I’m leaving but don’t leave me

I’m glad I’m analyzing my fears instead of shoving them away. I’ve had to do a lot of it in the past year. There is one specific fear that disguises itself as fear of loneliness and only surfaces when I am at my most stressed, my most exhausted, my most “not me”: fear of abandonment.

I could bring this back to my anxiety from 7th grade when I found out my mom had breast cancer the night before being sent to 2 weeks of sleep away camp with no contact with my family.

I could rationalize it and say it’s just a fear of change: change that everything will be so different when I get back that my life will be unrecognizable, change of my loved ones lives so drastically that they won’t need me in them anymore. This is why I always need to feel needed and helpful to my loved ones. They can’t leave if they need you right? They have to keep you around if they depend on you.

At the end of the day, this is pure fear of abandonment. I’m recognizing it, but it didn’t seem to stop the anxiety attack, which was made worse by days of no sleep and accidental stress-fasting. Then the biggest SoCal earthquake in 25 years right after? I know I feel a deep connection to the earth but come on.

I used to deal with this fear by closing myself off. By saying “it doesn’t matter if everyone moves on and no one cares about you because you have yourself and you don’t need others”, and this worked for awhile. But I don’t want to be so protective that I learn not to care. I want to care, and care deeply. It’s terrifying to care this much about people, to care this much about my relationship with one man that I considered scrapping the whole thing and not going to the peace corps. I mean, fear of abandonment is the reason I always leave right? If I leave first they don’t get the chance to do it to me! Is this just another decision made out of fear? Are these undue anxieties?

I’ve never questioned myself this much. And then to hear the words “if you have any reservations, do not get on that bus” during our first training . . . that made me feel sick to my stomach.

But PC did probably the best and most important thing they could have done: they had us outline our reasoning for commitment. I thought back to when I really committed last October, when I wanted this more than anything, in the height of a depressive winter, during the peak of confusion and fear about my life to come.

I trust this Charlotte. Even thought she didn’t know what the hell was going on, she always chooses to better herself, her career, and do everything she can to help others when she feels directionless.

I will continuously bring myself back to my purpose of doing this: I want to serve in a community where I am needed and helpful, I want to push myself to learn new skills of resilience, I want job training and career opportunities, I want to form deep personal connections with my fellow volunteers and host communities, I want to learn and change and challenge myself.

I will come back to these reasons when I am sitting in bed at night and feared grips me that I am too late, that by doing this I am effectively destroying any chance I have to be with someone I know I want to be with. That there will be no room for me in his life when I get back. I will sit with this sickening fear and try to trust myself that whatever happens will be alright. I will fit in to his life however much he wants me to when I return, or however little. I will trust that this is not the end, no matter how many times my brain tries to convince me it is.

laughable

Do I only love you because you love me?

I need to make sure this is unwarranted worry.

Do I only feel comfort because you offer me safety?

Wait but then why, years before I came to this realization, did I feel a dire need to know you? To understand you? To be there for your darkness?

Why did I feel so sick to my stomach when I saw you engage in self destructive behaviors, and I didn’t know how to help?

Why did I always rush to you in the middle of a crowd to find solace? The way you spoke honestly to me was addictive. I so vividly remember pockets of conversation in which you looked at me and spoke the truth. I so vividly remember times where I felt only your presence in rooms that had people packed in like sardines.

Why did I feel unstoppable when we walked the streets of Columbus after bar close just to talk and flirt? I could flirt with you forever, I think. I know I’d like to try.

Why can I look back on birthdays, 4th of July’s, New Years, house warmings, going away parties, and see us together at so many of them? How did I not notice the life we have been building together?

Sometimes I get worried that I love you only because you have loved me so well. But when I think about your role in my life, I have to laugh at myself because it is so blatantly obvious that I have loved you for a very long time.

how could I even begin

You said “why me”

and I’m good at talking about how I feel,

but how could I do justice to the way you look at me?

How could I begin to talk about how you gently prod me into honesty about things you see so clearly?

Or how I am more me near you?

I couldn’t even try.

 

You said “why me”

but I don’t think I will ever be a good enough writer to discuss the way we slip in and out of heavy and light in our conversations;

how could I describe the ease?

How could I speak to knowing the harder-to-love parts of you, and wanting you all the more?

 

If you ask “why me” I’ll do my best to answer,

but don’t expect me to be able to accurately depict the simultaneous calm and excitement I feel when you touch me.

