Yet, every time I do this, I feel empty. Even with someone who, like I said, is perfectly fine. I could really like them. I could see how someone would love them and maybe sometimes I think I could see myself loving them too. Maybe I'm just not ready to deal with being responsible for someone else's feelings. Maybe I am afraid of rejection. Maybe ever since D and I broke up, after feeling so terribly betrayed and broken, and maybe after I was hit three months later with my dad's death–you know, maybe I'm too jaded to let anyone get past my defenses. WHAT, HAVE I BEEN RUINED ALREADY?
Whatever it may be, I'm so scared that this won't get better. I'm terrified I'll become so accustomed to being alone that even when I'm ready, willing and wanting to change it, I won't be able to. Trusting someone is like a muscle, isn't it? It doesn't come easily and it definitely takes practice. And what if I can't come around again? I am petrified. Sometimes the thought of it strikes me wide awake at three am, and I can't stop crying. Pathetic. I didn't realize how one could feel so blank and yet be so fucking emotional at the same time.
-Some old writing of my own from 2009
I don’t believe in God and fate is, in my humble opinion, absolute bullshit; meaning in life is something we find (ever the existentialist–one of the loves of my life gave me The Plague at sixteen and clearly I cannot rid the angst from my system). In the effort to seek my own meaning and not get overwhelmed with the endless absurdity and cruelty of reality, identifying themes within my life that forcefully re-occur, over and over again, has become a hobby (one that is particularly unkind during bouts of insomnia like I have had lately).
Romantic entanglements seem to be a constant re-visiting of the things I have found most challenging in this life, and this new foray into non-monogamy seems to be tying in nicely (much to my irritation) to the cycle of things I feel I should know already, but apparently can’t seem to fully grasp, even after a quarter century’s worth of effort.
In the brief time that this whole non-monog thing has been officially set into motion, something has shifted in my social circles. Whether it is dates that are inspiring far more disclosure than a person with as much bravado and dickishness as myself should provide, near strangers conducting conversations that call upon an intimacy that hasn't actually been established, or having the courage to reach out to someone I hurt with a legitimate sensitivity (as opposed to a proud denial coupled with a nice fat capital-E Expectation), something has unsettled. I’m feeling the effects.
I recently went digging into the ol’ Livejournal archives (let’s pretend that the LJ years were not embarrassing, ya dig?), and found another old something (like the above) from early 2011 that seems to be strangely relevant to today:
it all clicked into place…it was opening up my eyes on a saturday morning and thinking, I DO NOT WANT TO BE A PRODUCT OF RAGE I DO NOT WANT TO BE A PRODUCT OF RAGE I DO NOT WANT TO BE A PRODUCT OF RAGE. suddenly, the practice of immediate, temporal vulnerability became more important than the patchwork of backlogged resentment, each square its own minor hurt, adding up to become a smothering mass.
i've always talked about not being afraid, but i don't think i've ever felt it. except for maybe today.
Not afraid? What a fucking liar.
One of the hardest things about love is the crushing exposure that comes with really getting to know a person (or letting them get to know you), and yet I constantly find myself attracted to people who unconsciously force the part of me that is so good at pretending to crumble apart. While my current long-term partner (the Boyf, if you need a snappy-but-irritating nickname–this is a dating blog after all) absolutely tapped into part of that nearly three years ago, perhaps there’s more to be undone.
To use a term introduced to me by my dear friend Emma, “deeply romantic friendships” have long been my norm, and the nature of this long-term love so far has allowed so many of those to dwindle away to far less than what they used to be. It seems to me that the constraints we’ve upheld in the name of fidelity have detracted from my quality of emotional life (and I feel I can safely say that they have done the same for my partner). Nothing happens for a reason, but I'm giving purpose to this sudden undoing of myself: these steps have already started unlocking a core component that feels underdeveloped.
I keep reminding myself that I am young, and that this life is a process; no matter how impatient I am for this shit, the very slowly moving cogs in my brain are apparently taking their sweet time in rectifying the idiocies that are gumming up the works. I keep telling the friends who ask me for dating advice that the goal is for it to be fun, but perhaps there is a greater purpose to connecting with new people, over and over again. Perhaps there is something to be unraveled.
I don’t know what the outcome is, but I bet it’s good.