“My emotional life: dialectic between craving for privacy and need to submerge myself in a passionate relationship to another.” - Susan Sontag
I always thought that becoming self sufficient was the greatest feat, the highest climb a person could make. What could be more challenging than building a life for yourself that excludes the validation of others? That extinguishes the cravings of having someone truly see you, understand you, and love you? I've grown content in joy and the daily humming of life, no other person to upset my balance, no other heart to nurture but my own. "I could do this for the rest of my life" I've thought, "I'm finally happy."
But as the days slip by and people drift in and out of the river that is You, I began to realize that maybe the greatest feat isn't being self sufficient at all, maybe the hardest thing to learn to do is to love someone else.
There are days and weeks when this is easy, when falling in love with a sparkling mind and strong hands feels like second nature, as though him and I were always just two branches growing from the same tree. I am happy - content to be parallel lines with him, as our eyes meet and blush on the opposite sides of the car.
Then there are the dangerous days, the days when I want myself.
I barricade the door, no reason or argument preludes this. I lock myself up and shut it all out. Like a switch, all that love just flips from "on" to "off". It thunders through my arteries and into my lungs, and I exhale every little bit of it out into the air - what took months to nurture and grow vanishes in seconds. I hold myself, my life, my Kingdom tight to my chest like an upset child clings on to a blanket, fingers gripped so fiercely I could be set alight and not flinch. Like a dragon guarding her cave, glowing cinders spit from my mouth as I roar in anguish. Who DARES trespass inside ME?!
Of course, you will not see this. On these days, you might notice me go a little quiet. I might disappear for a walk, play different music. I take care of myself, and will return when I am better.
And so I sit here with stones in my chest and my head heavy in my hands. How are you supposed to love? Do I accept and embrace and forgive and treat this person like I treat all the empty others - those who I don't require their affection or validation? Or do I submerge myself so deeply in them that I lose all of my control, that they become as much a part of my being as my very own soul, that the thought of them leaving leaves me paralysed, holding on to a drowning man - installing my very own Self Destruct button straight into their hands? Neither feel right.
Learning how to love is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
I have no idea how to do this.