Don’t expect me to discuss the vastness of the gratitude I feel to know you,

to know that you exist in this world.

And absolutely do not expect me to be able to describe the unequivocal certainty with which I know that I love you.

i want all of it pt.2

Quietly and subtly, I made space for you in the life I was creating for myself, without understanding why I felt the need. Without knowing why it was so important to have you involved, or why it felt so important to be involved in your life- the good and the bad. Everything except my consciousness was sneakily preparing for the terrifying assuredness with which I know I want to be with you.

I want all of it.

I want more than all of it.

I want to care for you and be cared for, by you.

I want to ask how you’ve been, and be part of the answer.

I want to love you unselfishly in the way you’ve done for me.

But more than anything, I just want to be there.

I’m leaving to “expand my perspective as a global citizen”, which is something incredibly important to me. This purpose becomes muddled when everything inside me wants to be near you, to know you, to explore you in every way you will allow me, and to allow you to explore me just the same. This purpose becomes even more muddled, almost irrelevant, when I think of how this time and distance will alter our relationship in ways I can’t foresee.

Now, I guess all I can do is hope that my life in the near future will be so exhausting and distracting that I can put you out of my mind for a few moments to focus on bettering myself, creating deep personal connections, and serving the community I will live in.

However, I do not see any hope for quiet nights and gentle mornings when I will think of nothing else.

i want all of it

It’s easiest to think of a life with you.

It’s easiest to sit with my thoughts and think of you: talking, looking at me, laughing. To think of you saying something so startlingly honest that I can’t make eye contact when I agree. (This is something you do all of the time, and yet it always surprises me. Your perception always surprises me). I don’t know anyone else with the power to make me nervous like that.

It’s easy to pity my former self for thinking she knew anything about love. It’s easy to laugh at her for not analyzing why you were the one she wanted to talk to on her birthday after working a 12 hour shift. It’s easy to want to reach back in time, to shake her, to lift her chin and shout “LOOK!

It’s hard to do the apologizing. To admit that I’ve been shitty. It’s hard to let someone love me. (I am the lover, not the loved. To be loved is to be seen: terrifying stuff).

It’s hard to examine my decisions. To notice that I’ve acted out of fear. That I’ve been avoidant and dishonest. That I’ve used the role of nurturer as a distraction disguised as love.

It’s hard to understand that you knew things about me before I knew them myself.

It’s hard to hope that I’m not too late,

it’s hardest to have to leave.

selfish

Fixation is easy. Infatuation is exciting and intense. It feels like everything passion is supposed to be, except that it’s never sustained.

I am fixated on you and I am infatuated with the idea of a life with you.

It’s probably unhealthy. It’s just another form of avoidance of emotional turmoil due to significant life changes. It’s not real. It’s not sustained. It’s yet another example of me selfishly searching for bursts of obsessive love so I never have to deal with the weight of loneliness.

This is the exact lie that, years ago, I would have convinced myself of easily. I’m going to try something new and not ignore these thoughts:

Instead, I’d like to acknowledge how I’ve made room for a revelation.

I did not spend the last year learning to trust myself, just to ignore my gut when it screams to me that this is right.

I did not examine my romantic relationships and cut ties with toxic partners just to ignore the only one that I never felt the need to set fire to.

The wax on my wings is staying firm.

I took time to make space for love in all of its forms. Should I really be surprised that, when I examine this space, I find you in it?

This love was too big to fit the small space I had been offering it.

With other men, I’ve fallen hard in love, and then learned to love who they are.

But I already know I love who you are. The sustained portion of this passion is already there.

Once I became more truthful towards, and trusting of myself, should I be surprised to delightfully realize it could have been no one else but you?

still don’t know what love is

What does it mean when someone feels like home? And what about when that feeling comes as a surprise?

When you see them and your body sighs.

Your mind finds tension it hadn’t realized was there, and decides to relax its grip. (then promptly flies into a manic dizziness and stays there for a few hours.)

Every word they say is delicious and revolutionary. Every move is seen.

Why do some people make you feel happy, while others give you true moments of joy?

Small snapshots of bliss. In the car, on the porch. And bliss it is, too much: it spills out of your mouth into unwarranted laughter. They never ask for an explanation, they kindly accept your reactions. Their music floats to the ceiling, held by the lightness of your admiration and what might be recognized by some as love. You cannot help but giggle from all of the goodness.

What happens then? When someone makes you feel at home? You didn’t know you had been away. You’re tired of traveling.

What then?