ‘Ah, this is what happiness looks like on her!’ Our friendship brought me on a deeper understanding of what non-possession looked like in love.
Non-possession in our friendship looked like watching her stumble into my door with her things- happy to just arrive, and taking off her boots. It became looking at her in wonder and joy as I listened to her talk about her frustrations as she sat on my sofa or at the kitchen table. It looked like a wonderful hug goodbye at the door before she walked out and waving goodbye again through the blinds as we both smiled.
I learned that non-possession is the Freedom to make choices that feel right for you without feeling controlled or judged by another person, and being able to discuss issues together while figuring out who you are.
Our friendship was only possible because I felt safe with her. She gave me reciprocity even in friendship and did not leave me hanging. And we could laugh at the stupidest things together. It was simple. There was mutuality, and I never had to wonder how she felt about me.
Non-possession is loving someone who I share a close connection with and letting them be happy in whatever way is best, while knowing I can be here on the other side for them. It is knowing you feel loved, heard and safe in that relationship without being in pain trying to maintain a friendship. You deserve freedom and peace as well.
I once had a best friend who meant the world to me, yet we navigated our emotions differently. We met in 2010 when I became friends with her then-girlfriend as we served at a restaurant. She sat at the bar in her air of toughness, but was immediately chill once she started talking to me. She held a strong, silent confidence that I did not carry. I was happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic and felt my emotions deeply, whereas she lived with a sense of detachment and deflected her feelings by using humor at my expense. Although we created over eight years of memories together, I could not sustain a friendship where I lacked emotional safety and a strong sense of self.
At 24-years-old, I met Reuven on a sunny afternoon on September 14, 2014. I had been attending church regularly by bus, and on that particular Sunday I felt anointed and free. After the service, I went shopping and was now wearing a backwards tie-dye hat on my reddish-brown dreadlocks when I walked onto his bus. Meeting Reuven changed my life. I felt like God understood what I was seeking: knowledge, intellectualism, happiness, fun and joy. While I did experience bliss with Reuven, I learned lessons I never thought I would need- to feel safe and loved in my life. I am thankful to now embody and share the wisdom I’ve gained with our daughter.
I cried a lot in elementary school when I was being made fun of in class. Being highly sensitive is one of my most profound memories of myself as a kid. I was also a voracious reader. At my sixth grade graduation, the school librarian presented me with a $100 savings bond for reading the most books in the school library. It was an incredible honor for me. Reading saved me from feeling lonely and unloved in my household because being ambitious was not encouraged. Although I learned strength and perseverance by watching my mom raise us, her inability to be emotionally and academically supportive has affected my ability to love and believe in myself as an adult.