search or settle

I cannot speak for others, my speech is feeling strange, but I am searching for something more. As a shock to many minds close to me, I am too often content to suffer. It is terrible, and it is great (introspection is an incurable disease). Infinite happiness is not my end goal during this life, full experience is. I crave darker, deeper things. Shadow confessions, tears of bliss, lust palpitations, the terror of raw intimacy. If you agree, I am yours.

I cannot speak for the other times I have looked for love. However, this time I did not search, it grew. This time does not simply refer to lust or romance, it is all encompassing. I am searching for something holistic. I require a basis of trust. I require consistent friendship, respect, and honesty in times of utter chaos. If you agree, I am yours.

I cannot speak to the far future, when simplicity may be what I require. Now, I am not looking for something simple. I refuse to be bored. You challenge me, infuriate me also. With you I feel elation, passion, and security. This is what I desire: stability without the absence of growth, and trust without the absence of challenge. If you agree, I am yours.

I cannot speak to what you feel now. I will not, for fear of the response, ask if you are already experiencing these things with another that I so adamantly desire with you. I refuse to ask questions whose answers will nearly certainly rip my sanity to shreds, although it is often difficult to stop my lips from forming the words.

But if you desire these things, if you desire them with me, if you have not found them yet, if you thirst for anything more, if you are not looking only for gentle or easy, if you are not content with dull but safe,

I am already yours.

days without sun

You say you like to hear what I feel, but maybe it is wrong to say what I feel. Especially while you continue the life you have delicately built elsewhere, while your hands and heart are so very busy elsewhere.

You were patient with me, but I do not have so much patience. Maybe from distance, maybe from time, a sense of urgency persists. It is torture for myself, to feel such urgency to be with you when there are no tools except absolute decimation of my current trajectory, to offer relief. Even then, the outcome is variable. But for what am I asking?

My dreams are much closer to delusions; I rely on them for sanity. Without them I have no hope. My sense of reality is skewed by intense desire because I want something that is no longer offered, something currently impossible. My morals and behavior do not align, and the cognitive dissonance manifests itself in obsessive thought patterns and insomnia. It feels like I am living here, and also like I am absolutely not. Speaking to you, hearing you, brings me a worrisome amount of joy. It also solidifies and validates the false reality that exists inside my head.

I forget you are not mine because of how badly I want it to be true. When I remember, I always trip on regret. I choke and gasp on frustration, despair, and especially jealousy. I will now, out of necessity, try to pause on numbness, silence: silencing my words to quiet my mind. (Dissociation can be powerfully helpful if used correctly. Too often I cannot feel deeply and function properly, simultaneously).

Maybe then I will more easily remember that there is a current reality in which you actually exist, one where you are happy and already in love. One that is extremely different from my delusional, hopelessly romantic, future-oriented false reality in which you also exist.

I’m angry with myself today: hope is dangerous.

the why

I do not look at you and see a man who will take until I am spent.

I do not look at you and see a man who will manipulate, or believe himself to be stronger, smarter, and better than I.

I do not look at you and see a man whose simple way of life forces me into the role of teacher; it too often feels like I’ve created curriculum for how to communicate, how to emote, and how to recognize emotions (I am very, very tired).

I look to you for a place to rest my mind from constant explanation.

I look to you for advice (I say this only about a few).

I look to you and see intelligence, honesty, and passion. I see someone to discuss with, to explore with, to grow with, as an equal.

I have always feared romantic love and personal growth to be mutually exclusive, because this is what I have experienced. I do not have even a shadow of fear about this when I think of being with you.

There are no alarm bells ringing because the words “settling down” do not apply.

For once, staying does not equate to settling.

Staying simply means being present.

Tonight, I cannot think of anything I’d rather do, if only I had not already left.

drifting

We snorkeled yesterday. I saw lots of incredible fish, corals, and inverts, but my favorite part was floating and losing my depth perception. I thought this entry would be about the ocean, but when I think of drifting in the sea, my mind goes to you.

What is stopping me from doing exactly what I want to? I think maybe confusion of what that is. I feel like I can’t hear myself. “Trust your gut” but what the hell is she saying? Everything is jumbled.

Here are some things I know: I want desperately to be with you, so much so that it clouds my judgement (I am done telling myself that this is not ok and have decided to treat it as a sign). I am probably having culture shock. This time could be good for building personal resilience and trust in myself, which seems to have been lost around my birthday last year.

Here are some things I’m afraid of: losing you by doing this. Leaving and regretting it. Staying and regretting it. Leaving and then getting restless for travel due to shame from quitting. Staying and getting restless that I am here for no reason, when I could be building a life elsewhere.

