Ican be so quick to dismiss myself and my strengths.

Adaptation has been on my mind a lot-not so much the word itself, but what it means to me.  My immediate thought when it comes to adaptation, is that it has never been something I have been very good at.  I resist change with every ounce of my being.  The unknown and the unfamiliar make me SO uncomfortable, and even though I am constantly reminded about how much change surrounds me and how beneficial it can be, I still withdraw from it.

This past Sunday was a pivotal day for me.  As I shared with Ian before his departure, I was viewing Sunday as a chance for a new beginning, of sorts.  While I am hesitant to limit Ian and his significance to me down to a metaphor, I am going to use one here, for the purposes of this particular post.  Ian has been my training wheels for a while now.

At the start of our relationship, as I so often do, I kept him at a distance, and didn’t allow for him to fully support me.  This resistance of complete vulnerability stemmed in part from my stubbornly independent streak, and in part from my inability to ask others for help when I need it.  It’s not so much an inability though as it is a fear of bothering others.  A fear of being rejected in a time when I am vulnerable.

As our relationship continued, however, there came a point when I began completely relying-heavily-on Ian.  I’ve had issues with co-dependency in the past, and when I look back on the time we spent together as a couple, I know a good part of it saw me being co-dependent on him.

When the dynamic of our relationship shifted in March, I could no longer be as dependent on him, but I still relied on him and turned to him for advice and ideas.  In looking back at the last 8 months, Ian very much became my Yoda.  Which was amazing.

While Ian’s sage wisdom that he shared with me was not necessarily limited to the last 8 months, it was during those 8 months where I became more open to hearing it.  I remember within the first few weeks of our relationship, back in January of 2016, I thought of Ian as being a bit out there.  Now, nearly 2 years later, a lot of his philosophies and knowledge click with me and I have learned a great deal from him.  He challenges me to think differently.  He inspires me.

Over these last 8 months, I have been absorbing a great deal of content from Ian.  Thoughts and ideas; philosophies … different perspectives.  It’s been an amazing 8 months, and certainly wasn’t at all what I would have put my money on happening after what happened on March 6th.

Ian has very much been helping me to navigate this period of growth and healing, and I am beyond grateful for it.

There comes a time though I think, in everyone’s respective journey where the training wheels need to come off, so that one can test and try out all of the things one has learned.

That is how I am viewing this time now, post November 26th.  While our friendship is still very strong, and one I am incredibly thankful for, I am using this space to try things out on my own.  I am still recognizing and tapping into support when I need it, but I’m also trying to direct and ride the bike using the two main wheels it came with, and not the supplementary and helpful training wheels.

When I think back on various experiences I have had now, more so over the last 20 years or so, I see that while I may be slow to adaptation, I do engage with it on a regular basis.  I also see that there have been some pretty significant life changes that I have managed to adapt to, eventually.

In 2004, I left Canada and moved to NZ on my own.  In 2005, after a year and a half in NZ, I went on to Grassy Narrows.  I seem to get these opportunities for big experiences of adaptation.  I know that it doesn’t always have to involve me moving thousands of kilometres between one place and another, but knowing that I have been able to adapt in greater circumstances, reinforces for me the idea that I can adapt in any situation, big or small.  It may take some time, and I may struggle with it, but eventually I adapt.

I grow.

With Love,

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Olivia Shaw

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