Oh, my heart is a brutal, tempestuous little bitch sometimes—trapped in the delicate, fragile teapot of my head.
I'm now three years into Muchness and Light—November 25th will be three years exactly—and this forum has been as cathartic for me as my therapist's office, though substantially cheaper. Sometimes I find myself covering old ground again, about love and those life lessons I have tackled so openly during this time. When I realize I'm circling back to something I thought I'd exhausted before, I realize there's a reason, something I didn't get right the first time.
There's always some catalyst—a new drama or relationship or end of a relationship—that sends my heart reeling and bouncing around the confines of my head. My dad would likely make the "bb in a box car" analogy. The cacophony between my ears sounds like a thousand simultaneous, murmured conversations with the bells and whistles of a pinball machine dinging above the din.
It's overwhelming to me sometimes. How could it not be too much for anyone else? How could it not exhaust someone else, to let them take a shot at the flippers?
It has become part of my established, public persona that I am a lot to handle. My online dating profile even warned men that I can be intimidating, that I'm "loud and voracious and a ball of batshit blond energy." I've received hundreds of messages, telling me how they appreciate my honesty and that they'd like a shot at channeling that energy. Five minutes later, when it's clear that they assume it means I just want great, casual sex, I'm generally done with that conversation.
It's not usually that much different in person.
When someone takes the time to get to know me, though, they do get to see my softer side. I'm really very sweet and incredibly affectionate, and I am fully capable of being quiet and still when the moment demands it.
As confident as I am in who I am, though, I'm also very insecure in how other people deal with me. I can get my feelings hurt far more easily (and often) than I'd like to admit. In fact, I often hide that from the person who has lashed me, knowing it's usually not an intentional assault against my fragile façade. I'm a lot of personality, which means my heart is a big, easy target. It's that much harder to miss when I've taken it off my sleeve and am just carrying it openly in my hands, like a shield made from an oversized box of Valentine's chocolates.
I'm not entirely fearless in my pursuit of love, no matter how brave I may be. I'm not afraid to let people get close; I'm afraid to let them stay close. I've been out with a lot of men in the last year. Less than half of them have gotten a second date. Of those that have, less than a quarter have gotten yet another shot. I tend to throw myself out there and then yank myself back from the brink. In all fairness, it has usually been because I could readily tell those men weren't for me, and I didn't want to waste my time on those fruitless endeavors.
When I meet someone I truly like, someone for whom I develop feelings, it's very hard for me not to assume that they will disappoint me. I have a definite pattern of finding emotionally unavailable men and trying my best to forge a relationship with them anyway. It goes back to my childhood (What doesn't? Ask my therapist.), and I can pinpoint the unavailability in each and every one of the men I've been attached to romantically. All retrospectively, of course.
In my moving-into-the-new-year post from the end of 2012, I wrote this:
I do not want unavailable men. Maybe that seems like a no-brainer, but I have this tendency to attract such beings into my life. Whether logistically or emotionally, I am magnetically attracted to the men who are least likely to be able to share their life or mine. Maybe it's something about their being inherently broken—a fragile cat. They're soft and pretty and purr when I pet them, but they can't give what I need or want in return. I don't want that anymore.
why the hell do I keep going back to that?
heart knows better in theory but not in practice. My head knows it's stupid to even glance at a
fragile cat. But I do it all the damn
time, as if one day, just maybe one
of them will break that pattern and not be quite like the rest.
Pocket chided me in her drawling, gentle way that I need to get it into my
pretty, thick head that I deserve to be happy with good things. I know
this logically. I am human. I'm a good person. I have done nothing so unredeemable that it
makes me undeserving of love.
in my heart, I don't know that I'm
worthy of the affection and attention of a man who truly loves me. Everything in my past has shown me the
opposite is true. The people who love me
most will disappoint me and hurt me more than I ever could imagine.
unfair of me to have those expectations of a new person, and it runs the risk
of becoming self-fulfilling prophecy. If
I am constantly waiting for them to
back away, perpetually on the edge of heartbreak, I am much more likely to
flinch and flee at the slightest provocation.
It also places an unfair strain on them, to be living under my
super-observant, watchful eye.
along the way, I have to learn to be here now, to let the present be not only
what matters most but what influences
most. I've let go of most of the hurt of
the past, but it's impossible for me to forget about it all. What I can't do is expect someone who has no
ties to that to live in trepidation that one of my ghosts will haunt them.
every time I think I've laid those ghosts to rest, when I am finally able to rest, the rattling of their dragging chains
clangs through the commotion in my head and sends me caroming toward the opposite
wall of the teapot, where my heart dings against the crackleware and the echoes
feel like a constant death knell.
a comfort in seeking out what you know, in finding respite in what's familiar. Maybe that's why I feel snug within the
confines of unavailability. I can rail
against the men who compartmentalize me, who put me in the proverbial box that
I purport to loathe, but I am all too willing to climb inside, crouching down
excitedly until I can burst through the top like a girl in a giant cake. I do love the anticipation, the waiting to
see how they will react when I am suddenly and dramatically exposed.
In reality, they almost always freak the fuck out when it happens, when I am fully and completely me. They make that face of surprise, with a glimmer of oh-my-god-it's-just-too-much before they wipe it blank and try to hide their apprehension. That is the pinpoint of unavailability.
I can't and won't change who I am to make them more comfortable. I've discussed this many, many times—it's dishonest to me and to them. I can adjust and hold back a little bit, trying not to inundate them with my muchness, but when my heart gets invested, the floodgates will part and set the deluge upon them.
That's when it becomes sink or swim for us both. I keep looking for the cat who can swim, who can disentangle me from the ghostly chains and bring me back to the surface, even when I know I'm the only one who can do it. But somewhere there just has to be someone who thinks I'm worth that battle, doesn't there? Doesn't everyone deserve a love that will fight for them, no matter what?
So I keep fighting like that for the men I love, even when I know they won't fight back. Maybe I'm hoping it's kind of like karma, that if I put enough out there that I will eventually have to get back what I've given. Like a cosmic love dowry--it takes a huge investment to get what you want.
Until in comes, I'll keep dancing and jumping around, waving my giant, red heart and offering my delicious confections to passers-by. Surely one of them will appreciate it, someday.