I can confidently tell you that it is incredibly difficult to partake in a long distance relationship that begins as a long distance relationship. The entire relationship consists of texting and FaceTiming and fantasizing about what things will be like when you are finally together and then worrying that maybe the reality wont be as wonderful as the relationship you created in your head because that one is the most perfect magical relationship to ever have existed.
But here I was, getting to know someone through typed words. Consumed in lust, lost in fantasy, trapped in the future version of us. Anticipating his name on my cellphone. I asked the days to fast forward until the hours we were both home, alone in our own beds but together in this private world we created from different houses in different states, staying up late into the night sharing affection. My conversations with him soon became my favorite part of my day. Our faces on a screen was as close as we could get to touching. I never knew what it was like to crave another person until I met him. My heart filled with a need for him and then some; desire leaking through my skin making it hot, aggressively pulsing through plum veins, spreading to my mind until I was drowning in the idea of him. I wanted to know all of him, from the way his skin feels on my fingertips, to the stories of his past, to the thoughts in his head. He was a piece of excitement in the monotony of my life.
He was not one in the string of guys I have dated, he was separate, unique, words pouring from his mouth that I had never heard before. I found myself feeling wanted, truly wanted by another person. He made me feel special and desired and something worth holding onto. A girl who never felt she was good enough to be loved, was being told that she is. I was immersed, a trace of him in every thought. Life existed past us, but I was too distracted to care. I found myself falling in love with this person, as illogical as that was. Words and ideas and thoughts are just one part of a person, and the only part of him I was able to explore. So much is communicated through touch and through parted lips and knotted tongues. We had only spent a few hours in each others company. There are so many parts of him I don't know. But the thing about feelings is they don't always make sense, and I think that's okay. Sometimes our thoughts can just get in the way of falling into the unknown. He was something I just felt, a warming comfort in my heart. Before this boy came along, I had thought I'd been in love before. But this felt like all those times combined into one feeling, topped with a unicorn, wrapped up in a sunset, decorated with all of the most beautiful flowers in the world, glistening with sparkles, and heated with the burning warmth of Jack Daniels. Maybe there are different types of love. This kind was my favorite. I didn't know if it was the real him I loved or the fantasy version I created in my head. This was all new to me, normally I am the girl who surrenders her body to a boy right away in exchange for a bit of affection, now the affection was given to me freely.
With all my limited experience of loving the opposite sex, I would say that in order to love another person - to take down all of the walls that surround your heart and leave it open and vulnerable - you have to be able to trust them. I am split in two; the complete dichotomy of feeling love for this person but unable to trust him. All of his words seeped into me, melting my soul and warming my heart and I believed that he felt everything he said, but I didn't trust the meaning of those words at all. I wanted to. I wanted to bury them in the pockets of my heart and trust in the weight they carried, but I couldn't. I have a pattern of dating boys who say the things to me I want to hear and I'll believe them, and I let myself get excited and hopeful for our future, only to be left disappointed and hurt by a relationship that never becomes more then uncommitted casualness. All these boys who say they like me (some even use the word love), but can't be in a relationship with me. And so I've stopped believing in kind words from boys because they never seem to mean anything to them. Words are just words unless behavior follows it. This monotonous repetition of interchangeable boys stitched in my mind the idea that I'm not good enough to create space for in someone's life despite all the other dreams they're chasing. I'm not a piece of their dream, while the idea of them is always a piece of mine. I slip through fingers and out of hearts for I'm not the girl the boys hold onto, I'm just someone to pass the time with. And a lot of that time is spent naked. As much as I wanted to believe his affections, there was a space between him and my heart that contained years of rejection and empty words which existed like a barrier and blocked me from trusting him. Here was my heart wanting to be loved, surrounded by a wall, traced with a moat and protected by a dragon. All these painful relationship related feelings buried deep inside my subconscious and I didn't know how to get them out. They had become a part of me. They kept me from getting excited about being loved because I knew the more I got excited the greater my inevitable hurt and disappointment would be. I wanted to see myself in all the kind words he said to me, but there was still a part of me that didn't believe that I am good enough to be looked at that way. With the idea of not being good enough to love so ingrained in my mind, if a boy actually wants to, well there must be something wrong with him. And so I created his truth for him. I heard his words and then translated them into meanings that I could believe. You can interpret a text in a million different ways and when a relationship exists mainly through words on a screen it is hard not to insert your own inflections and meanings. I waited for us to fade into something that once existed.
Here is this wonderful boy, with his arm outstretched and his heart resting in the palm of his hand, asking me to take it. I want it, but fear is whispering in my ear. Tentatively I pick it up with two fingers, leaving it dangling, my arm stretched out as far as it can go. Here I am, afraid of being loved and afraid of loving someone else. I liked him so much and that scared me. In a way he had consumed me and I was never looking for him to begin with. I am still so new to loving myself and I didn't want his love to overtake my own. I am an addict and a glutton and I search for things that will make me feel good, and once I find something I try and consume as much of it as I possibly can. I'll wring it dry of it's pleasure and fill myself to the brim. This becomes very complicated in relationships as I struggled to find the balance between letting a boy make my world fuller and letting a boy become my world. I invited him to be a part of my life not the whole thing and he was beginning to seep into all the parts. I was afraid that I was beginning to need him. As if I saw him draped in armor here to save me from my loneliness. I was slipping back into my old ways I had worked so hard to leave behind. The strength in me was depleting and I wanted it back.
