The Women I Was Afraid to Meet

by Tesnica Bicknell

Breaking up is hard to do and when you have issues with attachment it can be one of the most painful experiences of your life.

By and by, he will connive, does he know he’s talking in his sleep – Toni Braxton

I must of played Toni Braxton’s Talking In His Sleep a thousand times – over and over back-to-back as hard and as loud as four walls could carry. I wasn’t married, wasn’t victim to adultery and I didn’t finally pick up on the life of a low down dirty cheat; instead my very long, turbulent and inflamed yo-yo relationship waved it’s final red flag and like bullets to the chest her lyrics hit me.

It was really over and inside me I felt like everything about me and my life was over. Listening to the track I’d cower into myself on my bed, on the sofa or with my head down on a train to let out silent tears.

The promises he made said we’d be together always… then he called out her name. (Help me, help me – it’s hurting…)

I cowered because more painfully to me than seeing lipstick on a collar or hearing him call Susan in the middle of the night, an excruciating thought etched on me: the demise of my relationship and the loss of love in my life wasn’t because of someone else but because I wasn’t, and never would, be someone else.

As a woman (and no doubt inclusively for millions of men) comparing yourself to the same sex can be brutal. And, when you’re making that comparison in conclusion to why someone doesn’t want to be with you any more, it can diligently and peacefully kill you then turn it’s back and leave your spirit to fly out the window.

Comparison kills and Comparison gave the ghost of my ex a seat to sit in while I rummaged through years of misty water-coloured memories. Taking whatever I could, I compared and I compared and I compared.

Relentlessly, I rummaged and relentlessly I ruminated on every shoulda-woulda-coulda I could evidence from the ashes of my biggest mess, until finally, I created and built his perfect woman in my head.

My brain turned on the projector and beaming across my mental I imagined her and wanted to be her: way more modest, more simple and naturally beautiful, more chill slash annoyingly cool, more spiritual, more vegan, more yogi, more passionate, more intelligent, more of a traveller, more of an animal lover, more soft, more sexy, more successful and mostly – mostly – to men of all kind, more untouchable.

I imagined her and in my mind I saw her take over the love and the relationship that I felt failed. Everything about this imaginary woman subjugated me and I felt my worthlessness, insignificance and fear of his abandonment sit in my throat. Was she real? Where did I have to go to avoid her? And why in my own right was I never enough?

In a sweet and cunning plan I thought by travelling for a year I would be running far far away from the woman I was afraid to meet, but  – and of course in perfect universal alliance – I was running right toward her.

I met her in Australia, Indonesia, Philippines and now I’m home I have met her almost everyday so far back in London. She is very real, with a million immense qualities and characteristics that during the break up I thought defied me.

Going to Australia was a curve ball that life was willing to throw me if I was willing to stay aware enough to see it and to catch it. Presented to me on the other side of the world, in every quality I imagined, I met the strongest female projections of simple natural beauty, chill slash annoyingly cool, highly spiritual, vegan, yogi, passionate, extremely intelligent, experienced traveller, extreme animal lover, soft, incredibly sexy and wildly successful.

It has been a mad – and no doubt eternal – process recognising that the gap between the woman I thought I was and the woman I thought I should be, was actually no gap at all.

My fantasy woman was and is very real; but not in one perfectly packaged human woman called Susan. Or Vanessa, or Brenda or Lychee or whatever that a man may call out for in the middle of his sleep.

I learned from my last relationship that I was probably no more not enough then simply not what he was looking for and those are too very different things. I can’t control what another person wants and I don’t want to. But yes, I can control whether I believe and recite to myself that because another person doesn’t want me I am not enough.

Talking In His Sleep was a unknowingly proverbial truth to two big lessons I learned after the time I served in a unhealthy relationship; sometimes people will unconsciously tell you or show you that they don’t want you. It can be for a whole host of circumstances and reasons out of your control. Let it go. It will hurt but no more then letting what another person wants or needs kill you.

Two; the women I was afraid to meet attracted to me like magnets to show to me that I had just the same capacity as them. I tried to run but they found me and I found them because the curve ball dictated that there was nothing to be afraid of; what is in these women is in me, just to different strengths at different times for different reasons.

These women have been incredibly powerful examples in my life of the immense beauty and nurturing that lies in the feminine energy. These women of the world I count as good friends, companions, confidants and having shrunk so deeply inside myself to the only unbroken corner of my heart, where I sat cross-legged and tried to put what I did have back together again, I’m thankful that they unknowingly joined me there. I love them and I’m very glad to meet them…

Just a few…

Jenni;  soft and  sincere sweetness, her love for love and peace, her appreciation for me being me, sometimes when we’d talk I’d feel like we were sitting on clouds.


Lia; she looked like everything I wanted to look like travelling; her Israeli accent melts me, fiercely independent and incredibly strong, Lia creates the roads less travelled.

Carly; some sort of real sixth sense, she feels things deeply. No one has taught me so much about gratitude and courtesy towards other humans. She taught me patience, she’s a constant encourager and her love lifted me to start this blog.

Nico; something happens to the room when Nico walks in. I feared Nico the most: she’s vegan, an environmentalist, probably the epitome of free and cool; she made me laugh into tears and when I cried real tears she sat next to me on the hostel floor.

Celine; if there is anyone I’ve met that could change the world it’s Celine. She captivates me and others when she talks; a movement and a force waiting to happen.

Jo; beauty and intelligence – Jo commands her space like no other and studying for a PhD in politics she is a successful inspiration. I think of Jo when I need to speak up the most.

Sophie; ‘Love is not loud‘. That is a phrase Sophie taught me while rolling me a cigarette, that is a phrase her mother taught her and I still carry it with me and tell it to others. The very beauty of Miss Sophie.

Sara; hardcore Aussie girl, she really pushed me to do the things I was afraid to do. Once she pushed me into a bush; raw, real and so full of love it hurts. She taught me to surf and we drove around those Aussie mountains and rainforests like no ones business. If it wasn’t for Sarah’s no bullshit talk I wouldn’t have left the first place I’d landed.

If you loved Tesnica’s writing as much as we did, you can find more on her blog here.

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