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No one is excluded from love, including me

By Pavlina Gatikova

PROMPT — The way I see it ...

It’s foggy outside, yet it is not in my system, though. There is enormous clarity surrounding my connection to the man I will name Josh. Excessive level of certainty around the relationship to him that makes my adult awareness roll her eyes and yet my inner compassionate witness embraces the very young parts of me who were desperately looking for love and safety outside of myself.

What this man brought into my consciousness was my Father’s energy, as that has always felt familiar. Parts of me believed we healed this enough not to get caught in this type of energy again. However, that wasn’t the case yet. Unfortunately, at first I was blind to see that. Even though, at the onset of our brief relationship I had an intuition of betrayal, parts of me wouldn’t listen to it, because it didn’t fit with the vision of the future other parts created for Josh and me. That future was so much brighter and redemptive than any gut reaction of betrayal.

Josh activated the unhealed parts in me, namely the part that was molested by her Father at the age of five, which came out in one of the healing sessions during our relationship. It was a major breakthrough for me as I suspected for years that something had happened to my young body, but I was not able to get to the bottom of it. My body didn’t feel safe then to expose the truth. Josh’s energy and my level of safety within my system unleashed this beast upon me. The reality of my trauma could no longer stay hidden, it had to be brought to light, it had to be witnessed, acknowledged, and reckoned with.

Breathe in new realizations, breathe out blindness and shame associated with engaging with a man while being married in an attempt to soothe your pain from facing your husband’s declining health and potential death. Breathe out the angst of being left alone, of losing the loving relationship that has been sustaining you for more than a couple of decades and making your system feel safe, unlike the way it was in your native country of the Czech Republic. You left the place of un-safety in order to find freedom from your suffering. You left the abuser to create a new future, free from sexual trauma.

Breathe in the knowledge that Josh was most likely not taking advantage of you consciously. His very young parts were fighting the same battle as yours. They desperately wanted to connect with someone to free them from their deeply rooted pain and sense of unworthiness. They wanted to find a refuge and a deep connection with your system as you presented the parts of you Josh repeatedly brought up as something he was attracted to: your honesty, vulnerability, gentleness, kindness, and courage.

Inhale the quote by Thich Nhan Hanh “Because you’re alive, everything’s possible,” which includes abuse, manipulation, and being taken advantage of. The human experience includes everything and I am not exempt from any part of it. I am grateful for the clarity of this situation and determination to embrace myself even more closely. To give myself even more love. May more love flow towards me. May I be open to myself and unconditionally loving my flaws. They are actually the most love deserving parts of me. May I allow this love to pour over all of me. May I finally see that needing love is not a flaw, not a blemish, not an imperfection, but that it is a legitimate need I share with everyone in our human family. No one is excluded, including me.


Pavlina Gatikova lives in southeastern Massachusetts with her husband. She is originally from the Czech Republic where she completed her Masters Degree in English and French as Foreign Languages. Since 2007, she has taught in a public school setting. Her writing has been published in a few online poetry journals, such as The Ekphrastic Review, Rat's Ass Review, and Gallery and Studio Arts Journal. In her free time, she loves to take walks in nature and observe birds.


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