Reclaiming My HEA is a monthly feature where I share my ongoing process as I go through my separation and divorce.
Last month, I told you all about an exercise that my therapist set me: picking a celebrity and writing my own happily ever after. The idea is to break myself out of a pattern of not looking for affection and of not trusting other people. Before I can find happiness, I need to believe it's possible. We can't create what we can't imagine and while I can imagine love and happiness for superheroes, robots, and magical creatures, I find it hard to imagine it for myself.
My first step was to choose my celebrity. I was toying with Brendan Fraser, Brandon Routh or Keanu Reeves, and I was having a hard time choosing. Luckily, my subconscious had everything in hand. I had a dream where I was playing a table top RPG with my friends from high school (yes, I am a complete nerd even in my dreams), but there was an addition to our usual group: Brandon Routh. In the dream, this was a completely unremarkable fact and we were all having a good time laughing and playing our characters. When the game was done, Brandon and I were tidying up and, as a joke, he asked me to dance.
We started swaying back and forth to a Taylor Swift song. It was a really nice feeling, being held and guided to the music. I seized a moment of bravery and asked him to go out with me.
Unfortunately, his reply was to apologize and say that he wasn't interested in being more than friends. (This illustrates why this exercise is necessary. What happens in dreams reflects a person's deepest held beliefs and expectations.) I woke up shortly thereafter, feeling both disappointed and strangely encouraged. I decided to go ahead with Brandon for my exercise.
I started with something small:
"Ready?" His tenor voice made me smile, even from the other room. Brandon appeared from the kitchen with a big bowl of popcorn.
"You're sure you're okay with just watching TV tonight?" I asked. It was still hard to believe that someone I'd seen on the television would be joining me to watch The Princess Bride.
"Absolutely." His smile was infectious. "I love this movie."
He settled onto the couch, patting the seat beside him. I maneuvered around the popcorn bowl and joined him, unsure what to do with my hands. Should I sit with legs crossed or uncrossed? Would he expect me to lean into him or would that annoy him?
"Relax," he whispered, his lips brushing against my ear. "There's no wrong answer. I just want to spend time with you."
His arm stole across my shoulders, drawing me into his side. My head leaned to the side to rest against his shoulder. For the first time in a long time, I felt safe. His warmth seeped through the thin layers of fabric separating us, a tangible reminder that neither of us was alone anymore.
So there you have it, my first foray into imagining a happily ever after for myself. Not for a kickass heroine with superpowers or an intergalatic starship engineer or for any of the other characters who live in my head. Just for me.