It was only a kiss …

Well, it was nearly a kiss, and that was the issue.

I’ll set the scene.

It was a Friday evening and Gareth, my partner, had set us both up for a turbo session on our road bikes. For the uninitiated, as I was 18 months ago, that means a road bike with its front wheel parked into a wheel block / holder and the back wheel removed so that the bike can be connected to the ‘turbo trainer’ for an indoor cycling experience on those days when it’s too cold and dark to enjoy the great outdoors.  Gareth and I are signed up to the virtual cycling app Zwift, an interactive training app that gives us the motivation and structure we need in the colder months. With Zwift, we can choose whether we cycle though a virtual world with other cyclists (and runners) worldwide, or challenge ourselves to intervals, hill climbs, or races.

Now, quick disclaimer here, I still don’t really know what I am doing, but it is great fun!

Last winter, we burned many calories this way, all by cycling indoors, usually with music blaring out from the Spotify account (how did the world get to Spotify from vinyl – where did those years go?!?)

Despite the cold outside, we always keep the windows open for a turbo session, and switch on the electric fan too, as the sweat really does build up as you traverse digital versions of well-known cycle routes or virtual reality landscapes.

And this was the case just recently as we were about to get onto our bikes again for the first time this winter. We were both wearing our cycling Lycra and I went to lightly kiss Gareth on his left arm, which was bare (remember the sweat we were about to build up / you don’t wear woollies when you’re about to spend an hour or so cycling!)

He flinched!!

He actually flinched – and moved his arm away from me.

I was shocked!

It triggered an age-old memory of rejection.

I was hurt.

This really hurt my feelings.  This wasn’t Gareth.  This wasn’t reflective of how we are with each other, but it triggered memories from the past.

Gareth apologised.  It turned out that he thought he’d felt a spider … who knew my lips were so light!

However, the memory had flown back to the surface from where it had been buried for over 15 years, as that was how my ex-husband used to behave around me.

Now I am, and always have been, a touchy-feely person, who loves to give hugs, and to show affection in one way or another.  Sadly, it was rejected for many years.

Being rejected isn’t nice and yet, as creatures of behaviour, we learn to accept stuff to keep relationships ‘working’.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

At the time, I didn’t know that this wasn’t normal. I just accepted it as part of my life, and it continued for years.  That was, as I have already mentioned, over 15 years ago now, as I eventually ‘woke up’, filed for divorce and kick-started the life that I have today.

My life today, I am happy to report, is completely different to the life I once lived / put up with.

Over the last 15+ years, I have invested heavily in my own personal development through all nature of activities that have brought about a heightened level of self-awareness and understanding of who I am, and what makes me, as a person, tick.

I am now in a fabulously loving relationship, which is why the flinch affected me and triggered that long-buried memory.

It was all over in a flash, however, it really made me think and reflect, hence writing this post.

What can be learned from this reflection?

Being in a loving relationship is incredible – something to be valued.

A strong relationship is one whereby you each respect and accept each other for who you are and love each other unconditionally.

I’ve learned a lot from past relationships about what isn’t right; I’ve kissed a few frogs, including one with the nickname Picasso, to finally understand what makes a truly loving relationship.

We can all change our lives at any point – it’s about recognising that change needs to happen and taking action.

Personal development is empowering.

Actions can trigger memories of the past, but those memories aren’t reflective of the present moment.

Cycling indoors is great fun.

I’m not a spider!