It’s safe to say that I’ve been in a few relationships. Additionally, I’ve dated and had my share of bad dates. I’ve probably been the bad date for some. Too timid or too argumentative in the instances I’m thinking of. But I’ve loved and been loved. Held and been held. I think I know those traits I’m not willing to tolerate and those that make me enthusiastic and all those in between. But it’s that feeling of connection that drives me forward.
I used to exam any connection I felt, measuring all the ways it could go wrong or could go right. I’d spin up scenarios and let them play out, always looking for the perfect way forward. I’d sit on the lip of the cliff, looking over the edge. Backing up, then going right to the edge until I either lost my nerve completely or threw a pebble with a note attached to await a response. It was safe. Got to safe guard the heart, I’d been hurt before and didn’t want to feel that again.
I tried and failed and tried and failed in this way for about 5 years. A few dates, a few false starts but nothing ever came of it. We had a bit of fun is the best I could say. Then I did some mental renovation.
I started by allowing myself the luxury of feeling. Of being a complete emotional being. With my emotions fully integrated with my thoughts, my logic. It wasn’t that I hadn’t been feeling things. Just that I had been hiding behind my walls all safe and cozy. I have a high degree of empathy, and being around others in mental distress can cause a nasty feedback loop. But I was hiding, because a wall is easy. Learning how to deal is hard. So I tore the wall down.
For the first time in years I felt everything. It was crippling for a while. But I refused to step back to my perceived safety. For all that the lows were bad, the highs were more and the general middle was better than the muted existence behind my walls. It took a couple of years to stabilize. But now it has.
There have been other changes, small tweaks here and there. The manipulation of belief structures and the questioning of long held ideas. A reexamination of every thought and idea to see if I still felt that way or if I was just operating by rote. This lead to some strides forward and ultimately to the person I am now. Moving forward, the most complete version of myself. Which is scary, but if it’s scary then that’s a reason to do it.
Now, I’m not afraid of the chasm, I’m afraid of not finding one. So now when I find someone I have connection to, be that emotional, mental or the rare purely physical connection, I jump. I jump off the cliff. I know it is dangerous, I know I’ll likely be hurt. But it isn’t a risk that I’ll feel bad or heartbroken, it’s an opportunity to feel happy, to love and be loved.
So I jump off cliffs, and I fall in love, and I allow my heart to be free.
Grab my hand?