Heart Song

My heart sang the day I realized that I am truly in love with my wife and she is in love with me, that our love has a tangible stability and density to it that I can trust. This happened two months ago, even though we’ve been married for almost eight years now.

Bear with me, I’m adopted.

My therapist and I recently experienced a crisis that touched us both. This was not a crisis between us per se but involved someone we both knew and caused each of us distress. I got scared, as I tend to do. After a particularly challenging session with her, my hypersensitive alarm system went into overdrive and I was flooded with feelings, thoughts, and strategies of fight or flight. That evening, I went for a walk through the quiet suburban neighborhood where my wife and I were staying, beneath a glorious canopy of trees, but I could find no rest.

I returned to our Airbnb and sat. Just sat. I felt all the sensations churning in my body, and watched my thoughts as they gradually began to settle down. Then, to my surprise, I noticed something else. I knew, not as a thought or idea but as a real felt sense in my heart, that my therapist and I are okay, that we have a real ground of mutual trust, respect, care, and appreciation between us, and that this ground remains solidly intact regardless of the distress I feel. More than a glimpse, this felt like a breakthrough to a new level of insight.

Then I got up and went about my business and my alarm and alarmed thinking quickly returned, but no matter: I could not un-learn what I had just discovered—my heart has a mind of its own, if you will, and knows when I am securely attached. Over the course of the weekend I toggled between these two states, between alarm and distress and this quiet assurance of the heart, slowly learning to trust this newfound organ of knowledge.

And that’s not all. Simultaneously, I recognized a similar, albeit deeper heart-knowing with my wife. I am secure with her. We are secure together. And she has been so clear and constant in her love for me that I almost cried with joy when I saw it. How did I miss this, or at least miss the strength and solidity of her love? Like scales falling from my eyes, I perceived her in a new, less protected light, with tremendous gratitude and a feeling of resonance—we fit, we blend, we shape one another to become more of who we are.

I’ve harbored a fear all my life that, if people knew the real me, knew how I suffered, what I endured as a child and how much I struggle as an adult, they would leave. I’m too much. And I believed, projecting my own fear and shame, that I was too much for my wife, and so held parts of me back from her. Now I know. My alarm system can blare, insecurity seize me, but I know in my heart that there are no such barriers to her love, to our love.

I’ve harbored a feeling of groundlessness all my life, that I am helplessly, hopelessly untethered from the earth, from other people. Now I know. Fear can pitch me to the point of vertigo but I know in my heart that I am connected, seen, mirrored, valued.

My heart sings of its own knowledge, of love, longing, grief, and power, as I awaken to its song and find my place and my voice in this world.

This post also appears in the June 2022 issue of the Adoptee Voices e-zine, "Body"

2 thoughts on “Heart Song

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s