On the night my nephew was born, I had tickets to the theatre. I had been looking forward to the performance for months, and I asked a guy I had recently started dating, to go with me.
My brother and sister-in-law had to get a babysitter for my 3-year old niece because they were at the hospital awaiting the birth of my nephew. I had been staying at their house for almost a week, anticipating his arrival. As luck would have it, on the only night I had plans, he would arrive! I told the babysitter I would be home as soon as the performance was over.
I had only just started dating the guy, and there was a strong physical attraction. He had brown hair and green eyes and he looked like a movie star. I had been single for so long that it felt good to desire someone again. And it felt good to be desired. I liked the way he smelled and I liked the way he looked and I liked the way he pressed his hand into my lower back when we kissed.
After the performance, he dropped me off at my brother’s place. Before I got out of the car, we shared a few nice words and we kissed goodnight. I headed inside and relieved the babysitter. My brother would be home soon to get some sleep. I was looking forward to meeting the newest member of the family in the morning.
The next day, I headed over to the hospital with my brother and niece to meet my new nephew. As I held him in my arms for the first time, tears streamed down my face. “Welcome to the world” I whispered into his ear. I was overcome with emotion. So much love was pouring out of and into my heart at the same time. It was an incredibly powerful moment.
We spent some time at the hospital, grabbed some lunch, and let my sister-in-law get a bit of rest while we took turns holding this precious new bundle. My niece was so cute with him. She was 3 and now the big sister. She was so proud.
Later that day, my brother, my niece and I left my sister-in-law and new nephew at the hospital and headed back to the house. We prepared dinner and I bathed my niece. We ate and talked about the magic of birth and her being a new big sister, and we tucked her into bed.
I was planning on staying there that night, but something didn’t feel right.
Something was telling me to leave.
I tried to brush off the feeling. My brother and I sat down in the living room and he turned on the TV.
I sent my guy a text asking what he was doing that night.
He responded immediately.
He told me he was at his sister’s place and they were having dinner together. While I thought it was nice that he valued time with family, something didn’t feel right.
I couldn’t shake it.
I couldn’t shake this uneasy feeling that this guy was lying to me.
I stood up and told my brother I was going to head home. He wondered why, as I had planned on staying another night or two as the family got settled. I apologized but said I just felt I needed to go. My brother was visibly disappointed, but knew my mind was made up. I didn’t have a car and he couldn’t drive me home with my niece sleeping upstairs.
It was a nice night and I told my brother I wanted to walk. I didn’t live very far.
I packed up my stuff and headed out. The guy texted me as I was walking out the door congratulating me again on my new nephew. I asked how things were going at his sister’s.
“Great. We are having a really good talk”.
I didn’t tell him I was leaving my brother’s. He had no idea I was on foot. As I walked, he kept texting me saying he was having a really good conversation with his sister even though things “sometimes got heated”, so he felt it was really good that he was there talking with her.
I kept walking.
I was keeping a really good pace, and within about twenty minutes of leaving my brother’s place, I neared a restaurant that my guy’s buddy owned. As I got closer, I saw a group of men standing around in front of it, talking and laughing. As I got closer, I could see that my guy was one of them in the group.
I stopped dead in my tracks.
I ducked into a store doorway and kept looking over to make sure it was indeed him.
I didn’t know what to do next.
I was frozen.
I literally froze.
By the time my brain made sense of what was happening, they were starting to make their way to their cars, and so I texted him to ask if he was still at his sister’s.
I saw him pull out his phone…I SAW HIM PULL OUT HIS PHONE…and respond to me.
“Yeah, I’ll be here for a while. We have a lot to discuss”.
I watched them all get in their cars and drive away, towards downtown, and I walked as fast as I could towards home. As soon as I walked in the door, I paced. Then, I lit some candles in my room and I took a few minutes to sit still. I closed my eyes and I calmed my breathing. I picture myself surrounded in light. I slowed my breathing even more, rhythmically inhaling and exhaling until it became a natural looping of in and out breaths. I opened my eyes, got up and went to wash my face.
I put on my cozy pyjamas.
I crawled into bed.
And then, I picked up my phone and I dialed.
Me: “Hey, so are you still at your sister’s?”
Me: “What did you have for dinner?”
Him: “Steak” (he told me he hated steak)
Me: “That’s weird…I thought you hated steak”.
Him: “Yeah….well…that’s what she made.”
Me: “What did you eat with the steak?”
Me: “That sounds delicious. Ok, I want you to hear what I have to say. Pay attention because I am only going to say it once. I want you to lose my number. Seriously. I want you to never call me again. I don’t think you’re a bad guy, this just isn’t going to work out. I wish you all the best. Goodbye.”
And I hung up.
I lay in my bed with my heart pounding out of my chest and I felt about a million emotions wash over me. But what I felt the strongest was the feeling of self respect. And coming from a woman who found all sorts of ways to lose respect for myself over the years, this was big.
As shitty as it felt to be lied to, I felt so incredibly proud of myself for listening to my intuition and walking home, even though that was not the plan.
Even though it was harder to get up and walk home than to sit on the couch and watch TV.
I felt like I’d won some kind of self-trust lottery. Like I could actually trust myself if I just decided to listen to that small, still voice inside of me. And on that night, lying in my warm bed in my cozy pyjamas, I vowed to never ignore that voice again.
I heard the whisper, I listened, and I acted on what I heard. So many times in my life I had heard the whisper and ignored it.
Not this time.
I spent so much of my life not trusting myself or others that I now only choose to share my life with people who are trustworthy, honest and reliable. I don’t want to live wondering if I am being lied to or if the other shoe will drop.
Trust is the most important quality for me in a relationship.
Especially the relationship I am having with myself.
I aim to continue to act in ways that build trust within myself and within my relationships. In a sober group I am a part of, someone recently asked, “What is the best part of being sober?” I responded, “Having integrity. I say what I mean and I mean what I say.”
I need the same in my relationships.
My people have integrity.
That night changed me forever. Whenever something doesn’t feel quite right, I know it probably isn’t and I hear Maya Angelou’s beautiful voice in my head saying, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them…the first time.” I also hear Oprah saying, “You don’t listen to the whisper? You get the brick on the head…you don’t feel the brick on the head? The whole wall comes crashing down…”
I want to stop learning lessons the hard way.
Listening to that small, still voice is how I do it.
It’s not always easy and I still make mistakes.
But I am getting better at it.
And I am grateful for the lessons.
Because I want to trust myself.
Because I want to respect myself.
Because I want to love myself.
Because I want to love my life one bite at a time.
P.S. Please let me know in the comments if this post served you.
P.P.S. On April 22 & 23, my team and I are running The Healthy Brain and Body Show at the EY Centre in Ottawa! If you live in the area, it is going to be an amazing opportunity for us to learn from, be inspired by, and purchase amazing products from experts in the health and wellness industry. We have hand-selected many of the exhibitors we want at our show, but if YOU are in the wellness space and you want to be a part of this exciting event, we want to hear from you! Feel free to head over to the website, HealthyBrainAndBodyShow.com and download the Exhibitor Package or email me at Sarah@SarahTalksFood.com. I will happily answer all of your questions!