Walking Up The Back Stairs

There I am, walking up the back stairs again.  Infront of me there’s a tall dark and handsome man. We’ve chatted enough in the café, and it’s closed for the night now, so we’re going home together.

He opens the door to an apartment on the third floor. The main feature of the room is the bed.  He puts some music on, lights incense. Welcome again to some stranger’s apartment. Heading into an experience of I’m not sure what. I kind of laugh at myself, “here we go again” I think. Another random, another night. Part of me wonders why I do this to myself. The rest of me just really wants the passion, love and affection that comes from the opposite sex. The thrill of the seduction, the invitation, the yes, and the amazing adventure that happens in the bedroom between two willing adults looking for connection, pleasure and fun.

I’ve done my inner work, I no longer feel shame about my choices, I communicate well, I set healthy boundaries that make me feel good about these moments in time, but it’s still a strange spot to be in. Walking up the stairs again.

This time is different than the last few. We sit in the hammock together and talk about what it’s like to live in Bali, and other parts of the world.

He’s made zero advances, and I’m not interested in flirting or seduction. I don’t need to make this anything other than what it is.

I’m more centered in myself and my own goodness than I was last time. I have no need to push it to be something further like I have in the past.

What I do want is cuddles, so I invite him to come and sit with me in the hammock. We talk more, and then I ask if I can snuggle into his chest. The sound of his heartbeat and the arm around me make me feel warm and loved. Loved by a stranger. Again. I wonder why I can’t have a man in my life who loves me a ton and is the same man night after night. Why must it be strangers? And also I’m grateful for the love extended to me. For the connection.

I’ve talked to my girlfriends about it, and they don’t understand how I can love like this. How I can show up over and over again with my heart open to people who just aren’t that interested in being with me. The only answer I can find is that over the years of abuse, and co-dependence, I learned how to open my heart deeply in the face of pain. I wanted to love so badly that I loved someone who treated me badly. None of these strangers treat me as badly as what I used to allow in my life. Although they may only be there for a night or two, they give me their presence while I’m there, they offer me pleasure, they enjoy my body and my touch. I’ve already healed the worst broken heart I could imagine, nothing could be worse than that experience, so I’m not scared of falling love, and having it not returned.

There’s this part of me that just lives open.
I am my own well of deep love.

So I’m open to love people deeply, regardless of their commitment. My favorite place in the world is the feeling of my heart open, in the presence of another. By the end of a night with someone I feel I’ve fallen in love with them. Maybe not to the depth that a long term love allows, but enough that I want to see them again, to be with them, and their faces look different in the morning than they did the night before. I can feel the oxytocin changing my perception of them. I can feel the power of love that is created by making love.

So it confuses me that in the morning when I invite further connection, they just shrug their shoulders and say “see you around, maybe”. Why not explore more? I used to question my worthiness in this moment, or was I not good enough in bed, or maybe there’s something fundamentally wrong with me as a human being. Maybe I’m incapable of letting love in. But the truth of it is, none of them promised me anything more than an evening together. Nor did I really ask for anything more before showing up in their beds.

It’s true too that I feel clunky as a woman who very soon is going back to Canada to go get her son. A mom. Who wants to love someone with a whole 5 year old child of baggage? Especially when there’s a whole town full of beautiful younger and hotter yogini’s they can take home any night of the week. Sometimes I avoid mentioning my son. Sometimes I bring it up early, just to see how they respond.

It never stops me from being a woman in bed while I’m there with them.

There is also definitely part of me that is milking it, and making the most of this experience of being a single 29 year old while I can. I know the days of late nights at the café, wandering home at 1:00am, or staying the night on a whim are numbered. I doubt I’ll be winning as much as I am in this game of seduction with a 5 year old in tow.

For the most part, the men I’m attracting these days are hot 26-34 year olds (Sweet!), with no interest in being committed to someone (ohhh poop). They are busy in their lives with businesses, plans, goals and their whole future ahead of them. They aren’t really looking for relationship, or maybe just not relationship with me. But it’s still beautiful to share just a moment of connection in the midst of it all. I’m happy to have their affection for the night, and I know in my heart that someone who will cherish me is coming. I remember the time not so long ago that I didn’t even feel worthy to be in conversation with someone who was as beautiful as the men I’m bedding these days. So I’m proud of myself for that growth, and for the ability to love, and be unattached to the outcome. I am love and I’m happy to share.

It’s a strange and beautiful place, to be a lover of love, walking up the back stairs, in this town of Ubud.

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Elena Harder. Courage Catalyst, LifeStyle Artist and Joy Hacker. Elena created JoyGasm to heal her experience of postpartum depression, self sabotage, overworking, people pleasing, and an abusive alcoholic relationship. Since then she’s helped hundreds of others meet their JoyGasmic Self to heal broken hearts, remove negative self talk, eliminate stress, fear and depression, and bring immense joy into daily life. Her current personal records for longest standing greeting hug is 22 minutes, longest continuous solo laugh 26 minutes, and longest collaborative laugh at 1 hour 45 minutes!