With the different tentacles of fear all tangled around my insides, I began to push him away. Because I want him, I would never willingly leave, but my subconscious has a mind of its own and it finds self-sabotage a delicious way of life. I became passive aggressive, pulling away with silence and cold responses. I wanted to be kind to him, I really did, but something inside me wouldn't let me. I was so certain that he would eventually decide he didn't want me and I could never give him that kind of control. And so, I took all the control over the relationship I could get and I started to crack it into a crumbling pile of something that once was beautiful and pure. It turns out I can be a real asshole, and here I was thinking I'm a nice girl. It all comes down to the fear of being hurt. I let fear control my behavior and I chose protecting my heart from the possibility of getting hurt over the magic and excitement of falling in love with this boy. I came up with a list of all the reasons I may not like him in person and all the reasons why we may not work and tried to convince myself that these things were real and not just my imagination. I trusted in the repetition of my history with men instead of this new and unrelated experience. If I pull away from our relationship, then it will hurt less when it ends, because of course it will end. If i destroy it then at least I will understand why he leaves when he does.
I know what it looks like if I leave. I've left almost every relationship I've ever been apart of. Trying to protect myself from my predicted hurt as early as I can. Leaving them before they can leave me. Pushing away boys who care about me because I feel unworthy of their love. I've lived out that experience time and time again. Interchangeable boys in the same situation. The pages of that book are worn and frankly the story is quite boring and filled with a sad girl that is consumed with self-pity and fear. Spoiler alert; she ends up alone and sad, feeling validated in her assumption that she isn't good enough to be loved. Then she eats a double cheeseburger and large cheese fries from the burger shack across the street, scarfs down three donuts, cuts herself, cries and stays in bed watching TV for days at a time. The idea of reliving that again is everything except appealing, but that is what will happen if I leave. The thing is, I don't know what it looks like if I stay. If I fully lean my heart into another person and fall off the love cliff. Yes I might get hurt, but I'd be hurt if I left, the only difference is I would be controlling my pain. I've been hurt before and you know what, I'm always okay. I get bruised but never broken, and soon enough the bruises heal. And not to pull the dead brother card, but once your heart has been that severely broken, everything else merely feels like scratches. I don't want to act out of fear anymore, I'm tired of doing that. It does nothing but hold me back from experiencing all of the beautiful things this world has to offer. And let's be honest, I really freaking suck at relationships, so if my impulse is to leave it's probably smartest for me to do the opposite of that. As scared and as tentative as I was, I decided to lean into my fears and give him my heart. I made the conscious effort to trust in him. It wasn't easy, I have major trust issues when it comes to men, but I didn't want to act out of my unhealthy behavior anymore. And so I let myself love him. I let myself get excited about him. And for a moment I felt the excitement of being in love, of knowing there's a person out there who loves you back and of feeling safe in all of that.
But things soon began to change with this boy, as they always seem to do. I don't know if it was my coldness that sparked his own, or if he got scared for all his own reasons, but soon our communication dissolved into a few short texts a day. His flirtatious and loving words vanished. Suddenly he didn't have time for me. It felt like I had slipped into the background of his life. My heart hurt from his rejection, but I continued to lean into something I wasn't sure was there anymore. I was confused and sad and swarming with self-pity over the sudden change in the dynamic of our relationship. I didn't understand it, but it was a world I was used to, I just never expected it from him. I created my own ideas of what was going on. He must be over me, that of course was it. Despite him telling me nothing had changed inside him, his behavior told a different story. I began to feel like I was bothering him every time I would text him. I reduced myself to a little girl pleading for attention. I tried not to leave, I really did, but there is only so much of myself I can put out there without it being reciprocated. And so in the end I left. I broke up with him without telling him, I just pulled so far away that he couldn't see me anymore. This was my very passive aggressive way of standing up for myself. All of me thought we were special and so leaving was just as hard for me as staying.
As it turn out, the inner monologue I wrote for him wasn't true. In reality I had consumed him as much as he had consumed me and it scared him in the same way it scared me. We were two people pulling away from each other over the same fear. Life exists past our relationship and I had forgotten that. I think in a way I was looking for him to save me from this life I don't want. But he is just a person and he's incapable of that and I should never have asked him to. There is so much in this life that I want for myself, more then just a wonderful boy, and only I am able to create my dreams. He is just a spark of my happiness, but I let him be the whole fire. It's okay for me to care for him, I finally give myself permission, but I need to care for myself just as much. I got lost in something beautiful for a moment and with that I lost part of myself. I was so concerned with controlling our relationship and determining what he and I were doing and what we would become that I forgot trust existed. Life is so much easier when you can just let go and trust that the universe is taking care of you. That things will work out as they are supposed to if you just get out of your own way. Fear is not going to be the thing that ruins us, I wont let it. I don't know what the future has planned for us, and it's not my place to know right now, but I'm letting myself exist in that unknown place. It's hard for me to let go, I'm way too controlling for that, but I choose to trust his affection for me and trust that the universe is taking care of me. Whether things work out between us or they don't, I'm certain in the end I'll be okay. Things tend to work out as they're supposed to, we're just too close to see the entire mural because we're only looking at one piece. So here is to the boy I want to love and here is to all the unknown pieces of us. Thank you fear for trying to protect me, but I really don't need your help anymore.