I am feeling hopeless today.

It feels wrong to ask if I could make a home with you. It feels unfair to tell you that my heart already has. It is dangerous to say that, in every single future plan I have for myself, we are together. It is even riskier, and absolutely terrifying, to admit that I am willing to make sacrifices if they will lead to a sustained concept of us.

This is what I know (this is all I know).

detached day 1

She looked out her window at the river. In a few hours they would tell her that it was actually a road, it had just rained a lot the previous day. The trees she identified as West Indian almond were actually cashew, and for the first time, the ocean lay closest to the west.

She lay down on her bed in front of the fan and spent 45 minutes thinking about taking him to the place where she was born. Then, she began to think about her fickle callousness in love, which made her upset, so she went downstairs.

Downstairs she smiled big. It tugged at her chest uncomfortably but she coaxed it up around her teeth to resemble something more genuine, which it became. She laughed and ate with a family that wasn’t hers, and casually swatted at the mosquitos when they did. Maybe she would get dengue and be sent home (to him). This didn’t feel like hoping for an illness. To him. Is that where she would go?

Never mind, she washed her body with the bucket and ladle. The slow movement of ritualistic rinsing let her mind be occupied with intention for awhile.

Maybe they would go to a French restaurant together, someday. Maybe she would wear something sophisticated to feel powerful, to pretend like she could hide from him what had already been shown. But he had seen everything, so she could hide nothing. Maybe it is better to be so far for so long; she would find things to hide so she would not feel so bare in his presence. The other option would be to find freedom in the nakedness, which she did not yet know how to do.

hka

I forgot how horrible being outside of your comfort zone is. It sounds fun and adventurous and important when you’re not actually doing it. The mosquitos, moisture, and heat are things I can handle (thanks Bahamas/TCI). Hand washing clothes? No problem. Food? Easy. I eat everything. Tabo? …this definitely takes some adjusting to. Tagalog? Just stamp dumbass on my forehead. I’ve never had more respect for the difficulties that come with language and culture barriers. At this point, I cannot even begin to envision myself able to do my CRM (coastal resource management) job remotely well, or at all. Adjusting and integrating will take all of my attention for at least the first year. Yes, I’ve heard other Volunteers say this is true, but I’m really starting to understand why it takes so long. And get this- I probably won’t even be speaking Tagalog. These first few days have been incredibly challenging and often lonely, but it only gets easier from here, right? (Right???)

I don’t know what’s more difficult: being so uncomfortable in this unfamiliar environment that I can’t think of anything else, or finally feeling a small sense of comfort and only thinking of you. I must keep myself distracted because the latter is too easy to lose entire nights of sleep over. I have to do what I can to put you out of my mind in the early morning because if not, she shouts “go to him! Go to him!” so loudly that I am distracted the rest of the day by your absence (or, I guess, mine).

slowing down

Things are better these days, I don’t feel like I’m losing my mind. 30+ hours of no sleep. 6 hours of sleep. Another 30 of anxious wide awake transit (how did I not bat an eye on our 12 hour flight??). Then 8 hours sleeping like a dead person. Now, the sun is shining bright on this beautiful afternoon in the Philippines and my mind and body think it’s 4am. The food is good, everyone is nice. The people that sign up for, go to, and work for the peace corps are an amazing crew of intelligent, kind, and intuitive humans from what I’ve seen so far. I feel incredibly grateful to be here and to be welcomed so warmly by people I’ve never met. I am excited to meet more of the local community. I’m excited to get into language training and meet my first host family. I’m excited to learn more about coastal resource management here. I’m trying to stay present (and awake).

The rush of emotion is finally slowing down. I honestly am not sure how I dealt with how strong my feelings were just before leaving and in transit. I guess I didn’t do a great job because I barely ate or slept for days. I felt like I was in the middle of a dire crossroads, one that had the power to potentially damage the most important relationship of my life (not dramatic at all) and I’m still trying to catch my breath. By not changing my trajectory, I made a decision. I think this was the right thing to do; I will be a more confident and resilient person upon my return. I will be kinder and more giving or at least, I will work my hardest to be more of these things. I will be less skittish about not “living” before getting a real job and apartment. I’m tired of moving out of the country. This is all painfully difficult to understand how to handle and I hope no one else ever has go through it, although it would be a sad life to never feel so passionately about another human. Now, I will continue to be grateful for how busy and exhausted I am. There’s no time to be sad or anxious. But I was right about the mornings and the nights being times where I can’t get you out of my head. I think it will be this way for a very long time. The level of internal devotion I feel towards you is freaking me out. I might be delusional . . . but the thought of you comforts me so much and I don’t have the energy to care if it’s crazy.