When I was 24, my boyfriend at the time took me on a mini overnighter to a rainy, northern town. The night before, we were bellied up at the local dive when he told me to pack my bags for the next morning. I was smitten. I also hella love surprises. I bought new underwear & knew that this trip was going to be magic. It wasn’t. The best thing about it was the sausage I ate (at the restaurant) before the trip home.
To abbreviate, he ended up cutting our make-out session (that was to inevitably lead to sexy time) short & there I sat in new lacey butt coverings, nursing the Cabernet as he slept next to me. We broke up the next night after a terribly awkward 4 hour drive home. I was so ruined I moved 3,000 miles away, we got back together & a few months after that, I broke his heart back. I am not remiss to acknowledge I too, can pull the rug out. But he was first.
I learned somewhere down the road that he pretended to be tired that night because he wasn’t attracted to me (at the time I GUESS). I felt that that could’ve been avoided had he not planned a spontaneous hotel stay. (Disclaimer: He & I remain friends & he’s still one of my favorite humans.) This information, unbeknownst to me, was stacking itself on the after effects of my previous boyfriend. That one had left me when he met someone else. In a sense, since I turned 20, my love life has been on repeat. All different men. All different loves loving all different loves. All heaping themselves on piles in some tortuous Jenga game that has had me serpentining through each relationship after. Even after repeatedly reading inspirational internet memes, I can’t shake the hesitation of everything I say, everything I do, leaving some sort of ramification.
To then let a relationship try & fit into the pieces I’ve etched & carved out of pure anxious is somewhat similar to absolute hell. Everything is read into. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
When you’re dating at this age, you commence to wondering why you weren’t enough yet. Why not for the first & why not for the last. Still not enough. And then came social media. The greatest way to compare yourself to that picture your boyfriend liked. Heaven forbid he commented on it.
I detoxed myself for a few months after Halloween of last year. I realized I was being incredibly hard on myself (why are my teeth so weird in pictures) & retreating to the most comfortable thing I know: solitude. It has been lovely. I spent more time playing guitar & banjo, cooking for myself, having solo whiskey induced dance parties, perusing used book stores. Crushed velvet clothing came back in style (YES). I listened to so many true crime podcasts & read one of the best books of my life titled simply, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson. So I’ve been trying hard. To give less fucks. To give more important fucks where they belong.
But how do I change being habitually jealous? How do I not worry my love will leave like every other one?
I don’t fucking know.
Do you know how it is when the seasons change, when you can feel it in your body? How when winter transitions to pastels & grass you feel compelled to run? But then why would you run when you feel so good right where you are? Is it just me? This is what love & loneliness is like to me. I love love. It feels good. But I can be by myself. I know how to be by myself. I know how I work. I’m easy to please & when I don’t feel like dealing with myself I just sleep in that new Velvet comforter I didn’t give any fucks about buying for myself. Maybe that’s what Stevie Nicks meant when she said ‘Can I handle the seasons of my life?’ Is it, Stevie, is it?!
I liken being in love to walking around with your insides falling out after having been stabbed repeatedly. In a good way. Suddenly you’re so vulnerable & naive & at risk of infection. It is quite possibly the best & the worst way to feel alive. But when what makes you feel so good goes away, it’s hard to not recognize the pattern we’re used to dealing with as something that’s actually easiest to live by. And what if you get that feeling in the middle of your euphoria? It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure only less exciting than when you were 8.
When I was little I used to play 5 Card Draw with my brother for twists of licorice. I’m pretty sure I was great at bluffing & unless you ask my brother, I’m pretty sure I won at least 50% of the time. That’s like 1 outta 2. A great success rate.
I guess that’s what matters of the heart are. It’s all a gamble. Sometimes we get the licorice & sometimes we give it all away & sometimes they don’t even like licorice like some kind of savage.
But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how broken you might get or how terrifying it is going into. As far as I’m concerned, when your heart is involved, you have to be all in.
-a damsel & her dog-